Chapter 8 – Entitlement


One of the most subtle blind spots is found in people who believe they are entitled to special treatment and privileges, including immunity from criticism. Entitled individuals believe whatever is convenient for them is also permissible. They will claim authority they do not have and invent justifications for their demands and behavior as needed.          

Entitled people at their worst have contempt for rules and standards except for their own. Comments about responsibilities are regarded as meaningless. They often assume their old and often exaggerated difficulties and deprivations provide them with a license to receive extra privileges from ordinary situations and people. They insist they are only seeking what every repectable person wants. Consequently, they become equal opportunity takers and users.

While these descriptions of the entitled highlight their most obvious hallmarks, the common variety of the entitled person is not overtly obnoxious and demanding. Instead, they appear to have solid self-confidence, high self-esteem, and a positive approach to life. Unsurprisingly, many of these types are clever enough to back off when their bluff is challenged. However, most will push their demands again when the situation is more favorable for them.

Some entitled people are aggressive and will become angry when their demands are rebuffed. A few will respond with an uproar and claim they are being victimized if they fail to receive what they demand. Other types of entitled people are more clever and become experts in the use of emotional blackmail to get what they want.

Many entitled people are aware they have a significant problem wirh their public relations. They often make dramatic efforts to demonstrate a special type of kindness and generosity to some conspicuously pathetic individuals, pets, or those who are overtly ill. This is carefully designed to make others view them as compassionate so they will tolerate their more disgusting behavior in other areas. This act is surprisingly successful for those who are unable to recognize blatant opportunism and toxic selfishness the entitled so effortlessly demonstrate. .

If we only view their character superficially, the entitled person may seem strong and optimistic instead of sociopathic. However, a closer investigation will usually reveal strong undercurrents of anxiety and self-doubt about coping with challenges to their habits and lifestyle. 

Although entitled people tend to exhaust the patience and generosity of others, many of them are surprisingly successful in their careers and relationships. Some become experts in exploiting people and situations to expand their success. Unfortunately, they tend to leave many bruised and disappointed people who can demonstrate the mark of footprints on their backs in the wake of their experience.

The common characteristic of the entitled person

Entitled people exist in a wide range of types and styles. Some are merely pushy con artists who quickly wear out their welcome in most gatherings. A few are noted for their continual effort to exploit situations and people. These types eventually have no close friends other than a few weak and needy people who have become a hostage to those who use them.  

Most entitled people are far smoother in their relationships and are well-accepted. Many of these succeed well in their careers precisely because they know how to develop good connections with others and finesse minor differences and objections. Since many of the entitled are experts in the art of manipulation, a few have become useful in negotiating differences and generating agreements.  

Here are some of the basic characteristics of the entitled person.

  • They blithely exempt themselves from many rules and expectations that have become inconvenient for them.
  • They claim assorted rights and privileges whenever it becomes suitable.
  • If they are criticized, they often retaliate with shallow excuses such as, “All criticism is self-criticism” in an effort to imply the critic is only projecting their own flaws instead of detecting genuine faults in the others.
  • The entitled often assume their exaggerated memories of being exploited gives them a perfect license to continue their own exploitations.
  • Entitled people tend to judge others by how charitable and generous they are and how easily they will agree to cooperate with them. Those who resist them are viewed as cold and insensitive.
  • Many entitled can selectively turn off their conscience and common sense. This act helps them to deny the consequences of their bold claims and their indifference to the needs of others.
  • There is mild to moderate contempt for humble, obedient people who automatically follow popular traditions. They cannot stand genuinely strong, smart, and confident people who are resistant to their manipulation.
  • Entitled people are very judgmental and righteous about their opinions. However, they are very disturbed when a similar harsh judgment is directed to them.

The characteristics of the spiritually entitled  

Entitled people tend to strongly judge spiritual and religious beliefs and practices. Sometimes they act as if they are in competition with God’s plan.   This includes strong disparagement of many religious concepts about integrity, accountability, and humility. The standard views of entitled people  tend to be wildly diverse. Some are atheistic, and others use religion as a cover for their demands and manipulations. 

Here are some of the common signs that the blind spot of entitlement is having an impact on their spiritual life.

