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Why do traumatized people Overshare?

Oversharing, or divulging more personal information than appropriate in a particular context, is a common behavior among those who have experienced trauma. There are several reasons why trauma survivors tend to overshare.

They have an urgent need to be heard

Trauma often leaves people feeling isolated and disconnected from others. By oversharing, trauma survivors are attempting to be seen, heard, and validated. Telling their story helps them feel less alone. The act of vocalizing a traumatic experience can also represent an attempt to process and make sense of it.

They have lost a sense of boundaries

Experiencing trauma, especially in childhood, can disrupt one’s sense of boundaries around what is appropriate to share. Without learning proper emotional regulation and social skills, some survivors end up oversharing personal history as a maladaptive coping mechanism.

They struggle with emotional regulation

Trauma impacts the limbic system of the brain, which regulates emotions. This can make it difficult for survivors to control emotional impulses like oversharing. They may also “info dump” as a way of relieving building internal tension.

Signs of oversharing

How can you recognize when someone is oversharing? Here are some common signs:

Context Signs of Oversharing
Casual acquaintance Telling intimate stories, disclosing trauma, describing medical issues
Early dating Revealing detailed sexual history, disclosing deepest insecurities
With coworkers Venting intimate problems, complaining about partner or family

They share at inappropriate times

Oversharers may bring up private details in contexts where that level of disclosure is unnecessary or makes others uncomfortable. For example, disclosing trauma on a first date or graphic medical problems to a new coworker.

They do not censor intimate details

While it’s normal to share personal experiences, oversharers may divulge the most graphic or embarrassing aspects without filtering. This includes revealing intimate sexual history or humiliating confidential facts.

They focus solely on their trauma

In some conversations with oversharers, the topic inexplicably always steers toward their traumatic background. Healthy reciprocal sharing is absent.

Reasons Trauma Survivors Overshare

Why would a trauma survivor feel compelled to overshare? There are several explanations.

Seeking connection

Feeling disconnected from others is a common aftereffect of trauma. Survivors often believe that if other people really knew what happened to them, it would help them feel understood. Oversharing an intense personal story can feel like a shortcut to intimacy, understanding, and connection.

Processing trauma

Talking or writing repetitively about a traumatic event can represent an attempt to process and integrate the experience. While oversharing is counterproductive, the urge comes from a basic human need to digest disturbing events into a coherent narrative.

Feeling out of control

Trauma strips away a person’s sense of control over their life. The impulsive act of revealing private details may function as an attempt to regain some control and autonomy.

Seeking validation

Reactions that validate the survivor’s emotions provide relief and reassurance. Even negative responses provide proof that the trauma really happened.

Lack of boundaries

Without proper modeling, people struggle to learn what information is appropriate for certain contexts and relationships. Oversharing becomes habitual.

Is Oversharing Beneficial?

Can oversharing ever be beneficial for trauma survivors? In certain contexts, with certain limits, expressing past traumas may have advantages.

With a therapist

Complete openness with a mental health professional can guide treatment and recovery. However, good therapists also help clients learn containment.

In a support group

With others who have “been there,” sharing intimate details may help reduce shame and isolation. Support groups also often have confidentiality rules.

Through writing

Expressive writing about trauma can aid processing, but only privately. Public oversharing online can cause alienation.

With close loved ones

Sharing trauma with a trusted confidant strengthens intimacy. But survivor should still aim for reciprocity and be mindful of other’s capacity.

The Downsides of Oversharing

Despite any perceived benefits, oversharing trauma has many drawbacks.

Can retraumatize

Exposing traumatic details over and over without clinical support risks retraumatizing the sharer and re-triggering emotional distress.

Alienates others

Most non-clinicians lack skills to respond helpfully to an info dump of someone’s trauma. They may feel burdened, overwhelmed, and distance themselves.

Prevents moving on

Compulsive focus on past trauma obstructs making progress and living life fully in the present. Catharsis alone does not foster post-traumatic growth.

Can distort self-narrative

Over-identifying as a trauma “victim” can damage self-esteem and inhibit developing a complex, positive identity beyond survivor status.

Feeds shame

If listeners respond judgmentally or negatively, feeling exposed can compound trauma-related shame. Healthy vulnerability requires appropriate context.

Alternatives to Oversharing

How can trauma survivors feel seen and connected without oversharing?


This is the ideal place to safely reveal trauma details at your own pace with clinical guidance. You can process experiences without exhausting your support system.

Support groups

Group therapy or support groups with fellow survivors allow appropriate mutual sharing in a confidential, structured format.


Practice noticing when, how much, and with whom you share. Limit trauma details on early dates or with acquaintances, for example. Prioritize reciprocity.

Creative expression

Explore expressing your story through writing, art, dance, or music as an outlet without overexposing yourself.

Spend time alone

Process emotions through introspection, journalling, talking to yourself, crying. This reduces the urge to unload prematurely onto others.

Grounding strategies

When feeling an urge to overshare, try mindful breathing, physical activity, immersing in nature. These can soothe distress without depending on others.


In summary, trauma survivors often overshare due to a desperate need to feel heard, understood, and connected. However, compulsive oversharing tends to have more costs than benefits. With clinical support, survivors can learn skills to process trauma, build intimacy, and be vulnerable with others while still exercising discretion around what they share.