If you are a peaceful person, you might find yourself constantly fighting. You feel like there is something seriously wrong with you. You might say that you aren’t comfortable staying overnight together–your partner does so anyway. He or she might get upset–especially if you try to break up with them or say that you are leaving–however, there is no underlying remorse for hurting you. He or she might say that they are sorry if they hurt you (hit you, scream at you, cheat on you…etc.) and promise that it will never happen again, but their apology is more manipulative than sincere. They might speak badly about a previous partner, claiming that their previous partner was crazy, or a bitch, or an asshole.
They will make you feel like you are the one that is going crazy instead of them. You might worry about what you wear and what you say and freak out if someone changes your plans or something unexpected happens that you will have to explain later. You’re not quite sure what will set them off, but you are afraid that something you do is going to make them lose their temper… You might think that the Bears are the best football team–your partner will convince you that you are stupid for thinking so because they suck. They might talk about cheating on an old partner, or be proud of their reputation.
You might want to go to the movies–your partner will make sure you go out to dinner instead. He or she might even brag about the fact that they have left a trail of tears behind them.
You might be terrified of what your partner will say or do if you tell them. He used to put you up on a pedestal…and now all he does is try to tear you down. From little things to big things, you feel like your partner never listens. They lie about things they don’t need to lie about. They can swear on their life that they are not lying. A healthy person is consistent in the way they treat people, regardless of their status. Your partner has a bad reputation or a tradition of “messy relationships”.
They might lose their temper in the middle of a restaurant because they think you are flirting with the waiter. You’re not always sure what the problem is, but things never add up. If you follow what they say, things still don’t get better.
They might bring up personal issues at inappropriate times. If you work hard to fix one thing, they will find something else that is wrong. They always have an excuse or a story or someone to blame: someone caused them to act the way that they did.
I tell her, when I was her age, I didn’t have a cell phone.
We had something crazy called instant messenger to talk to our friends and read the away messages of the boys we thought were cute.
Like flipping a switch, he can change drastically from one extreme to the next. He or she acts one way when they are around you, but completely different around your parents, and completely different around their friends. Slowly, you lose your friends until you feel like your partner is the only person you have left. Your partner cycles from mean and vicious to sweet and loving, then back again. He might set traps for squirrels or rabbits and then torture them.
If they hit you, they will make you feel like it was because of something you did wrong. Talk to a member of the opposite sex, they interrogate you about it. You better be ready to explain where you were and what you were doing and why you were doing it. Teachers and bosses are trying to make things hard for them on purpose.
If they cheat on you, they will blame it on something you couldn’t provide them. You start to feel like you are playing a game to which there are no rules and there is no way out. Your partner has to know where you are and what you are doing at all times. He or she might spy on you, check the messages on your phone, talk to your friends without you knowing, have people “check up” on you, hack into your email account or Facebook to see who you are talking to. But they make you feel like you have to stay with them no matter how they treat you, or that they can’t help the way that they act. No matter what they do, or have done, nothing is ever their fault.
Aquina and I dress up in fancy hats and scarves, talking to each other in British accents as we run around the spiral racks at Claire’s, picking up anything that sparkles and trying to use it to decorate Ella. Or that I wore my womanhood as if it was a deformity I was desperate to conceal, layering on five or six sports bras beneath a double set of t-shirts every day; that I prayed over and over, pleading with God to not make me get my period, writing letters to Santa asking if he could turn me into a boy in exchange for being good all year, and hiding each new hair, each new bud of growth with desperate hatred.
As I lie in bed tonight, I can’t stop thinking about twelve.