An entitlement is a provision made in accordance with a legal framework of a society. Typically, entitlements are based on concepts of principle ("rights") which are themselves based in concepts of social equality or enfranchisement.

In psychology, entitlement mentality is defined as a sense of deservingness or being owed a favor when little or nothing has been done to deserve special treatment.[1]


An inflated sense of what is sometimes called psychological entitlement[2] – unrealistic, exaggerated, or rigidly held – is especially prominent among narcissists. According to the DSM-5, individuals with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are likely to have a "sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others," typically without commensurate qualities or accomplishments:[3][4] Similarly, according to Sam Vaknin, the narcissistic personality attempts to protect the vulnerable self by building layers of grandiosity and a huge sense of entitlement.[5] Similar to individuals with narcissistic personality disorder, those with borderline personality disorder display a strong sense of entitlement, according to research conducted by Dr. John Gunderson and Dr. Elsa Ronningstam. Ronningstam and Gunderson state, "Characteristics shared by the two disorders and thus failing to discriminate between NPD and BPD are notable. A sense of entitlement occurred in both diagnostic groups in Morey's and our studies; that is, both narcissists and borderlines felt that others should recognize their needs and give them special favours."[6]

An earned sense of entitlement is usually seen as more beneficent than purely-psychological entitlement, but the former may also have a destructive counterpart in the sense of a felt entitlement to revenge based on the accumulation of grievances.[7]

Psychoanalysis differentiated among children three main varieties of the sense of entitlement: normal, inflated, and compromised.[8] The inflated sense of entitlement sought special privileges for the individual alone, perhaps to compensate for childhood suffering or narcissistic injury. The compromised sense involved an inability to expect the basic rights that are enjoyed by those around one.[9] A normal or healthy sense of entitlement included an expectation of responsiveness from significant others,[10] a sense of agency, and a sense of one's right to one's own feelings, all of which form positive elements in self-esteem.[11]

Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy distinguished in adult life between (ethically) earning entitlement in relationships, which comes from care and consideration, and a subjective feeling of entitlement the real basis for which may be very different.[12] Thus, the depressive may have an unjustifiably-low sense of entitlement, and the manic may have an exaggeratedly high one.[13] The gambler may feel entitled to expect a big win to compensate for childhood deprivation. Those who clamour most loudly for such reimbursement from fate may in fact unconsciously doubt their entitlement to anything at all.[14]

See alsoEdit

Social and psychologicalEdit



  1. ^ What Is an Entitlement Mentality? WebMD. Retrieved: 4 September 2021.
  2. ^ L. Ashner, When is Enough, Enough? (1997) p. 106-7
  3. ^ American Psychiatric Association (2013), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing, pp. 669–672, ISBN 0890425558
  4. ^ Mayo Clinic Staff (18 Nov 2014), "Narcissistic personality disorder: Symptoms", Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, retrieved 29 Apr 2016
  5. ^ Mary Farrell, Acts of Trust (2010) p. 191
  6. ^ Ronningstam, E; Gunderson, J (1991). "Differentiating Borderline Personality Disorder from Narcissistic Personality Disorder". Journal of Personality Disorders. 5 (3): 225–232. Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  7. ^ Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, Between Give and Take (2013) p. 110
  8. ^ Vamik Volkan, Psychoanalysis, International Relations, and Diplomacy (2014) p. 36
  9. ^ Vamik Volkan, Psychoanalysis, International Relations, and Diplomacy (2014) p. 36
  10. ^ A. Goldberg, Advances in Self-Psychology (2013) p. 25
  11. ^ E. Ronningstam, Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality (2005)
  12. ^ Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, Between Give and Take (2013) p. 109-10
  13. ^ Ivan Boszormenyi-Nagy, Between Give and Take (2013) p. 164
  14. ^ Otto Fenichel, The Psychoanalytic Theory of Neurosis. (London 1946) p. 372 and p. 499

Further readingEdit

  • Hill, Jess. See What You Made Me Do. Black Books Inc. Sydney. 2019.
  • Twenge, Jean M.; Campbell, W., Keith The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement (2009)

External linksEdit

  •   The dictionary definition of entitlement at Wiktionary