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I'm an Adult With Peter Pan Syndrome


Growing up is never easy, and nobody wants to do it, but it’s an inevitable part of life. As children, we’re taken care of by our parents, and we don’t have the responsibility of taking care of bills such as the rent, mortgage, electric, and phone or any other household financial concerns. Our parents are the ones who are doing the heavy financial lifting concerning grownup issues, like paying taxes and making sure that we stay alive. After that, we’re set free into the world, and we have to take care of ourselves. Some people don’t adapt well to the adult world, and in fact, they may even refuse to grow up. When you don’t accept your role as an adult, you could have something called Peter Pan syndrome.

Peter Pan — he doesn’t want to grow up

When we were children, there was a story about Peter Pan. He’s a character who refused to grow up and lived on an island called Never Never Land. He didn’t take responsibility for himself because he refused to become an adult. Named after the fictional “Peter Pan,” there’s something that happens to people that don’t quite make it into adulthood. It’s called Peter Pan syndrome.

Peter Pan Syndrome

If you’re chronologically an adult and fail to act like a grownup, or don’t take responsibility for yourself, you may have Peter Pan syndrome. But how do you know if you have the condition? It’s not just about not wanting to grow up. There are a host of other symptoms to look out for, and here are some of them.

Trouble keeping a job

  • You don’t want to take a job that seems “beneath you.”
  • You don’t put yourself out there unless the position brings you the recognition you feel you deserve
  • You don’t work hard for the sake of working; there needs to be a reward

No sense of direction

  • Inability to stay focused in a direction in life
  • Floundering with finances or career
  • Relying on family for support and not trying to achieve goals on your own

Substance Abuse

  • Living in a state of denial
  • Abusing alcohol
  • Using and abusing a drug

Blaming and not taking responsibility for your actions

  • Failing at various ventures and blaming others
  • Unable to see your role in events
  • Assigning yourself as a victim or infallible

Conflict isn’t your friend

Nobody loves conflict; it’s uncomfortable and sometimes daunting. It’s not easy to face a situation where someone is upset with you, but it can result in something positive when two people talk out the issues. But for someone with Peter Pan syndrome, conflict can seem like an attack rather than working towards a resolution. Many people with Peter Pan syndrome struggle with conflict. Maybe you can’t handle people calling you out on something you did. It makes you feel like less than a superhero, and that’s an unpleasant feeling. That’s part of the struggle of a person with Peter Pan syndrome. You are in love with the idea of yourself rather than who you are in reality.

Do you need help

If any of these descriptions sound like you, it may be time to seek help. There is no shame in admitting that you’re struggling with some of these issues, and being an adult is difficult. We all have challenges. It’s hard to realize you have mental health issues, and one of those is Peter Pan syndrome. There is a solution. It might be you or maybe your partner is dealing with the condition. Either way there’s help. You can seek the guidance of a licensed therapist or counselor. Whether you’re working with someone online or in your local area, you can get support recovering from Peter Pan syndrome. Online counseling can be an excellent way to start talking about your issues with growing up.

Getty photo by blanscape