Next to survival, the human brain at its most fundamental level is designed to reduce pain and increase pleasure. Often times this understanding about the pleasure over pain principle is misinterpreted for the belief that our sole purpose in life is to be happy. Actually our sole purpose in life according to nature is to survive and reproduce. At its most basic instinct the brain associates pleasure with increased survival. This is why people who are experiencing serious issues they are struggling to overcome tend to be prone to addiction, such as food drugs, sex and beliefs.
Yes, beliefs can be addictive. Arguably the most addictive of beliefs I witness people suffer from is the delusion of entitlement. To understand how entitlement works and why so many people fall for believing that they are entitled, you have to understand how scams work.
Scams are probably one of the most profitable crimes against humanity and sadly the easiest to execute with little risk of getting caught. This is because in order for a scam to work, you need the victim’s consent and collaboration in engaging in wrongful behavior they believe would net them a profit. When most people discover that they have been scammed, there is understandable fear and embarrassment with the idea of informing the authorities. This is usually because they would also have to confess their own willful participation in wrongful behavior.
When people come to believe that they are entitled, it’s because they have been convinced that they are deserving of a certain privilege or benefit, just because (insert irrational reason here). People who have come to believe that they are entitled to things or privileges, usually experience poor anger management or deep depression. The difference between the two being that poor anger management is an outward expression of anger, while depression is anger turned in on one’s self.
Why do people who have come to believe they are entitled experience chronic anger? They experience chronic anger because they are routinely confronted by the reality of their life experiences which contradicts their beliefs of entitlements.
Further, these people struggle to change their beliefs, because their beliefs of entitlement have led to them become ill prepared for dealing with disappointment and preparing for life’s hardship. As a result people with a false sense of entitlement routinely find themselves stuck in a never ending loop of their expectations never being met, being poorly prepared to deal with the disappointment and blaming others for things not going their way.
A tried and true therapeutic approach to helping such persons is too guide them towards embracing humility. When people are readily able to admit their flaws without shame, they hold themselves more accountable for their decisions, they are willing to do the extra work to collaborate with others to solve problems and they become more emotionally accepting of disappointment.
There is a popular saying in the 12 step community, “”expectations are like premeditated resentments.”” People experience more peace of mind when they learn to preference their expectations.
So what are your thoughts on this post? All agreements and disagreements are welcome.
Ugo is a psychotherapist and owner of Road 2 Resolutions, a professional counseling and life coaching private practice located in Tucson AZ.