  • Some entitled people are strongly anti-religious and materialistic. They do not want God or anyone else declaring what we must do or not do. This belief extends to being confident that there are no universal laws that govern the consequences of our behaviors.
  • Others will act in the opposite way and become hyper-religious in demanding strict obedience to their carefully selected spiritual practices. They love to point out the sins of others to elevate their ego and use religious teachings to justify their nefarious behaviors.
  • Many entitled firmly believe their religion is the only true outlet for God. This belief is used to inflate their conviction of their superior status. Naturally, they are eager to regard followers of other religions as ignorant pagans. Further discussion is futile.
  • Entitled people are prone to accept simplistic religious ideas and practices with shortcuts to every proper goal. Common beliefs include these simple-minded ideas.
  • All we need to do is believe in God. Meaningful reforms in our character or good works are not necessary.   
  • God is a God of Love who has already forgiven all our sins. No further action is needed. 
  • We are all horrible sinners. We can do nothing to mitigate this. Frequent guilt is considered a healthy spiritual mindset. Begging for forgiveness is the primary act that brings redemption.
  • Preparing for our life after death is our primary work on earth, and therefore, my lack of material success is irrelevant.
  • The intellect is a primary barrier to the spiritual life because it allows us to interfere with God’s will and be skeptical. Basic ignorance and lack of skill are unimportant. Any criticism we hear about ourself is merely proof of the judgmentalism of the accuser.
  • Those who insist that we must earn the respect and material goods we want by honest, hard work are ignorant bigots who are only seeking to withhold the good life from others.   
  • Blaming the devil for most problems becomes a very convenient way to avoid personal responsibility.

The impact of group entitlement on society

The blind spot of assuming we deserve special privileges also has a large impact on society. This is because the collective demands of hundreds of thousands of entitled people can become a powerful force that will influence leaders and politicians to respond to their demands.

Thus, we see certain groups who claim a need for special rights and benefits. Some of these groups are deserving, but others are clearly opportunists. Politicians and bureaucrats, being what they are, can be bullied or seduced into establishing regulations that provide these special privileges.

The initial success in achieving extra benefits tends to attract more groups to claim similar rights. However, like many privileges, they soon become sought after by those who might not be qualified.

This is where the cloud of exploitation and opportunism gathers. For instance, those who are stuck in poverty, do poorly in academia, and are low achievers in the work force will claim the only significant reason for these problems are the privileged people who neglect and abuse them.

What is left out of most discussions about these issues are the many other reasons why specific people fail to do well in academia, careers, general health, and other areas.

The issue of entitlement can blossom into a serious problem in our culture unless we untangle the multiple reasons for success or failure in any endeavor. Surely, failure can be caused by many influences, not just a single origin in oppression. It is always easy to point the finger of blame at those who, supposedly, interfere with our welfare. However, this does not eliminate the importance of personal choice, ambition, self-control, and responsibility.

Likewise, the cure for these differences cannot be a matter of granting extra privileges, lowering standards, decriminalization misdemeanors, and exemptions from the usual rules for social behavior.

As ever, the ultimate cure for the blind spot of expecting extra rights and special advantages is personal growth in accountability, self-reliance, self-discipline, and hard work. These qualities are not well regarded by the entitled, but they prove to be the true antidote to their exaggerated claims for special rights and privileges.

What are the core issues in entitlement?

There are many core issues that lie behind the blind spot of entitlement. The basic problem is that the entitled like to assume that they have a special right to take shortcuts to success in life. This tendency to cut corners on their way to winning often means they will stress style over substance and confidence over talent. They will try to push ahead by substituting charm, bribes, and intimidation for the knowledge, ability, and hard work needed for enduring progress.

Some would summarize the entitled person as one who has ambition without effort or morality and enthusiasm without talent or humility. Thus, you see many who claim to be doing God’s will to cover the most blatant acts of exploitation and greed. A close examination of their character usually reveals that they are guided more by their wants and desires than any higher power. The rest is just a matter of self-serving rationalizations. This is how they bypass their limited conscience and self-restraint.

