Millennial-aged adults who believe that they are superior to others and more deserving of certain things in life are more likely to experience “chronic disappointment,” according to psychologists at the University of Hampshire.
In a 2016 study published in the U.K.’s Psychological Bulletin, the British research team found that people born roughly between 1988 and 1994 tend to be 25 percent more likely to display entitlement characteristics than people aged 40 to 60, and that percentage jumps to 50 when it comes to comparing them with people over that age bracket.
Dr. Joshua Grubbs, the study’s author, explained, “At extreme levels, entitlement is a toxic narcissistic trait, repeatedly exposing people to the risk of feeling frustrated, unhappy and disappointed with life. Oftentimes, life, health, aging and the social world don’t treat us as well as we’d like. Confronting these limitations is especially threatening to an entitled person because it violates their worldview of self-superiority.”
The study looked at 170 cases and determined that people who feel entitled often enter a spiral of toxic habitual behavior, including a tendency to lash out at others, blaming them instead of taking responsibility for their own actions.
A disregard of rules, freeloading, causing others to be inconvenienced, and always wanting to be the “leader” when working in groups are some examples of this behavior.
According to the study, entitlement complex leads to a “cycle of disappointment, anger, negativity and a constant need for that person to tell themselves that they are special.”
Researcher Julie Exline, the co-author of the study, noted that the entire mindset of entitlement puts a person at odds with others. “When people think that they should have everything they want — often for nothing — it comes at the cost of relationships with others and, ultimately, their own happiness,” she explained.
Experts believe that to break the grip of this mindset, people should learn to become humbler, more grateful and accept their limitations.
Psychology Today offered advice on ways to change yourself if entitlement issues are ruining your relationships with other people, such as retrospectively reflecting on annoying incidents from someone else’s perspective, promoting the achievements of others, and stopping the justification of things that are wrong.
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