Wednesday, September 04, 2019

3 Bad Reasons to Help Someone Who Has the Entitlement Disease

The entitlement disease blinds people to the impact they have on others. When you share with an entitlement person how their choices and behaviors negatively affect you, they freak out, because in their minds it's all about them, not you. 

Entitlement people go nuclear when they don't get their way. 

Entitlement people are supremely inconsiderate.

What causes this? 

"Entitlement creates the illusion that My life and how I impact others are not problems. This illusion creates an atmosphere within which the behavior can continue. If the individual were, instead, to think, "My life and how I impact others are indeed problems, and they are my problems," he’d be much more likely to do the hard work required to change."

- John Townsend, The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing Hard Things the Right Way (p. 84)

If you want to help someone move from entitlement blindness to responsibility-seeing you must keep two things in mind:

First, deal with your own entitlement issues.

Second, check out your "Why?" Why do you want to help someone who has the entitlement disease?

Townsend gives three bad answers to this question. None of these should be reasons to help someone.

1. To reduce the stress in your life that this person's bad behavior or bad choices cause. 

This "reduces the individual to the role of being a bother to you, a project, something to fix like a leaky faucet, it’s not very loving." (74)

2. To vent your anger on them.

"If this is a project to “set them straight” or to feel a bit of release because you could finally tell them off and show your irritation, the project will fail. Deal with your anger in other ways (prayer, venting to others, working out). Venting is not an effective motive for working with difficult people." (pp. 74-75)

3. To get them to see how they have affected you.

"This motive is about you more than it is about the other person...  Often, the entitled person will at some point have the awareness to see her harmful impact on others. But that awareness should serve her growth, not your satisfaction." (75)

The best answer to this "why?" question is: 
I help because I want them to live well, relate well, and work well. 

In other words, you choose to help because you know that entitlement damages a person’s life, relationships, and ability to successfully complete important tasks. Even at its least destructive, entitlement prevents the person from reaching her full potential. At worst, she could suffer devastating failures, and even an early death. 

The best summary word for this “why” is love. You feel motivated to help because you want better for that person; that is what moves you to engage with him or her. This is the deepest motive of God himself, who acts for our betterment: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5: 8). 

Townsend writes, "This kind of motivation will convey the grace and care you really feel toward your entitled individual." (75) 


The Cure for the Entitlement Disease: The Hard Way Principles