Today, thousands of people walk about with an entitlement mentality but rarely know it. Little children wake up every morning and look up to their parents for all the basic things they need.
And many young and aging adults look up to the government with a strong feeling of being entitled. They keep hoping for welfare packages and infrastructures from the government.
What is Entitlement Mentality?
According to Campbell et al. (2004), Entitlement Mentality is a pervasive sense that one deserves more and is entitled to more than others. It is also known as “sense of entitlement.
In simple terms, entitlement mentality has to do with one wanting other people to boil the ocean to accommodate all their desires, preferences, wants, and needs. It is a personality issue.
And to add, Entitlement Mentality is a notable feature of narcissism.
Entitlement mentality example: Is being entitled good or bad?
Over the years, the concept of Entitlement Mentality has grown popular, and considering how young people are becoming more and more entitled.
Now back to the question above.
In a study, Jared Lessard et al. (2011) observed two dimensions of entitlement mentality: exploitative and non-exploitative mentality. And the results of the study propose that not all feelings of entitlement are “bad”.
Based on their findings, individuals who possess a higher level of exploitative entitlement can take advantage of others to achieve their goals or ends. And as noted, people with such a disposition tend to have personal issues and problems in interpersonal relationships.
According to Jared Lessard et al. individuals with non-exploitative entitlement want the best for themselves. They necessarily do not have the intention to inflict pain on others, or treat others with disdain.
Non-exploitative entitlement Vs Exploitive entitlement
Jared Lessard et al. (2011) prepared and administered a questionnaire (with certain items) to their respondents to detect these entitlement tendencies. And responses from the respondents showed that the non-exploitative entitlement items got a higher endorsement (Agree in %).
Items to detect Exploitive entitlement tendencies:
- I deserve more success in my life than others who have had it easy (42.7%)
- I am willing to admit that I feel I am due more in life than other people (25.1%)
- I shouldn’t have to work as hard as others to get what I deserve (24.7%)
- I shouldn’t have to work harder than others to have the finer things in life (24.2%)
- Because of the things I have been through personally, others should give me a break in life (19.1%)
- If I am a frequent customer in a restaurant, they should be willing to seat me ahead of some other people (18.0%)
- If I am in a hurry, people should let me move ahead in a line (17%)
Items to detect Non-Exploitive Entitlement tendencies:
- I deserve to be treated with respect by everyone (94.8%)
- I expect to be treated with respect, even by those who are rich and famous (91.2%)
- I deserve the best things in life (85.4%)
- I am entitled to get into the career that I want (75.1%)
- I am entitled to have the best things in life (70.6%)
- Taking note and comparing the statements in both items. You will grasp the distinction Jared Lessard et al. created between individuals with exploitative entitlement and those with non-exploitative entitlement.
- The terms Entitlement mentality and Sense of Entitlement mean the same thing (the focus) in this writeup. Jared Lessard et al. termed it as the exploitative dimension of entitlement.
Causes of entitlement Mentality
Many medical experts are yet to figure out and pinpoint a specific cause of the sense of entitlement. And the reason is simple. There are many factors that influence personality development.
Researchers have agreed that entitlement mentality in adolescents and young adults is attributable to a host of social factors.
And they include:
I. Family background and upbringing.
Family background and the upbringing of a person affect his personality development. For example, a child that gets a lot of pampering from his parents and those around him will most likely develop an entitled mentality if not checked.
II. Training and exposure derived from schools
The school is a powerful agent of socialization. And It plays a crucial role in the overall learning of a child.
Beyond a doubt, the school is supposed to be the “second home” for every child. But then, the school should not stimulate young individuals into becoming entitled individuals through its policies and operations.
The environment covers all other factors not mentioned above. Thus, it includes all the influences that come from the media and significant authorities such as religious leaders, celebrities, etc.
People with an entitlement mentality are just as miserable as the people they make life miserable for-Dr. Jade Wu., Savvy psychologists
Signs of Self-entitled People
1. They always want to win, even when there‘s no competition
Wanting to compete is an automatic-response mode of individuals with entitlement mentality. And this is traceable to their childhood or teenage period.
Now glance through the exploitative entitlement items created by Jared Lessard et al. You will observe the urge to compete unhealthily with others spurred most of the responses of the respondents.
That’s to say, people with an entitlement mentality see others as a threat to their recognition needs. Yes, the seemingly false sense of importance from what they earn or achieve. For a better description, the achievements that come by “competing” with others.
