The entitlement lifetrap


Every once in a while we meet someone who feels entitled.
Entitled to not accepting no for an answer.
Entitled to getting angry if they don’t get what they want.
Entitled to not complete boring or routine tasks.
Entitled to insisting that people do things their way.
Entitled to become easily frustrated and give up.
Entitled to putting their own needs first.
Entitled to feeling special and not having to accept normal constraints.
I am sure by now you have found someone in your own life…

What is entitlement?
According to psychologists Jeffrey Young and Janet Klosko entitlement is one of several self-defeating behavior patterns, called “lifetraps”. According to them there are 3 types of entitlement:

  • Spoiled entitlement: a person sees him/herself as special, is demanding and controlling and wants everything his/her way.
  • Dependent entitlement: a person feels entitled to depend on other people. They place themselves in the weak, incompetent, needy role and expect other people to be strong and take care of them.
  • Impulsivity: a person has difficulty controlling his/her behavior and feelings. They let other people assume responsibility for their everyday affairs and their decision-making.
    They lack organization and structure and have trouble tolerating frustration while completing long-term boring or routine tasks.

What to do while dealing with entitled people?
What’s important to realize is that the entitled person rarely wants to change. They cannot look at themselves and usually blame others for their problems. They lack empathy and feel entitled to more than that they give. They even fight to stay the same.

While dealing with an entitled person the thing to do is to identify your sources of leverage:

  • What do you have that he/she values? Your respect? Money? A job? Love?
  • How far are you willing to go to get change? Are you willing to fire an employee? Leave your partner?
  • Then approach the entitled person and express your complaints in a non-attacking way. Ask if he/she is aware how you feel. Is he/she willing to work on changing?
  • If he/she is unreceptive, tell him/her the consequences if there is no change.
  • Remember that it is often impossible to get an entitled person to change.
  • And because of this fact, YOU will have to change. You will have to learn to manage this person and the skill you need is setting limits as they will never set limits for themselves. Demonstrations of hurt are usually useless with an entitled person.
    The only thing to do is to use whatever leverage you have.

And if the person is important to you, try to make it work as he/she will never fulfill his/her potential for love and work…


* Source: Jeffrey E. Young PhD and Janet S. Klosko PhD: “Reinventing your life, how to break free from negative life patterns and feel good again”.