Monday, April 21, 2008


A sense of entitlement describes the outrageous behaviour of an individual who believes they are better than others, and who believes they deserve preferential treatment. They are "owed," and they want their "payment" NOW. Nothing is good enough. Nothing lives up to their high weird and whacky standards. Whatever you try to do is not enough for them and even if it is, there is rarely a thank you, or recognition of the deed done. WHY? Because it was expected! Demanded! It was rightfully THEIRS!

Empathy is not in the cards. Instead, an "entitled" person believes that the whole wide world should bow down to them because they are so darn special. Don't you want to spend some time with one of these folks? Have you spent time with one of them? You'd know it, because you'd remember what it felt like......similar to hammering your finger over and over again..........similar to banging your head on the door 10 times until you realize there is no way of pleasing. It's an endless pit of demands and twisted rationale. It is the root of narcism.

Where does it come from? Why do some people make an art of this? How is it that there are some individuals who grow up to believe they truly are princesses or princes?

The development of entitlement, as I see it (and please jump in here anytime..........I certainly don't own the rights to this one!! :) ) has two distinct paths.......the Princess path, and the Pauper path.

The Princess path is lined with soft petal roses, whose thorns have been lovingly and carefully removed to avoid any prickly pain. Servants, as known as parents and other family members carry the princess down the path because they feel it necessary that she never roughen the bottoms of her sweet smelling pedicured feet. Whatever she wants, she gets. Whenever a dilemma happens in her life, it's fixed. Whoever she wants to be friends with, it's arranged. If a nasty troll disguised as a teacher or another authority figure makes an attempt to teach how to THINK for herself and be RESPONSIBLE for her own actions, the Parents come swooping down to lodge formal harrassment complaints.

Whatever she does, she gets applause. Whatever she gets into, she gets saved. Who needs to learn to think for yourself when you think you're better than everyone else?

By the time the Princess (and please insert Prince in here too), she is out of control and unable to figure out a more complicated life on her own. She doesn't have the life tools to be able to do so. As well, in the back of her mind, she is allowed to do anything because permissiveness was the choice of discipline all along. Drugs, sex, overspending, lack of focus in school, trips, and always THE best in's all a part of the entitled picture. It's a ME, ME, ME world............and there's no room for anyone else. Can you see how the whole idea of empathy is completely missed in the learning?

We are raising many princes and princess out there and we are giving them the keys to drive solo without the accompanying coping and critical thinking skills. Our society is creating a narcisstic group of individuals who have the inability to see others as equals.............they are getting away with treating others with complete disdain and disrespect. There is no respect for authority, nor anyone who may want to help. They are better than everyone, and NO one is more interesting than they are. They should have their own talk show.

The other side of the entitlement coin is the Pauper........ These tykes were often physically, emotionally and/or spiritually abandoned. They are always trying to please and to be heard and to chalk up the rewards they have missed growing up. Abandonment is a seriously debilitating way of being which impacts choices made in adulthood. More importantly, it etches out a series of inner turmoil which sinks someone into a sense of being unloved. The more unloved a person feels, the more their actions and behaviour cries out the need to be loved. Consequently, their journey, their path is littered with attempts at grasping for all wrong places and with all the wrong people. Their actions and thoughts turn them from human beings to human doings. Somewhere along that path, they have stepped into defining themselves as unloved and abandoned. They wear these labels on their sleeves.

Abandonment comes in many forms and is derived from different angles. A detachment from caregivers, alcoholism in the family, foster home hopping leading to late adoption, experiencing death early in life, trauma, abuse that wasn't recognized, acknowledged and dealt with by a trusting someone...... .......being told you were never wanted over and over and over again ..... .....always feeling like a misfit in one's own family..... .......inconsistency in messages given to you when you were young...........all of this feeds a sense of abandonment, which eventually leads to a sense of entitlement as a way of coping, and not coping well.

Heartbreak........too much of it makes one feel rejected and abandoned.

Revenge, anger, sometimes rage kicks in. Self mutilation, self hatred, self-destruction are key reactions. Confusion as to who they really are....... belief that they are so wounded and broken smears the landscape and soaks into their skin. Who could love them? What is real unconditional love? Their perspectives are skewed. Their abandonment feelings turn into painful shame. And shame, when it has permeated the soul is a strong virus to eradicate. It becomes a true self fulfilling up to the messages taken in as a kid.

