Emotional Dumping Ground

I have always been that person, the one others call when there is a traumatic event or a major life transition. I take pride in knowing that others can confide in me and trust me enough to let me in during those dark moments in their lives. I value the friendships I have and take every opportunity I can to connect with each and every one of them regardless of my schedule. Why? Because that’s what friends do, that’s why I am their friend. It’s my job, I am fulfilled when I am supporting my friends.

But what happens when you become an emotional dumping ground? A place where you listen, receive and try to help them process their grief or concerns without a place to dump it?

When I look at friendships and the way many are built is that there is this unspoken understanding between the two people. It’s 50/50, we are in this together, we support, uplift and encourage each other. We weren’t designed to become a dumping ground for the emotional trauma and we are not designed to carry it.

Photo Cred: Trice C.
I have made this mistake so many times and to be completely honest I still struggle with it. Because I pride myself in being “their person” I oftentimes neglect my own emotions, feelings and traumatic moments because I have to be there for them. I have to focus on their issue and help them process it. There were many times that I would go to bed feeling drained, lost, helpless and upset with myself because here I was pouring out everything I had in me to be left feeling empty and disregarded. I have walked away from some pretty meaningful friendships because over time it was no longer 50/50, I wasn’t given a space to share my moments of happiness or regrets. I wasn’t allowed to have a “down moment or day” because somebody always needed something. In the end I began to resent the years that were spent cultivating the friendship and my inability to see that I was becoming a dumping ground.

Over the summer I had the chance to do some inventory and I evaluated where I was in life and where I wanted to go. One thing that kept popping up was my need to grow and my desire to grow beyond certain situations. That meant that I would have to come face to face with the reality that I outgrew some relationships. All that time I spent frustrated with myself and angry with my predicament could’ve been turned into a positive moment of self-reflection and release. See it’s much deeper than carrying the weight of someone else’s pain it was the unwillingness to own my own pain and to deal with it alone. I learned very quickly that in life there are seasons and, in every season, there is a change and a need for growth, I don’t have a choice to skip or bypass the process. I have to GROW through it. I had to take the emotional garbage and release it and I mean I had to really let it go.

I had to pray and I mean PRAY, for God to help me. Everything around me was so broken and fragile. I was no longer able to fully be present during the good times or the bad. I was becoming detached and unhinged. Resentful and ultimately a weapon of mass destruction to my future. I had stopped dreaming, I stopped hoping. During this moment God really began to minister to my heart and he reassured me that it was okay to let everything go and he understood that I would struggle but he knew I would try.

I made up in my mind to make a conscious effort to grab my shovel and to start digging and dumping every piece of emotional garbage that was hindering me. I am learning to reprogram myself and to encourage the ones around me to not allow themselves to become an emotional dumping ground. I learned that everyone comes to the realization in their own time, I cannot force others to see their mess just like they couldn’t force me to see mines.  I have to walk this thing out with them and to allow them to clean it up for themselves.

It’s not my responsibility to carry it and I deserved to be free and guess what? You deserve to be free as well, free from carrying the weight of someone else’s burden. Your road to freedom may look a little different than others but that doesn’t matter, just make sure you grab your freedom.

My friends and family deserve a whole, healed and compassionate version of me and that’s my mission. Freedom is my goal and I am digging and fighting daily.


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