Mental Health Blog

How to Respond When You’re Frustrated: Emotional Dumping (Reacting) vs. Healthy Venting (Responding)

There comes a time when we just need someone to be there for us and we need to vent. If you’re an empath like me, experiencing emotional dumping feels like one is drained and exhausted after receiving or unloading your emotions. 

When we are feeling emotions that trigger us, it is important to communicate those feelings because your feelings are valid. This can be productive and healthy if done through responding, not reacting. If one reacts directly from those triggering emotions, it could lead to more frustration. Communicate more effectively and have a well-structured and clear relationship. 

Emotional Dumping Healthy Venting
– Blame others (putting other people down while promoting one’s efforts)

– Overwhelmed the other person with multiple problems all at once

– Framing the story of being victimized

– Not being open-minded to find a solution

– In denial of mistakes and does not take constructive feedback well

– Shutting out other people’s perspectives – not respecting them or not listening to them

– Repetitively talk about the same issue – Inconsiderate of time

– Feel like they are taking advantage of you

– Trying to sway your perspective

– Feels toxic
– Does not blame others

– Centralizes conversation about the issue at hand, does not bring up past issues

– Use “I” statements to talk about feelings rationally

– Open mindedly work on a solution together

– Own up to mistakes and is open to constructive feedback

– Listens and gives other people respect through acknowledgment of other’s perspective 

– Doesn’t go in circles about the same issue

– Does not take up unnecessary time

– Reciprocating of conversation

– Feel like you are being heard and that is not about taking “sides” is truly responding to your own emotions

– Feels beneficial

Creating boundaries for yourself when someone is emotionally dumping on you is important. Venting shouldn’t be at the cost of one’s relationship.

One way to do this is by politely asking them to talk about the issue at a later time when the other person or both of you are calmer. Set a specific time to come back, if you are the one to walk away from an unhealthy reactive conversation, make sure the other person knows that you will come back to attain the issue. This time between is a time to reevaluate your reaction versus how you want to respond. 

Note: The Free Your Mind Mental Health Society is an independent youth-led organization. The contents of this blog are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In the event of a medical emergency, please call your doctor or 911 or other local emergency numbers immediately.

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