Domestic Abuse Counseling Reframes Privileged Thinking and Entitlement
A Case Study

He Believed He Was Above

the Law And Entitled to

Make His Own Rules

When BL entered domestic violence treatment he had been arrested and convicted twice for violating the Protection Order his spouse had taken out against him. The order also included provisions stating that he was not to see their three young children. The violations took place within a three-week period of time.

In the initial interview BL had a difficult time accepting the fact that the Protection Order even existed, let alone that it should actually apply to him. He didn't believe he did anything to warrant the order being taken out against him in the first place, and once the Protection Order was in effect he did not think that he was compelled to honor it. BL entered the domestic violence treatment with thinking and behavior that is commonly seen with individuals who have a history of domestic violence; that is with a sense of entitlement and privilege.

His first Protection Order Violation occurred when he defiantly picked his children up from school even though he was to have no contact with them. He was adamant in his stance that since he was the children's father it was his unquestioned right to have contact with them whenever he wanted, and no court or law enforcement agency could tell him otherwise.

His second violation occurred after he resumed contact with his spouse (illegally) after she called and told him that she wanted to rescind the Protection Order as she was not feeling threatened at that time. In his mind this was enough to legally reinstate contact with her, even though he knew that his spouse did not have the right to rescind the order, as this needed to be done through the court. To him it should be enough to reunite with her if she said it was okay.

In both the scenarios it was clear that BL's thinking and behavior were colored by the idea that it is his privilege and he is entitled to make his own rules in accordance with how he thinks things "should" be.

One of the key issues that is confronted in the domestic violence treatment is batterer “entitlement and privilege” (at times based on gender, at times not). This thinking and behavior needs to be acknowledged, addressed and eliminated so that the "I am special and have my own set of rules" idea is no longer part of the batterer mindset, and is no longer played out in the relationship with his intimate partner.

While in the domestic violence treatment, BL grasped how the concepts of his entitlement and privilege were unhealthy and needed to change. Progress was slow for him on this issue, but at the end of the treatment he had incurred no further violations and was able to alter his thinking and behavior to eliminate the ideas of privilege and entitlement in his interactions with his spouse.

For more information about domestic violence treatment, visit www.enddomesticabuse.org/domestic_violence_trt.php. Partners in Prevention helps couples internationally to recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. Copyright 2010 Partners in Prevention - Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention