Entitled Dependence Syndrome: 12 Best Ways Out (2024)

The entitled dependence syndrome is characterized by extreme dependence on others despite one’s ability to function on their own. 

Entitled Dependence Syndrome
Photo by cottonbro

Perhaps you’re more familiar with the growing phenomenon of adult entitled dependence where an adult child depends on their family excessively even though they can sustain their lives themselves.

Whether you’re the entitled adult or a concerned friend/ family member, come with me to discover the nature of the entitled dependence, how to overcome it as the sufferer and how to manage an entitled adult if you’re on the caregiving side.

Let’s go!

How To Change Entitled Behavior In Adults

So if you’re a young adult having the entitled dependence syndrome, what can you do to change? That’s what we answer here with 12 steps. Let’s get to it!

1. Acknowledge You Have Entitled Dependence Syndrome

The beginning of change is acceptance of a problem. So if you want to get rid of the entitled dependence syndrome from your system, you must acknowledge that indeed, you’re suffering from it.

Here are common signs of entitled dependence to watch out for:

  • You expect others to always meet your demands
  • You feel like the world owes you something
  • You feel you’re special and need to be treated as such
  • You’re rarely grateful
  • You mostly have others to blame for your circumstances.
  • You’re mostly inconsiderate of other people’s feelings but expect others to consider yours
  • You generally don’t push yourself hard to be responsible for your own life
  • Others cater to most of your needs
  • You’re generally unhappy
  • You’re lazy
  • You suffer from high pessimism
  • You’re highly resentful of certain people

Be honest with yourself. If you have most of the signs above, then you’re suffering from the entitled dependence syndrome.

2. Identify Ways Adult Entitled Dependence Manifests In You

We’ll take the acknowledgment of the problem one step further since that’s the way cognitive behavioral therapy works best – that is, understanding your distorted thinking patterns so you can form healthier new ones.

So in this step, you’ll describe exactly how entitled dependence syndrome works in you. Write a story about it even.

Take some writing material and jot down just how entitled you are as far as you can remember.

Ask yourself:

  • What circumstances in my life do I blame other people for?
  • What do I think makes me special?
  • How do I expect special treatment from people?
  • Which aspects of my life do I feel most victimized?
  • What do I do to escape or cope with my negative feelings?

Ask yourself the hard questions you’ve been trying to escape. 

3. Trace The Root Causes Of Your Entitled Dependence Syndrome

This is a psychoanalysis step you need to take so that you can stop being defensive and start being objective about entitlement dependence syndrome.

Do you feel victimized by a certain experience in your life? Which one is it?

Some boomerang children (as needy grown children are called in Canada) were spoiled by their parents so they became entitled. Some are trauma victims of physical and mental abuse which they remain a victim of until young adulthood.

Trace the roots of your entitled behavior to childhood. And even if you find out that your upbringing is to blame, don’t stay in victim mode. 

Instead, be determined to transform your narrative from victim to hero.

4. Cultivate The Truth About Your Self Importance

You probably think highly of yourself – but in an exaggerated way. You think you’re special and deserve to be treated as such.

But the truth is, you are a special person, and so is everyone in their own way. Plus you need to think highly of yourself in regards to what you’re capable of and not in reference to others.

You are important to mankind, but so is everyone in their unique capabilities. You need to be responsible for your own life because you’re capable of being so.

5. Cultivate Your Sense Of Self

The entitlement dependence syndrome distorts one’s view of themselves specifically known as, the sense of self. An entitled young adult child usually sees themselves for what they’re not that’s why they’ll think they’re incapable of taking care of themselves.

Cultivate Your Sense Of Self
Photo by Masha Raymers

And that’s why you need to reconnect with who you are. You need to ditch what you think you should be and start being who you truly feel is you.

It’ll probably take time since you moved away from your true self for a long time. But with the following steps, you can improve your sense of self:

  • Write down your different identities – the color of skin, culture, the family you come from, your personality type, your type of upbringing – everything you identify with
  • Contemplate how each of your identities influences your beliefs and decisions
  • Take a deep dive into your family lineage and note behavioral and circumstantial patterns
  • Learn how your upbringing influenced who you are
  • Put down your values and find out where you likely developed them from
  • Outline your beliefs about yourself, others, and the world – find out what likely influenced these beliefs
  • Write down your goals and ask yourself whether you truly feel those goals would fulfill you
  • Put down what you can do consistently from today to attain those realistic goals

Try your best to observe who you really are to gain a more accurate view of yourself and thus trump the entitled dependence syndrome.

6. Welcome Criticism

It’s hard to accept criticism when it often contradicts how you view yourself. But you need to suck it up and consider what others think of you so you can spot your blindspots and change.

Even if you don’t feel good when criticized (no one does anyway), accept to think about the criticism and actually try to understand the critic’s point of view.

7. Acknowledge Your Flaws

You need to often remember that you, like all other humans, are flawed. Therefore, you need to focus on improvement more than the great qualities you have already.

Identify what’s not good about yourself and the things you can change, one step at a time.

8. Focus On Effort Instead Of Your Abilities

Focusing on your abilities cultivates a fixed mindset which can make you think you’re incapable of doing certain things. This might have been a mindset your parents or caregivers cultivated in you by praising or criticizing you because of your abilities.

