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  • Heather Vest

The Entitled

Richard O’Connor Ph.D. writes of the idea that all people have components of entitlement within. Whether it be the idea that “I am just slightly better than others” or “I should have been awarded that thing instead of my co-worker”. If you dig deep, I’m pretty sure you would be able to find your uniqueness or feeling of “being special” as well. However, sometimes that component can reel out of control and cause the world to receive you as less- than- desirable, plus it forces you to live in an altered state of reality, a fallacy. Sometimes this entitlement is born after having experiences with oppression, mental health disorder, or adversity in childhood. The person thinks: “Well, I had it rough and no one was ever there to give me a helping hand so I am due this stolen merchandise” or “I was born with and have to live with depression so everyone around me should be able to make me feel better”. It is unfair when you think of the idea that some had it easier than you or that they had things that you were not provided with.


Moving forward, people in this subject’s circle would have to figure out how to deal with this individual and their overwhelming sense of entitlement. O’Connor’s book, Rewire, uses the illustration of the toddler throwing a fit on the ground with mom in the room. Mom leaves the room and all she hears in silence. The toddler peeks into the room where the mother is and once is realizes she sees him; he flails on the ground and commences the fit. This is does in rapid succession. He always makes sure to fall on a carpet or padded surface before doing so. It’s a perfect illustration for how we tend to unconsciously pad the lives of the entitled. We begin at an early age treating them with indulgence instead of guidance and they soon see pay- off in their ‘fits’. The giver feels the need to keep the peace and gives in to the maladaptive behavior of the entitled. Take for instance, 20-year-old female that has increased use of meth since the age of 18. She has no longingness to hold a job, treats her parents disrespectfully, and lead them to believe they were the cause for her addiction. She perceives her brother received far more attention than she so now feels entitled to have her parents pull her out of trouble and pay for her habit. The mother acts from a place of guilt and indulges in this behavior until it is their cycle. The entitled are working under the assumption that “It is someone else’s job to help me” and “There is no reason for me to have self-control”.


Another element to this overly- entitled concept is over- indulgence and the idea that the maladaptive behavior “will not affect me because I am special”. This can involve overeating, substance use, and other risky behavior that ultimately causes damage. Take for instance, the overdose cases of the rich and famous. Chris Farley, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston were all treated like royalty and the message was reinforced by personal doctors and other treatment you and I don’t have the luxury of having. This ultimately led to an understanding that they were not subject to the same fate while they over- indulged.


The importance of this write-up is for both the entitled and those who provide them with indulgences. You aren’t helping anyone. If you want to make a healthy change, identify what you are doing and question why you are acting in such a way. I recommend you seek help from an objective individual and really begin some work in self- awareness and self- love.

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