The Entitlement Mentality 

John Bull is the only child of two successful parents. His father is the executive director of a major bank while the mother is an oil magnate. In between these parents lies a vast amount of property, business holdings and fat bank accounts. John Bull, an undergraduate in one of the private universities, doesn’t see the need to study hard or carve a niche for himself. What’s the point in stressing myself when I have family wealth to fall back on, he’ll say. Whatever belongs to my parents belongs to me.

Vera and Steve are couples. Both are working class though Vera’s workload seems to be more than Steve’s. Most times, Steve gets home earlier. Although he could help out with dinner pending the arrival of Vera, he’ll rather not. I’m the head of the house after all. My place isn’t in the kitchen. So he’ll rather hang out with friends in the meantime while a fatigued Vera gets home to do all the cooking.   

Foster is a citizen of Friverkistern. Throughout his undergrad days, he’d always had lofty expectations of his government. Although he had the opportunities to learn new skills and go for relevant trainings, he chose to keep faith with his government. It’s the responsibility of the government to provide me with a good job after studies, he’ll insist. He however gets offended and let down by the same government after 3 years of unemployment as a graduate.

Brian is an uncle to Taylor. Brian is a wealthy businessperson in the city. He had battled all the odds to make it to the top. On the other hand, his nephew Taylor is a lazy bone whose only job is to leave on Brian. He’ll rather knock at his uncle’s door each time he has a need. He believes God blessed Brian for a reason – to meet the needs of family. What more, he is convinced he has a stake in his wealth. After all, I’ve been praying ceaselessly for him. The minute Brian stopped dolling out cash to him he began to resent him. He’s just self-centred.  

Craig is a member of an ad-hoc committee set up by his company management. On the committee are folks as educated, exposed and experienced as Craig. He however feels he should naturally chair the committee, being the eldest. The other members however disagree with him and appoint a chairperson by popular majority. Craig makes things difficult for the committee as he always demands his ideas be approved in lieu of others.  

Clara and Gloria are friends. While Clara is open and shares her private affairs with Gloria, Gloria is secretive and doesn’t give much away. Interestingly, she expects Clara to open up to her about herself every time but cleverly avoids bringing up her own private matters. Clara eventually takes notice of Gloria’s clever ways and decides to talk less about herself henceforth. Upon noticing the change in Clara’s manner of communication, Gloria feels offended and decides to cut her off.

Peter has been home all day doing nothing. He knows he needs to cash a cheque at the bank down the street but puts it off until much later. He however doesn’t get to the bank until 4 – the exact time the bank closes for the day. When told to come back the next day, he flares-up and begins to cause a scene. He feels it’s not going to take any effort for the teller to attend to him as he is the only one left. Customers are always right after all.

………… . . …………………………..

One thing is common to the characters of John Bull, Steve, Foster, Taylor, Craig, Gloria and Peter in the illustrations above: they all have a complex called the entitlement mentality. It’s the kind of personality trait that makes a man feel the world revolves around him alone. He believes other people simply exist to singularly meet his needs or be at his disposal. One who suffers from this trait is unable to distinguish clearly between his privileges and rights. As far as he is concerned, his needs, desires and expectations are priority and he’ll do whatever it takes to actualise them.  The entitlement complex creates a larger-than-life portrait in the mind of one who has it. He clearly sees himself as one who is better off than every other person hence their need to be subservient to him.         

The entitlement complex is only a closely linked to narcissism – a personality disorder characterised by excessive self-admiration/importance and need for attention. You are sure to hear the entitlement claimant use expressions as I don’t care, it’s my right, I’m always right always. The first person and possessive pronouns I, me, mine are consistent in his lexicon. 

The entitlement claimant rarely sees anything wrong about whatever he does even when it’s obvious. Instead of owning up to a fault, he’ll rather make up excuses to justify himself. 

Let’s consider our special characters and entitlement claimants as case study. We’ll deduce certain characteristics peculiar to folks with entitlement complex from them:

John Bull is our first claimant. He is likely to be a product of an African influence that believes whatever belongs to the parent belongs to the child. Although he never contributed to his parent’s wealth, he feels he has a claim to it because of the sonship status. Such warped knowledge makes him lazy and irresponsible.

An entitlement claimant like Steve is downright inconsiderate and unfeeling.  He has an overrated sense of self-esteem. His untoward attitude is fuelled by his absurd patriarchal mentality that relegates the wife/woman to play less-dignifying roles. He feels that, because he is the husband, it’s his right to be cooked for even if it’s at the expense of his wife’s well-being. 

Foster is clearly disillusioned. He has an unrealistic expectation of his government.  He his is ignorant of the intricacies of the bill of rights. He fails to understand that just because the right to employment is valid, it’s not guaranteed. While it’s the duty of the government to provide certain benefits for its citizens, realistically, there is a limit to what it can provide. Foster’s claim to some right makes him overly dependent hence doesn’t take responsibility for his future.  He only thinks about what his country can/should do for him and not what he can do for his country.

Just like Taylor, many entitlement claimants always feel they have a stake in another’s success. While they are lazy and hardly take responsibility for their lives, they make others feel guilty for their sorry state. Taylor and his ilk lack a sense of appreciation for the sacrifice of others. Taylor insists his uncle is successful because of his prayers. Shouldn’t he rather say the prayers for himself?

Craig presents an interesting case of entitlement complex. He has little or no regard for due process. His claim to leadership is largely based on age difference. Because of his over bloated feeling of self-worth, he tries to impose his ideas on others. Folks like him are consistently arrogant.

Something about the entitlement claimant makes him feel he is so special. Someone like Gloria always likes to be in the position of strength. She wouldn’t tell her friend stuffs but feels it’s her friend’s duty to spill. Gloria is distastefully clever and selfish. The entitlement claimant gets offended over a situation he is culpable.

Because, he suffers from the entitlement complex, Peter is plainly inconsiderate, unreasonable and arrogant. The entitlement claimant thinks only of his own convenience and satisfaction. When things doesn’t seem to be working in his favour, he becomes irritable.

The entitlement claimants are of the generation gimme. 

Nothing more guarantees the erosion of character than getting something for nothing – Dennis Prager. From all indications, the entitlement mentality tends toward the undesirable. While its ideal can be channelled to positive ends, it turns into a personality disorder when it becomes excessive. While it could foster the attitude of a healthy self-esteem, it’s most likely to promote a malignant form of self-love/worth. 

Entitlements are not rights and except for the basic human rights, not all supposed rights are assured. Often times, folks use entitlement claims as a guise of laziness and inability to take responsibility for their inadequacies. They expect too much of life than they are willingly give to it.    

Mark Twain once said don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first. You owe it to yourself to make a sense of your life. As much as you matter, the world doesn’t revolve around you alone. 

If you want it, you earn it!

Image Credit: antipodeanwriter


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