Claim Your Own Mental Fitness

“Entitled generation: owed certain rights and benefits without further justification” Dictionary .com

The definition above refers to the group of people born between 1979 and 1994. For us pre-baby-boomers, the word “spoiled” comes to mind. And for critics of Mr.(Fred) Rogers’ soothing programs for young kids, the key word is “special.” These terms are all used to describe people who are just too special to thrive, leaving the rest of us to take care of them indefinitely. In mental fitness terms, their Indulgent Parent allows their Child too much freedom. As noted in the previous blog on the ninth toxic belief, their Adult is too weak to keep the Wise Parent dominant. Despite the common citing of this one generational group, be assured that this “special” tendency is shared by all of us human beings. It happens in our Child when our Adult doesn’t recognize and divert Indulgent Parent beliefs.

The last two toxic beliefs form the basis for one’s becoming too special to thrive. This blog will discuss Belief #11, that if you’re very talented or attractive, you’re entitled to recognition and an easier path. You don’t need to be that talented or attractive to fall into this trap. Parents can be so eager for you to have good self-esteem that they make it too easy for you to get praise and rewards. This can spoil you by setting expectations that other people will also treat you as the special being your parents see. You may fail to thrive because when your boss or room-mate expect more than you gave before they reward you, you’re plunged into grief. “Why don’t they appreciate me just for being me?” you may ask. When your easy, entitled life is ripped away from you, the loss can leave you with angry grief that lasts a lifetime.

While your parents may have spoiled you in some ways, they could also have neglected you in others. You can feel too special to thrive if your parents were too busy to supervise and guide you. The media advertisers and video games of today’s culture can seduce your Child into feeling a sense of worth based on skills that don’t prepare you for success in relationships or a job. Your parents should have insisted that you make time to gain competency in areas of your talents (eg. art, music or athletics) and develop good basic life and academic skills. If they helped you stick with work in areas difficult for you, they could have shared Wise Parent beliefs that kept them on track (if they had them), like “in the workplace it’s not about you, it’s about the product or services.”

Living at home you could have learned that if you do your share of the chores and treat your family with respect and sensitivity you feel happy and secure there. Your parents needed to know how to teach you these things and have the time and energy to require them consistently. From them your Wise Parent would have absorbed this understanding: “In a relationship you must always try to consider the other person’s need to be valued as well as your own.” Your parents should have to set you an example for this by treating you and the others in your family with compassion and respect. In fact, they should have actively taught you the Adult skills of the FORMULA to prepare you for your best life.

We human beings are all subject to Indulgent Parent influences because parents can’t actually do this job as well as would be ideal. You emerge from your family with Indulgent Parent beliefs taken from them and your surrounding culture. Most often you don’t learn the FORMULA from them, from school or even from a church, where the Golden Rule for treating others as you’d like to be treated is taught. You’re expected to have the necessary Wise Parent beliefs but don’t even know you lack them. This can set up an escalating sense of hurt, anger and heightened fight-or-flight reactivity as your grief over losing your easy, self-indulgent situation increases over time. This anger can lead you to embrace the twelfth belief which will be discussed in Part 2.

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