So, this prompt was kind of issued by a friend of mine mentioning someone that made fun of someone with cancer… and that was horrible… but I didn’t want to bandwagon on some streamer that already milked their fair share of clout out of this dead horse that is still getting beaten by people around the world that milk dead horses. I don’t know if this metaphor is working or not but my point is: I don’t know if horse milk is a thing but I’m pretty sure that you cannot milk dead horses. Anyways, today I wanted to talk about more Twitch Etiquette and stuff that is hard to respond to.
Today’s topic is “trauma dumping in streams”. Trauma Dumping is similar to venting… but in a way that completely ignores the existence of other people’s feelings on it. Some people out there end up venting about work stuff, for instance, and it’s fine. If I’m live on Twitch and ask you how you are and you tell me that you had a shitty day at work, I naturally will ask you what’s wrong or offer to listen to you off-stream if you need someone to be there for you. That’s a different story in a way since I basically give “consent” to the situation by letting you know that I’m emotionally available. Well, trauma dumping is quite the opposite, I would say. There are people that will mention celebrity deaths or their anxieties, fears, triggers, abusive relationships, cancer, suicide, and other triggering topics and all of that with the intention of venting… but without making sure that the others involved (aka the streamer and the chat) are okay with it and emotionally available. It’s a bit of an issue when people trigger text-to-speech via donations, subs, bits and so on only to dump all kinds of negative topics onto people and putting a damper on the mood. It comes across as very negative and overbearing and it can upset people and potentially trigger them.
On top of it all, there are plenty of wrong ways to react to it… but not really a whole lot of good ways. I’d offer to talk about it off-stream but that may seem like neglecting it. If you get too much into a triggering subject, it may upset people, resulting in them leaving, which is something that streamers may not like… You cannot get too much into it but you also cannot completely ignore it. The death of a pet, relative, friend or celebrity is similar… You cannot shrug it off completely and it’s awkward at best to react to it. I’d say “I’m sorry for your loss” but then I’d be lost as to what I could say apart from the typical “I’m sure they’re in a better place now”. I had this one person come into the stream once, saying that their best friend died. I said exactly that: “I’m sorry to hear. If you need to talk, you can DM me later. I’m sure they’re in a better place now. I hope that this helps.” …and then they frankly said “no, he probably burns in hell now because he was gay” and then I banned them. It’s weird. Trolls like doing that but I wouldn’t say that it’s always ill-willed. Some people just don’t know how to handle it or don’t know that it can leave people in weird places or that it can upset people.
Hence this post. If you just dump your trauma everywhere without making sure that people are prepared for it or without asking if it’s okay,… you’ll end up upsetting/triggering people and you may end up making people uncomfortable. So, don’t trauma dump.
Now, I sometimes talk about mental health topics but ultimately, streamers aren’t professionals and if you need help, there is no shame in talking to a therapist. Btw, there’s a nice carrd link here if you need help and there are more numbers to call over here. I’m no expert on Mental Health topics (yet!) but I plan on educating myself and there are plenty of carrds like the Mental Health Help Site, Appreciating My Life, Stay Safes, and Mental Health Resources that can be helpful. I’ll have to see which ones are the best to use/promote for me personally… but we all learn from situations and essentially, I’m just a layman when it comes to all of this and if you come to my stream and ask me about what to do in certain situations I may not be educated enough to help you out, so I may just send you some of those resources and let you know that there is plenty of information there. Other streamers may have those resources available on the spot, too, but it can be very hard to deal with situations like those, especially in the context of “trying to entertain people, live”.
I hope that I got my point across and that this doesn’t bite me in the back.
Venting can be okay as long as you allow others to consent to it. Frankly dumping your trauma, your problems and your issues onto people, however, can be triggering and upsetting to a lot of people. It can make other people’s days a lot worse, it can ruin streams, it can put streamers into a weird spot and there are even cases where people genuinely care about something you said and get anxious, scared or worried about you, which again, can be triggering and upsetting.
Obviously, all concerns should be taken seriously and I doubt that there’re people that will troll by trauma dumping or anything. If someone says they’re suicidal or that they’re having a panic attack, etc., it should be taken seriously. Streamers should educate their communities to be tolerant and to take care of others… but there’s only so much you can do. Linking to resources via commands, talking about it, and all of that can help already. I think the best way to respond to trauma dumping incidents is to be short and professional. “I hope you’ll do better soon. Here are some resources to take a look at with plenty of hotlines to call based on what country you’re in and they may help you out. I don’t think this is the right place to handle that right now but you can message me later after the stream if that’s okay with you.” – I guess that could be a good response, covering all bases essentially. But really, there are so many ways of fucking interactions like up and not enough ways of doing a great job or anything, so… short and professional. We are no professionals but we do our best to distract, entertain and take care! We can’t do all of that at the same time, I’d say. So maybe go to a therapist/professional instead of a stream full of strangers with no experience on the matter.
Don’t trauma dump. Be nice. Stay hydrated. Stay kind. Have a nice day!