‘Entitlement is the abuser’s belief that he has a special status and that it provides him with exclusive rights and privileges that do not apply to his partner’
(Lundy Bancroft 2002)
Entitlement can go hand in hand with a sexist attitude towards women. It is also a prevalent attitude in men with narcissistic tendencies. Examples might be-
Believing that the woman’s role in the home is to cook, clean and clear up after him, and for sex.
Feeling entitled to criticize but not to accept criticism from her.
Expecting thanks for any small contribution that he makes but not showing appreciation for what she does all the time.
Believing he is entitled to be angry, to punish, intimidate and maybe use violence to keep control of his partner. He expects forgiveness for this and often blames her for ‘winding him up’. He might say that other people also find her annoying and he hasn’t had any trouble with any other girlfriends.
He may think that his feelings are paramount and have little or no empathy or sympathy for her feelings. Everything will have to revolve around his needs and desires. He might say that the problems in the relationship are because she doesn’t understand his feelings. This is particularly the case with narcissistic men.
This abusive man will believe that he has the right to dominate any argument by shouting the loudest and talking over her. If he fires a question at her he will not give her chance to answer. Alternatively, he will dictate the situation by giving the silent treatment and refusing to communicate.
He feels entitled to be moody but will not tolerate bad or low moods in her. He will be aggressive to any sign she is in this frame of mind. He may be aggressive to ‘keep her on her toes’ and then switch to loving to hook her back in with his charm. This reinforces to him that he still has control over her and she still desires him.
He feels entitled to put her down in front of other people, but there would be all hell to pay if she did the same to him.
He believes he is entitled to decide who she can be friendly with, who can come to the house, where she can work and what clothes she can wear.
These kind of men are attracted to women with low self-esteem and confidence, who are not good at setting and enforcing boundaries, who may have co-dependency issues and who try to hard to please others. The longer these relationships go on, the harder they are to break away from.