Chapter 14: Entitlement Attitudes
Since the 70’s our culture has witnessed the rising tide of poisonous entitlement thinking, and often a fine place to see it demonstrated is on television courtroom shows. A good example was a case recently in which a twenty-something man was being sued by his mother for several thousand dollars. The young man had borrowed the money to buy a car, which his mother had put on her credit card. This was the third time his mother had loaned her son money, having tapped her retirement funds for the first two loans. She had forgiven the previous two loans, but now the credit card company was seeking payment. She was left with no other recourse but to seek the payment from her son in court. When questioned, the young man’s arrogant response to the judge was, “I don’t think I owe her the money because the car was a piece of [bleep].”
Two Types of Entitlement Mentalities
- Narcissistic Entitlement Mentality
- The “Pollyanna” Entitlement Mentality
Of the two types of entitlement mentalities that I observe, the one exemplified in the previous paragraph is the most threatening to our success and well-being. This is the Narcissistic Entitlement Mentality.
Entitlement mentality is the unquestioned assumption that we simply have a right to things, considerations and privileges without regard for any effort or sacrifice we have made to deserve or earn them.
Drs. Jean M. Twenge and Keith Campbell in their book “The Narcissism Epidemic” make a compelling case for their thesis that our culture is in the midst of a pandemic of narcissism (and with it, the attending entitlement mentality.) They cite multiple cultural indicators along with steadily rising aggregate test results for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s hard to dispute their evidence and harder to ignore their conclusion: The rise of narcissism has been the most fundamental and ubiquitous factor behind many of the sweeping (mostly negative) cultural changes of the last thirty years.