Relationships

The toxic culture of Entitlement

Have you ever met someone who seems to act like the whole world owes them?  Someone who is not satisfied unless their own needs are being met?

Usually showing off traits such as being pressed by simple things like a delayed reply, unrequited love, a rejection, an unreturned call, or too opinionated about how other people live their lives/spend their money, who they love, taste / their preferences and interests; – that my friend, is what we refer to as ‘Entitlement’. There are several examples of symptoms of Entitlement, as we shall see. But in summary, this is a trait in which one makes everything to be about themselves, in regard to being deserving of all the good things in life, a work place, or community, society, and that they are superior to everyone else. The “Me! Me! Me!” attitude is another way we can refer to this sense of self entitlement; where one presumes the world is supposed to revolve around them and that they are inherently deserving of certain privileges or special treatment. In essence, a sense of entitlement is established and upheld by the belief that we are the center of the universe, and if the universe doesn’t meet our needs and desires, all hell will break loose.

It is an enduring personality trait that is usually driven by exaggerated feelings of deservingness and superiority and that others do not.

While entitlement can, in some cases, be justified — it more often than not comes down to a selfish idea of reciprocation, and the expectation that your environment will provide for your needs and desires (regardless of your input).

This narcissistic mindset is often the result of failing to learn as children and young adults that we are not so special, and that the world (or your partner, friends, family or children) other people don’t merely exist to serve our needs, wants and heart’s desires, and therefore owes us nothing.

The mindset that the whole world owes us something could be due to one or more reasons. Reasons can include wealth, scholarly capabilities, good looks and more. The thing is others around you might not necessarily agree with your thinking that everyone else owes you favors, admiration and even respect. In case you do not make it to the end of this article, because of its length maybe, or may feel a little triggered by the content of it, here’s a summary of all the article “The toxic culture of Entitlement” is about the fact that: it is key to be patient, sometimes to mind less about other people’s business, knowing your positions in people’s lives and your boundaries when it comes to how you treat/ expect folks to treat you, respecting people’s feelings/ interests/ preferences + interests and letting them be. Be it what excites them, their measure of success and accomplishments; all of it. Let them be. Because the world doesn’t owe you and I anything. Everything in the world and whatsoever is under it isn’t always about us. This mentality is top tier entitlement. Though we deserve to have our needs met, we are not entitled to having those needs met by the world or anyone else. We alone have the power to ensure that we get what we need from this life.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN TERMS

Related case scenario terms are; (I) right and (ii) privilege. I do wish to bring these other two terms because sometimes they can be misquoted for entitlement. A ‘right’ contrary to entitlement is something you are truly entitled to under the law. Something like protection (security), health, a good transport network by the state, or even food, shelter, a name, for the case of children by their parents. Those right there are rights. It simply means you deserve it by law. Then there’s privilege.

Privilege is a state of being where someone has access to improved circumstances or the finer things in life with ease. We often consider celebrities and people of similar status to have privilege based on their contributions, achievements, and accomplishments. Entitlement takes privilege to another level by making unreasonable requests or demands from friends, family, lovers, employers, and the like. People who feel entitled often have no explanation for their unreasonable requests outside of their own opinions. In simple terms, people with a sense of entitlement believe that the world owes them something in exchange for nothing.

A sense of self-worth/ self-esteem, belief and confidence is usually confused with entitlement.

The opposite of entitlement:

The opposite of entitlement is humility. When people are humble this means that they understand that everyone has equal rights and opportunities. People who display humility celebrate their own successes — as well as the success of others. These people realize that there will be differences in our lives, and they respect these differences rather than use them as an issue to create conflict or havoc. Humble people have learned to live and let live without making unreasonable demands on themselves or expecting others to support their lifestyles.

Why exactly the world doesn’t owe us anything (and it never did anyway):

The world doesn’t owe us anything, and it never did. If we want something, we have to manifest it — and we do that through consistent and focused action. We also do it by embracing the truth, and working each day to understand and realize that we alone are responsible for making the changes we need in our lives and this world. Well here’s the thing … you and I are not so special.  And this article will explain why. But before we go any further, let me highlight a few signs of the sense of entitlement:

  1. It didn’t invite us to the party. Like it or not — you were not welcomed here, nor were you invited. No matter how much your parents loved you, or planned for you, the world as a whole did not ask for you to come here. The world did not summon you here. Nor did it think you up in order to magically meet some cosmically manifested plan. It is not your mother. It is not your father. This planet and 99.9% of the people on it do not have a duty of care to you, your safety, your wellbeing or your needs. You don’t get what you want from this life simply because you exist. There is no law — in heaven or on this planet — that says you are entitled to anything simply because you live breathe right now in this present moment. Stop expecting the world to shape to your liking and understand that action alone is how we manifest our dreams. The longer you stand by waiting, the harder and longer the journey is going to be. Get your hands dirty and stop waiting for a handout.
  2. We’re not as special as we think we are. Narcissism is one of the biggest fuels to the fire of entitlement, and it feeds into delusions of superiority. Many expect life to give them handouts because they think they are too good. Of course, sometimes this can be confused with being confident however, there’s a fine line that separates self-confidence and entitlement, an entitled person or group of people think that they are so special & unique that their life should come at the cost of others. That’s arrogance, and it’s also entitlement of the highest degree.
  3. You are not unique. (Sorry.) No matter how smart, good-looking, you are, no matter how gifted, or popular, pretty or how fat your wallet is — there are a million other people just like you, and there will be a million more that come after. You are not unique, nor do you need to be. You are an individual piece of a beautiful tapestry that has the power to help it shine (or degrade). We make the choice to either play a part in change, or we make the choice to rot just for rotting’s sake. The choice is ultimately ours, and ours alone.
  4. No one can read your mind. So many people assume that everyone around them can read them, or inherently know how they’re feeling or what they need. While osmosis is certainly something that occurs on the cellular level, it’s not something that occurs in our interactions with the world around us. We have to express our needs and our boundaries and we have to do it constantly. Stop expecting the world to read your mind. Stop expecting your friends, your family, or your partners to inherently know what you need. If you’re feeling empty, lost, or unheard — speak up and speak out. Tell them how you’re feeling and tell them what you need to correct it. The more frequently we speak up about the things that matter to us, the more comfortable it becomes. It’s a process, but one that is only kick-started by speaking up when your feelings are hurt or you feel like you need to get something that you aren’t.

No one can read your mind, and society isn’t going to take the time to coddle you. If you want to be better, get better. If you want to live in a world that is authentic and aligned with your values — build it.

Case scenarios of Entitlement Tendencies/ Signs that Someone Has a Sense of Entitlement:

So, if you’re wondering whether you, me or anyone else are a little self-entitled or are not even sure we are, here are a few case scenarios where entitlement exhibits itself:

  1. Entitled folks impose unrealistic demands and expectations on the people around them. It could be family members, children, friends, acquaintances, lovers, employees, and/or employers.
  2. Self-pity and attention-seeking behavior are synonymous with a sense of entitlement. This comes with a tendency to feel sorry for themselves if things don’t go according to plan (work out the way they wanted /feel even the smallest inconvenience), they openly advertise this in melodramatic, attention-seeking demeanor to get what you want.
  3. You believe that you deserve happiness and sometimes go to extreme lengths to ensure that that happens, often at the expense of others.
  4. You punish people when they don’t do what you want; either passively (e.g. silent treatment, gossiping, spreading rumors) or aggressively (e.g. shouting, verbally/physically abusing).
  5. You have a deep-seated conviction that you have priority and should always come first, and could even go to any lengths and at the expense of stepping on others, so long as they get what they want.
  6. You constantly see other people as competition or “threats”. Self-entitlement inevitably manifests itself in toxic powerplay. Because you recognize that your needs, thoughts, and feelings take precedence over others’, you strive to maintain this position by ensuring that people know who’s the boss. This mentality means you are not capable of taking directions. You resent having to follow instructions and don’t like it when you’re made to feel inferior. You are deeply suspicious of individuals outside of your comfort zone, and naturally so, because you are paranoid that they are trying to “usurp” your position.
  7. You tend to exhibit many double-standards in the way you behave/interact with other people, e.g. I can be late and forget my duties and commitments, but YOU can’t; I can take myself out for a treat, but YOU can’t and if you do; I throw tantrums at you about how you left me behind; I can abuse or disrespect you, but YOU can’t to ME.
  8. Have a hard time compromising with others for a common goal. Whether it’s deciding simple things like where to eat or what movie to watch to making life-changing choices, you tend to find a way to have your way with people; through manipulation.
  9. You generally think that you are better, or more important than other people and other people should see this and unquestioningly respect you.
  10. You crave admiration, praise, and adoration. Entitled people need to know they are the best. Insecurity tugs at the core of every narcissistic person, so they rely heavily on compliments and admiration to both justify their unruly methods and appease their hunger for attention.
  11. You like to assert your dominance or superiority over other people, finding it second nature.
  12. You Love Creating Drama. Everything revolves around you. With the evolution of technology, smartphones and social media; this covers the category that’s triggered by a late or delayed reply to their text/ being left on read, an unreturned/ missed phone call, someone not retweeting their post, viewing their status, not saving their phone number, not posting them on their birthday, etc.
  13. You expect other people to be more interested in you and what’s on your agenda than you’re interested in them and what’s on their agenda. You therefore see your own interests as more interesting than other people’s and see your goals and dreams as more valid or important than other people’s.
  14. Rules that are intended for everyone’s comfort you do disregard them and expect the same rules that apply to others not apply to you.
  15. You inconvenience others without thinking. For example, you cancel appointments or reservations repeatedly; you make plans with friends and then bail on those plans without considering that your friend may have organized other plans around fitting you in; you run into a store one minute before closing without thinking about the fact you’ll be delaying the shop assistant from getting home on time. You think, “It’s only 5 minutes” without considering that the assistant may have somewhere they need to be.
  16. You feel massively put upon when other people ask you for small favors but expect that when you ask people for favors, it’s no big effort. All in all, you are simply not capable of reciprocity.
  17. Self-entitled folks have difficulty accepting others as equals. People with a sense of entitlement often believe that they should be favored in personal and professional situations. Even if they don’t have experience at a job, they may show shock or frustration if a more experienced person is offered a better paying or higher-ranking employment position than them.
  18. You Take Your Relationships for Granted. You gauge relationships according to how much value and use you’ll siphon from them. The people around you don’t feel like people. Instead, you look at them and treat them as objects that you can manipulate and use. You tend to be attracted to people who can give you something. And once they no longer serve you purpose, you don’t take a another second to cut them off.
  19. You will demand that your needs, although not as urgent as someone else’s, be put above all else.
  20. Someone with a sense of entitlement may insult another person’s achievements while over-exaggerating their own. Not only do they try to take the positive focus off of others and turn it toward themselves, they may become angry or frustrated if others don’t follow their way of thinking.

Political wise; Political leaders feel entitled to their positions. Their sense of entitlement explains why despite our country experiencing no real economic growth, they are still willing to ask for pay rises. Furthermore, this sense of entitlement expounds why politicians dawdle until election time, when they suddenly awake from their hibernation with a burst of energy that swiftly disperses once campaign season is in their rear-view mirror. Because leaders feel entitled to their positions, their main goal is often just to get re-elected, and not to promote any significant growth/change. This leads to the implementation of very myopic policies that are ultimately not in the country/economy’s best interest. In addition to this, because leaders feel that they “inherently deserve” the positions that they are in, they struggle with the idea of succession.

This entitlement culture does not stop with political leaders, from the top of the social pyramid all the way down to the bottom.

In the Transport Sector: Taxis and motorcycles feel as though they are entitled to the road, so they stop where they like and overtake where they like. Police cars and government vehicles drive in the middle of the road with their sirens blaring because they feel entitled to drive as they please due to their lofty positions. Instead of upholding the law, they are consistently breaking it.

Parents/Relatives: With all due respect, some parents or even relatives can in somewhat way be entitled and use their excuses of their position as an aunty, uncle, mother, father, cousin name it, to curse and berate hurtful comments or highly exaggerated expectations. While at this, some stop at nothing at expecting us to apologize for absolutely nothing to blame us for being “proud”,  spoilt, egocentric and instead turn them to arguments for standing up for ourselves, calling us rude and making us feel like horrible children for defending ourselves or even not responding and walking out when this happens. The entitlement further stretches to wanting to dictate for them what course to study, parts of life like guilt tripping their children into joining their line of belief (religion, political parties), putting them on pressure for grandchildren, etc.

