TikTok’s ‘Gangnam Style’ Trend Is Just Uncomfortable Trauma Dumping & We Need To Talk About It

tiktok trauma dumping gangnam style

TikTok’s latest viral trend has users turning the most traumatic moments in their lives into undeniably unhinged comedy. But it also reveals a lot about the way Gen Z has grown accustomed to trauma dumping online.

The new trend has someone referencing a fond memory from their life. They then jarringly cut to the traumatic or surprising ending of that moment. The moment is revealed in a contrastingly upbeat PowerPoint slide-like animation and soundtracked to Psy’s “Gangnam Style”.

One user recalled working as what looked to be a scuba diver with his little brother. He then cut to a coffin and revealed his brother died on the job. The video has nearly 50m views and 6.5m likes.


#greenscreenvideo #rip El Jack Daniel’s

♬ original sound – kooze

Another TikToker recalled their high school teacher telling the class how difficult life is and how she felt alone. He then revealed that she died by suicide in the classroom the next day.


TikToker Kate Schmittling (@kateschmittling) said in a TikTok posted on March 3rd that she was having really bad period cramps. She rushed to the ER thinking she was dying. The video cut to a newborn baby, revealing she had been unknowingly pregnant.


A woman in another video said she set up a camera in her room because she had been hearing noises at night. She then cut to a man staring at her while she was sleeping.



♬ original sound – kooze

One gal was collecting her dad’s belongings after he died when she found a ring. She put it on only to realise it was his cock piercing. It was stuck to her.


I had to use butter to get it off 🙂 #aseriesofunfortunateevents #daddyissues 🤪

♬ original sound – kooze


Not all of these videos end horrifically. But they’re all examples of trauma dumping.

Trauma dumping refers to sharing sensitive and traumatic information with someone without asking if the receiving person is emotionally available to hear it. It’s not a new concept but it’s become widely normalised on TikTok.

If you’re on TikTok, you’re going to engage with other people’s trauma. It’s part of the content churn.

Creators turn their experience with grief, toxic work environments, dating, child abandonment and sexual abuse into viral skits. Their audience discloses their own experience with these issues in the comments. Even when a video appears upbeat, there can still be someone sharing a traumatic experience. Trauma dumping isn’t exclusively gloomy.

While people might share their trauma on TikTok to find like-minded users who share and validate their experiences, it can still be triggering to watch.

Mashable‘s Rebecca Ruiz notes that hearing graphic descriptions of traumatic events can feel equally as traumatising as the event referenced. But it can feel particularly triggering if it comes from a stranger on the internet.

Trauma therapist Shannon Thomas told Insider that this issue disproportionately affects Gen Z because they grew up in a digital age.

“When a generation is raised with access to digital content, the lines between online and real-world identity are blurred,” she said.

“No longer is there an internal warning system indicating the person is over-sharing.

“Trauma dumping creates an open door for a survivor to be further harmed if their experience is met with a harsh or critical response from others online.”

Trauma dumping is deeply rooted in TikTok’s For You Page. Wall Street Journal created 100 fake TikToks accounts to investigate the platform’s algorithm. It found that a majority of its bot accounts’ FYPs quickly came across trauma-related content about depression, suicide ideation and eating disorders.

Sure, this trend is chaotically funny. And yes, teens are using memes to cope with the world-ending climate change and a potential World War 3. But we’re also being presented with summaries of people’s trauma and being exposed to some pretty heavy shit. It’s a lot to digest at once. We’re expected to laugh, share it with our pals and move on.

These videos’ popularity leaves me thinking that we’ve all accepted this is our reality or are completely oblivious to the psychological impact trauma dumping has on us. And it’s worth acknowledging it with these types of trends.

If any of the content in this article triggered you, know that there are people who are willing and available to help. Call Lifeline on 13 11 14, contact BeyondBlue on 1300 22 4636 or speak with your GP. If you think your life is in danger, call 000.