Assuming Too Much & WW Link Up!

Slow to Anger

Part of what I do as a counselor and life coach is to “speculate.” It’s easy to let this “skill” that’s often appropriate in one setting, carry over to my personal relationships where it is far from appropriate!

In fact, whenever I’m around my hubby and speculate about what someone might think or feel, he very matter-of-factly says, “I’d hate to speculate!” Kinda catchy, don’t ya think?!

Unfortunately, it’s human nature to assume or to try and “fill in the blank” that’s been left in a relationship story. We love to solve mysteries. It makes us feel in control. It makes us feel safe.

But sadly, assuming makes our relationships feel very unsafe.

My husband and I were challenged on the way we think about this issue when we attended the Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Leadership conference back in May. The Scazzero’s, who hosted the conference, very bluntly referred to this as, “mind-reading.” 

Geri Scazzero said it’s a boundary violation to assume without asking the other person’s permission to do so. The Scazzero’s suggested that we ask our spouses {or whoever we’re relating to}, “May I read your mind?” or “Can I check out an assumption with you?” 

When we do this, it gives other people the understanding that we aren’t blaming them for something they did or didn’t do, nor are we claiming that they feel a certain way when the truth may be that they don’t. This also demonstrates that we recognize we might be wrong in our assumption {always a helpful and humble position to take!}. And it demonstrates that we respect the other person’s right not to be judged.

It’s important to note that assuming without checking out our assumptions often causes more than just communication break-downs. I’m not being overly-dramatic when I say, it can destroy relationships! You may end up building an entirely faulty view of someone’s feelings/actions, which will cascade into frustration, anger, bitterness and more. In other words, we can cut out much of the hurt and bitterness we experience by simply cutting out our speculation, or by checking out our assumptions with the other person first.

This leaves us free to love and trust, rather than adding another issue to be worked through and forgiven! That’s one less thing I can live without! How about you?

What assumptions have been made about you that have hurt you deeply?

 

To what degree do you feel the resentment you have towards a particular person is fueled by assumptions rather than the truth?

 

Signature - Beth Blessings

 

 

 

 

 

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  • What a cool subject, Beth. You’ve given me lots to think about here. And don’t our families hate when we pull the counselor card with them? I’m just picturing Gary in the scenario you’ve painted. And it made me smile!
    I hope your summertime’s giving you a bit of a rest, a break, my friend …

    • Yes, it’s so relevant too, Linda. I may be wrong but I think women are often more the offenders of this habit. We do love creating some kind of narrative in our heads for the way we see things. Too bad our sight is often near-sighted! ha! And yes, we do wear out our spouses when psychoanalyze them or others. I’m glad you can smile about it, because it’s often been the makings of a bad argument between me my man!

      I’m still running behind and haven’t had a chance to respond to your email yet. But I will very soon! Hugs to you and prayer being lifted up as well! 🙂

    • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

      Unlike Linda, I don’t have the benefit of having met Gary. But I’m still picturing a rather dry humor and perhaps a slightly raised eyebrow as he says, “I’d hate to speculate!” lol This is a great reminder, Beth. I am one who likes to “fill in the blanks,” even if I don’t have full information. Those empty “spaces” are just so messy!

      • Yes, you’ve got that right, Gaye! He loves to joke around and I suppose Linda and her hubby, Tim had the joy of experiencing it firsthand! Although, I will say that Linda’s husband, Tim, is quite the witty guy as well. And I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who “fills in the blank” although, as I mentioned above, this is often to my detriment! They are indeed messy! Thanks for jumping in here and encouraging me, Gaye!

  • bluecottonmemory

    I like this. I’ve said for a long time that the first 10 years of marriage are aligning expectations. We assume our expectations of tasks, responses and methods are the same but real life living shows there is a huge gap when two people come together. It takes maturity and selflessness to start thinking that someone may have a different way of thinking or doing things. Salient insight here, Beth!

    BTW – I linked up the same post as last time but included a Love Dare – which is at the beginning.

    • Yes, expectations could be unpacked for weeks! It’s almost as complex as forgiveness, Maryleigh! And you bring up a good point that we come from different backgrounds, so this is where much of our cross-wires go to sparking and sputtering on us! Thanks for your kind words to me, my friend, and I’m happy to have your wise and eloquent content in the line up each week!

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  • Oh, bugger, Beth – I live in the world of assumptions! I call it the “Becky Translation,” which is my own presumptuous interpretation of whatever my husband was really thinking. I’m aware of it and have been learning to look at “just the facts,” as my hubby says. God bless him!

    • Too funny! Maybe I could say that too the next time I speculate. “Honest, Honey! You can’t blame me cuz … I’m using the ‘Becky Translation!'” Lol! I don’t think he’ll buy that one! We truly do need to be more aware of this destructive tendency and check and double check our facts, Becky!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    There have been so many assumptions made about me, based on appearance and background, that I have come to the point where I no longer care. I’m tired of defending myself, and will let people think what they want.

    The biggest bad assumption I’ve made is that of holding the same values and goals, based on my selective interpretation of conversations.

