Little Miss Passive Aggressive Showed Up Today | Dealing With The Difficult Parts of Us

Today was the day from hell as far as distress and emotion dysregulation.  I debated whether to share it, but since it relates to my walk with Borderline Personality Disorder, dealing with distress, and emotion regulation, I decided that I would share part of my experience. More importantly, I am openly sharing a revelation I had about a part of myself that I am not fond of. In fact, at times, I'm very ashamed of that part. Because shame isn't going to serve me in becoming more of a person of integrity, I knew I needed to get processing on this experience.

If you have certain behaviors or parts of you that you are ashamed of but don't yet know how to change or struggle with the urges despite knowing you want to change, I think you'll be able to relate. Please hold yourself in compassion as you read on.

To give you a little background, I spent the later years of my childhood in foster care and in group homes. In recent years, I've attempted to reconnect with family members that I remembered from childhood. Some have worked out. My mother and I are working on our relationship. My sister and I as well.

Then there are the more "distant" relatives. One who I helped through a dark time when she was experiencing severe anxiety and panic, another who I was named after. We shared memories of my father.

Unfortunately today a dispute among us turned very ugly to the point where my cousin was becoming very vicious, trying to publicly humiliate me by airing out my struggles with sexual orientation, saying that I am collecting welfare and not working, and even threatening my well-being and that of a dear friend who spoke up on my behalf. Another non-relative, (a husband of a cousin), also sent me a very threatening message. This all happened on Facebook, as I live 3,000 miles away from my "family."

I couldn't believe the things that were being said to me and my friend, but I can't tell you I'm completely innocent. I unfortunately had a role in getting things to the point where they ended up.

Something happened today, and I noticed it recently happen with a couple of other people. I'm not proud of it. I was passive aggressive.

The Miriam Webster dictionary describes being passive aggressive as:

: being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive passive way (as through procrastination and stubbornness)
— passive–aggressive noun

I don't want to give the situation too much more of my energy, so I'll tell you briefly what happened. I noticed that the husband of my cousin, who owns a company, was posting images of his products. Underneath one of the images, someone wrote a terrible, racist remark.  I commented beneath that person that I didn't appreciate the racism. Racist comments infuriate me. I become emotionally dysregulated by them.

What I did next is what I regret. I took to my Facebook wall and posted what had happened and how upset it made me. Although I didn't name names, it was obvious who the post was about, and I knew (and at the time hoped) they would see it and react.  I was being passive aggressive. Instead of going directly to the people who upset me and confronting them openly and honestly, I took a jab at them with my status update.

I ended up canceling my Facebook account entirely. I was shaking for the afternoon. I even took screenshots thinking I may need to show them to the police. Yes. It got that bad.

As I was driving home from some errands, I realized that I really needed to get in touch with my heart and figure out why I felt the need to do this. It was probably the third time in past couple of months where I behaved in such a way, and I've been doing so well avoiding this very hurtful and destructive behavior. I had to check in with myself about why in the world I was resorting to it.

During meditation and prayer, I recalled being a young girl. I was afraid of my parents and lived in an abusive home. I would get so angry with my parents and would want to get back at them, but if it looked like I were intentionally doing so, my safety would have been at greater risk. So, instead, I learned ways to go about expressing the anger inappropriately.

With this situation involving family, I somehow regressed to this inappropriate behavior.  I think of that little girl who was afraid and angry and wanted justice served and who behaved in maladpative and manipulative ways because she didn't believe her needs would be met or that she would be safe otherwise. I have compassion for her. She showed up again today.  I need to listen to what she's experiencing and find out why. It's just not okay for me to behave like this now.  There must be a part of me that doesn't feel safe or is afraid I wouldn't have my needs met or taken seriously if I were direct with these family members. I need to work on this issue.

While working on this as honestly as I possibly can, I am also going to engage in lots of self-soothing, including a hot shower, cuddling up with my blankets and cats while watching Ally McBeal on Netflix. The whole thing really shook me up -- not just noticing my own behavior but also the hurtful threatening things that were said to me and the fact that people I wanted to love could be racist.

I'll release it for tonight but will begin to consider how to go about apologizing for my part in the situation.  I don't excuse the incredibly inappropriate response I received in return or the initial behavior that prompted my anger, but I am only responsible for getting my heart right and fixing the wrong that I contributed to the situation.

Recovery is not always an easy ride. Parts of us that we don't like or understand will show up to be healed. Instead of further abusing them or neglecting them, if we can meet them with love, compassion, and forgiveness, we can then extend those things to others and help heal one another in the process. This is what I plan to do. 

Thanks for reading.
More soon. affirmed the theory on this stemming from childhood for me. I just found this article which states:

"Some suggest that passive-aggressive behavior may stem from being raised in an environment where the direct expression of emotions was discouraged or not allowed. People may feel that they cannot express their true emotions more openly, so they may instead find ways to passively channel their anger or frustration."


  1. I get like that too. its like an impulse that i cannot control once im at that point. thank you for sharing the awful experience. i too will look at my own behavior. i never really thought of it the way you described it. you opened my eyes up to another angle. my behavior is the cause of turmoil within my relationship. thanks again. i hope you come out above this experience.

    1. Hi Christina. Thanks for letting me know that you can relate. It really is about impulse control. I am so glad you found this helpful. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Once again it is like you read my mind Debbie! I have literally JUST had an overreaction on Facebook to someone being insensitive.

    I loved reading your post because it has made me view my actions in the same light. I don't approve of the comments of the person who spoke to me, but I can treat myself with compassion and still see that I need to take a breath and process things a bit slower.

    Your post helped me learn more about myself, and how I can better respond to these types of events in the future.

    1. Hi, Dear Bunny. I am really glad that you got something helpful out of this post and that you are going to hold yourself in more compassion. None of us are perfect. I have a really hard time accepting that sometimes. I worry about being judged when I write about my "failures" along the way...but what kind of peer supporter would I be if I didn't share my struggles and made it look like I have my act 100% together? Thank you, dear One.



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