The Psychology of Entitlement!
An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates
Volume 12, Number 9
It was just only last week when we were overwhelmed with Hurricane Irma. Coming quickly after Hurricane Harvey and just before Hurricane Maria, we have been in an almost constant state of anxiety this September. Most of us have returned to our normal lives although there are still people without electricity and air conditioning. This has been the first serious hurricane since Wilma twelve years ago and most of us were better prepared for it. However, this was a period of high anxiety which still remains for many of us. Not only the anxiety about how “catastrophic” this hurricane would be but also the anxiety about clean up, the possibility of other hurricanes, and fixing up the damage. Many people have reported to us feelings of post-hurricane exhaustion. It will take a while for our lives to get back to normal and yes, this anxiety is normal. However, we must remember to pay attention to our emotions and find ways to relax. Let’s continue to express kindness to others and gratitude for surviving the hurricane and tornadoes as well as remembering there are forces of nature that are stronger than man.
Our September E-Letter is about The Psychology of Entitlement. Dr. K’s blog continues with its twelfth installment and our email of the month is about Funny Instructions on Consumer Goods. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our E-Letters and for the numerous positive and compassionate comments we have received.
Practice Addition. We are very pleased to announce that Akiva Daum, MD has joined our practice. Dr. Daum is a multiple Board Certified Psychiatrist who will be seeing patients eighteen years and older for a limited number of hours a week. He specializes in Addiction Psychiatry and will also see patients who are in need of general psychiatric care. His special interests include treating patients with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders as well as chronic pain and addiction disorders. He has taught and supervised other psychiatrists, medical students, residents, and fellows. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Daum, call our office at 954 755-2885.
Low Cost Therapy: We are currently providing lower cost therapy. Tara Passaretti, LMHC, is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Nationally Board Certified Counselor who has extensive experience working with children and families in private practice and in the court system. Returning from maternity leave, she is providing counseling at a lower fee. If you are in need of a therapist but do not have insurance or are unable to afford the high copays, Tara would be willing to see you. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call our office at 954 755-2885.
Testings. Our practice does different types of psychological or psychoeducational assessments to help answer questions about school and test accommodations, gifted placement, ADHD, and psychological diagnosis. Information regarding the tests can be found on our website. If you have more specific questions, please contact Dr. Kimmel or Paul Dolnick.
Support groups. We currently have two ongoing weekly therapy groups that have been quite successful and have been running for well over two years. A men’s support group and a women’s support group are run by Dr. Jim Kaikobad and meets for one and one-half hours. This confidential group is educational and supportive and is limited to 8 people.
Benefits of these groups include significant cost reduction, time effectiveness, and the support and understanding of other members experiencing similar issues. If you or a family member would like to participate in either of these groups, please contact Jillian in our office at 954 755-2885.
Downloads of handouts from our previous E-Letters can be found on our website, www.kimmelpsychology.com/e-letters/. We invite you to read and download them if desired.
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ENTITLEMENT!
We are living in an age of entitlement where respect for others and civility seems to be non-existent. However, this may not be exactly true as strangers and others have stepped in to help those who have been damaged by the storms and other natural disasters. It is sad that it takes a catastrophe for people to reach out and help others. Nevertheless, some aspects of our society seem to be concerned with “what’s in it for me”. The advent of social media and certain advertising strategies have allowed attention to be focused on oneself. Where else can one put one’s public and personal lives out for the entire world to see and comment on? People have become so self-indulgent and concerned about how they appear to others that unimportant details have become very important. The invention of the selfie-stick has reinforced focusing on oneself, taking pictures, and sending it to others to show what one looks like or where they are. But it’s all about them.
In addition, changes in the values of our society have encouraged getting things for free or expecting things to come without working for them. Handouts, hacking, and pirating have allowed people to get what they want without having to pay for it. And now, this has become an expectation. After all, why should one pay for a song when they can download it for free on some pirate website?
Entitlement also comes from how children were raised. Many people believe that we have raised a generation who feel they are entitled, the millennials. Yes, the philosophy of older adults was to work hard to succeed. This has caused many to attain a level of affluence unheard of decades ago. The driving force was to succeed more than one’s parents and many have achieved levels of affluence that were unheard of years ago. However, these parents often gave to their children easily without their having to earn it. Under the belief that they were making their children happier, they gave and gave not realizing that their children would grow up to expect that their world would continue to give and give to them. They did not learn the value of achievement but rather that of deservingness and expectation. While these grown-up children got what they wanted, they did not learn how to cope with disappointment, frustration, not being given what they want, or rejection.
