I’m special and the rules don’t apply.The entitlement schema

Do you often think the rules don’t apply to you?

When you are told no do you repeatedly push or try to convince or manipulate others to get a yes?

Do you tend to think you are always right and rarely wrong?

Have you been told you are controlling or domineering?

Do you think you are special in some way, more so than others? Perhaps you think you should receive special treatment as a customer or your child should be a priority in their classroom due to their gifts or talents?

If so it’s possible you have the entitlement schema. This schema tends to be a schema that is easier recognised in others and less so in ourselves. In fact people with entitlement schema rarely seek therapy as the schema tends to protect them from feeling the pain of their vulnerable part.

Many people who are in therapy experience pain as a result of their work and social relationships with people with entitlement schema. In intimate relationships, it is common for someone with self-sacrifice schema and subjugation schema to pair with people with entitlement due to schema chemistry. This is because they are unlikely to challenge their partner’s entitlement.

Entitlement schema occurs due to unmet core emotional needs in childhood. For some, it is likely to have been caused through indulgent parenting, parents who encourage beliefs of specialness above others with out appropriate limit setting. For others, it is born out of the emotional deprivation schema and believing you don’t matter. The entitlement schema tends to prevent the pain of the emotional deprivation schema by creating a false sense of specialness and importance.

If people with entitlement schema feel so great what are the problems associated with the entitlement schema?

While entitlement schema can prevent feeling the pain of our vulnerable child part, it does not allow us to get our core emotional needs met. People with this schema can become depressed particularly when they hit a ceiling of achievement in their life.

If people with entitlement schema use a bully/attack or self-aggrandising coping mode, they can experience significant problems with their work and social relationships.

Relationships problems are common. Typically partners feel lonely and unmet in their relationships with their partner and their entitlement schemas and relationship real down is a major reason people with entitlement schema come to therapy.

People with entitlement schema can experience difficulties at work due to complaints from other colleagues about the entitled behaviours that make them difficult team members. Or they may not tolerate being overlooked for a promotion and engage in career destroying behaviours as a result.

Schema therapy can be helpful to heal this schema. By learning to validate the emotional needs of our vulnerable part and building a healthy adult part that sets reasonable limits, a healthier and more fulfilling life can be achieved.

Reference: “Reinventing your life” by Young and Klosko


  • Nadene van der Linden

    Nadene van der Linden is a Clinical Psychologist, Accredited EMDR Consultant and Therapist and Advanced Certified Schema Therapist. Nadene has a special interest in trauma and uses active therapy approaches including schema therapy, EMDR, and chairwork therapy techniques. Nadene is a Board Approved Supervisor and supervises and mentors psychologists and other mental health therapists. Nadene offers online training for therapists at nadenevanderlinden.com

    http://schematherapycollective.com support@nadenevanderlinden.com van der Linden Nadene