2. They have complex
Entitled individuals have a masked inferiority complex, which they would not want to acknowledge. And this point is related to the first one.
Yes, entitlement mentality is a narcissistic personality that forms overtime. Not overnight. One needs time to addressed or get rid of it, as we shall consider in the next heading.
3. They cannot treat people with fairness and equality
Consumed with a delusion of grandeur, entitled people find it hard to treat people with respect and equality. But very frankly, that’s something they must learn with so much effort to get over the feeling of self-entitlement.
4. They feel entitled to special favors and privileges
Because of this individuals with entitlement mentality are too egoistic to appreciate the good deeds done to them by people they perceive to be of lesser worth than them.
5. They are manipulative and tend to put up irresponsibility and callousness.
Entitled people lock up themselves in their selfishness. And they’re capable of going out of their way to get what they want at the expense of others. In other words, people with an entitlement mindset are quick to manipulate others to achieve their selfish desires. Particularly those who fall prey for their scheme.
Practical Steps to deal with Entitlement Mentality
1. Own up and acknowledge the challenge.
This is the first and BOLD step to take in the quest to overcome the entitlement mentality. Remember, you don’t solve a problem without identifying its root.
I mean, a person cannot know the root of his problem without first recognizing that the problem exists.
2. Unlearn the long inculcated orientation that everybody is at your beck and call.
After acknowledging the challenge of being entitled in humility, you act on your readiness to change by kickstarting the unlearning process. And that means one will be unlearning every experience, ideology, or philosophy that supports or justifies one’s perception of people around him or her as ‘debtors.’
Nobody owes you anything.
3. Take responsibility for your life
Again, nobody owes you anything. Choose to be responsible for your life, and try to begin sowing things you want from others into their lives.
If you want respect, learn to treat other people with respect. By doing that, people will give you back your respect. That’s the simplicity of the golden principle.
Saying goodbye to the entitlement mentality will never be an automatic experience for you—or any other person. It is a deliberate efforts from the person in question, which involves taking responsibility for his life. Consequently, breaking entitlement mindset may require you to:
- Set goals for yourself and working towards them, without believing others are indebted to make you achieve them.
- Read books or consume helpful materials that will help you change your thought pattern for good.
- Become more sincere to yourself and not trying to compete with others.
- Dissociate yourself from toxic relationships. Doing this will help you make and embrace good relationships. Yes associations that will stimulate you to becoming the best version you can be as a person.
- All these are among other positive decisions you will have to take.
4. Learn empathy and live it
The person next to you desires to give and get love. Even you too. Period!
It is an emotional need of every man. And this explains why no one gets comfortable with people who seek every opportunity to dominate them or give them the impression that they are not in the same pedigree.
The ancient golden principle is resurfacing again:
Do to others what you want them to do to you
Summarily, try and relate with others with openness, without prejudice, and understanding their feelings, plight, or predicament. Through giving attention and listening to them. That’s what empathy is all about.
5. Get out of your “closed world” and reach out to others with compassion
A person who decides to turn his back at entitlement mentality, no doubt he desires a transformation. And this desire will make him trash out many pieces of junk in his life.
That’s to say breaking the entitlement mentality require one to develop conscious efforts in developing new habits.
People with a self-entitlement mentality should engage in unselfish activities like volunteering to be part of an outreach by an NGO in their community. That will gradually take them out of the cage of self-centeredness.
Good luck! Wishing you the best.
Campbell, W. K., Bonacci, A. M., Shelton, J., Exline, J. J., & Bushman, B. J. (2004). Psychological entitlement: Interpersonal Consequences and Validation of a Self-report Measure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 83, 29–45.
Lessard, J., Greenberger, E., Chen, C., & Farruggia, S. (2011). Are youths’ feelings of entitlement always “bad”?: Evidence for a Distinction between Exploitive and Non-exploitive Dimensions of Entitlement. Journal of Adolescence, 34(3), 521–529. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.05.014
Lessard J., Greenberger E., Chen C. (2016). Sense of Entitlement. In: Levesque R. (eds) Encyclopedia of Adolescence. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32132-5_280-2
Schaefer T., Marguerite E. Barta, William Whitley, Margie S. (2013). The “You Owe Me!” Mentality: A Student Entitlement Perception Paradox.