Why did Robert hit Cersei

Joffrey Baratheon is the young prince of the seven kingdoms and heir to the throne of his (supposed) father Robert Baratheon. In addition, it is extremely unpopular with viewers and contemporaries alike.

How could it be otherwise? He seems to enjoy torturing prostitutes and his short-term fiancé Sansa or bullying subordinates such as the butcher's son or the drunken knight at his birthday tournament. He resists his uncle Tyrion and his mother Cersei, which leads to heated arguments. He uses his growing power to repeatedly humiliate both of them. He also seems to enjoy killing animals (Sansa's direwolf Lady) and people (Eddard, Ros).

Psychopathologically, Joffrey shows the characteristics of a Disorder of social behavior in the absence of social ties (ICD-10: F91.1). This is one of the disorders of childhood and adolescence and is characterized by antisocial-aggressive behavior with simultaneous severe impairment of relationships with other people, especially peers.

Joffrey's antisocial behavior pattern is characterized by the following typical characteristics:

  • bullying
  • blackmail
  • Violence
  • Cruelty to humans and animals
  • Excessive arguing
  • Pronounced and uncontrolled outbursts of anger
  • Lack of willingness to cooperate
  • Disobedience and rudeness towards guardians

The second characteristic of the disease, the relationship disorder, is just as obvious: Joffrey doesn't have a single boyfriend. Sansa's love only lasts as long as it takes to really get to know him.
His attempts at contact are rejected by anyone who dares because of his arrogant, self-centered and unempathetic manner. Everyone else treats him with feigned respect for fear of his cruelty.

Since the causes of behavior disorders are predominantly psychosocial, we need to examine Joffrey's childhood and family situation in order to understand his symptoms:
Joffrey's mother, Cersei, lost her own mother at the age of nine. She was and is not loved by her father Tywin for her own sake, but perceived exclusively in her function as a pawn of marriage and bearer of ancestor. She completely lost the sheen in her father's eye.
After her mother's death, the only way to escape total loneliness is to bond emotionally to the only caregiver available, her twin brother Jaime. In order to ensure his affection and loyalty, she uses the only thing she feels capable of according to her father's ascriptions, namely erotic seduction.
What initially develops as the psychological survival strategy of the emotionally neglected child manifests itself in adulthood as Sexual preference disorder (ICD-10: F65.8): Cersei only seems to find sexual fulfillment in incest, although other male relatives besides Jaime are now also possible sexual partners. With some probability we can see in this the unconscious attempt to secure the love of the Father with all available means after all. The original wish and the persistent hurt associated with it can be suppressed because the conscious desire is shifted to other men (Jaime, Lancel), who must at least resemble the father by having the typical characteristics of Lennister men (blonde hair , Tendency towards narcissism).

In contrast to Joffrey himself, Cersei knows from the start that her twin brother is the biological father of her child. This explains the extreme ambivalence of naive idealization and deep shame with which she encounters Joffrey again and again, depending on the situation.
Although he embodies the coveted ideal of men (generation boundaries hardly play a role in Cersei's perception) and confirms her right to exist in the eyes of her father (giving birth to heir to the throne), at the same time Joffrey is also a constant reminder of her instincts and sinfulness. Even if they are even for it is not recognizable ashamed or her shame is repressed and rationalized (the Targaryens do it too ...), her father lets her clearly feel his disappointment with her behavior (at least that it comes out and tarnishes the family's reputation), what the early devaluations are updated and their feelings of oedipal inferiority intensified.
As Joffrey's psychological defects become increasingly apparent, additional feelings of guilt are likely to arise: As a non-psychologist, Cersei could assume that his disorder is genetic and thus caused by the incest.
All in all, Joffrey can hardly expect positive impulses for his own psychological development from his mother.

Joffrey's named father, King Robert Baratheon, is alcohol dependent (ICD-10: F10.2) and violent. According to an anecdote, he knocked out two milk teeth from Joffrey when he was a small child, after he had cruelly killed a cat (a first early sign of the later behavioral disorder).
Robert probably fell victim to the drunkenness out of general disappointment with his life. This connects him with his wife of reason Cersei, for which both accuse and hate each other.
His true love, Ned Stark's sister, was killed. He responded to his grief in a war to conquer the iron throne (this channeling of unpleasant emotions towards a constructive goal is called sublimation), which brings back the joy of life in the short term. But at the latest when all enemies are defeated, sadness and disappointment return. What Robert remains is the flight into intoxication, in which he can dream of the days long past as a beautiful young man, proud womanizer and invincible warrior. He buys the lost feeling of his own attractiveness from prostitutes and tries to compensate for the lack of triumph on the battlefield by humiliating subordinates like Cersei or Jaime.
Perhaps he is already serving as an involuntary role model for Joffrey's later sadism.

Robert doesn't know that Joffrey isn't his real son. If he suspected it, he seems to have suppressed it well. If he had raised suspicions, he should have acted, and by the beginning of the Game of Thrones plot he is already too tired of living.
Since Robert is not the man he wanted to be, he wants his firstborn to be the man he himself in his melancholy, glorified memory wants to be. He makes no secret of his disappointment that Joffrey cannot live up to this ideal of manliness and nobility. With the actually correct realization on his deathbed that Joffrey is (at least not yet) ready to ascend the throne, he posthumously inflicts one last serious offense on the throne.

A child's self-image arises largely from the conscious and unconscious ascriptions of others, primarily the parents. Just as Tywin's expectations and devaluations were reflected in Cersei's character, Joffrey's personality development is also shaped by early relationships with his parents.
In these, on the one hand, he experiences their completely excessive pressure of expectation: He should become strong, courageous and beautiful, whereby the wishes of the parents already diverge here (a manifestation of the respective family fantasies of size) and can therefore never be fully fulfilled. Because of his Lannister appearance, for which he can no longer help, his mother likes him, but increases the distance to his father. The career demands of the parents on the son (ruler on the iron throne, king of the Andals and the first humans, lord of the seven kingdoms, protector of the empire ...) appear narcissistically exaggerated and put the boy under pressure from birth.
On the other hand, Joffrey unconsciously perceives the massive conflicts, doubts, disappointments and feelings of shame of his parents, especially towards himself, which anchors gnawing self-doubts in the depths of his soul, which he has to hide through his arrogant demeanor (primarily from himself) .

Joffrey is what family psychotherapy calls Index patient is referred to: in its symptoms the disorders and conflicts of the entire family system manifest themselves. Its striking pathology, about which everyone else can somehow agree, enables the repression and denial of one's own individual and systemic disorders. Conversely, the index patient is given unrealistic hopes of a comprehensive healing of the entire family system (if only he were not like that, but different ...).

So Joffrey grows up with great self-doubt and at the same time in the unconscious belief that it is his sole responsibility to make the two mentally ill and unhappily married parents proud and happy and to compensate for their individual feelings of guilt and self-doubt, the chronically power-obsessed dynasties of the Baratheons and To unite Lannisters, to hold together a multiethnic state of historically hostile clans, to protect the empire against armies of magical creatures and much more. During puberty he loses his father and finally learns that he wasn't his father at all and that he is a bastard in the Vesterosian terminology.

You can get a little ass at that.