Entitled people are selfish. They believe that they have special privileges or deserve more than others just because of who they are. At the extreme, they are narcissistic. They believe that they are above the rules, that they are special and more important than others, and that they do not have to follow rules. They get easily frustrated and angry when they feel unfairly treated or when they don’t get their way. They do not take criticism well, lack empathy, and will inconvenience others. They are unable to put themselves in the shoes of another person and see it from their viewpoint. They expect to get things for free and do not donate to others or charitable institutions. They lack a basic understanding of society’s courtesies and norms and have little or no caring for others. It’s their way or no way and they deserve to have it their way.
But underneath this sense of entitlement are deep seated feelings of inferiority and insecurity. They may even be depressed or continually anxious because they have not developed coping skills. They seek admiration and validation from others as this tends to make them feel more secure but only temporarily. Researchers Joshua Grubbs and Julie Exline have described a three stage cycle of entitlement. In the first stage, entitlement creates a constant vulnerability as expectations are unmet and they are frustrated. In the second stage, these unmet expectations and deservingness lead to anger, dissatisfaction, and other negative emotions. To overcome these emotions, in the third stage, people think and act in a way that makes them feel superior which sometimes gets reinforced. Rather than learning how to cope and appreciate what they have, they remain stuck in deservingness and expectations to be given what they want.
There are several actions people can take to overcome entitlement. As in almost all problems, the first step is to recognize that entitlement is a problem that can cause serious damage to relationships and careers. One can learn to practice gratitude for what one has and to experience the good feelings of giving to and helping others. Placing oneself in another person’s position and seeing it from their point of view can reduce expectations. Being more understanding and humble can lead to the recognition that everyone has problems. Getting out of the “me” mindset and thinking in terms of “we” can help improve relationships. Learning coping skills can help to decrease frustration and deal with unmet expectations. One can also see a therapist to overcome underlying feelings of insecurity and inferiority. Entitlement can be changed but it takes work and commitment.
We offer the following information on The Psychology of Entitlement!
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ENTITLEMENT!
When we replace a sense of service and gratitude with a sense of entitlement and expectation, we quickly see the demise of our relationships, society, and economy
WHAT TO KNOW!
- Entitlement is the general belief that a person has special privileges or deserves more than others across all situations
- When people do not get what they feel they deserve, they feel unfairly treated and can get angry and potentially violent
- Underneath the sense of entitlement are deep-seated feelings of inferiority and insecurity causing these individuals to seek validation and admiration
- There is a high correlation between entitlement and narcissism
- Entitled people often:
- Believe that the same rules that apply to others do not apply to them
- Are less empathetic and less respectful
- Believe they are more interesting and valuable than other people
- Believe they do not have to follow the same rules as others
- Are more prone to aggression and will complain loudly if they don’t get their way
- Do not contribute or donate and expect to get things for free
- Refuse to do courtesies asked of them but expect others to do what they ask
- Will inconvenience others without any consideration of others
- Expect to be treated differently and better than others
- Believe that they should be paid more at work than others in comparable jobs
- Are resentful and hostile to those who criticize them
- Lack understanding of socially expected norms and the needs of others
- Long term consequences of entitlement include poor relationships, conflicts with others, frequent job changes, and depression
- Researchers J. Grubbs and J. Exline described a three stage cycle of entitlement:
1. Entitlement creates a constant vulnerability because of unmet expectations
2. Unmet expectations lead to anger, dissatisfaction and other negative emotions
3. As a remedy, people think and act in a way that makes them feel superior
- Many people believe that entitlement is greater in millennials because they were raised by parents who gave them everything and did not teach them to respect others
- Social media can provide entitled people with admiration and good feelings by being liked and feelings of anger and anxiety when not liked or responded to quickly
WHAT TO DO!
- Recognize and accept that you have a sense of entitlement that can cause problems in your relationships and in your career
- Practice gratitude and be grateful for what you have not what you don’t have
- Be humble and recognize that everyone has problems and suffers as you do
- Focus on growing yourself by seeing problems as learning experiences and an opportunity to improve and be more secure
- Change your perspective by putting yourself in the other person’s shoes
- Practice promoting someone else rather than yourself
- Seek professional help to overcome feelings of inferiority and insecurity
WE CAN HELP!
Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at DrKimmel@KimmelPsychology.com
Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067
Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D.
