Entitlement is a trending topic these days, and with so much visibility into how other people live, the devil of comparison is bound to rear its head. Throughout society, people are making a habit of comparing everything from body types to salaries to gifts they buy for their children, but what purpose is this serving?
For the sake of consumerism, this is how trends are born and how some businesses earn their keep, but constantly encouraging people to aspire to what others have can no doubt take its toll mentally. Feelings of dissatisfaction and envy can add up to a sense of entitlement within even the most humble people. Later on, we will share some ways on how to deal with entitled people in a more effective manner.
As we spend more and more time deciding that the world owes us certain things, how will it ever be possible to practice humility? Unfortunately, entitled people act as roadblocks to this quest. And since the presence of entitled individuals in our lives is not going anywhere, it is best to learn how to deal with them and maintain our sanity.
What is an entitled person?
By definition, an entitled person has an innate sense of deservingness that is generated from both outside influences and their own perspectives of themselves. This personality trait is rooted in the notion that things like benefits, recognition, and privileges’ are owed to them despite the absence of them having earned them. Pay close attention also to those who are constantly pointing the finger in any direction besides inwards. Traditionally feeling entitled is often presented as never being at fault.
How to tell if you are an entitled person
Some clear signs would point to the answer being yes; you are an entitled person. At the same time, other signs are less clear. You should also be advised that a self-diagnosis should not be considered to be absolute truth. The questions you have about yourself and your behaviors and mindset that led you to ponder this possibility can most likely be answered in shades of grey.
Reflective thinking is rarely a bad thing, so even if you go through this exercise and discover nothing pertains to you, the good news is you are capable of looking inward and having a passion for self-improvement. But in case you need a framework for your inquiry, here are a few checklist items to help you work through this.
- The unmet expectations you set for those around you were not reachable in the first place
- You make a point to mention an assert dominance or your position of power
- You do not have many friends
- Compromise is difficult or impossible for you
- You view everyone and everything as the opposition
- You emotionally or mentally torture people as punishment
- You tend to manipulate people
As you can see, some of the examples on this list can be difficult to accept as truths about ourselves, and nobody wants to view themselves in any light that is not flattering. However, sometimes that is exactly what we must do to recognize our shortcomings and make genuine strides towards improving them.
What does entitled behavior look like in other people?
Entitled people come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life, so the chances that you know one or two, or more, entitled people are high. In some cases, they will make their sense of entitlement exceptionally clear, while in others, it will be masked as other behaviors.
The other person thinks they are better than you
This is one way to determine if the person’s belief about themselves is, in fact, entitlement. Pay attention to actions and body language just as much as spoken words. Sometimes even subtle digs like making mention that they outearn you professionally can be clues that they have a genuine belief that they think they are better than you.
Does the person in question have an inability to play fair? Would you say that it is common for them to have one set of rules and another set for everyone else? Entitled people usually regard themselves differently than others, and whether conscious or subconscious, they believe that even the rules they set do not apply to them.
Arguably one of the most toxic forms of a personality disorder that exists is manipulation. The root of this scare tactic is typically deep-seated insecurity that the person tries to cover up by mentally and emotionally tricking people into giving them what they want, thinking what they wish to, or acting in a way that supports their bottom line. Manipulation is often paired with punishment when the subject does not cooperate. These types of punishments can be anything from silent treatment to creating conflict inside the relationship.
Dealing with entitled people
Now that you have a good idea of identifying those who feel entitled, you should also learn how to handle them so that their bad behavior does not become your emotional crisis.
Within your professional relationships
Work teams can be hard enough to navigate without having to factor in the possibility of a personality disorder in one or several of your teammates but is something you must consider. Dealing with entitled people in the workplace can also be tricky because you will likely have to adhere to an element of corporate policy.
Fairness and equity are two huge terms that float around every office and corporate structure. People want to be assured without a doubt that across departments and levels of employment, there is a moral baseline that applies to everybody. Entitled people work tirelessly to counteract this. You can deal with this by drawing a line in the sand and keeping your distance from their toxicity. If your personal and professional relationships overlap by choice and in healthy ways, congratulations, but do not push yourself to devote more time in the workplace towards entitled people than is necessary for meeting professional expectations.
Friend or family member
This demographic presents a slightly more layered challenge because setting limits with our loved ones is difficult for even the most assertive people. If the parties in question have a narcissistic personality disorder, then the likelihood that they will be responsive to boundaries is unlikely.
This can be an extremely life-limiting illness for both the subject and their networks. The special treatment you might have to employ to navigate their sense of entitlement should follow social psychology tips geared towards this type of diagnosis. Specifically, when you love and care for someone, you want to be sure that you are not compromising your own state of well-being to adapt to what they are using to force you to bend in the first place.
Parents have such an enormous responsibility to mold their children to be happy, healthy, and considerate contributions to society. Today’s world does not make their job any easier, emphasizing what the general society views as right or wrong, best or worst. If you notice that your child is developing a sense of entitlement, instead of heaping on the self-pity and playing the blame game, set limits with them so that you can focus on their mental health while also eliminating their sense of entitlement.
The American Psychological Association has studied the effects of intrusive parenting and a child’s ability to regulate themselves emotionally. Try to avoid getting sucked into arguments with your child that violate the boundaries and expectations that you have set for them. While disagreements and negotiations between parents and children are common, you should do your best to set clear expectations of who is in charge and why.
Constantly remind yourself as well that saying no takes practice, especially when we do not want to. And when it comes to raising kids, in many cases saying no is not good enough for them, but eventually, it will be through your dedication and practice. Entitlement develops when someone tries to force their way with someone else and succeeds. So even from a very young age, too young to even realize they are doing this, your kids are going to test your limits, so it is on you to lovingly coach them otherwise.
The cons greatly outweigh the pros here, but some good things can stem from those who have a sense of entitlement. Instead of looking at this subject exclusively through a lens of disapproval, allow yourself to tweak your viewpoint ever so slightly to consider the positives that can stem from the behaviors associated with this crowd of people.
For example, due to these individuals thinking that their way is the best, they tend to think in more creative ways than their less entitled counterparts. Of course, one needs to distinguish if this creativity is rooted in healthy or unhealthy behavior, but the entitled demand outside of the box thinking, and in some cases, that can be a good thing.
Another benefit is the veracity and tenacity that these people have towards setting and reaching their goals. Unfortunately, that can sometimes come at the cost of other people, but when a person that feels entitled has their mind made up about something, there is typically not much that can stand in their way of achieving it. While it would never be considered a benefit to stepping over or around other people to get there, healthy aggression towards reaching your goals can be great.
In the end, all we can control is ourselves, which is why it is so critical to developing a set of skills aimed explicitly at managing relationships with people holding onto a sense of entitlement. Protecting your mental health does not mean cutting them out, or even challenging their behavior, rather teaching yourself how to set, enforce, and be at peace with boundaries and limitations.
So much of our daily life is centered around our relationships that it is simply not an option to have no coping skills. Variety is what makes everyone unique. There is certainly a place for individuality within every circle, but keep in mind that someone else’s viewpoint of themselves should hold no bearing on yours.
Now that you know what defines a sense of entitlement, how to recognize it in others, and how to troubleshoot it in various settings, you can go forward in confidence that you will not hinge your self-esteem on the opinions of others, specifically of those who fit into this mold.