Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

The Difference Between Venting and Dumping

Judith Orloff - Thursday, September 07, 2017

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff's "The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People,” a guidebook for empaths and all caring people who want to keep their hearts open in an often-insensitive world.

    We can all get upset at times but there are healthy ways to express frustration and anger. It is important, especially for empaths and sensitive people to be aware of the difference between venting and dumping as the later can beat down one’s positivity and self worth.

    As a psychiatrist and empath myself I have a hard time tolerating loud noises. So for the sake of preservation I have a “no yelling” rule in my house. For sensitive people, a healthier way to express anger is through venting, whereas dumping is toxic and can traumatize and overwhelm us.

    For instance, if your spouse wants to vent, ask him or her to make a formal request by saying, “I have a request. I need to vent about an issue. Is that okay to do now?” This gives you some warning so you’re not hijacked. Then, it’s your choice to discuss the issue right away or later when you have adequate time and feel more centered.

    Here are some guidelines from my book, The Empath’s Survival Guide to follow when you or someone else is communicating anger.

    Communication is vital when it comes to expressing anger or other intense emotions. Knowing the difference between venting and dumping is a positive start to having clarity in your relationships. If someone starts dumping on you, it’s fine to excuse yourself and tell them “I can talk to you when you are calmer.” Learning to protect yourself in this way, particularly if you are a sensitive person, is an important form of self-care.


Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Connect with Judith on  Facebook and  Twitter. To learn more about empaths and her free empath support newsletter as well as Dr. Orloff's books and workshop schedule, visit her website.

Dr. Tom commented on 12-Sep-2017 03:05 PM
I'm so impressed with the guidance, knowledge and education that Dr. Judith gives in dealing with these psychological/emotional issues. She has been so helpful to me and the other people that I deal with. Having her as a vital resource has been a God send for me. Her books have been dynamic, her vision of an empath has been terrific and on target. I now have such a better understanding of myself as a sensitive individual and why my world has been "rocked" by others. I had never heard of an "emotional vampire" until you shared with me/us the concepts of this construct. Your writing and sharing has been illuminating and insightful, thank you for sharing and reaching out the rest of us. Great work and your sacrificies to get it out there have been worth it for us that are sheltered under your umbrella.
Terry commented on 28-Sep-2017 03:19 PM
I’ve been an empath all my life ,in my youth I could not understand why people could not feel each other and how could the act the way they do.I thought everyone could fell like me. To deal with life I learn to except people as they are. Except that everyone has a right how they view this world and so do I. Let this energy flow through me with no judgment. Easer said than done. .we all have a one choice, I choose to enjoy it and focus my energy to the light and keep it simple.

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