The word Entitlement came up in a class as we discussed how easy it is to help someone to the point of enabling them to where they feel entitled to call all the shots and demand certain behavior from their caregivers. Then, one of the members said "The poor or elderly are not the only ones screaming Entitlement--It’s everywhere! it’s a stigma.” I am capitalizing Entitlement just for focus.
First I looked up Entitlement in the dictionary. My dictionaries are outdated because the only word shown is merely ‘entitle s er ing, etc. receiving what is has been earned or due you'. Not until I searched a more recent dictionary did the word Entitlement show up referring to government subsidies or provisions.
So, as usual, I ran an informal poll the rest of the day regarding Entitlement because in some cases Entitlement or strong demands also deals with personality changes. That’s where I want to go with today’s subject.
“What does the word Entitlement mean to you?”
A young mother shared, “My two and half year old's favorite and only words are “It’s mine!”.
“Our four year old feels Entitled to play with their siblings’ special possessions, especially when their siblings are away at school.”
A nurse at the doctor’s office offered, “My older teenagers feel Entitled big time! That I should pay for everything they want. They feel Entitled to a way of life. Don’t touch them or try to change their dress, vocabulary what they listen to or read or who they run around with. Yes, they want the keys to my car. That’s the only power I seem to have.” Then, she sighed, “Thanks for letting me vent.”
That evening at a restaurant, a server’s take on the Entitlement question was: ”Diners who think because they’re rich that they are Entitled to special attention; refuse to sit where we take them; complain about the food, whether not hot enough, too salty or that they had to wait too long. It's disgusting."
After a meeting that night, a friend expressed his Entitlement woes. “I provide transportation for a guy who can’t afford a car; he makes me wait or doesn’t call when his appointment has changed. He says because I have a car I should be happy to provide a ride for him.”
My husband, Jim, recalled a young pastor driving up to a service station, ordering four new tires and telling the owner, “I serve the Lord so I expect these to be free”. Other pastor friends would demand discounts because they were in God’s work. That was back in the 70’s. The scripture says everyone is due to be paid for services, but assuming one is Entitled to free rides reflects an arrogant attitude.
Parents/spouses/relatives/friends struggling with Dementia Entitlement who are unable to control ‘not getting their way, or being constantly negative’ as the gals described, present caregivers with a tough assignment. This is not how their loved one used to be. Their personalities have changed. These patient caregivers and friends need help to know how to respond to an Entitlement attitude displayed by their formerly non-demanding loved one. Dementia can create personality changes and emotional ups and downs in some people. Reminding yourself about the person you used to know will help ease the disappointment and sadness as you adjust to surprising new behavior. Being patient and understanding and not argumentative facilitates managing subtle changes. Support groups offer integral help and encouragement.
My mother, who lived to be 101, rarely lectured her six children but modeled wise and unselfish living. She once said that if person is content and thankful when they are young, they’d be that way when they were old. But her observation often changes when Dementia or other medical problems strike a person.
I have been reflecting on my own attitudes: Do I feel Entitled to special attention, favors, care? This is a positive exercise as we consider improving our behavior for 2020. Maybe, the best way to keep Entitlement from seeping into our personal behavior is to practice thankfulness for provisions and health and endeavor to patiently give space to those who are not able to maintain their God-designed personalities and balanced emotional behavior.
Adhering to the Golden Rule of ‘treating others the way you want to be treated’ is the best way I know for maintaining a crisp and loving approach for nurturing relationships. I’ll address this subject later as I learn more about Dementia and respond to any comments from you, my Blogger-Reader-Family.
No blog next week.