From a more philosophical perspective, the core problem of the entitled is their ignorance and unwillingness to apply the laws of karma and right human relationships. Without these insights and abilities, there is little to restrain the overconfidence and arrogance that allows the entitled individual to thrive.

If there is one major virtue that, if strengthened, would produce major reforms in the entitled person, this virtue would be humility. Without it, we cannot properly recognize and embrace our proper place in the universe and role in life. We are not designed to be totally independent individuals. We are all part of a collective whole. Our behavior affects others and vice versa. This fact obliges us to be sensitive and responsible for how we conduct ourselves.

Humility also reminds us that we have an obligation to act as the divine creations that we are. Of course, we have free will to do as we wish, including denying divine authority and order. However, we do not have the power to control the consequences of our actions or lack of them. If we want a successful life, we need to learn to be considerate, cooperative, and accountable for our actions.

What can we do to repair the blind spot of entitlement?

There is one change that entitled people must embrace before they can overcome the blind spot of entitlement. This is to begin viewing their habits and behavior with greater awareness and sensitivity. An honest acknowledgement of the dire consequences of their entitled behavior will be the strongest incentive for essential reforms.

Both short-term and long-term observations are essential. Our bloated expectations and assumptions will produce a trail of annoyance in ourselves and others that cannot be ignored. Old friends, of course, have long ago learned to tolerate the arrogance of entitled people.

The rest of the victims will have a long list of annoyances about those who have acted selfishly and ignored the feelings and preferences of many. Most people do not tolerate the obvious lack of respect the entitled often demonstrate. It is essential to recognize this. This realization will help motivate the removal of the carefully assembled armor of self-serving rationalizations the entitled have used as a license to exploit others.  

The entitled person needs to stop and realize how rude and insensitive they have been. And no, claiming that we did not know how sensitive others are is not an adequate excuse for these behaviors. Ignorance of the obvious is a sign of our self-serving excuses, not a flaw in the gullibility of others.

The full force of healing qualities can be engaged if the entitled can expand their awareness and sensitivity. This can be achieved in these ways. 

  • Greater respect for the beliefs, rights, and needs of others.
  • More patience and self-control to restrain the impulse to criticize or ignore others.
  • The humility to recognize we are not a prince or princess with privileges the ordinary person does not have.
  • A greater awareness of the consequences of our behavior and a  stronger sense of responsibility. Placing ourself in the shoes of our victims to experience their distress will be a good place to start.

Perhaps humility is the most challenging part of this list of qualities to cultivate. The traditional concept of humility will seem bizarre to them because this trait is the exact opposite of the dominant quality in their personality. Entitled people genuinely believe they are extra special and deserving and that most others are stupid and inhibited.

The right kind of humility should not be confused with self-rejection and groveling. Instead, authentic humility helps us to recognize how we are members of humanity who automatically share many benefits and  obligations. In most cases, we share many of the same values, problems, needs, struggles and rewards. Genuine humility helps us to build a harmonious relationship with large groups. We are still special, not in the old selfish manner, but as unique human beings full of rich potential.


What often appears to be a cheerful and confident person can be an arrogant and self-absorbed individual who tries to succeed by being polite and charming with overtones of intimidation. Entitled people have little awareness of how pushy and rude they can be, or if they do, they rationalize that these are the habits of all successful people. They see the world as divided between smart people, like themselves, who take advantage of all opportunities and shortcuts, versus others who are simply naïve, lazy, and unimaginative.

Ultimately, entitled people need to realize that they are not nearly as clever or wise as they have assumed. They have been using others to achieve what they want instead of being more self-reliant and responsible.

As their perspective and sense of identity become more inclusive, it is  easier to acquire the ability to be humble, modest, and respectful to others. This change will help to reduce the simplistic and self-serving beliefs about our relationships and connection to the divine. 

Ponder on these points

  1. What makes us think that we will be immune to the consequences of how badly we treat others? Can we genuinely assume everyone will continue to indulge us whenever we are needy and demanding? 
  • Have we noticed how others who are rude and intimidating are rarely happy and content except for short periods?
  • Befriending people mainly for what favors they can do for us is a poor way to select our close relationships. What are the crucial qualities that we want in a friend or associate? Are we also ready to express them to others?
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