Dr. K’s Blog
September 21, 2017
One year has now passed since my wife left. I have become more accepting that she is gone yet I still miss her. I think that the year anniversary has helped me to move just a little bit forward. Life has changed and will never be the same but keeping busy and making plans for myself has helped. I do feel less sorrow and am beginning to think more in terms of me rather than we. Yet if I let myself go and really think about what happened a year ago, I can sink back into the grief and sadness. I have chosen not to do this but to think more about my future and building a life.
I have been told that it is important to grieve for a year and then to focus on building a life. Maybe because I have been told this, or there is something magical about a year, but it does seem to work. In no way do I miss my wife less but I am okay with thinking more about my own life. Maybe this is part of the acceptance process which may be a natural step in grieving.
Next month is her birthday and I will celebrate it in some way yet to be determined. I think of her every day and feel that she is always with me and will be no matter what I do. I am okay with moving forward in my life. For that reason, I have decided that I will continue this blog but it will not be about grieving. Rather, it will be about my thoughts, experiences, and observations of the human condition.
I would like to thank all of you who have sent me words of caring and for your support through this difficult time.
August 21, 2017
I am in the eleventh month of mourning for my wife. During this month, my family and I held an unveiling for the inscription at her grave. A number of family and friends joined my family and it turned out to be a heartfelt and beautiful experience. In some way, it made acceptance a little easier. I can’t say I have closure but I can say I have somewhat more acceptance.
One year ago, last August, my wife went in to the hospital never to return. Each August day is a reminder of the days and nights I spent at the hospital, who I told about her illness, the daily updates, and the hope that she would get better and recover although I truly know the ending. Each day is an anniversary of sorts but I am looking forward to the one year anniversary.
I am feeling somewhat better. Maybe better isn’t the correct word but getting accustomed to being a widower might be a better description. We would have celebrated our 45th anniversary this month.
I am sustained by the frequent messages of caring from her friends, “sisters”, and others who have loved her and who hurt like my family does from losing her.
July 20, 2017
It is now ten months from the day my wife passed. I think about last year at this time when we were planning to celebrate our anniversary on a trip to Oregon and Washington. Instead, we spent those days at Holy Cross Hospital hoping that she would recover from her illness. What a terrible time. She was so full of life one year ago and so excited to be going on vacation and yet in a few short weeks, she would pass.
I am filled with so many emotions and think I am coping better than I have before. I continue to keep busy at work which helps greatly. Maybe I am just getting used to being alone. I am trying to see her passing differently in terms that she did not suffer long, that she did not have to live on a ventilator, that she had a wonderful life, and that she was loved by many, many people. This helps and maybe it is a part of the grieving process. I know the next six weeks will be tough but my family and I will make it through because what choice do we have?
I miss her greatly and often find myself wanting to tell her things that have happened to me or experiences that I would ordinarily share with her. But she is not there. I tell her anyhow. I frequently hear from her friends who are also grieving and have a difficult time accepting her loss. They miss her and somehow I think their telling me this helps them. I still feel her presence at times which is comforting but her absence is huge to me. I am often asked how am I doing and what does one say?
I tell them I just keep going on.
June 20, 2017
This month marks the ninth month since my wife has passed. I still find it hard to believe that she is gone. I think of her frequently and remember many of the great moments we had together. I still expect her to be home when I get home or to pick up the phone and hear her voice. Some days I think I am getting closer to acceptance and other times, it is as painful as the first day.
This is the time of the year when we planned our vacation. I always looked forward to traveling with her which we did every year since we got married. Now vacationing doesn’t really interest me. I do not want to travel by myself yet there is no one I want to go anywhere with. I will visit others but do not look forward to going on any adventure vacations we used to have, by myself. I am sure I will come up with something.
I continue to take yoga classes and feel her presence especially when I let go. There are times at home when I let myself relax and be open that I also feel her presence. I can’t describe it and it is not in words but somehow I know she is there. I am sure she is visiting me and I feel great comfort when this happens. Yet I know that I still have great hurt. I hope that it will heal in time.
May 20, 2017
This is a hard entry to write.
It was a difficult month for me as my wife’s absence was highlighted due to several events.
I was out of the country for two and one-half weeks. Before I left, I did all the preparing and packing. But, we used to do it together. I would usually bring home a present for her but not this time. And when I got home, she wasn’t there for me to share my experiences. I just missed her more.
This was also the first Mother’s Day without her. Again, I could not make it special for her. She was on my mind all day. This was difficult for my children which made it even more difficult for me. Not only do I hurt but so do they and we all miss her.
