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Angry, Entitled, and Stressed: Our Condescending Western Culture


How Entitlement Feeds Stress and Anger in Western Culture

In our modern world, particularly in Western cultures, there is a growing perception of entitlement—a belief that one deserves certain privileges without corresponding efforts or achievements. This post delves into the psychology of entitlement, its interplay with stress and anger, and its pervasive influence on societal interactions and individual well-being.

The Psychology of Entitlement

Entitlement is identified in psychology as a personality trait characterized by an enduring sense of deservingness and specialness, often accompanied by exaggerated expectations (Grubbs & Exline, 2016). Individuals with a strong sense of entitlement believe they are owed certain privileges and are often unprepared to work for them. They typically expect superior consideration and swift satisfaction of their desires, whether in personal relationships, professional settings, or casual social interactions.

Entitlement is closely associated with narcissistic tendencies, including a lack of empathy, difficulty accepting criticism, and a propensity for manipulative behaviors. Individuals exhibiting these traits often engage in interpersonal aggression and show a blatant disregard for the feelings and rights of others, expecting others to conform to their desires and quick to anger when their expectations are not met (Campbell et al., 2004).

Entitlement and Western Cultural Shifts

Research suggests that Western culture, especially among younger generations, is becoming increasingly entitled (Campbell & Twenge, 2013). Factors contributing to this shift include an enhanced focus on individualism, changes in parenting styles that emphasize self-esteem over communal values, and an educational system that awards participation over achievement. Moreover, the rise of social media platforms exacerbates this by constantly encouraging comparisons with others, fostering feelings of inadequacy and a greater demand for attention and validation.

The Connection Between Entitlement, Stress, and Anger

Entitlement can significantly impact stress levels and the expression of anger. Here's how these elements are interconnected:

Unrealistic Expectations and Chronic Stress

Entitled individuals often harbor unrealistic expectations about life outcomes. When reality fails to match these lofty expectations, it leads to constant disappointments, which can manifest as chronic stress. This stress is not only psychologically debilitating but can also have physical health repercussions, such as hypertension and heart disease.

Resistance to Criticism and Escalation of Anger

Due to their fragile egos, entitled individuals have a marked difficulty accepting criticism. Any feedback or perceived slight is often met with defensive aggression. This can escalate into frequent outbursts of anger, damaging relationships and professional connections, and further increasing stress.

Social Friction and Isolation

The entitled person's lack of empathy and exploitative behavior can lead to social friction. Over time, this can result in social isolation, which is a significant stress factor and can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression. Ironically, this isolation can intensify the feelings of entitlement, as the individual continues to blame external circumstances or other people for their emotional distress.

Managing Entitlement to Reduce Stress and Anger

Understanding that entitlement is a learned behavior is crucial for addressing its impact. It can stem from various sources, including parental modeling, peer influence, and societal messaging. Addressing entitlement involves recognizing these sources and actively working to cultivate humility and gratitude, which can help mitigate the entitled mindset.

Strategies for Individuals

  1. Self-reflection and Awareness: Individuals are encouraged to reflect on their expectations and consider whether they are realistic and fair. Acknowledging one's entitlement can be the first step toward change.

  2. Empathy Training: Developing empathy can help reduce the sense of entitlement by fostering an understanding and appreciation for the perspectives and feelings of others.

  3. Cognitive Behavioral Techniques: These can help individuals reframe their thoughts to decrease the likelihood of aggressive responses to unmet expectations.

Strategies for Society

  1. Cultural Shifts in Parenting and Education: Emphasizing effort over achievement and fostering an appreciation for intrinsic rewards can help curb the development of entitlement.

  2. Promotion of Community Values: Encouraging community involvement and collective responsibility can help balance the focus on individualism with an appreciation for communal success and cooperation.


While a certain degree of entitlement can drive individuals to achieve personal goals, excessive entitlement is linked to increased stress, heightened anger, and deteriorated social relationships. By understanding and addressing the root causes of entitlement, both individuals and societies can work towards a more balanced and less stressful existence. This not only enhances personal well-being but also fosters a more compassionate and cooperative community ethos.

By integrating a deeper understanding of entitlement into our cultural and personal practices, we can mitigate its negative impacts on our lives and well-being, leading to a healthier, more balanced approach to life's challenges and disappointments.


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