At work places: How often do businesses/clients expect a job to be done without paying for it? Too often! Because people feel that they “inherently deserve privileges or special treatment”

The buck does not stop with business leaders. Because employees feel entitled to their jobs, they seldom work to their full potential. A person who begins a new career may show signs of entitlement by expecting to be treated with the same wage or title as others who have much more experience.

ROOT CAUSE OF the Unhealthy Sense of Entitlement (Why we feel entitled to receive without action):

There are a number of factors that lead to this concretely embedded entitlement. We don’t wake up one day and decide that the world will hand us everything we want — no action necessary. This sense of entitlement comes from toxic beliefs and toxic patterns that go unquestioned and unaddressed generation after generation. It can be because of parenting, our sense of “ownership” to the world, or the fact that our generation has been more intellectually trained and skilled than other generations before us. Many people believe that when children are given everything, they ask for without learning how to earn rewards, it makes them expect the same treatment when they become adults.

  1. The increasingly competitive society that a lot of millennials have grown up in is to blame. There is a lot more pressure when it comes to what school you attended or what career you have. Therefore, the competitive nature of our generation does lead to more self-obsessed millennials due to the idea that for one to succeed one must be better than everyone else in order to get ahead.” You know how schools now a days promote this idea of ‘you are unique’ and amazing to a point where you really believe it,” world, that is so competitive, and the ‘you need to show how amazing you are’ sayings, which potentially gloat up your ego. Likewise, millennials expect to find their ideal job right after graduation; simply because they have been trained like that.
  2. Remember when we were young (little kids), it was kind of cute when we threw tantrums as toddlers, for not getting what we wanted. Say, you asked for something from your mum, and she said NO, she won’t give it to you and that you should wait and then you rolled yourself on the floor, and even threw whatever you were holding in your hand or even refused to eat food. Such tantrums. People would coo at us, maybe even pick us up and hold us, telling us in gooey-gooey tones that “you’ll get it later” or “you’ve got to wait a little while “. Then our tears would be mopped up, our snotty little noses would be wiped, and we’d be placed gently to the ground again. As we grew older, some of us would learn to wait our turn, be patient and show consideration for others. Some of us, however, didn’t.
  3. Personality Disorders: For some, a sense of entitlement has nothing to do with being neglected or spoiled, but may be the result of a personality disorder, such as narcissistic personality disorder or antisocial personality disorder.
  4. The Spoiled Child Parents naturally want their children to be happy, confident, and fulfilled. This is a healthy and natural urge, but when parents make the mistake of always saying “yes” to their kids, it can lead to a gradual sense of entitlement. This type of behavior that is allowed during early childhood causes young children to believe that these acceptable patterns and behaviors throughout life. Children who are always given what they want and are not required to earn rewards for good behavior generally become adults who expect others to cave to their demands.  Often, they become adults who do not know how to effectively communicate with others, and they may have trouble developing healthy relationships or maintaining stable employment.
  5. A commitment to gratification. To some, the thought that our own needs are the most important thing in the world because we’re used to getting our own way — no matter what is ‘personal gratification’. This mentality isn’t far from being entirely toxic. This belief creates that idea that, because you always get your way you are entitled to always have things your way.
  6. Laziness as a lifestyle. Lazy people see the world as a banquet; one that they don’t have to queue in line for or pay for. A lazy person is not a lost person. There’s a big difference. Lazy people have already figured out that life takes work (and often what specific work needs to be done) but consciously choose not to do that work — because they simply don’t want to. Instead, they would rather steal attention, energy from people who are fighting their own fights. Just to meet the needs that they are perfectly capable of meeting themselves.
  7. Societal and religious pressure. Socio-religious pressure can go a long way in informing our world outlooks and relationships, and they can go a long way in creating a sense of entitlement in otherwise compassionate and logical human beings. With all due respect, most societies are set up in a way that elders ought to be respected, even though amidst circumstances like them being abusive/ disrespectful most times blaming the young ones for being spoilt, and ‘big headed’ when they try to speak up for themselves. This very bracket covers relatives/ guardians/ parents/ friends who take it upon themselves to force their ideologies and expectations of individuals and how they should live and run their lives.
  8. In some cases, after experiencing maltreatment or neglect, some people develop a sense of entitlement. Some believe this is a type of coping mechanism that is extreme. For example, a child who is deprived of love and affection may grow up to demand it from others because she did not receive it at a young age.
  9. Sometimes entitlement may come from a genuinely innocent cause; for example when someone considers one as a mentor, role model or admires them, so when they reach out for help, and an answer/ it is not offered in the shortest time possible, may come off as too pushy, clingy or even needy, hence frustration from this person’s side.

