Friday, May 27, 2011

Suspicion and supposition

Motto: Consider what you think justice requires, and decide accordingly. But never give your reasons; for your judgment will probably be right, but your reasons will certainly be wrong. Lord Mansfield

Wikipedia defines suspicion as a feeling of distrust or perceived guilt for someone or something. Supposition is somewhat larger in sense, meaning something you suppose (good or bad), looks synonim to hypothesis. My perception of these two notions is a little wider and not so clear on the negative sense of suspicion. I do not feel it relates only to misstrust or some form of guilt. Did you ever hear somebody saying ‘I suspect he / she is in love with me’? Or ‘by the way she behaves, I suspect she is pregnant’.

If I was to use my own words for defining the idea of suspicion at the border of supposition, I would say that it is something (or someone) about which (or whom) we wonder, or we think that we believe, but recognize that we actually do not KNOW. It is something (or someone) in connection to which (or whom) we actually mistrust ourselves and our own judgment. Unfortunately it is also something that we are too often inclined to share informally with others, because spreading our suspicion seems to add power to it (if it turns out to be true, we gain some kind of recognition for our ‘predictive power’). It is a dangerous but rather frequent behavior, as it is the very root of gossip (which is very frequently a form of spreading suspicions and rarely a form of unveiling some hidden truth). To complete my definition, suspicion is something that we would not be willing to testify under oath, unless we distortedly believe that it is a fact.

Suspicion and supposition are frequently deceitful. It means that sometimes people believe in good faith that whatever conclusion they are drawing is actually fact. Under the frame of regular relationships, if I would have to place my daily suppositions about the others on the Johari window, they would most probably get dispersed between unknown and the fa├žade. While my suppositions about myself would lie somewhere between unknown and the blind spot (yes, I have quite a number of self-suspicions, I believe but do not KNOW a lot of things about myself).

The arena may be large in some personal relationship, but it is rather small in the professional and social relationship. So, if I follow a logical approach, I would conclude that most of our lives, in most of our relationships, we act and react mostly based on suppositions. We suppose about the others that they are as we see them. We suppose their thoughts and reactionS are triggered by what we believe is their motivation. We suppose things happen always for a reason. We suppose we could understand both results and reasons, just by interpreting the facts through our own eyes, our own set of values, our own life experience and our own expectations. We suppose we hear the messages even when we are not really listening. We suppose we see things even where we are not really looking.

Almost every decision we make is based on some hypothesis. Part of them is facts, but most of them are perception and subjective interpretation of the premises – our own suspicions about other people, things, situations, and implications. Only seldom we have the luxury to base our decision entirely on facts, and this is why we should stop supposing that there are good and bad decisions. It seems to me more and more that decisions… just are. They are lying behind us, or staring right in front of us, or waiting before us. They always outline our future and can turn from good to bad or vice-versa, depending on the time-frame and on our perception of the outcome – there is a saying: ‘Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions’.

As soon as we will learn how to assume and live with our own decisions, we will also learn to trust our judgment and/or intuition in the process of taking them.

I suspect you will have now a nice day!


  1. Well said, Georgina.

    I am in a relationship where my girlfriend lives 1100 miles away from me and no matter how hard I try to reassure her, she suspects (or suppositions) things about me that I believe are reflections of her past experiences with men with whom betrayed her. She claims her "intuition" is rarely wrong, yet she's absolutely wrong about me.

    All the things you said in the 4th paragraph ("The arena may be large...") are reflective of how she interprets her beliefs about me.

    Her suppositions & suspicions are so powerful, that I am beginning to believe she is guilty of the very suppositions of which she accuses me of being guilty.

    Now, I've never been the jealous type. When I feel something tugging at my imagination that requires inquiry, I am the first one to ask for clarity, because I don't believe in allowing such poison to infiltrate my psyche, let alone project my suspicions upon her unfairly.

    William Shakespeare said "Suspicion haunts the guilty mind", and though I am not guilty of any misdeeds she suspects of me, the more she persists with her suppositions, the more I've found I am beginning to shift my belief from her acting out because she's been betrayed in her past - (and that she'd rather be "victorious", as you said, of having accurate predictive powers) - to her being guilty of the very fears she has of me.

