Why do we, as a society, seem to have such a problem with entitled men abusing the people they profess to love? Do we as a society nurture entitled men or does male entitlement come from nature? I’ve done some thinking on this because I know a woman whose mother told her, “If you ever hit a man, expect him to hit back.”
It bothered me when she said it and it’s bugging me again this morning. Why is the advice “man” specific?
Wouldn’t it make as much sense to say, “If you ever hit someone, expect him or her to hit back”?
If this is the type of advice mothers are handing down to their daughters, there must be something to it. There is a reason why we don’t expect a woman to meet violence with violence. And there is a reason why we expect men to react violently no matter who hits them. Are abusers typically men?
Are we creating entitled men by accepting their behavior, or do we simply know the nature of (some) men and realize the need to protect ourselves with knowledge of that?
Do Entitled Men Act on Nature?
Just for kicks, let me attempt to take a man’s point of view for a minute. And I warn you, I am not a man, so I’m likely to get this wrong. But just for pretend:
As a man, I am physically bigger and stronger than a woman. I am capable of taking what I want from her. She’s naturally intimidated by my size and strength. Since it’s natural to take the easiest path from point A to point B, it is easiest to bully and intimidate her into doing what I want. As a man, I also have more testosterone – the hormone that helps me ignite my temper and muscles, sex drive and ability to react to threats.
So I’m bigger and well equipped to take whatever it is I want. I can “take” respect – or at least that’s what my body tells me because that’s how I’m built. Women and children in general, and men who are smaller than me, should naturally respect me and give me what I want. I’m entitled.
Okay. I’ve just described a caveman. Isn’t that grand. However, the “proper training” starts early and naturally.
Are Entitled Men Nurtured into the Entitlement Mentality?
Continuing on with me pretending as a man, let’s look at now nurture could create or subdue a man’s nature.
Even though I (a man) could grow into the biological cave man I described above, I probably won’t do so because, fortunately, we all start out as small children.
Everyone is bigger than us. Our mothers are bigger than us, and our mothers spend the most time with us. We grow to respect our mothers’ ability to discipline and teach, mold and (hopefully) love us into caring human beings. As a man, society teaches me to reign in my “natural” reactions and use them to protect myself and the people who have protected me as a child. Through extension, I learn to protect the ones I love who are smaller than me – like my wife and children.
As a child and teenager, I learned non-violent techniques of rebellion. I learned that sometimes I had to go against my mom because I wanted something different, and I learned that I had to do this non-violently and with respect. In time, my mother came to trust my decisions that I made for myself, and she helped me grow into the kind of man I wanted to become. Fortunately, with this upbringing, the man I want to become is one who respects and loves my family and other people, but I am not afraid to use my god-given biological abilities of strength and intimidation to protect myself and family in circumstances that call for them.
How Could an Entitled Man Turn Abusive?
But what happens when we don’t nurture men into loving people? Could they become entitled men who abuse their family?
What could happen if a man grows up watching his father abuse his mother physically, mentally, and/or emotionally? Or even, what if the man’s mother used her size to intimidate, bully and abuse her children?
What if there is never an explanation for why mom was hitting you, and you’re left to assume that she hit you because she was mad. After all, anger shows easily on a face, you’re being hit or verbally punched around by an angry person, so you figure that it is okay to bully when you’re mad. It seems natural because it’s what you’ve been taught to do through example. But you don’t behave like that if you’re in public.
The Duality of an Entitled Man
What could happen to the minds of entitled men whose upbringing includes both witnessing and experiencing abuse and witnessing the proper, public behavior of their abusers? It’s a guess, but I think I can understand to a degree. What may an entitled man live with, in his mind? If his parents abused him, or at the least did nothing to temper his entitlement mentality, then he’s balancing on a double-edged sword.
On one side of the sword, I know that in public (in society) there are limits to how I can use what I’ve been taught. I have to act like I respect everyone. In front of others, I must open doors, carry heavy things, and use my physical strength against another person only when absolutely needed. I know that everyone acts polite and kind in public, but underneath the facade, there’s a pecking order and I’m at the top.
I could drop the facade and no one could do anything about it.
Well, not at that instant anyway. Maybe later I might go to jail for rape or assault or threatening behavior, but that’s only if they catch me. Therefore, it’s a good idea to pretend to respect everyone most of the time. That way, if I decide to do something ugly to someone, the people I’ve respected will not believe that I am capable of it.
I can do whatever I need to do to get what I want. Society is stupid for putting these rules on me, but I’ll play the game. And when I do something wrong, I can use society’s blindness to my advantage. Everyone does it, right? We’re all just pretending, aren’t we?
Because at home, the pretending stops. I become my real self, and my wife and children know what that means. I could be easy-going because I feel like it. Or I could be a raging lunatic because I feel like it. I can demand to get what I want, and if that doesn’t work, then I can use my size and strength to intimidate, bully, or force them into giving it to me. If I am angry, I can hit or bully whoever is around me at home. Everyone does it. That is how my parents raised me and it works.
My wife needs to learn that she does not set the rules. I will not allow her to turn my boys turn into sissies. They have to learn to play the game. They’ve got to learn how to be men. They have to take what they want even if it means pretending they want something else. And if they can’t get what they want in society, they need to learn that they damn well can get it at home. These people are here for me, because of me, and only because I want them here.
I could put them out at any minute! . . . But wait. If I put them out, then who would I unleash on? Who could I be myself with?
I guess I’d better reign myself in at home when it looks like they may leave. I will be nice to them sometimes so they will stay. But the nice guy only happens out there. I shouldn’t have to pretend with these people – they’re my family, and they have to accept me for who I am! How dare they not accept me! Holy hell, I’m going to rage and storm and scare them into staying! How dare anyone expect me act like someone I am not IN MY OWN HOME!
Perhaps that is how it goes. Perhaps an abusive, entitled man is always on edge. He cannot be himself for any length of time, any where, with any one. In my opinion, that would truly suck. A dual identity could make a person angry, anxious or depressed.
Entitled men could cite their upbringing as a reason for abuse, but it certainly isn’t an excuse.
What are your thoughts?
Caveman image by jamajurabaev