Paupers turn to others to fulfill their need to be loved and their need to belong, but they have a tough time settling. Addictions is all the forms are rampant. Princesses are the same. Nothing is good enough for them though. What is interesting with both the Princesses and the Paupers is that even though they arrived at a point in their lives called adulthood from different paths, their behaviour looks the same. There may be different tactics, and different expectations, but their behaviour is the same.

Entitlement seems to be all pervasive these days...........or maybe I'm just seeing it more because I've been thinking about it and talking about it more often. I have no answers except to help the Princesses get their feet dirty and to help them learn to use their own brains and be confident that they can make sound decisions. They somehow need to be reprogrammed to realize that they have to rely on themselves (AND THAT THEY CAN!!), that real life doesn't have that knight in shining armour who will rescue. Maybe they need a chance to be thrown into the woods with a couple of matches and a sleeping bag for a bit............ :)

The Paupers?..........many of whom I meet as adults and I wonder if they are just too damaged to heal, or perhaps their behaviour has gone beyond the law? Sometimes, my approach is to see at least if the next generation can be lifted up and out of this stew? What I try to do it to help them become aware of what is affecting the decisions they make, and then encourage them to keep in touch, and to surround themselves with people who will support them in a healthy way. Long term counselling is needed here in order to help guide them into believing in themselves.....into really believing they are gifts from God. They have much to offer in this world of ours......if we can just help them overcome the overwhelming sense of uselessness.

As I think about it while I write this, our approach in helping these individuals may be the same They both need structure, rules, and acceptance. They both need to learn HOW to care for themselves and the importance of looking out for others. They need to hear other stories of other people who have triumphed over a sense of entitlement. They also BOTH need to know and understand the whole concept of unconditional love, because it seems as though with both the Princesses and the Paupers, there are nasty strings attached.

Check this song's the one which comes to mind.


Canuckguy said...

In most cases of narcisstic entitlement, blame the parents.
You reap what you sow.

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Where do you plan to submit this article for publishing? As your agent, I think this one needs to get out not just for PR, but because ITS A MESSAGE WE ALL NEED - especially parents.

I am a Healing Pauper raising a Prince. Its hard to admit that, but its true, I gave my son the love I never had growing up and somewhere along the line became too permissive. Thankfully I realized it last year when he got in trouble and have been making an effort to be stronger. In my case, I'm weak, fearful and riddled with guilt. Not very good excuses, but at least I recognize them.

Everything you said here is so true, I see it everywhere I look among this generation.

Hopefully my son will turn out ok (he loves me and respects me and appears to be a good person), but I will feel that its my fault it he doesn't. I love him more than anything but I think I really f'd up as a parent :(

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

PS love the song, as you know :)

Mark said...

I really like your take on this subject. Yes, these people can be difficult to deal with and the learning curve seems to be very high. I do believe that through love anything is possible and that people can and do change. We have to remember that there are many different levels of our journey and whos to say that at one point in our journey we were not in a similar class, learning about the pitfalls of entitlement through experience and here we are today more enligtened in our ways and able to see entiltlement for what it is. Change comes with a love, change is a process, this we must keep sight of.

Heather said...

this is something I deal with at work all the time. i work for a large teleservices company as the training manager. We offer one of the better paying jobs with growth potential in an area where people have been paupers for a long time. It can be hard to deal with the "entitlement" attitude. I like to think that we not only teach the trainees how to handle their inbound calls but also useful life skills like dressing appropriately, speaking professionally and holding to expectations but it is a constant uphill battle.

Open Grove Claudia said...

This is a brilliant piece. Really well thought out. I struggle with the entitled - and there are so many of them. The problem is that they convince everyone that THEY deserve so much.

And programs like the Secret feed right into them. Every person I know who loves the Secret is an entitled person. ARG!!

I definitely grew up as a pauper. And I struggle with it - I do.

But I'll tell you. Entitled people are the loneliest people on the planet. I think they are very sad.

And me? A pauper knows to be grateful for every tiny luxury. ;)

Great work here!

Awareness said...

Canuckguy....i agree.

Layla.......any ideas where i could submit it?

