How To Play Passive Aggressive Parlay With Those You Love

A game where the quiet win and the ones who make a stand and say something, don’t

4 min readFeb 12


Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

I’ve muted the ability to hyper-react to passive-aggressiveness when it comes to my parents. But, one word kept being repeated that I knew it was never in my mother’s wheelhouse until she uncovered my hidden writing account yet again. This happened as a 10-year-old with a journal and how she found it and read it. So, I hid what I was saying and stopped being honest when writing things on paper. But, I found I could be more open in the text, in what felt like the privacy of a computer and a password to lock out those who wanted to access me better than the doors we locked and found a way to open in seconds.
A locked door was a specific sort of crime in our household. In one of our first homes, you could pop the lock with a door hanger slid into the small hole of the fake brass handle.
When I made my last pseudonym to publish myself in poetry journals, finally, I had a friend named me. When my mother found my name, thanks to a tell I gave her, she scoured one hundred participants in a slam I had competed in. She told me how inadequate that name was.
She never found this account, but I’ve known not to tell anyone where I write lest they get extreme interest in it. They could be careless if I told them who I was immediately. They’d never look me up. But, if it seems like a precious secret, those who don’t know about it feel betrayed. I don’t trust them enough to share with them.
“This dog doesn’t live with trauma.”
“You can tell this dog never had a day of trauma.”
“I don’t think I can recall us ever hitting this dog.”
“This dog doesn’t know what trauma is.”

The dog doesn’t bark or run and has learned the secret of not getting yelled at or in trouble. It’s like what I did as a kid, not talking for years even though I knew how to. It would be a problem if I made noise, so I was the quietest kid you’d ever meet.
As the word trauma got name-dropped in association with their new animal, I didn’t even think to take the bait. I knew this was probably a game my brain was blocking me from playing. I kept thinking, what a unique way to put it, their new dog doesn’t seem to have trauma.
The hitting comment did strike me. Because I was hit, not in the face often, but a lot of times. I learned young…




I'm unapologetically me with a hard edged view of life. I love to travel and have crazy amounts of fun spaced between quiet moments.