By Ann: This refers to someone who doesn’t want to grow up and is emotionally stunted and stuck in a childhood mentality and unable to accept adult responsibilities. Usually referring to men who never grow up, but it can refer to women also. They find it hard to communicate their feelings and act aloof and distant.
They act as if the world revolves around them and find it hard to commit and plan things and do everything at the spare of the moment without taking anyone else’s feelings into consideration. They tend to blame others for their mistakes or failures and their needs are a priority over others. This behavior can result from sometimes having an overprotective Childhood or being spoiled as a child. It can lead to emotional detachment because of trauma, abuse or drug and alcohol abuse and cause them to close and stay stuck in an adolescent age for example.
Often a reformed alcoholic or drug addict can be stuck at an age they started their substance abuse. Adults take responsibility for their actions and care how their actions affect their family and friends and people in general. Children who disconnect their feelings often do so to cope with stressful situations. As adults, they find it hard to open up, avoid intimacy, and have low self-esteem and live in the past wishing things were different. This is not classed as a mental disorder, some people just find the transition into adulthood difficult, for many reasons such as life decisions, responsibility, and committing to employment. Some fear commitment and relationships or even owning a home and prefer to take safer options in life rather than take chances.
This can lead to loneliness and feelings of shame and can lead to mental health issues or substance abuse. The world we live in can be overwhelming for some people and they are unable to keep up the fast pace and they can internalize family pressures and expectations. They can get lost not knowing which direction to take and become stuck with no direction. Therapy with counselors can help with life coaching. If you know someone with these symptoms the first step is becoming aware and not judgmental but offer support. This condition is usually enabled by upbringing and an environment that does not encourage responsible behavior.
This syndrome is based on the story of Peter Pan who lived in Neverland and who never wanted to grow up. It is a fictional character, but the behavior is real with some people, but it can be overcome. First, stop enabling them and don’t let them use you. Encourage them not to play video games all the time and spend all their time on social media. Remove distractions and encourage them to get outside and enjoy life. Help them to look after themselves and not rely on other people all the time. Peter Pan syndrome can affect any gender and we don’t want to gender stereotype anyone and the female Peter Pan syndrome is called the Cinderella complex where she secretly expects her knight in shining armor to appear and rescue her. Some parents are called helicopter, controlling or snow plough parents by being too overprotective. Let your children make mistakes and make decisions to encourage and build their self-esteem. If you are aware of this behavior within yourself, you may seek help and therapy. Sometimes a carefree lifestyle is okay to relieve stress if it does not cause issues with relationships, work, and health.
The bottom line is not necessarily what interests you have or your hobbies, it is about not taking responsibility for your actions and living independently from your parents. Some people may just take longer to grow up than others and that is okay, if they are encouraged to do so. There may be economic, or trauma factors involved and forces outside of their control and a counsellor or life coach can help correct this if the person is willing to help themselves.
Next subject will be the Wendy Syndrome and the effect women who act like mothers with their partners and overprotect their children and how this affects the Peter Pan syndrome.
Love and Light,