Remember the famous fairy tale from J.M. Barrie about Peter Pan? Though Peter Pan is a lovable character, he’s a mischievous young boy that wants to remain a child. He spends his days going on adventures with his friends and ignores his self-growth. The crux of this story is that he didn’t want to grow up, and today there’s a psychological condition that takes its name, Peter Pan syndrome, from this tale.
Note: The psychology community does not consider this a firm diagnosis. Rather than recognizing this as a verifiable condition, many psychologists observe this series of behaviors. Often, these actions point to a behavioral or personality disorder. Primarily, it impacts men. However, psychologists sometimes find it in women, also.
The inability to mentally mature and grow up seems to be a growing trend among millennials. Sure, growing up is hard to do, especially when you must pay bills and go to work each day. Many would rather play video games and depend on their parents’ kindness for support, but life doesn’t work that way.
It’s become a real issue, and this syndrome is gaining more attention. Someone with this disorder doesn’t like to make commitments according to their age, which means they want to remain young and carefree rather than take on responsibilities. They have an attitude of entitlement, and they expect family and friends to support them and their desire to remain forever young.
Now keep in mind that not every person who acts immature has this syndrome, as many things can cause someone to be childish. The matter has nothing to do with someone’s intelligence, but it all comes down to emotional maturity. Do you know someone who may fit into this category?
Ten Signs Someone Has Peter Pan Syndrome
Perhaps you’ve met a man or woman who has swept you off your feet. At first, they were so carefree and fun, and you loved going on adventures with them. While they made things interesting, much time has passed, and they still act very childishly and fun.
While they’re taking their mental trips and flights of fancy off to a place like Neverland, you’re left with all the responsibilities. Someone must be accountable. Here are ten signs that the person you love or someone you know may have this syndrome.
1. They Avoid Conflict at All Costs
The person who doesn’t want to grow up doesn’t like conflict. They want to assume that the world around them is perfect, and they don’t want to talk about anything negative. Avoidance of conflict is a significant indication that they don’t have the mentality to deal with it.
2. They’re Very Irresponsible
Being a child is living a carefree life, but an adult has obligations to take care of each day. A person that cannot handle any responsibilities of any magnitude may have this syndrome. They need someone to hold their hand to get anything done in life, and it’s remarkably like stroking a child’s ego and praising them when they do manage to get things accomplished.
3. They’re Unreliable
Running a household takes two people. If you ask this person to do something to help, will they do it? Perhaps, they will avoid it and act like they didn’t hear you, or they will “accidentally” forget.
One of the most significant parts of a relationship is being able to depend on one another, and if you cannot rely on your partner, it’s going to make things challenging for you. Conversely, do you really want to spend your life with someone you can’t count on?
4. They Feel Everyone Else Is to Blame
Another significant issue that comes up with this syndrome is that it will never feel wrong. It’s always someone else’s fault. They will blame you, their boss, their parents, and whoever else is around them.
They play the victim card so much that they believe they’re faultless. Forget getting them to take responsibility for their actions and learn and grow. They will forever feel that the world around them owes them something and is responsible for all the misfortunes in their life.
5. They See No Need to Change
You may point out 101 things that are wrong with them and need to change, but they won’t see one thing. According to the National Library of Medicine, part of Peter Pan syndrome comes from the story and the relationship between Wendy and Peter. Wendy constantly guided Peter and wanted him to change.
Instead, he became accustomed to her guidance. However, he didn’t see the need for any alterations in his behavior. He likes his life the way it is, and he feels that the world around him is simply fine. If you talk until you’re blue in the face about the changes that your partner needs to make, yet they just let it go in one ear and out the other, then it’s an issue.
They are so stuck in their immature nature that they can’t comprehend what you’re saying. They see no need to make any adjustments to please you or anyone around them.
Growing up and being an adult isn’t easy for anyone. However, the immature person has a tough time with it. Things like managing a checking account, doing taxes, and earning enough money to pay the bills, can be overwhelming.
If this person complains about everyday, routine responsibilities associated with adulthood, it could be a sign of this syndrome. They may skip doing them altogether, depending on friends and family to help. If they do some of these things, then they expect praise for them.
When a person expects your praise for doing responsibilities like taking out the trash or helping with laundry, then you’ve got a big issue on your hands. Wouldn’t life be great if everyone has a cheer squad every time they did something required to be an adult?
7. They Won’t Keep a Job
Someone who doesn’t want to grow up will find it hard to keep a job. They may bounce from job to job because it’s interfering with their social life or playtime. They may call off work often or not show up altogether.
Employers don’t like to hire these people because their resume is a mile long, and they’re not dependable. Sadly, you can’t depend on them to help you pay the expenses for a home either.
8. They Want Someone to Nurture More Than Be an Equal
Remember Wendy and her nurturing nature from the story? Well, the person with this syndrome wants a mother figure to take care of them throughout life. They’re not necessarily looking for a spouse, but they want someone to take on more of a parenting role.
If you notice that your love interest acts more like you’re in charge, and they follow your lead and judgment calls, then it’s a red flag. It’s not your job to pack their lunch, do their laundry, and pick up after them. They need to be adult enough to do these things for themselves.
When they struggle to find a good balance between play and work time, they need to grow a bit.
9. They Have Commitment Issues
Another significant indication that someone has this syndrome is they don’t want to grow up. They will find it hard to put a label on your relationship, and they may keep you in the friend’s zone. It’s not that they don’t want to be with you; it’s that they are still so immature that they can’t fathom a relationship like you do.
10. They’re Constantly Trying to Escape
Just like Peter Pan ran off to Neverland, today’s version of this young person will try to escape reality all around them. Their journeys may be more mental than physical, but they need to find a way out of responsibilities. A red flag that someone has this syndrome is they would rather hang out with the boys than work, and they love video games and other sporting activities to consume their time.
Do you see any of these traits in a person you love or are involved with? You should know that you deserve to be with someone who can be on the same page as you’re intellectual. It’s not that the person with Peter Pan syndrome lacks smarts, but they cannot see the need to grow up.
They would rather frolic through the Neverlands of the world today, play video games, hang out with friends, and live a carefree lifestyle. Be careful if you engage in a long-term relationship with them. You should know that you will likely be the responsible partner in all things, including finances and household chores, for the connection duration.
It would be best if you had someone to be your equal, to support you, and to have a sense of maturity about them. Do you want to play the mother or father role with someone supposed to be your partner? You can stick around in Neverland with them, or you can leave with your dignity intact and live in the real world.