Entitlement and Violence

Entitlement can lead to violence in romantic relationships. The concept of entitlement generally gets a bad rap because it is associated with narcissism, for example, entitled people seem to believe that they deserve special attention and treatment from others and feel entitled to have their needs satisfied. Entitlement can also be normal and healthy, the expectation of being treated fairly or deserving reciprocity in a relationship but today, unfortunately, we are talking about entitlement in the extreme. 

Romantic relationships are the main arena where adults expect to have their needs and wishes met. Most people have normal expectations.  Some of their needs and wishes are met by their partner, others are not. Disappointment occurs but doesn’t crush the individual or ruin the relationship. As a result of disappointment, expectations might be downsized or needs and wishes are negotiated.

A problem occurs when one person has more than a normal sense of entitlement.  Research has found that relationship entitlement can lead to violence when that partner is thwarted. For example, aggressive entitlement can be seen in men who feel that they are entitled to their wife’s body.  This even becomes their explanation for violence against their wives.  You can see how a sense of “I want and I deserve…” can be a step toward aggression or violence against another person when the person is frustrated in getting what they want.

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