I believe we all overdo it with our kids. I've heard many stories from teachers who have been in education for years who can't believe the level of meddling and unnecessary interference.....or of times when the child needed to own up their mistakes etc, only to have someone come up and clean up the mess for them.
When I was writing this, I was thinking about how sometimes entitlement can lead to serious narcisstic behaviour to a point where it would be classified as a borderline personality disorder. This is a topic I am becoming very familiar with because of the behaviour exhibited by an extended family member. Her "entitlement" is beyond the norm of even a Princess or a Pauper, and now she is a manipulative emotionally stunted drama queen who has no ability to truly feel for others, but has the ability to make it look like the biggest victim on the planet. She has huge abandonment issues, and grew up with very mixed messages. She also has a learning disability which I believe has affected her ability to "see" things as they are. She's always been a couple of degrees off.......
now...? She is in a place where she has some power for the first time in her life and her real fangs and rage are coming out hurting people who don't deserve the wrath.

it too will one day be a NOVEL!!!!! Why, because I am ENTITLED to write it! :)

ps. I love that song too.

Mark. Love and consistency can help many overcome their past hurts......and can help Princesses be more responsible too. However, there are some who are so wounded.....that one has to be careful how to approach it because of the level of neediness. I know that sounds harsh, but I have learned the hard way.

Hi Heather......interesting do they show an attitude about the training? Do they appear to "know it all instead of being thankful for the help?" Thanks for dropping by. :)

Awareness said...

Claudia....that's a very interesting observation about that damn book. I find it the most navel gazing narcissitic piece of trash to come out in a very long time......I perused it when it was all the rage and couldn't get rid of it fast enough.... The whole concept seem so greedy and manipulative from their moody and so called alluring website to their drooling eagerness to pass on their bloody secret.
It does smack of entitlement. I had never thought about it that way. thanks. Now I know why it pissed me off so much.

Entitled people are lonely arent they? And they seem to bring onto themselves. When someone is so wounded, they can't hurt anymore....they put up such barbed barriers and nastiness that they keep you from loving them.

And do we learn to love the unlovely?

Shaz said...

Do we all have one of each in our famikly ? I am sure there is.I knnow I do and this is an amazing piece of writing for all categories to read. Its funny because this has been a topic in our house lately.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

A Wonderful Piece, my dear...! You know what is quite difficult about all this is that almost everyone has some elements that you describe to one degree or another...Some may have one or maybe two in a minor way...Others three, or so....I think it is at epidemic proportions in a way, too....And it is not just this generation....! I surely don't have the answers to this, at all...And I think you are right on the money, as they say, that some people are just soooo very very damaged that there seems to be no way out of this. I do see that this generation coming up, in many ways is worse....There is so much given without learning any responsability that goes along with the gift..PLUS, this inability to have real empathy and care for another is just rampant, too. I find it quite frightening in a way....
Incidentally, I have heard that song but I cannot say I really know it and I couldn't understand the lyrics...Well, a few words, here and there, but I honestly do not know what the song is about...!
I wish I did, because I am sure it fits the subject or you wouldn't have provided the link!

AND, I'm sure I would find many exotic things in your in Spring and Summer...!

Awareness said...

Shaz......I think it goes something like this......God said "Let there be light, and let every family deal with an entitled being in their midst......"

Naomi. I completely agree....I know that I have a bit of entitlement in me. It rears it's head when I begin to fudge around with "rules...." and think that they somehow don't apply to me. I mask it as creative thinking, but the impetus is a wee sense of entitlement.....shhhh......dont tell anyone.

I also agree that this one doesn't have age restrictions. Some of the most "entitled" Princesses I know are aging and wrinkly!!

What seems different to me is the level of parental intervention in areas like education, jobs, relationships etc. It's amazing really.

Under there... said...

You know the sense of entitlement to ease and comfort extends even to those who are often involved in social justice issues. I meet so many people involved in the type of work that I do that want to help people, but are not interested in justice if it means they actually have to give up anything themselves. Sometimes when I say that real social justice would mean more than writing a bank check for a charitable cause, it would mean that white men (like myself) would abdicate their stranglehold on power and privilege--then I am told that I just meddling. I am shocked at how people talk about doing good as long as it does not interfere with their sense of entitlement. Dana, you really are spot on with this piece. Bravo!

Gypsy said...

I had a close relationship with a Pauper who seemed determined to stay a Pauper. He very much revelled in the victim role and had actually, I believe, exaggerated in his own mind, the real level of original damage in order to sustain his own reality. Sound harsh? You wouldn't believe how many people this man has taken down with him including myself. I was very fortunate that I was able to extricate myself from this person's destructive clutches. You can't help people who enjoy being a victim because you take away the very thing that makes them who they are.

Just another view from my own experience.