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8 Examples of a Sense Of Entitlement

A sense of entitlement is the belief that you have a right to things you need or want. This isn't necessarily bad but is often portrayed in a negative light. The following are illustrative examples of a sense of entitlement that examine both positive and negative variants.

Human Rights

A sense of entitlement is the basis for human rights and freedoms. If none of us believed society owed us anything, then we wouldn't have historically engaged in the struggles that were required to secure rights and freedoms.

Crab Mentality

A crab mentality is the desire to see others fail even if it means you yourself fail. This is an analogy to crabs in a bucket. A single crab will escape the bucket but multiple crabs keep grabbing at each other such that none can escape. An individual with a crab mentality is against any type of entitlements, even if it benefits them and makes sense for society as a whole. For example, the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage claimed a membership of 700,000 women in 1919 leading up to the passing of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution that guarantees all American women the vote.

Gratitude & Humility

A sense of entitlement implies that an individual doesn't feel gratitude and humility for a right. For example, a politician who doesn't feel a sense of gratitude to their supporters. An entitlement that is embraced with humility and gratitude can be described as a privilege.

Something For Nothing

I decree today that life is simply taking and not giving
England is mine and it owes me a living
Ask me why and I'll spit in your eye
~ The Smiths, Still Ill
A sense of entitlement is most often portrayed as a negative trait whereby an individual makes demands of society without offering anything in return. This would tend to halt an individuals progress in life as they waste energies complaining and expecting others to act in their interest as opposed to doing it themselves. For example, expecting to have wonderful friends because you "deserve" friends without doing anything to make friends or offering people in your life your friendship.


You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.
~ Misattributed to Abraham Lincoln (source unknown)
A sense of entitlement can be based on aspects of your identity such as your nationality. For example, the belief that you are automatically entitled to a high standard of living because people in your nation had a high standard of living in the past. This may ignore how hard they may have worked to achieve this income.

Sense of Agency

A sense of agency is the degree to which an individual believes they can define their own their future. For example, people with a very high sense of agency may start a business or do everything that is required to get a good job. Individuals with a low sense of agency believe they have little influence over what happens to them and therefore are prone to demand a living from society without making any effort of their own to secure this living.


Narcissism is an inflated self-image that leads to negative behaviors driven by a need to maintain this illusion. Narcissists have a high sense of entitlement based on their inflated self-image and view of others as below them. This is likely to have tragic consequences for the narcissist as they adopt delusional beliefs of what they are owned that aren't likely to match reality.

Failure is Not An Option

A sense of entitlement doesn't necessarily come without effort. In some cases, an individual works very hard to try to achieve a goal such that they strongly feel they are entitled to achieve it. Nevertheless, this may not materialize. If an individual is unable to accept this, they may end up bitter and disillusioned. For example, an employee may work as hard as they can possible work for many decades but still not get a desired promotion. This can be described as failure is not an option whereby an individual incorrectly believes it is impossible to fail. This is likely to lead to tragic outcomes such as wasting your life away on something that will not materialize.
Overview: Sense Of Entitlement
The belief that you have a right to things you need or want.
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Marshall, Susan E. Splintered sisterhood: Gender and class in the campaign against woman suffrage. Univ of Wisconsin Press, 1997.


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