Monday, November 16, 2015

Entitled People Need the "Aha!" Moment

Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya
In The Entitlement Cure psychologist and Jesus-follower John Townsend writes: "Your entitled person isn’t likely to change until he experiences his own dependency and what happens when you no longer act as his safety net." (p. 80)

When you stop enabling and feeding the other person's entitled attitude the odds increase that they will have a wake-up moment, an "Aha!" experience. You cannot give them such an experience, but you can help to starve their entitlement needs. 

You know someone is waking up to their entitlement disease when they begin to express thoughts like:

• I wish I could say or do whatever I like, but that doesn’t work anymore. 
• I can’t have anything I want. 
• I now have to do things that I don’t want or like to do. 
• I have to deal with losses of relationship, money, opportunity, and time in my life. 
• I have hurt people I love. 
• I have hurt myself and not been the person I could have been. 
• I must face my regrets because of my choices. (p. 77)

This may be the beginning of good things to come. Townsend writes:

"Researchers who study personal change now take a neurological view of this process. Someone must have the “aha moment” — when the lights come on, the neurons fire, and the insight comes, as with Paul’s Damascus Road experience (see Acts 9: 1 – 6). That “aha moment” is necessary, because external change starts best with internal change."

I remember a day in the spring on 1970 when I was playing guitar in a band. I was on a stage playing and the thought came to me:

I am screwed up. 

This was my life-changing "Aha!" moment. I came to see it was from God. Finally, I had ears to hear the truth about myself.  

I began to let go of entitlement statements like:

• I'm not wrong.
• I deserve special treatment.
• I don't impact people negatively.

I began to feel emotions of sadness, guilt, remorse, and regret for my actions.

Townsend writes:

"This is only the beginning, however. In the next phase, our neural pathways need to get trained to do things a different and better way. This is where habits come in — habits of regularly thinking about others, of taking ownership and initiative, of doing the right things even if they are the hard things." (p. 78)


3 Bad Reasons to Help Someone Who Has the Entitlement Disease