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Mental Health

Why Trauma Dumping Isn’t The Humor You Think It Is

About a year ago I downloaded the app TikTok and it has been a journey. If you don’t know, TikTok is an app that plays short videos from creators about anything. They can be educational videos, comedic videos, videos of people’s art, etc., and are about a minute long or less. It’s also an app that is widely dominated by Gen Z. Since downloading TikTok I’ve had a great time watching all sorts of videos from all sorts of people. However, as time went on I started to notice something strange about the comment sections of these videos. Any time I watched a video of someone being happy or sad, or even interacting with their own family, the comment section would be filled with Gen Z people saying things like “my trauma could never” or something else along a similar note. And each comment seems to encourage other people to post similar comments as well. It’s extremely problematic for so many reasons and a lot of people still don’t seem to realize it.

People who comment and say things like this– talking about their poor mental health or the bad relationships in their lives– don’t seem to realize that it isn’t a funny thing to say. They might say it as a joke and play off actual trauma for the sake of likes, but it isn’t funny in any way. In fact, it is just concerning. A whole generation of people are growing up thinking that this is considered humor and interacting with others like this. They dump their trauma on others instead of going to a therapist to cope with it in a healthier way. There isn’t any consideration for the person they gave their trauma to and whether or not they are in the right headspace to hear it. It’s a strange way of connecting with others and could cause younger generations to not know how to interact with people in a healthy way.

Maybe they aren’t joking though, and their trauma is serious. That still doesn’t excuse dumping trauma on a person who didn’t ask for it. So many of the happy TikToks I see have comment sections that essentially guilt the person who posted the video for being happy or having healthy relationships in their lives. I have seen people post videos talking about how they feel bad having a good relationship with their parents because the one time they posted a video with their parents in it the comments were filled with people talking about how bad their relationships with their parents were and how their childhood trauma couldn’t let them have a relationship with their parent. It is unfortunate that so many people have negative relationships in their lives, but it is not okay to shame others for having better relationships. Every family, every relationship, is different and it is okay to notice that yours isn’t perfect without making others feel bad for having seemingly perfect ones. 

Being open with people is a great thing, but that openness should be with people you know and trust. So many Gen Z people are being extremely open about their trauma with strangers and not getting their consent to do so beforehand. If you want to talk through what you have been through either find a therapist or a good friend that you trust who has consented to hear about your trauma. This narrative of people commenting such negative things under posts of people they don’t know has to stop. It can make it harder for people to get actual help with their problems and encourage others to also trauma dump on strangers. So please, if you are going through something, seek professional help and don’t dump your trauma onto strangers.

Hi my name is Elnaz Tahmassebi and I am a Senior at the University of Utah studying International Studies and Health, Society and Policy!
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