A sense of entitlement
- September 29, 2018
- Posted by: MAYURI
- Category: Articles
A sense of entitlement
It is a belief that one deserves privileges and special treatment. It can be in any arena in life. Sense of entitlement in social relationships is the bane of our society, creating on its way unequal relationships, where one feels entitled to deference and respect and the other is relegated to providing that respect but hardly ever receiving it in return.
Examples are many
- Elders feel entitled to respect, attention and care from the young
- Parents feel entitled to attention and obedience from children
- Bosses feel entitled to receive respectful hearing, prompt following of instructions and diligent work from subordinates
- Husbands feel entitled to respect, service, obedience, trust and silence from wife
- Wives feel entitled to care, love and understanding nature from their husbands
- Children have a sense of entitlement with regard to parents that they must be readily available with resources; money, physical help, caring of their own children etc
- Politicians expect all of the above from their people!
The list can go on. Even in friendships one often sees people expecting things from friends and giving up the relationship when these social expectations are not met.
And the most critical among all these are the social class, caste and gender related differentiation on sense of entitlement, which is rampant in society; upper classes of people expect privileges, lower classes expect doles, men expect obedience from women and so on.
Psychoanalysis differentiates entitlement into three types
- Normal: where the individual expects positive responsiveness from others, has expectations on acting on things all by himself which adds to self esteem
- Inflated : here the individual seeks privileges for himself alone and has high expectations of obedience from others
- Compromised: inability to expect even basic rights enjoyed by others.
Under all these conditions, extreme cases need psychological assessment and treatment.
Under normal circumstances, entitlement must be earned with cooperation, kindness and care. But inflated sense of entitlement comes often from occupying a position, rather than being a kind of person. Here comes the conflict.
- Autocratic bosses demand and good leaders command entitlement
- One parent commands entitlement through care and kindness and the other simply by virtue of occupying the position of a parent
- Often a man demands and a woman can only command through positive actions
- Upper class persons demand and the under privileged can only command through exemplary actions
Society therefore gets into unequal equations and this is followed by conflict and misery. Often situations reach such a state where remedies cannot be found easily.
What can be done?
By those who have an inflated sense of entitlement
- Introspect: the greatest malady of humans is that most of us refuse to introspect. What am I expecting from others? Do I deserve that? Who am I? What did I do for them that is exemplary? Should I expect gratefulness from them? These are crucial questions that need to be answered very very honestly.
- Develop control over disappointment if other does not fulfil your own sense of entitlement. Here lies the problem. Often this person becomes revengeful. Control this negativity. Needs a lot of effort but introspection helps.
- Develop tolerance towards others: this is again a tough call. Humans are born differently and no two are alike in any trait. There are bound to be differences and only tolerance for other persons can moderate our own sense of entitlement.
- Move on: yes, you felt cheated …ignored… okay. You can still move on and try to minimise the hurt. It will harm you more than the other, this negative festering unhappy feeling. Try to get over it and move on as soon as possible.
By those who have compromised on entitlement
- These persons must ask for it…yes, ask for being recognised, rewarded or appreciated. It is really hard for them to do this. A first step must be made at some point of time.
- They must find a way to get others to notice them by speaking up, demonstrating skill, exhibiting what they are capable of.
- These persons must not get into depressive moods; a big problem for the constantly ignored or bypassed individuals is depression. Must fight this tendency as soon as they recognise it.
Overall our sense of entitlement should always match our ability to work well, maintain good relationships and introspect often to be realistic and finally be able to move on if necessary and not hang on to grudges.