When You Assume, You Harm Yourself and Others

We all make assumptions. We assume pretty much about anyone or anything daily. It’s so easy just to think that we “know” what’s going on in someone else’s life. We imagine that we know or understand why somebody acts the way they do.

But ‌we don’t know. We assume. An assumption is something you believe in of which you don’t have proof.

Assumptions destroy relationships. 

Assumptions can be direct or indirect. 

A direct assumption is basically a thought that a person believes in, regardless of the validity of the thought. The thought may have no connection to reality, but the person assumes that the thought is true, and therefore responds emotionally based on the thoughts.

Then there are the indirect assumptions. These are the assumptions that originate from an outside source — basically, second-hand information that we assume to be accurate. Second-hand information is seldom reliable, but people often assume that what they hear from others is accurate. 

Common toxic assumptions.

Here are some classic assumptions that hurt relationships:

  • Believing you’re being cheated on.
  • Believing people are always trying to get money out of you.
  • Believing that others want to use you.
  • Believing that others have a malicious, hidden agenda.
  • Believing you’re being unappreciated.
  • Believing your significant other knows what’s in your head.
  • Believing that your partner is lying to you.
  • Believing that your partner doesn’t care about you because he/she wasn’t in touch with you for some time. 
  • Believing that because you haven’t had sex in some time, he/she must have it with someone else.
  • Believing that when your partner asks you for financial help, he/she is using you.
  • Believing that your partner must know how you feel, especially since you two have been together for some time.
  • Believing that if your partner wants to spend time alone that he doesn’t love you anymore.

Assumptions stem from within us. 

There are many more, but these are very common assumptions that hurt relationships. 

Toxic assumptions usually derive from our own fears, they don’t just come out of nowhere. 

For example, someone who assumes that people are trying to get money out of them likely has a general fear of people using them. They have issues with trust. This causes them to look for cues of being used for money and react to people based on these assumptions.

Address your own insecurities.

Sometimes the words people say to us feel hurtful because we have tender skin. If you are feeling insecure about yourself, anything even close to criticism will feel like a direct arrow to the heart.

So how can you address your own insecurity? 

  • Practice self-awareness.
  • Be open to transforming your weakness into strengths.
  • Embrace your “insecurities” and don’t be ashamed of them.
  • Spent time with positive, caring, and loving people.
  • Challenge your negative thoughts.
  • Forgive yourself for your wrongdoings.
  • Reflect on the good that you provide.
  • Take baby steps, and if you can seek therapy.

How To Stop The Hurt

My manager assumed ‌I was handling my job well and swamped me with more tasks. This resulted in me having a severe panic attack and ending up in the hospital. When I was 7  years old, my peers assumed ‌I must be dangerous because I am Serbian, so they bullied me. One of my teachers assumed ‌I was cheating and copying my texts because she could not grasp that I could write well about topics such as World War II.

Had she asked, she would have learned that both my grandparents fought in the war: they told me stories and I read many war-themed books. My Italian grandmother was a spy and helped Jewish people flee Rome. 

I used to assume a lot too. I even accused my partner of cheating when he was staying up late with his friends, planning our trip to the mountains where he wished to propose to me.

We assume, accuse and make poor decisions based on “assumptions” and not based on facts.

Recently my friend’s ex accused him of kidnapping their child just because he planned a surprise trip for their son and took him out of the country, with her consent, of course. The flight got delayed, and she assumed ‌he won’t come back, so she reported him to the authorities.

She was wrong, of course — the flight was late. It happens. The child suffered.

Assumptions can ruin families and harm children. Making assumptions repeatedly is a form of emotional abuse. We base our understanding of other people on what’s going on inside us.


To stop making assumptions and harming your relationships, you need to first recognize and accept that you are making them‌. Then you should also question your own thoughts — where are these assumptions coming from, and are there any facts behind them?

Ask yourself something like this:

  • What facts do I have to prove this assumption?
  • What facts do I have to prove this is not true?
  • Is this my ‌opinion, or did someone else teach it to me?

My mother used to accuse my father of many things. She also loved to assume a lot. When she felt uncomfortable on public transport, she used to tell me ‌she was certain that the driver was drunk. The driver was obviously not drunk. My mother just had a lot of fears — and making false assumptions was her specialty. 

She also wanted to keep everyone under her control.

A lot of assumptions are about wanting to control life and others. For example, because you can’t control what others think, you ‌rather assume that you know what they think. When instead you can just — ask and listen. You could also try learning to trust others.

Assumptions are sometimes hard to identify because they are thoughts we are so used to making that they can go by without us even noticing. But that’s why it’s important to keep your thoughts in check.

The more you open yourself to a possibility that you are assuming you will ‌change your thought process and new perspectives and possibilities will start opening for you and for your life.

We are what we think we are. Others become what we think of them. Don’t let assumptions get between you and the others.

And remember when you assume, you just make an arse of me and you!



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