Love and respect instead of entitlement
“Deciding to not base a relationship on a foundation of entitlement is about respecting others’ independence and self-determination.” --Andie Nordgren
I’m not going to rehash the definition of love here. See my previous post if you’re interested, and I can pretty much guarantee it will come up again.
It seems to me that some degree of entitlement is an entrenched part of most of our relationship scripts, whether explicitly as in marriage (I’m entitled to be the sole recipient/source of your sexual expression and emotional intimacy) or implicitly (my BFF/daughter/parent/employer/employee/etc should be doing x, y, or z). Sometimes it is those scripts that create the entitlement. Sometimes we discover the entitlement through unmet expectations.
Expectations arise from needs and desires. If we don’t have any expectations about what we want and how we want to be treated, it’s almost like having no sense of self or worthiness. They’re some mysterious combo of what we need, want, and think is possible and think is right. We can’t not have them. Even if we only expect bad things, that’s still an expectation. Expectations are what we want for ourselves, what we think will make us happy, fulfilled, etc. We might be wrong, but expectations can be shifted when they don’t jive with reality.
I’ve found that, as in so many areas, I discover my expectations when they don’t get met and I feel disappointed, enraged, hurt. It’s not to say that these feelings are wrong or right. They’re just clues, symptoms, manifestations that give me a chance to look underneath and see what the expectation is, evaluate how realistic it is, and determine what my part is in bringing that about and where I’m trying to extract that outcome from the other person. That’s where the entitlement comes in. (I feel it’s so important to reiterate here: boundaries are about what we are/aren’t willing to do, not about getting a result, i.e. changing the other person’s behavior).