We also had a Bat Mitzvah to attend. This was the first family event without her and she was missed by all. It just didn’t seem the same without her. How does one participate in a joyous moment when they are grieving?
Finally, the school where my wife opened, developed, and ran the Media Center held a dedication for her. They named the library after her and posted her picture and her favorite quote above the entrance. Colleagues she worked with and former students shared their memories of her. My family and I endowed a legacy award to be given each year in her name to a student who loves to read. The dedication was beautiful and it was very significant to hear how she affected the lives of so many and the future of her students. She would be happy to know that many of her students love books and love to read all because of her love for reading. Her presence was everywhere.
So I have great pride but it is mixed with missing her greatly.
April 17, 2017
I don’t know if time really does help but the pain is not as intense or as frequent. There are moments of intensity where I really miss Jill but they are less frequent. Maybe I am just coming to terms with her being gone. Maybe it’s what we call resilience. Or maybe I am just used to being alone.
Do I miss her? Yes greatly. But not as desperately as before. I think I am just getting used to being on my own. Spring has brought many firsts. For the first time in fifty years, she was not at our Seders. She is not here to plan our summer trips. She is not here to celebrate the birthdays.
But I believe she is with us in spirit. In fact, I don’t know how to explain this, but I have felt her presence. I cannot put it into words as it is just a feeling but I do believe she is with me and that I feel comforting. I miss her greatly but I am determined to go on for myself, for my children, for my extended family, and for my patients. She would want nothing less.
March 20, 2017
First, I would like to thank all of you who read this blog and have been moved to reach out to me. People who I have not seen or spoken to in decades have sent me their heartfelt wishes and their personal memories of my wife. She had a great, beautiful impact on people and she truly had a well lived life.
I question myself sometimes whether I should put my personal experiences out there yet I hope that by reading what I am going through, others can be helped. Our society does not prepare us to deal with the death of loved ones. So in some small way, maybe I can help.
As time passes, the grieving continues. It has changed a bit but there are moments which are still very difficult. The most difficult part now of the grieving process is the loneliness. It is over six months now and I still have difficulty in accepting that she is gone. I still expect her to walk through the door or see her curled up in her favorite position reading a book. But I painfully know that will never happen again.
The house is big and empty without her. I find myself filling my time with chores just to keep busy but when I am alone, it hurts. I miss her and our lives together. I feel so powerless that I cannot bring back those days. We think we are in so much control of our lives. And we are for some things, but for the most part, we are not. We just have to accept what is and what will be. Accepting what you don’t want to accept is quite a struggle.
I am dealing with the loneliness by being with friends, taking a yoga class, and seeing my son and daughter. Yet there are always those moments where it truly hurts; words cannot describe it. But what else is there to do? I have been told by others who have lost loved ones that with time, it will get better. I hope they are right.
February 20, 2017
I wish I could say that it has gotten easier but it hasn’t. Another month has passed and the hurt remains as strong as it has ever been. This month brought the first Valentine’s Day without my wife and my daughter’s first birthday without her. I now realize that there will be many, many “firsts” most of which will be painful.
It is still so hard to believe that I will never look into my wife’s eyes again. Never kiss her or touch her like I always did. Never hear her advice or support again. How does one accept never, especially when you don’t want to?
I go out a little bit more. I see friends for dinner but for the most part, the evenings remain empty. The house also feels empty. My life is different. What I thought was important before is much less so if at all. Death changes your perspective but you cannot give in or give up. I continue to work and feel the satisfaction of helping others figure out their lives.
I am fortunate to have friends who keep in touch to see how I am. I am fortunate to have children who despite their own grief, check in with me. I am fortunate to have had 50 wonderful years with my wife.
So I try to count my blessings.
I now believe that the only thing that will help me in this grieving process is just the passing of time.
January 20, 2017
It is now four months since my wife has passed and I can’t say that it has gotten any easier. I have gotten busier and in that sense, I have been preoccupied and am not dwelling on the sense of loss. But those moments when I am alone and are not doing anything are the most difficult moments. Friends have called me and invited me to make sure I am busy but you always have moments of aloneness which still hurt. I rationally know that my wife is gone but I still haven’t accepted it nor do I want to. My life is different. I am different. And it will never be the same.
I don’t know how long it will take, if ever, to heal from this grief. People constantly ask me how am I doing and I find it a very hard question to answer. I know they mean well and are interested but what do you say. I am doing fine? I am not doing well? I am really just doing okay and keeping busy. That is probably the best I can say right now.
