How to Tell When Something is Wrong: Trusting Your Gut in Relationships

Jenny Justice

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Trust your gut. Listen to your intuition. We have all heard these phrases before. And maybe we think we know exactly what they mean. But if that were the case, why do we find ourselves in situations where, looking back, we realize that we ignored our gut and tuned out our intuition?

How do we know when something is wrong? Wrong for us, that is. Wrong for our greatest good. Wrong for our best interest. How can we tell?

Looking back at my five year relationship, and engagement so very much felt wrong. And I was aware of it. I felt it. I knew it. But instead of listening to my inner voice and drawing upon my strength to do what I could have done to leave the situation, I internalized it all as something wrong with me, somehow my fault, somehow a failing of myself. I thought it would get better, and that he would start to see me for more of who I really was and then it would feel less wrong.

For example my ex would often tell me I was awkward in social situations. He was really quite mean about it at times. Chastising me, yelling at me, telling me I ruined this or that thing. But looking back, all of the things he said I ruined were things that were WRONG for me in the first place. He liked bars and drinking, and small talk and being fake, really.Meaning he would change his personality, values, beliefs, ideas depending on the person or people he was talking with. Me, I do not do that. I never have. I do not know how. I have my values and my views, and they are mine and with me always. So, it was a mismatch. Not a failing of me as a person, or even him as a person, but a giant mismatch that felt wrong and ended up leading to more wrong.

Long, long story short I ignored my inner voice and rest assured, I will never be in that position again. It is important to take this time for yourself - in a relationship, or not in one - to get in touch with you, learn to truly hear that inner voice, and vow to protect it and hear it when the time comes.

The thing is, I knew something was wrong. Meaning not right. Meaning not just about my faults or problems, or differences that could be worked out, but fundamentally very very wrong. I just did not want to admit it. And I am writing this to tell you that you usually always know, really, when something is wrong. It is just a matter of actually listening to yourself, taking your own side, and doing what is necessary, even though it might be hard, sad, not what you want to do- because in the long run, it is going to happen anyway. The reality will come forward, the truth will out. Better have it be done quickly, right when you know when something is wrong than to wait years like I did. Like so many have.

How do you know something is wrong? You step back and observe the situation. De-personalize a bit. Break it down. Your inner voice is already screaming at you that something does not feel right. So, take that cue. Reassess the situation. Are you really ruining something? Is something really all your fault? Is there anything you could do to make the situation feel better? If so would this thing involve you hiding or suppressing part of yourself, your values, your core being? Here’s the thing: do not do that. Just don’t. The term I have since learned that sums up what this is is ‘self abandonment’ and we do not want to do that!

You know something is wrong when you feel it and you can do something about this when you listen to that feeling and calmly and intelligently trace the lines - what is going on in this situation, what is it that feels off, or wrong, and how can you do the best you can for your own best interests in this moment? Take your own side. You have to. I did not. Now, the lessons I have learned are vital and I am glowing from the change (everyone says so, and I believe it!).

Being true to you, trusting you, listening to you and standing by your own side is the most valuable feeling in the world. This is called alignment. And when you are aligned with yourself, your greater good, you can do more good in the world. When you listen to yourself, you can put your best self forward at all times.

And this is worth it. It is worth ending the relationship when it is time to end it, not dragging it out. It is worth leaving the job, it is worth finding that new group of friends, it is worth giving up whatever it is that you have to give up in order to take your own side and not betray or abandon you.

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Jenny Justice is a poet, writer, mother and teacher. She is just a girl in the world, new to town and learning to love this city - Reno, NV. She writes about all things local from food, to fun, to what you need to know to have a good day, good week, or good time in The Biggest Little City. Jenny loves books and will encourage that love of books with her book reviews. She also writes about relationships, dating, parenting, and other topics when the muse moves her. Follow her for good food, good books, and good fun especially in the Biggest Little City in the world.

Reno, NV
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