What makes venting healthy? unhealthy?

There are lots of contexts in which venting is a perfectly healthy, normal thing to do. On the other hand, someone just spoke to me in ways I found triggering, which is making it hard for me to see the conversation clearly. Afterwards, the person described their own talking as "venting," and even thanked me for letting them vent. Still, something feels very off about it, but I can't quite explain why. So, I'm hoping for some ideas: what makes venting ok? What can make venting unhealthy, or not even really venting at all? If it isn't really venting, what is it instead?

I want to be able to gently and clearly talk with this person about how I felt, and what could go differently. Or I want to be able to recognize that this person simply triggered me, and did nothing wrong otherwise, and it is my responsibility to handle my triggers as usual.
 

Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
Still, something feels very off about it, but I can't quite explain why.
@One step at a time this here caught my lens. This feeling, has this something to do with a feeling of powerlessness at that moment because someone used this situation/interaction in order to fulfill their own need to dismantle their tension? It is invasive and not respectful of other person‘s space..?
Please ignore if not useful..
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
It's funny, I'm having quite the same thing. Venting is a way to emotionally let it go but there are ways to do it. Venting together I find sort of defuses it for both, but having someone venting for a long time can be exhausting. Some people can be super heavy to manage when venting and not realise they're weighting over you.

What really has a way to make me nuts is to see that the person isn't looking for a solution even after the ranting, but actually fuels themselves with the rant an persist so much you wonder what they'll do if the problem disappeared. Probably find another one. Because the objective is to vent something that goes beyond the specific problem therefore ranting becomes an objective by itself because it catches someone's attention. Probably they'll do this without even noticing. And that the relationship starts to get one sided with an emitting end and a receiving end. I've been on both. I didn't even realise that most of my conversations could be perceived as rants.

There isn't anything bad with it I think but it's just tiring for the receiving end. Especially when problems are formulated as criticisms towards others or blaming some superior structure or people for making them be where they are instead of telling you how it's making them feel. Then you have to find out with them. Emotional work!

I think it's okay to vent but not to weight on someone. There are nuances thought. Up to you to find your limit, up to them to realise they're doing that. And it depends on everyone's interactions. You can get completly overwhelmed by it or not give a f*ck.
 
Yes, so something like consent is part of it. And consent can be withdrawn.

The person needs to not fly off the handle so much that it is hard to bring themselves back, or so much that they stop being able to "see" the other person? Cause if the person flies off the handle and is ranting and can't stop, that's not necessarily consensual anymore. I could withdraw my consent and they might not even notice, or they might struggle to get back under control, or even might fly off the handle even more in response to my request that they stop. Hmm... something definitely clicked, there.

So, where do triggers come in? If the person is triggered at the time, and also triggers at being asked to stop ("I have to shut up now, it's not safe to talk, I'm not allowed" and that sort of thing), then what?

The triggers are real. But the impact of the behavior is real. And I guess I've hung around this site long enough to know that we are responsible for our actions while triggered, and we are responsible for managing our triggers so they don't hurt others but something about that doesn't seem to quite cover it. There are signs this person is trying to learn, but they are still a ways off from self-regulated/well-regulated, at times. They've got a lot of black-and-white thinking, e.g. "I am good" OR "I am bad," " I don't hurt anybody" OR "I am a hurtful monster." I'm trying to offer alternatives, encourage them to take a break and come back, etc. But what happens when a person is truly terrified and doesn't know how to do otherwise, yet?
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
There are signs this person is trying to learn, but they are still a ways off from self-regulated/well-regulated, at times. They've got a lot of black-and-white thinking, e.g. "I am good" OR "I am bad," " I don't hurt anybody" OR "I am a hurtful monster."
I understand better why this is weighting on you. I think there is a limit between hearing someone’s vent and being someone’s therapist. Not that you can’t hear or help but there is a reason why therapists are professionals! It sounds that this person would benefit from it?
 

Mach123

MyPTSD Pro
I have a bff who saves my life and I guess all we do is vent and blow steam off and we both understand. We’ve had a couple misunderstandings but we both decided that we were going to listen and both are free to cut off anytime and say gotta jump. Any awkwardness or interruption is fine to hang up. Nobody get insulted. He has triggered me a bunch of times. Maybe I’ve upset him or insulted or offended him IDK. It’s phone only. Idk if it’d work in person, maybe. We have been friends for a lifetime. It really saves me though and yes I think it’s healthy if done correctly. We laugh a lot. Laughing is good medicine.
 
I think there is a limit between hearing someone’s vent and being someone’s therapist. Not that you can’t hear or help but there is a reason why therapists are professionals! It sounds that this person would benefit from it?
This person definitely needs support outside of just me, and they aren't getting that support. They had a terrible experience with a therapist for several years as a child, so they have been completely against the idea in the past. Over the past six months, I have been open about my own experience with my therapist. They have begun to express curiosity/interest about maybe someday finding their own. I think all I can do is stay non-judgemental and encouraging. But thank you - it's validating to be reminded that this is a part of it.

This feeling, has this something to do with a feeling of powerlessness at that moment because someone used this situation/interaction in order to fulfill their own need to dismantle their tension? It is invasive and not respectful of other person‘s space..?
Thanks, this was super helpful, and definitely what helped me to untangle much of what I was feeling.

And thanks to both @Survivor3 and @Mach123 for clarity.

I'm tired. I care a lot, and I'm also not equipped to be a therapist. Trying to stay gentle, and also stay clear. Need to vent, want to know if this is a good time? Yes. Or let's plan to talk later, at this specific time. Need to vent whenever, wherever, however, runaway train, without regard for me? No. That has an impact.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
I have a few thoughts on this. It sounds like the person venting was kind of intense about it, probably emoting and maybe even agitated. I think that kind of venting is likened to outsourcing their tension. They feel better by unloading some of it on someone else. I don't think anyone has a right to that. I used to be that person, so I know that it can feel urgent sometimes to have someone be there to hear you out. But another aspect is that if they have ptsd, then venting doesn't truly release or resolve the stress or tension. So being a party to that entails having distress sent your way over and over again without resolution. In the past, one of my brothers tolerated my venting more than most - now that's love. But he began to draw more boundaries, and I don't blame him. For myself, the more I healed, the less I needed to vent. It made me realize that my stuff left no room for my brother's stuff. It was a one way relationship. But now, I try to deal with my stuff with my therapist or through my own work. If I do discuss my problems with someone else, which is inevitable, it's not so much to vent, but to get more information, check my perception against the reality, and figure out a resolution. That's something that I think others can actually help with.
 

Friday

Moderator
I want to be able to gently and clearly talk with this person about how I felt, and what could go differently. Or I want to be able to recognize that this person simply triggered me, and did nothing wrong otherwise, and it is my responsibility to handle my triggers as usual.
Why either or? Why not both?

Removed the triggered part out & what’s left?
 
Top