Remember Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? The screechy girl who wanted it all and wanted it now by virtue of being Veruca Salt? Remember how good it felt to see her disappear down the waste shaft of her greed?
Unfortunately, that good feeling disappears a bit when we realize we’re surrounded by those types of people, a lot of them in positions of power and a lot of them telling us that we, the barriers to their happiness, should find them worthy of emulation.
Me, if I can’t be Willy (Wilhelmina) Wonka, I’d rather be Charlie. Charlie was grateful for what he received, and Willy was gleeful to give.
Some of the self-entitled don’t even realize their affliction. Unhappiness isn’t even a clue toward it because they think unhappiness is a key component of getting to stand at the top of a heap.
Oompa Loompa doopity dee, here’s why the Self-Entitled live in icky misery:
1. They Believe They Deserve More Than Others
At work, they deserve more than their peers. Better office. Longer lunch. Prime parking space. More, more, more. And if no one acknowledges the fact that not only do they deserve more, but that they have more, they quietly implode… before finding a way to lash out.
In relationships, to put it bluntly, they believe they deserve sex. With as many partners as they care to have. Because how dare anyone rebuff them. In their eyes, they deserve others’ attention, which means when they’re attracted to someone, that person is expected to capitulate to them.
Fortunately, others see through this and often ignore them, which leaves the self-entitled angry and unfulfilled most of the time. The circular mind of the self-entitled is one that swallows itself (also known as Ouroboros thinking), leaving it with no idea what to do with natural, uncoerced human interactions. And so, it unhappily blusters its way through a series of failed, wildly unsatisfying relationships.
Veruca Salt would have grown to adulthood to marry a rich, buff, limber member of Cirque du Soleil and still fallen woefully short of achieving happiness.
2. Friends, How Many Of Them Have Them?
They’ll be there for you… to see you fall. Self-entitled people tend to surround themselves with people of like mind (who else would want to be around them?)
Could anyone be happy trapped in a never-ending competition of one-upsmanship where a single sizeable, noticeable slip got one booted out? Imagine being in a house full of Screaming Mimies screeching that their friends drank only triple-filtered water, how dare you insult their circle by letting them think a decent host would serve tap???
Yet all the other Mimies want exactly that: to see the host Mimi drop a rung below them.
When your friends are just enemies with the same taste as you, no way are you happy.
3. Unrealistic Expectations
Those who think the world revolves around them are always rudely awakened by the actual science of Life. Truth is, they exist within a universe of people who do not care what the delusionally-entitled want. That’s a huge relativistic slam of an astral body into a larger star: if the expectation is that the star move, disappointment abounds. Unhappiness compounds.
4. Greed Is Its Own Downfall
The self-entitled are never appreciative of what they have, but are instead, by nature of thinking they deserve, constantly in need of more. Validation comes by running on a treadmill faster than anyone else. Soul-death and dissatisfaction are intrinsic parts of greed’s effects on the psyche. Soul-death has yet to equal happiness.
The corollary to being greedy is that the self-entitled are exceedingly stingy and resentful. They hate seeing anyone else receive anything that doesn’t in some way show favorably upon them.
Think of how so many wealthy people and politicians froth at the mouth over social services, treating basics given to others as personal affronts. That’s a mind-boggling level of self-hatred. No happiness there.
6. Green-Eyed Monster
Envy is the self-entitled’s secret shame. Envious of the large, envious of the small; tortured as an entitled person by the fact that they will never be satisfied one way or the other, but knowing, perhaps somewhere very deep within, that there is a better way if only they’d reach for it. But they often don’t reach for it… because, to them, it’s already someone else’s fault that they don’t have it.
Those who think the world owes them carry a constant chip of unfulfilled debts on their shoulders, which in turn leads to – in addition to violence – mundane loneliness, and a bizarre world view.
8. Health Issues
Economic status isn’t an automatic indicator of entitlement. The wealthy might tend toward it, but an entitled attitude can lodge in anyone, regardless of social standing, and one of the equalizing effects of this is a general downward trend in health. Stress, addiction, chronic illnesses, depression, immune deficiency, psychological/emotional dependencies… all inescapable parts of the self-entitled’s world; one, some, or all of these ills touch them in some way.
Of course, these also touch those who may not feel self-entitled, but the self-entitled live within a particular toxic bubble of narcissism, isolationism, and resentment that turns even oxygen into negative, outreaching tendrils for them, a symbiosis they have no desire to break.
9. Psychologically Fragile
If your entire worldview is that things should go as you want, when you want, the way you want, for as long as you want, that you should be first, you should be prioritized, others should willingly sacrifice so that you can be tended to… your life is lived on eggshells whether you admit this or not. The cards are enormously stacked against you.
Thus, every “no” becomes a challenge to your entire identity.
As a result of feeling vulnerable to not being deferred to, the self-entitled are often combative or abusive in order to protect the one thing they have that no one can take away: their sense of righteous indignation, which often expresses itself as a superiority complex, the most volatile of psychological conditions.
Some Of Us Are Happy
All of us at some point feel “the world” owes us. We go through tiny hells every day; if nothing else, we’re owed a moment of grace. A moment of peace. All of us want that lucky break always barely out of reach. But most of us don’t stew in those wants. Most of us have no problem humming to ourselves “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.” (Mick Jagger, Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want.) So correct.
You get what you need. You get warmth, companionship, outreach, love, restfulness, the satisfactions of empathy and human communion. You get what the Veruca Salts of the world rarely possess: happiness.
Can they? Can someone who thinks the world revolves around them be helped to see otherwise? Certainly. Not easily, but certainly. Epiphanies are free-flowing and plentiful.
The positive takeaway is that, for as selfish and petty and vindictive as this world can be, such undesirable qualities infect the minority of us. It can’t be otherwise, for we – the great mass of us – produce the antibodies that keep even the self-entitled from disintegrating into utter despair.
We share our lives, even though we know there are those from whom we will never get a thank you. That doesn’t keep us from being happy, though. Oompa Loompa diddly dee, there’s no riddle to what’s best between you and me.