A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Thursday Thought — Entitlement

Does your partner expect you to live up to a high and unreasonable set of demands and expectations?  Yet at the same time does he act angry or victimized when you demand anything of him? Is he selfishly focused on his own needs, even if he was generous early in your relationship or is generous with other people?  Do you feel that no matter how hard you try, nothing you do for him seems to be good enough, and he always acts as if you owe him even more? The answers to these questions reveal a man’s level of entitlement, which is the fundamental outlook that drives men’s abuse of women.  It is your partner’s entitlement, not your faults or failures, that is causing him to be chronically critical of you and dissatisfied.

 

(excerpt from Lundy Bancroft’s book, When Dad Hurts Mom, p28)

14 Comments

  1. Barnabasintraining

    You know, I just had an interesting thing happen to me while I was reading this. I realized when I was a young person and young believer, this is exactly who I had been made to understand God is.

    And that makes me wonder if one reason most Christians cannot seem to accept the evil of demanding a victim endure abuse is because that is exactly who they think God is too, so it doesn’t seem so unreasonable to them.

    The theology I absorbed went like this:

    Does your partner expect you to live up to a high and unreasonable set of demands and expectations?

    Yes. He is all about demanding bricks without giving straw but this is OK since He’s God. In fact, since He’s God, it’s better than OK and demonstrates how praiseworthy He is. Praise Him when you don’t understand. Who are you, oh man, to complain against God?

    Yet at the same time does he act angry or victimized when you demand anything of him?

    Yes. Except I would reduce the word “demand” to “request.” And angry isn’t so much the thing, per se, but making good and sure I understood any crumb I requested was far more than I deserve (where have we heard that one before?) and would be given with greatest reluctance. And He was all about loop holes and excuses for why He didn’t really have to do what He said He would do. Of necessity, every request turned into a carefully worded legal argument designed to prevent God from being able to appeal to the expected loop holes to get out of performing as He had indicated He would. So in the end the request did become a demand of sorts.

    Is he selfishly focused on his own needs, even if he was generous early in your relationship or is generous with other people?

    Yes. And how dare I complain about it?

    Do you feel that no matter how hard you try, nothing you do for him seems to be good enough, and he always acts as if you owe him even more?

    Oh good heavens absolutely.

    Of course God is a loving God so all of this is really love. Somehow.

    If I am not unusual in this then it is not that difficult to see why it is Christians and churches in general do not get it about divorce for abuse, and why they regard the position as heretical and/or blasphemous and/or anti-gospel.

    • BIT, I think your insight is very important. That stern autocratic distant God you described does seem to be what many professing Christians believe in. And because at the same time they maintain that God is loving, they are in denial about how, in practice, their God is an entitled virtual-narcissist who has unreasonably high and stern expectations.

      That denial (suppression of truth) finds an exact parallel in the dynamics of abuse. The abuser straight out tells lies to deny that he abuses; the victim denies by suppressing all cognitive dissonance about the painful, horrible reality of how her spouse is treating her, so as to be a good loving spouse who uncomplaining and unquestioningly bears the Cross God has given her. And both abuser and victim masquerade that their marriage is all love and light (until she comes out of the fog, or until he kills her. . . )

      Those who step (or crawl, bleeding) out of the denial-bubble and speak the truths that have been suppressed, cop blame and admonishment from those who are still in the bubble.

    • Gary W

      BIT, entire books could be written elaborating on what you say here. At Mt 5:8 Jesus tells us that the pure in heart shall see God. Theologians who project their own sinful judgments of their own earthly fathers onto our Heavenly Father are incapable of seeing God. They end up portraying Him as some sort of all-powerful cosmic narcissistic tyrant whose every thought and action is driven by His concern for His own glory. If we approach a pastor who is convinced that God is primarily motivated by a concern for His own glory, we should not be surprised when that pastor turns out to be a narcissistic tyrant and a supporter of narcissistic tyrants. After all, as you make clear, they are simply emulating a false god. They are emulating a false god they have created out of their own sinful judgments of their own earthly fathers in particular, and of fatherhood in general.

  2. Moving Forward

    There were four questions, so lets see, yes, yes, yes, and yes. He scores 100%! The question that struck me the most was that it was his generosity that reeled me in, but then I spent the next many, many years wondering why he had time for everyone else but me. At home its all about him, but out its all about how much he can do for others (which is ultimately about how much he can stoke his ego and have everybody love him).

  3. loves6

    A friend recently said to my husband that he should try to remove his expectations of me … the reaction to this comment, that I found out about a day later was totally strange. This friend is a good friend and was offering constructive help. My husband was furious and took it out on me. I had no idea what was going on till the next day he gave me a lecture about how he has expectations not (Eds: of?] me because I am his wife. It was a terrible situation.

