The culture of entitlement

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Dealing with multi-faceted personalities is a full-time job. And when you work in an industry where you are surrounded by people all day, every day, that job becomes compounded by a plethora of drama, negotiation and, on many occasions, very warped senses of entitlement.

I’ll admit there are days when I feel a little bigger than my britches but I am firmly rooted in the reality in which I know I am replaceable. I am very good at my job but I do not hold any sense of a misguided belief the place where I work would not be able to go on without me.

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Sadly, many people do not follow my logic. The culture of entitlement is alive and well and thriving like a bacterial colony in a petri dish. And like any bacteria, entitlement grows, spreads and inevitably infects anything or anyone in its path. Those who feels a sense of comfort in their role may want to keep in mind there are many people who can slip into their shoes and potentially wear them better. A sense of entitlement changes people. It makes them act impulsively and show little regard for those around them. It drives a wedge between the entitled person and the people with whom they share the field of battle and, now, smaller wars are created within the bigger battle.

There is a very narcissistic quality to entitlement and those individuals feel they are more important than others. Their end goal is to feel like they have won and to feel superior to those around them. But all they have done is create a toxic work environment and lose the respect of their coworkers.

I have seen what a sense of entitlement can do to working relationships and to friendships. The pathogen of privilege is destructive and ugly, and it can forever change the relationship you have with those you work with. Be cognizant of others. Realize you are all on the same team. And, no matter how long you have maintained your job, work hard every day to prove you are part of that team and be humbled by the realization that you can be replaced.

 

The perks of being true to yourself

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I was recently rummaging through my writing desk when I came across a letter I had long since forgotten.  It is not the typical style of prose I would choose to hang on to but it is a glaring reminder of how therapeutic it can be to exorcise a toxic friend from your life.

Toxic friendships start so innocently.  The relationship begins to build on a foundation of trust and common interests, a bond is evident and the rules of the alliance seem to be clearly outlined and understood by both parties.  Each participant silently vows to put the other’s well-being ahead of the general population and to always have the other friend’s back.

But, somewhere during one particular friendship of mine, the rules changed.  My toxic friend began to show the obvious characteristics of being narcissistic and she no longer had a genuine investment in my feelings.  She began to pollute my reality with her selfishness and her uncanny ability to focus solely on herself.  Although the previous vows of our friendship still may have percolated in the back of her mind, she forged ahead only looking out for herself, completely negating any regard for my feelings.

Unfortunately, I have fallen victim to more than my fair share of toxic friends.  I have created excuses for their behavior, forgiven them on many occasions for the negative effect they have had on my life, and the lives of others, and defended their antics ad nauseam.  For the duration of those relationships my toxic friends broke all the fundamental and universal laws of friendship and yet I found it difficult to break the bond of our kinship.

I keep this letter, still, as a reminder of the journey I took to find my worth.  This one solid shred of evidence is proof of the strength I possessed to finally walk away from a toxic friendship and put myself first.  It is a letter, penned by a third-party, written to attack my character and accuse me of misrepresenting myself as a friend.  Although this letter initially angered me because the author was completely ignorant regarding my history with this certain friend, I now look at the words and smile.

I was accused of being a bad friend, and I was a bad friend – to myself.   I was accused of changing, and I did change – for the better.   I was told I would regret ending this one-sided friendship and, yes, I did indeed have regret about ending this particular friendship – but only because I didn’t have the balls to do it sooner.

into a new freedome

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I made a monumental decision that day and one I will never regret making.  I finally gave myself permission to define how I let people treat me.  My friendships now are nurturing and reciprocal and the friends I have in my life treat me with the same respect I show them.  It was a bumpy road for a while but knowing when to let go was a lesson I learned the hard way.  I may have a few cuts and bruises from having walked into a new freedom but I shall wear those scars with pride.

It’s not narcissism if someone else writes it

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He wandered in from the past like a daydream.

The words in his email hung in my reality like a cartoon balloon.

I had spent months trying to track him down,

hunting him like he was an endangered species,

 trying to bring him back into the safety of our tribe.

But he was in the wind.

He left no scent of his trail and he had found refuge in his own world.

 After leaving the chase behind,

we became the hunted and he, in turn, became the hunter.

There is a muted sound that is made

when two worlds collide.

It is the sound of making right what was wrong,

of discovering things you hadn’t realized were lost,

of filling a space you had forgotten was empty.

 And even after all the time that has elapsed,

some days it feels like he never even left.

He is that consummate friend you know will always be there,

even if it is twenty-five years later.

He is the man who any mother would be proud of,

(and other mothers would have a crush on).

He is a man I am honored to call my friend.

It is not often you can find another heart on a sleeve

that recognizes that placement as a strength and not a weakness.

He is a kindred spirit, a confidant,

and he is a friend I will not let disappear again.