However, to unstuck yourself from the entitled dependence syndrome, you need to embrace the growth mindset which focuses on improving through effort.

9. Boost Your Empathy

Dependent adults generally lack empathy otherwise they’d consider people’s feelings and start taking responsibility for their own lives.

Take time to think about the feelings of others and even take a step to ask how others feel about different issues to boost your empathy and reduce entitled dependence.

10. See Your Good Deeds In New Light

Perhaps you think your loved ones or the world owes you for the good things you’ve done in your life. Perhaps you think doing a few chores earns you a right to live in your parents’ home for as long as you want.

But you’d be wrong to think that way.

Instead, think of your good deeds as an expression of your capabilities. If you think you’ve done too much for others, focus on yourself and recharge before helping out some more.

But stop excusing your entitled dependence on your good deeds if you want it to stop. 

11. Consider Your Unfortunate Experience As A Growth Opportunity

Nasty stuff that happened to you already happened. And you have a chance to make something positive out of it all.

Unfortunate Experience
Image by Amy Van Den Berg from Pixabay

You can become an influencer who managed to change their life against all odds. You can be a victim who turned advocate after making it past disrupting trauma. You can be a life changer because you turned your worst challenges to your best opportunities.

12. Know You’re Not Alone

Whatever you experience, someone in the world is going through something similar.. So you’re not alone in anything.

That’s why you need to amass the courage to push forward against all odds. You can also find people who’ve gone through such tough times and made it through so you can gain motivatio to pull through as well.

It doesn’t have to be exactly the same kind of experience as yours. Any success stories from the worst of times can reignite your determination to get out of the entitled dependence rut and make a positive mark in this world.

Also Read: Hostile Dependency – A Complete Guide

What Is Entitled Dependence? A Young Adults Syndrome

Entitled dependence is excessive reliance on other people when one has the capability to function on their own. It mostly shows up in adult children who depend on their parents even though they could take care of themselves. Such children end up that way largely because their parents didn’t teach them responsibility or how to overcome challenges.

How Do You Not Allow Adult Children?

If you’re a parent dealing with a dependent adult, apply NVR (Non-Violent Resistance) – a technique introduced by Haim Omer, a clinical psychology professor at Tel Aviv University. Here’s how:

  • Talk to your adult children about their responsibilities, how you’ve discovred your enabling, the damage it’s doing to them, and how you plan to change how you handle issues so they can learn a lesson
  • Set boundaries around the support you’d offer  during the transition
  • Enforce your boundaries so your entitled adult child can follow through with the transition
  • Learn to be okay with transition difficulties (You’d witness your child struggling as they transition to fully autonomous functioning)
  • Try parent training in nonviolent resistance or other parent coaching strategies for support and tailored solutions. 

What Do You Do When Your Adult Child Won’t Move Out?

Many parents keep promoting their adult child’s entitlement with excuses like, the economy is bad, there are no jobs, and there are high costs of living. But with a few steps you can gradually get your adult child to move out and live in independence:

  • Recognize where you’re starting from – The different ways you’re enabling your child
  • See your adult child for who they truly are – A young person capable of independent living 
  • Help your child find realistic transitions
  • Set your limits of support – make sure you create boundaries you can truly follow through with
  • Identify triggers that’ll make you drop your boundaries
  • Start slow to avoid drastic anxiety reactions from your child
  • Let your child learn from their mistakes instead of trying to control the outcome for them
  • Address mental health problems such as depression, social phobia, conduct disorder, low self esteem, computer addiction — they’re common among young people especially behaviorally disturbed youth
  • Get support from family members

Should I Keep Giving My Son Money?

You can help your son financially as much as you can as he gets on his feet. But you need to have limits on what you’ll pay for and what you won’t (It should be basic sustaining expenses) while facilitating solutions that’ll help him become fully dependent on himself.

How To Deal With A Disrespectful Grown Child

  1. Get to know your child’s perspective
  2. Assess your parenting style and how it affects them
  3. Call out every disrespectful behavior
  4. Take responsibility for your own mistakes
  5. Set healthy boundaries and enforce them
  6. Respect your child to earn their respect as well
  7. Support them as they cultivate self awareness and find their identity 
  8. Improve yourself so you can help them improve themselves
  9. Negotiate ways you can improve communication
  10. Show gratitude for every improvement
  11. Find safe ways to deal with maladaptive behavior like suicidal threats, murder threats, and more
  12. Try parent coaching

Final Word

If you’re suffering from entitled dependence syndrome, you need to work on the above strategies to unstuck yourself before it becomes a debilitating disorder. 

And just a final reminder, your loved ones and the world doesn’t owe you anything so start being responsible for your own life if you want a future.

To the parent dealing with an entitled and dependant child, this is the time to swiftly help your child out of your home with the above strategies. One thing to note is that, the more you act on entitled dependence, the more you learn about it, and the more you conquer it

Whether parent or child, I wish you all the best in eliminating EDS from your family dynamics. And hey, feel free to share this piece with other adolescents, young adults, and parents to change lives.

Thanks for stopping by!

About The Author

Bijan Kholghi is a certified life coach with the Milton Erickson Institute Heidelberg (Germany). He helps clients and couples reach breakthroughs in their lives by changing subconscious patterns. His solution-oriented approach is based on Systemic- and Hypnotherapy.