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In the book Why Does He Do That? Lundy Bancroft outlines ten types of abusers. You can see the brief description of each type in my previous post on identifying types of abusive men.
Now we are going to start diving deeper into each type. This post is going to talk about the Demand Man.
The Attitudes That Drive the Demand Man Abuser
The core attitude of the Demand Man abuser is the belief that it is his partner’s job to take care of him no matter what. Not just his needs, but every little desire that he has must be instantly granted. He can’t even see her needs, much less take any time to care for her. In fact he actually believes that if she asks him for anything she is the one who is demanding, controlling, and abusive.
The Demand man keeps a ledger in his mind of every good deed he does. He sees himself as a benevolent hero for doing simple acts such as picking up a gallon of milk at the store, or taking the trash out to the street. He feels like his good deed account is always in the positive, so he can take withdrawals at any time by demanding extra care and service. He believes he is a kind and giving partner.
Conversely he believes his partners ledger is always in the negative. She can never do enough to satisfy him. The more she does the more he expects. If she does three loads of laundry he will complain that his lucky socks are still dirty. If she washes every dish in the house he will complain that her dinner was a simple meal tonight. If she bakes him a birthday cake he will be resentful that she didn’t plan a fancy dinner date and arrange a babysitter. No matter how hard she tries it is impossible to meet his expectations and demands.
When the Demand Man does not get what he feels he is entitled to he punishes his partner for letting him down. Even if he never directly expressed a need or desire she should have just known what was expected and acted on it.
Any kindness that the Demand Man shows to his partner is centered around his own feelings. Either he wants to prove to himself or others just how wonderful of a person he is, or he is setting himself up to demand a favor from his partner later. Every move he makes is centered around getting what he wants regardless of how his partner feels about it.
Whenever the Demand Man’s partner has a need that conflicts with his he is furious. How dare she be so incredibly selfish. Even voicing something so simple as a preference for a restaurant that he doesn’t like can lead to a full blown nuclear explosion of anger. In fact even asking him to take care of his own responsibilities, such as putting his clothes in the hamper instead of on the floor, can trigger an explosion. How dare anyone ask him for anything? He’s not here to be YOUR servant!
Interestingly the Demand Man is often far less controlling than other abusers when it comes to things like finances or friends. As long as his partner caters to his constant demands he feels he has enough control. That does not make this type of abuse any less destructive than others.
The Partner of the Demand Man
The partner of a Demand Man lives with a lot of anxiety. She spends most of her time trying to be one step ahead of his requests. Anticipating his needs and wants before he does keeps her out of trouble.
After listening to his constant barrage of criticism and complaints about everything she does the Demand Man’s partner will begin to doubt her own worth. Maybe she really is as lazy, inconsiderate, ditzy, etc. as he says she is.
This partner comes to feel that nothing she does is ever good enough, nor will it ever be. It is absolutely impossible to make him happy. This doesn’t stop her from trying though.
After being with a Demand Man for long enough the partner can lose herself completely. She becomes so swallowed up in his life that she isn’t able to live her own. There is no time for friends, hobbies, or even a little bubble bath. She completely disappears as a person and becomes nothing more than a servant to his every whim.
Do You Know a Demand Man?
I bet all of us had at least one name pop into mind while reading this. Remember not every abuser fits neatly into one package. You may know someone who has a few of these traits, but not all of them. You may know someone who has all of these traits, plus a few dozen more. The important part is to recognize the attitudes of abuse at work here.
Not everyone who has high expectations is an abuser. It is the attitudes of “I’m better than you”, “my needs matter ; yours don’t”, and “I will punish you if I don’t get my way” that are indicative of abuse.
If you believe that you or a loved one are in an abusive relationship please reach out and seek help using the resources at the bottom of the abusive types post here.
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