Get this book and read it!
First, read it for your own self. Get ready to be dis-entitled and go free.
Only then will you be able to read it for others, authentically.
We all have relationships with super-entitled persons. How can we help them? Townsend instructs us to: Meet Needs and Starve Entitlement.
This means "You have to learn the difference between a need, which should be met, and an entitled desire, which should be starved. Meeting a need leads to life, and feeding an entitlement leads to destruction. It comes down to this: that which creates love, growth, and ownership vs. that which creates superiority or a demand for special treatment. Praising the real person inside — her character — can never go wrong. Praising her false and grandiose attitudes and behaviors is like throwing your money down a hole. Don’t waste your love and support. Place it where it bears good fruit." (p. 45)
To starve entitlement...
- Don't praise what takes no effort. "Rewards and praise are most effective when they focus on an achievement that took time and energy." (39)
- Don't praise what is required. "Praise should be reserved for those times when someone stretches himself beyond the norm, puts extra effort or time into a task, or exceeds expectations." (Ib.)
- Don't praise what is no specific. "Our culture is awash in... exaggerations that have roughly the same value as an empty calorie. Both yield insignificant benefits. Our brains have buckets where information goes. Praise should go in the right bucket: the bucket of hard work, of being kind, of being honest, of being vulnerable. But the brain has no appropriate bucket for such nonspecific, excessive statements, and therefore is unable to make constructive use of them." (40-41)
- Don't praise what takes an ability and creates an identity. We all need affirmation. "But when the message crosses the line to, “You are a better person than others because of what you do,” or “You deserve special treatment,” trouble results." (41) The other person may be better in ability, but they are no better intrinsically. In God's eyes they are of no greater value than anyone else.
- Don't praise what is not based on reality. "One of the saddest things I see an encouraging person do is to give someone hope even though no basis exists for that hope." (41)
- Offer warmth and love. "We all need to know we are loved and accepted. It’s a basic human requirement for health and functioning. But when a person has a number of cold, detached, or self-absorbed relationships, he often creates what is called a defensive grandiose identity. That is, to protect himself from the emptiness or harshness of his relational sphere, he will craft a self-perception that is entitled, self-centered, and larger than life. That helps keep the hurt and loneliness at bay." (42)