EFFECTS OF ENTITLEMENT: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE EXPECT TOO MUCH MINUS WORKING FOR IT.

Entitlement can lead to dire psychology and social costs. These may include:

Chronic disappointment, unmet expectations, and a habitual, self-reinforcing cycle of behavior.

May lead to a perpetual loop of distress, envy, anger, and frustration.

Creates a constant vulnerability to unmet expectations. Unmet expectations then lead to dissatisfaction and other volatile emotions.

Repeatedly exposes people to the risk of feeling frustrated, and unhappy with life

The entitlement mindset comes at the cost of relationships with others and, ultimately, their own happiness.

At extreme levels, such a form of narcissism could lead to feelings of frustration and a cycle of disappointment in life.

HERE ARE WAYS TO DUMP THE ENTITLEMENT MINDSET:

I don’t know about you, but life is too short to spend time with people who think they’re God’s gift to humanity. 🙄 Therefore if you’re suffering from a sense of entitlement, it’s very important for you to know that you’re not alone. Like others before you, you can ways to address issues of entitlement and how to live a healthy, balanced life and change and develop healthy levels of self-love and self-esteem. There are many ways to slowly work through it to improve the quality of your life, and the lives of others.  Examples include:

  • Developing more self-awareness. Without being aware of what you think, feel and do, you won’t be able to progress very far.
  • Identifying your inner expectations about the world, as well as deep-seated beliefs and ideals. Often a sense of entitlement stems from unhealthy or unrealistic perceptions that you may not even be aware of.
  • Work to accept life as it is without imposing your beliefs, ideals or expectations. This includes practicing forgiveness and allowing people to be the way they are naturally.
  • Concentrate on developing compassion and empathy. Asking “how does this affect others?”, “how does he/she feel right now?”, “how would I feel if I was her/him?” helps to broaden the mind, and open it to new, and beneficial, ways of thinking.
  • Celebrate with other people, and celebrate other people. Pay attention to the happiness and joy of others: happiness shared is happiness multiplied.  Also, being thankful for the people in your life allows you to place more importance in them, and see how truly special they are.
  • Slowly work on cultivating true self-love, not the malignant kind.
  • Change won’t come overnight, but with dedication and will power your life can take a permanent turn for the better.
  • The other step in learning to overcome a sense of entitlement is to stop comparing yourself to others. Remember, you are a unique individual and you can accomplish your own goals and dreams. Take the time to think about things you want to achieve and make a list of things you are willing to do to make it happen. Accompany this with willpower and determination.
  • Practice treating others with respect, compassion and gratitude. The more kindness you give to others, the more you are likely to receive. Typically, favor produces favor.  If you are genuinely kind to others and commit to acts of selflessness without expecting favor in return, others feel freer to return the same goodness to you.
  • Do something because it’s the right thing to do, not because you expect to be rewarded. Many times, the disappointment that comes from not being recognized or rewarded for a good deed can cause frustration or even anger. It is not likely that every good deed you do will be acknowledged or rewarded in the way you had hoped. The gratitude that others show you will likely cause you to feel much more satisfaction than simply receiving things because you feel you are entitled to do so.
  • Replacing entitlement with true humility as well as a true desire to improve oneself (virtues, character, good habits) would bring about a greater quality and therefore greater fulfillment in life.

Remember the sole cause of Entitlement tendencies is having high Expectations from your surroundings, which therefore breeds DisappointmEnt when things don’t go your way. See he coincidence with the ‘E’(s), that are Work and give in your best Efforts, so as to attain your goals/ needs. Therefore, guard your heart, and peace of mind by working so much on getting things done on your own, learn to respect and create boundaries in your life and interactions. Peace and love.