    So yes he has expectations of me and yes he gets angry when I want my house renovations finished etc. Anything where he feels I’m criticizing him or making him look like a failure gets pure defensive and justified answers.

    My husband is a martyr. My husband gives to many people. He is loved by many. He gives his time and attention to people. A lot of his affirmation comes from work colleagues. He has hardly any friends….and likes it that way.

    I have given up cooking because he constantly tells me I need to do this or that. He is always telling me off like a child if I ‘misbehave’. I feel like I cannot do anything right a lot of my life.

    He is the king that rules his kingdom. I am but a mere wife that hurts his feelings, rejects him, doesn’t like him, complains and walls herself out. He is a wonderful dad and husband that loves his wife and children and would do anything for them. He takes care of his wife and protects her from harm. He has to just have faith and believe that someday his love will resonate to my hard heart that will not see his love. ( what a poor king my husband is)

    • Victoria de la Cruz

      Loves6, your description really resonated with me. A king!! Yes, that’s how my very entitled, arrogant, narcissistic X would present himself. But outside the house? Oh, he’s such a nice guy!
      He also treated me like a child to correct, or an employee to direct. In retrospect, part of the reason I stayed so long was I kept hoping that if someday I was ever good enough, he might treat me like he treats all those people on the outside (or go back to being the nice guy he was at first).

      Boy, was I deluded.

    • Gary W

      And, if I might pick up on BIT’s insight, what a poor god you husband (thinks he) is.

    • SeeClearerNow (prev NotHeard)

      How frustrating and scarey for you loves6, when you have a good friend that is prepared to stand and give your Snyder some accountability, but he only uses her good stand to further wound you. All behind your friend’s back of course. That’s so sad that he’s even made you doubt your cooking abilities! What would happen if, when he criticised some of your cooking, you offered him the use of the kitchen to make whatever it is that he prefers?

      • Dear SeeClearerNow, I’m so glad you are seeing clearer now!
        hugs from Barb

    • Valerie

      Loves6, your description sounds like Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I recognize it well. 😦 However, if he is a narcissist given to projection then he has also told you something very interesting in his accusations. (Projection is saying something true of them is actually true of you). He has then told on himself by saying he hurts your feelings, rejects you, doesn’t like you, he complains and walls himself out. You, on the other hand, are a wonderful mom that loves your husband and children and would do anything for them. You take care of your husband and protect him (undoubtedly you have had to cover for him many times). In his mind you just need to hold out hope that someday perhaps your love will resonate to his hard heart that WILL not (chooses not to) see your love.

      With a narcissist anything but flattery, awe or encouragement is seen as criticism and/or attack on their character. Any “why” question is a frontal assault in their eyes. “Can/will you…for me?” is taken as a command and they will NOT allow anyone to command them. “Are you going to…..?” taken as another expectation command that will usually end in their hostile defiance. My husband admitted to me once that he saw any conversation we had as an argument he must win. That was maybe the most truthful statement he made to me during the whole marriage.

  4. Deborah

    Thank you for posting this excerpt. Powerful.

  5. Ann

    Yes to all those manifestations of entitlement.

    A dear friend was dying and I was crying. I said I wished I could have done more for her during her illness to be a help to her. She lived out of state so I was not with her that much. He would balk if I said I wanted to stay a few extra days when I did visit her. I would call her, but rarely when he was home. Anti-husband bursts out in anger, “IT’S YOUR *JOB* TO TAKE CARE OF ME AND THE KIDS!” (the kids are plenty old enough to do for themselves).

    • Remedy

      Can totally relate to this…..the whole world revolves around his needs. Is that a reflection of Jesus’ life. I THINK NOT!!

  6. DaughteroftheKing

    I can’t even count how many times I asked myself, “What did I do this time?” Days of silent treatment, acting as if I do not exist, locking me out of our bedroom… all the while I am pleading with him to talk to me, tell me what’s wrong… then the explosiveness of “you should know!” Wha-huh? Then comes the “You care more about [fill-in-the-blank] than you care about US!” Ahhh, there it is, the all-important US. Within six months of our wedding I knew something was seriously wrong… with US. Eventually he had me convinced it was not us because he could not possibly be causing OUR problems, it was ME. And all I had to do was pay better attention to his needs, be more attentive to his moods, anticipate everything he wants and needs and then WE would be happy, like WE were at the beginning. I am so happy to be off that roller coaster, free and recovering from the insanity and the evil.

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