Why I’m talking about Trauma Bombing
So the other night I went out. I happened to sit with a group where one guy decided to talk AT us. He told us about how he’d been diagnosed with autism during the pandemic, had an abusive family especially his mother. He had been in an affair with an older woman who he may or may not have low key stalked (all because of his mother), used to smoke copious amounts of drugs and drink. Then 8, yes 8 minutes later he was still telling us all about himself. This was a book club? Not once was the book (all about letting go of the past ironically) mentioned.
So yes I’m here to warn you about trauma bombing people out there. Nobody needs to know about the first 37 years of your life Christopher when you’re 38.
What is trauma bombing
Trauma bombing is a non-scientific term merging trauma bonding (typically this is between victim/survivor and abuser) and love bombing. With the increase of sharing online people think that other people care about their past traumas. It has become almost the norm. People are prone to trauma bomb when meeting new people in an attempt to find some common ground. Oh we both have estranged family relationships? Twinsies!! A new manager at work went off on one during her introduction about abuse she’d faced in the past. Thanks for sharing but we only needed to know your job title, responsibilities and where you had worked previously!
Why it needs to stop
The truth is that I’m scared of trauma bombers. They are a bane on social situations. Whilst I’m not a huge fan of small talk I also don’t need to hear everything that’s gone wrong in your life within the first few minutes of meeting you. I don’t care yet. I’m not invested in your wellbeing. It only makes it look like you’re going to be a lot of work. I end up coaching incels and professional victims in an attempt to escape the conversation.
A social media friend asked the audience about a similar situation where he went on a great date and then contacted his date the next day and told her about some of his struggles in the past. My immediate thought is that anything heavy needs to wait until at least date 5. You want to get to know someone socially before you start digging around in their trauma holes. It also suggests that the trauma hasn’t been healed and is still very present in their lives.
Honestly whether consciously or not I find it low key manipulative. It centres you and your issues in the conversation / relationship immediately, excusing bad behaviours or poor social interactions. So the onus is on the trauma bomber to stop.
Not all trauma bombers
Now some of you will answer that there is honesty in being really open about things that have happened to you in the past. I would argue not really unless it is going to affect me directly. If your ‘crazy’ ex means that you are skittish around knives then sure, let me know when we are in the kitchen. And yes, things that may have happened in your childhood or previous relationships are really relevant but, we are grown folk. You should have done the work to address the trauma instead of sharing it with strangers you plan to get into a relationship with. So yeah I don’t think everyone that shares is a problem. Just those that take up all of the emotional space with their traumas.
How to stop trauma bombing
If you find yourself on a trauma bombing date you need to nip it in the bud immediately. Otherwise you become their counsellor for the whole relationship. You have X choices:
- Thank them for sharing but say that you think it’s too soon for that level of sharing. Aslo that you won’t be sharing at the same level right away.
- I’m not a fan of the ghosting but some trauma bombers are so entrenched in their victim identity that they will not ever see reason. So best you thank them and move on.
- Do not try to outcompete the trauma bomber. Oh you were abused by an ex. Well I was abused by 4 never gets the reaction you want. They see it as an opportunity to ramp it up and steal that TB spot.
© Chelsea Black ® 2023