    Honestly, what has made me a failure as a husband are neither errors of omission or commission. The failure came from trying to cross the ‘two-way-street’ of assumptions without looking.

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2014/07/discovering-disaster.html

    • Assumptions can be so hurtful, especially when it comes from someone of significance in our lives. I’m sorry that you’ve experienced so much of it, Andrew. i love that last statement you’ve made, “The failure came from trying to cross the ‘two-way-street’ of assumptions without looking!” What a visual! It’s easy to see how we could be flattened like a pancake when we look at it from that perspective! Thanks for always adding an interesting thought or two to the discussion, my friend!

  • Such wise advice on assumptions. As I read your post, the thought hit me how often our assumptions are wrong as they are based on feelings (which can deceive us). May we ask questions rather running with our own thoughts. I bet many a relationship would be saved as we did this. Glad to be here this morning!

    • Yes, that’s a good insight, Joann. That reminds me of Jer. 17:9 that talks about our hearts being deceptive and beyond cure. When we rely on our own feelings or reasonings, we are bound for trouble! Thanks so much for your kind words to me and for adding to the discussion, my friend!

  • Hi Beth, This could not be more true. I love the part about asking permission to read someone’s mind, it really puts assumptions in perspective. Have a good day, friend.

    • Yes, it does, Kim. And perspective is exactly what we need when we let assumptions distort our view of others. Thanks for your encouragement, my friend!

  • human nature to assume or to try and “fill in the blank” that’s been left in a relationship story. We love to solve mysteries. It makes us feel in control. It makes us feel safe. —- Part of human nature all fearful? Or SIN nature? But I guess it can be looked at as one in the same. No? Hope all is good with you, dear Beth. SO MUCH happening here and I ask for your prayers to cover all. Will send you an email…Love you. Miss you!! Blessings

    • Yes, I suppose they are one in the same, Sheila. All I know is that I don’t want to rely on my human nature or my sin nature for understanding others. What a crazy thought that is! But funny how it seems so reasonable when we are “filling in the blank!” Here’s to God revealing the truth in all of our relationships! Love ya!

  • Mary

    I love how your posts make me think deeply and look back into my own life to understand situations in a new light. I know I am guilty of making assumptions about my students, parents of my students and co-workers all the time. As you shared, we have this need to be right and in control and many times it stems from assuming. In the situations at school I am not always able to ask permission to make an assumption so instead I will pray and ask God to allow me to help my students the best I can based on the knowledge and truth I know about them. Thank you for continuing this series and for opening your heart on this page. Blessings and hugs!

    • Sometimes we need to “fill in the blank” just a little as counselors and school administrators in order to have the courage to confront a person or situation, Mary. Those times are usually motived out of our concern for the other person. It’s when we are more concerned about ourselves that assuming gets us in trouble! And prayer sure will bring clarity to all parties involved–even those who don’t know they’re being prayed for in the first place! Hugs, girlfriend!

  • I cannot count how many times I have had to repent for assuming. It does nothing but hinder love and trust in a relationship. Now I rather just ask, “what did you have in mind when you asked…?

    • That’s a good habit you’ve developed, Ugochi. You are a wise woman who knows so much about relationships and spiritual matters, my friend! You look awfully young too, so you must be wise beyond your years! 🙂

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  • LeeAnne

    Oops,

    It seems that I have linked up something that might offend Christian readers, though I am a Catholic myself and the contain itself is just about daily life. My link is number 19. A reader showed that to me by stating that the card with the f* word there is revolting. I do apologize if that has offended you or your readers, and please feel free to remove it if you choose to do so. As I explained in the beginning of the post after realizing that the birthday card might sound very rude to English speaking readers, English is not my first language, we don’t speak English in Indonesia, and it was an honest mistake when linking up to the sites where I usually share my writings. To a non-English speakers like me and my friends, the card was just a funny sentence to take pictures with.

    Visit me:
    LeeAnne, Style N Season
    http://stylenseason.blogspot.com

    • I may just do that–remove that particular link, LeeAnne. I just want to be sensitive to and respectful of my readers concerns. Thanks so much for clarifying here. I totally get that the language barrier would make this hard for you to spot. Have a great day!

  • Yes, speculation shouldn’t happen but it is easier to do than we probably realize. How nice that your hubby has a sweet way of reminding you.

    Thank you so much for the linkup today 🙂 I am still praying for you.

    • Yes, that’s part of the problem, Judith. We often don’t pay enough attention to the internal dialogue we have in our heads. But those thoughts surely pollute our hearts whether we’re fully conscious of them or not! Thanks so much for your prayers, sweet friend. I feel blessed to have you lift me up!

  • I don’t like to use “always” and “never” sentences, but I’d venture to say that when we assume, presume, and speculate, we are always off base, somehow — because none of us is God, and only God knows the whole picture.

    • That’s got to be true–through and through, Carolyn. I think there are some truths in this life that are always true and right and this is one of them. God is the only One who can see our hearts. We must leave the judgment up to Him!

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