How To Get Over A Sense Of Entitlement

Updated July 12, 2022 by ReGain Editorial Team

It can be difficult to acknowledge that we may have a sense of entitlement. While one person’s entitlement may be perceived as a go-getter attitude, another can be seen as self-serving or rude. But what is an entitlement, exactly?

The easiest way to sum up entitlement is when a person always has a “me-first” attitude. Entitled people believe that the world revolves around them and expect other people to defer to their every wishes, taste, and desire. In relationships, they may often take but rarely give in return. 

Not Sure How To Get Over Your Sense Of Entitlement?

Entitlement is a personality trait characterized by an exaggerated sense of expectations, specialness, and superiority, and can manifest itself in many aspects of a person’s personality and actions. While they can seem like largely harmless traits and habits, they can negatively affect the person who has them and their relationships.

Read on to learn what it means to have a sense of entitlement, how it can develop, the negative impacts it can have on your life, and ways that you can work toward being less entitled.

What Does It Mean To Have A Sense Of Entitlement?

There are several different signs that a person can exhibit when developing or suffering from a sense of entitlement.

Oftentimes the first sign is a person making demands of their friends, coworkers, family members, or significant others that are unreasonable or unachievable. For instance, if you expect your significant other to stay home all weekend while you go out with friends, or if you demand a friend or family member give you a loan when you know that they cannot afford to.

People with a sense of entitlement have difficulty handling situations that require compromise, as they tend to view everything as a competition. This means that, even in situations where a compromise makes the most sense or benefits both parties, an entitled person will find it nearly impossible to do because, in their eyes, it means that they are “losing.”

In situations where a person with entitlement issues does not get their way, they frequently do something irrational or disproportionate to the situation. This can manifest itself in the act of lashing out, most often as an angry outburst or by refusing to talk to the person that did not defer to their wishes.

Such negative reactions often end up causing a person with entitlement issues to find a result far different from what they desire. Instead of having the admiration and respect of everyone they meet, they often end up with damaged personal and professional relationships, sometimes to the point of being irreparable.

Why Do People Develop A Sense Of Entitlement?

As with all psychological concerns, a sense of entitlement often develops due to a person’s early experiences. These experiences, not always negative, evolve into the overinflated sense of importance that goes hand in hand with entitlement. Recent studies also show that entitlement can vary based on gender and psychology.

  • An Attempt To Overcompensate For Past Experiences

One of the primary reasons believed to contribute to a sense of entitlement is negative experiences in childhood. This could include being mistreated, being raised in an environment where a person felt they lacked something that others had, or experiencing contempt or being treated as lesser than their peers or family members.

At first, entitlement may manifest to cope with feelings of resentment at being less well-off or treated as less talented or less appreciated than others. However, this coping mechanism can worsen and end up developing into a sense of entitlement.

For instance, a child raised with few possessions may envy peers that are wealthier and have more toys and clothes, and as an adult, they may feel that they deserve the finer things in life because they weren’t afforded them as a child.

  • Raised To Expect To Get What They Want

Most parents aim to raise happy, healthy, and confident children. Sometimes, however, parents with a mindset that always says “yes” to their child’s requests can end up doing their children a serious disservice.

This type of parenting means that children always get their way and will learn to expect their demands to be fulfilled in every situation. Over time, children who are never told “no” can end up developing a sense of entitlement that carries over into adulthood.

These children may expect everything to be done as they wish, and when they find that to not be the case in adult situations, they may end up feeling angry and resentful toward those that don’t give them what they want. They may also have a greater tendency to feel sorry for themselves.

  • Narcissistic Tendencies

Sometimes, a person’s sense of entitlement isn’t directly related to negative experiences in their childhood. When coupled with an overwhelming need for admiration and attention, extreme entitlement cases can mean that a person has a narcissism disorder.

Narcissists believe that they are better than everyone around them and that everything should algendways be about them. They often look down on others as inferior, feel they do not have to follow the rules in any situation, and celebrate only their own achievements. In contrast, they may belittle the accomplishments of others.

The signs of narcissism are very similar to those of entitlement, except that they are significantly more pronounced.

Negative Effects Of A Sense Of Entitlement

There are many negative effects a sense of entitlement can impart on a person.

People with entitlement issues may have high expectations of themselves that can lead to extreme disappointment and psychological distress if they go unmet. They are also more likely to have problems maintaining positive relationships with other people. They often have difficulty accepting when things don’t go their way because they believe they are being treated unfairly.

study conducted by Case Western Reserve University and published in Psychological Bulletin found that entitlement issues can cause many different issues within a person’s life. Researchers found that people with entitlement issues often get stuck in a cycle: high expectations can result in disappointment, leading to dissatisfaction, anger, or other strong emotions or outbursts, and finally to emotional distress that they have a difficult time moving past. This cycle puts people with entitlement issues at an increased risk of being frustrated, unhappy, and disappointed with their lives.

Ways To Overcome A Sense Of Entitlement

Overcoming a sense of entitlement can be a challenging endeavor, but at its most basic involves only one thing: finding a way to look at things from another perspective.

Consider the ways that your words and actions affect the people around you. For example, if you ask a favor of someone, not only should it be something within reason for them to do, but you should also expect to do a favor for them in return.

An entitled person’s reaction to this situation is to expect the person to do as they ask without question, but treating relationships as a two-way street is an important step in becoming less entitled and more aware of other’s feelings and desires.

Observe the differences in your relationships with other people when you try to be more compassionate. Do they respond better to you? Are group tasks easier to complete? Do you feel better supported in your relationship? Noticing these changes is a great way to help reinforce good habits because they help you see the benefits of your actions.

Another strategy for helping to overcome a sense of entitlement is to practice being mindful of your past and how it affects your behavior. Try to accept that the past is something that you cannot change and that everyone has experienced difficulties in their lives. Realize that your past experiences don’t entitle you to special treatment from everyone at every turn. People are more likely to be kind and respectful toward you if you act that way toward them.

Make the best of each day and try to find ways to help other people rather than always deferring to your wishes or desires. A great way to do this is to find an opportunity to help those less fortunate than yourself through volunteering opportunities. Seeing the struggles that other people face can help you learn to be more compassionate and doing so can also give you a new sense of fulfillment so that you aren’t trying to seek it through other, more self-centered means.

If you struggle with issues you think may be related to a sense of entitlement, you are certainly not alone. These are issues that can be worked through with time and help from a trusted mental health professional.

Not Sure How To Get Over Your Sense Of Entitlement?

At ReGain, we can help you find a licensed therapist that can help you assess your entitlement-related habits and actions and find ways to overcome them. Our convenient online sessions can be done from your computer, tablet, or phone, whenever it best suits your schedule.

Don’t let entitlement issues have a negative impact on your life and relationships. Seeking help can help you find a feeling of safety and confidence in yourself in a meaningful, positive way and help you break the cycle of entitlement.

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