There are, of course, real victims in this town as a result of the atrocity committed on December 14th. There are many who were harmed and injured, both physically and mentally on that day. I am not saying any of this to dishonor the true victims of this tragedy.
It’s the rest of us I’m talking about…. the wider circle of this town, many of whom appear to have fallen into a victim identity that is turning into selfishly entitled behavior. I heard a story the other day about a woman who took her many grandchildren (only one of whom is from Newtown) to Disney World in April and all were admitted entrance for FREE because of the Newtown connection. This is the sort of entitlement I’m talking about avoiding.
Three experiments demonstrated that feeling wronged leads to a sense of entitlement and to selfish behavior.
Read more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20085398
I understand that the process of healing from what we have all experienced is a long road and that people will travel that road at their own pace and in their own way. But I also think we need to be aware of the tendency toward entitlement thinking and guard against it.
Here’s a link to a website with a fantastic PDF entitled Deadly Perils of the Victim Swamp: Bitterness, Self Pity, Entitlement, and Embellishment by Karl D. Lehman M.D. and Charlotte E.T. Lehman, M. Div. that makes the following points about Victim Entitlement:
Victim entitlement tells us that we have the “right” to avoid responsibilities and consequences we don’t want, and the “right” to take things we do want: “I shouldn’t have to carry the same kind of responsibilities others are expected to carry because my life has been so hard,” “I have the right to act this way (angry, violent, rude, unfaithful, etc.) because of the things that were done me,” “It’s okay for me to take this _____ because of all the things that were taken from me.” The sad truth is that we are “entitled” (have the right) to stay wounded, bitter, and miserable.
The article is filled with incredibly helpful information on healing from the Victim Swamp, I highly recommend it as a resource. Let’s continue to heal our pain and work to not fall into victim-entitlement.