Everywhere are constant reminders of the life I used to have. Some are poignant and other very sad. We dedicated the new office in my wife’s memory and seeing her picture gives me the feeling that she is with me all day long. I am glad we did that.
I also went to the cemetery with my daughter and it was emotionally, one of the most difficult things I have ever done. Yet when we left I felt some comfort.
I think my period of grieving will be over when I can truly accept that my wife has gone and that she had a wonderful life. I hope I can do that one day.
December 19, 2016
Another month has gone by and it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, the holidays highlight the emptiness and the loss. These are very difficult times and the powerlessness of not being able to change what happened is overwhelming. Keeping busy helps as it distracts from the grief yet even around people I feel alone. I grapple with acceptance and I am not there yet and probably won’t be for a long, long time.
I also realize that I have changed. No longer do I have my best friend to travel with, to talk to, to learn from, and to share my private thoughts. My wife and I grew up and grew together and we shared many, many wonderful experiences. Now those experiences are over and all I have left are the memories and the possessions. Yes, my children are wonderful and we have a very good relationship. But they too have their own grief to deal with.
I have found that death is the hardest part of life. Rationally, I understand that we will all pass at some time. But are we ever prepared for it? I give thanks that my wife did not suffer long; that is a blessing in itself. But I miss her.
I have learned that despite all we control in our life, we are never really in control of what matters the most. I am glad that we had such a close and warm relationship yet, precisely because of this, it hurts now that she has passed.
November 21, 2016
It is now 2½ months since my wife died and the transition to acceptance is extremely difficult. Cognitively, it sounds like an easy task. But emotionally, it is one of the most difficult tasks I’ve ever faced in my life. I have spoken with others who have lost loved ones who seem to be the only ones who can understand what I am going through. They know the depths of emptiness and loneliness that one can only experience when one loses one’s partner. It is almost like a club of grievers who never ever really stop grieving. They just seem to put it aside to go on with their lives for the sake of themselves and others. They say that it gets better but the pain never leaves.
How does one go from sharing everything with another to being alone? Things we were going to do, places we were going to travel to, renovations to the house, movies we were going to see, friends we were going to visit, and new experiences we were going to learn from are now all gone. They have to be done by me alone and yes I will do some of these but it is not the same. Ideas that I usually bounced off my wife or opinions where I needed her input now have to be decided only by me or by family and friends.
Everything has changed internally since I am now a “me” and not a “we”.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and it has always been a family holiday for us. Yes I will be with my adult children but our loss will be paramount. As we always do, we will give thanks for our health and everything we have in life. We will also give thanks for having had my wife in our lives for as long as we had her. We will also give thanks that she is suffering no longer and we will remember her joy, her wit, her love for people, animals, and books, and her love for us.
Email of the Month
We would like to thank AlexS. for the following email:
Funny Instructions on Consumer Goods
In Honor of Ignorant People . . . here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods.
On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom) — ‘Do not turn upside down.’ (well,…duh, a bit late, huh!)
On Sainsbury’s peanuts — ‘Warning: contains nuts.’ (Talk about a news flash)
On Boot’s Children Cough Medicine — ‘Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication.’ (We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those 5 year-olds with head-colds off those bulldozers.)
On Marks &Spencer Bread Pudding — ‘Product will be hot after heating.’ (And you thought?)
On a Sears hairdryer — Do not use while sleeping. (That’s the only time I have to work on my hair.)
On a bag of Fritos — You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside. (The shoplifter special?)
On a bar of Dial soap — ‘Directions: Use like regular soap.’ (And that would be?)
On some Swanson frozen dinners — ‘Serving suggestion: Defrost.’ (But, it’s just a suggestion.)
On packaging for a Rowenta iron — ‘Do not iron clothes on body.’ (But wouldn’t this save me time?)
On Nytol Sleep Aid — ‘Warning: May cause drowsiness.’ (I’m taking this because?)
On most brands of Christmas lights — ‘For indoor or outdoor use only.’ (As opposed to what?)
On a Japanese food processor — ‘Not to be used for the other use.’ (Now, somebody out there, help me on this. I’m a bit curious.)
On an American Airlines packet of nuts — ‘Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts.’ (Step 3: say what?)
On a child’s Superman costume — ‘Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.’ (I don’t blame the company. I blame the parents for this one.)
On a Swedish chainsaw — ‘Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals.’ (Oh my God. Was there a lot of this happening somewhere?)
The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.
If you no longer wish to receive future E-Letter reminders, please send an email to DrKimmel@KimmelPsychology.com requesting to be removed from this list.
If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends. Copyright © 2017 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.