Assumptions are the invisible cancer of relationships. Without purposeful detection, they destroy the good within you and with other people.
I know this because something that really bugs me is Tom’s inability to read my mind.
He should know I need help with the dishes. He ought to be able to translate my mood into “Susan needs me to do the dishes. She’s had a rough day.”
After more than 50 years of marriage, you’d think he would know me well enough to speak “Susan” like a pro. But he doesn’t.
And to make matters worse, Tom isn’t always happy that I can’t speak “Tom” like a pro, either. You’d think he expected me to live in his head 24/7.
And don’t get me started on our adult kids. None of them knows me well enough when I want them to.
AND none of them remember that I don’t appreciate hearing, “Mom, I know you…” when I feel they are misreading me. All my kids should be able to read my emotions as well as my mind.
4 Symptoms of Assumptions
How often do we trap ourselves and others in assumptions that they should “know” what we think and then feel stonewalled when we realize they don’t know?
Instead of talking nicely with words, we communicate with glares, the silent treatment, anger, sharp words, resentment, hiding internally, or moving away from the relationship because we feel confused, hurt, or overwhelmed.
And then we complain to anyone who will listen about the insensitivity thrown at us.
Common symptoms of assumptions:
- Expecting someone to read our mind, emotions, or mood.
- Feeling neglected, confused, resentful, overlooked, stonewalled, self-pity, angry, or rejected
- Responding to others with unhealthy words, tone of voice, body language, or actions
- Complaining or gossiping to others
How Accurate Is Your Premise?
Our society seldom challenges assumptions.
We’ve become comfortable pursuing lines of thinking or paths of action based on insufficient data or facts.
How often do we question the premise or foundation of what we state as truth?
Fake news, cancel culture, social media gossip, racism, and political judgments all filter down into our personal lives and impact how we relate out in the big world and in our intimate circles.
No longer in style are grace, listening, seeking to understand, unconditional love, owning our own stuff, forgiveness, and good old common sense.
Judgment and condemnation have become fashionable. Yet, hurt feelings and offenses aren’t a healthy premise on which to base our opinions.
And, as David Huskins said,
If God didn’t send Jesus to condemn the world, I doubt He sent you.”
Guilty? Aren’t we all. So, let’s do something about it!
You don’t have much power to control or change the world, but you can control and change yourself. Here’s how to do that:
- Check in on your thinking when you find yourself feeling uncomfortable. Stop and identify which of the assumption symptoms (mentioned above) you are experiencing. (Write them down if you need to.)
- Now identify the response you need to cultivate and practice (see 1 Corinthians 13 for a good starting list.)
- What would your chosen response look like in words and actions to counter your current assumption?
- Put your chosen response into practice… walk it out in real life… over and over and over again.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to continue to help you form new paths of thinking and responses in your relationships. Do the same for how you view and evaluate news, rumors, comments, and conversations online and in the broader world.
The cancer of assumptions is curable if you’re willing to apply the above steps intentionally.
For more on this subject, with a little giggle thrown in, check out Dangerous Assumptions and How to Avoid Them.
I welcome your thoughts in the comments below.
This Post Has 4 Comments
Great blog Susan, I think this is a good word for men too👍🏻❤️
Thanks, Tim. 🙂 Glad you liked it. Hopefully other men will too.
Great piece Susan. Lots of good practical information. It was very helpful and I look forward to the Holy Spirit helping me to navigate the enemy’s strategy.
Ah, yes… the hard part, learning to put it into practice as we navigate the enemy’s strategies. 🙂 Thanks for the thumbs-up, Gail.