    I know on my end, that I am innocent. You don't know me - I don't know you. I have nothing to gain in being honest or deceitful to you Georgina. But I'd like to believe that in my being so forthright now, that you would believe me when I say I am completely innocent of the suppositions she projects upon me and in the time we got to know each other, I've never given her any direct reason to think I am the way she supposes I am. Yet, the more she does it, the more I am inclined (against my desire to do so) suspect HER instead. That I am suspecting her bothers me, because I have asked for clarity and in return, I am getting vagueries and harsh, defensive, passive-aggressive reactions.

    What's worse, she's very defensive when I tell her that her suspicions & suppositions are distracting me from loving her. I tell her time & time again, that Love and Suspicion cannot co-exist. Not if the former is true.

    And I am losing faith that it will improve unless she gains insight to the damage she's doing to our relationship.

    Finally, I should mention that for every concern she's expressed, I have addressed it and given action where action was required. But when a simple Facebook post yields the third degree - from "What was that youtube video supposed to mean? Was that meant for another girl?" - to questioning me when I write love notes to her and she turns my words into something dark by saying "Are you sure that wasn't meant for somebody else?"

    As much as I love her and trust her, I am losing my faith that I will be able to gain clarity from her. You know things are going awry when you have thoughts of hiring a detective to confirm or deny one's suspicions. But at least I am seeking facts instead of believing my suppositions.

    Any insights you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

    Kevin in Texas

  2. Dear Kevin,

    I am going to share with you a couple of personal thoughts. They fit my way of living and my way of thinking and may be appropriate for others or not. You decide what you do with them, how you perceive and interpret them and what you want to do with your life and your relationship next. I will try to keep them in short sentences.

    First is that you will not find me on twitter, facebook or similar networks. Not even for the noble purpose of reuniting to celebrate 20 years of college. There must be always another more direct and personal way of communication that is not opened to millions of people.

    Second is that I am not the kind of person to give advice in general, on relationships in particular. The ‘success stories’ that I know are so different from one another that I do not believe there is a recipe out there for making it work.

    Third is something that I recently shared with an exceptionally wise person (you can check out his blog). There is no such a thing as a wise saying that can be applicable to all possible situations. If taken out of the proper context, it may sound silly or plain wrong.

    Fourth, my youth was full of ‘long-distance’ relationships. I realized at a certain point that physical distance is important, but also (maybe even more important) is the huge amount of free time spent apart, that allows for too much fantasizing about each other. That usually brings people to the point where they fall in love with each other false image created in their own minds, and when they finally sit in front of each other they are surprised by each other normal behavior, because it is not fitting their imaginary ones. Or the opposite effect, when imagination is what breaks them apart without ever actually giving it a try for living together. That does not mean that you should give up on a long-distance relationship, but you should try to bring it to a real-life one, by making a change, as soon as you want to take it to the next level (not to soon but also not too late). I tell you that timing is important because the one who will make the greatest change may end up blaming the other in case it fails – ideally is if both make a step toward each other and meet somewhere on a ‘neutral’ territory to build the future life.

    Fifth: whatever people carry from the past, it is usually up to them to clean up. You can check this out:

    And finally (because I bored you enough already), I have to tell you that at this point you are acting the same or even worse than she does. You should ask yourself if this is really yourself, and then decide on your next step. And more than that, before you send out a private detective just think what would be the impact of the potential results – what will you do if she is cheating and what will you do if she is not? Is this important now or it is just a matter of proving who was right in this ‘battle’? When I was a child and had verbal fights with my sister, my mother used to say: ‘my dears, the wisest is the first to give in’. And this is one advice I still try to live up with, because in every argument there is a point of ‘no return’. After you cross that point, neither party really listens to each other but just reacts contradictory for the sake of winning the fight. And if you are able to recognize that point and are able to pull yourself out of the discussion, then you are already a better and wiser person.

    I hope all will be well for both of you - whatever that means!


  3. Thank you for your insights & links. I shall continue in self-exploratory analysis on this matter. In the last few days, it has become apparent that I must leave this relationship; in essence, being the "wiser one" and "giving up".

    Life is too short to be in a lopsided relationship where you're doing all the work only to be falsely accused and assaulted by someone who is too insecure to be in a loving relationship.

    I feel like I am dodging a bullet. Well, to be more precise, avoiding a lethal shot to the heart. It stings and bleeds, but it's not life-threatening.

    Thank you, Georgina. You have helped me & I hope to continue following your blog. Have an amazing day.

    Kevin in Texas

  4. Dear Kevin,

    Please make sure you have thought carefully about it and also discuss this with her. Breaking up is always the easy way out, but some people are really worth fighting for. And please don't do anything on some public network but in private and if possible in person.

    Have a nice life,