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 everything...........it'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 love......in 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 prophecy..............living 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 out..........it's the one which comes to mind.