"All children, except one, grow up" – this is how a fairy tale by Scottish writer James Barrie begins. It tells the story of Peter Pan, the boy who preferred life in the real world to Neverland – a fantastic country.
Now, more and more children seem to be like Peter. They live only for pleasure. You might think this wouldn't be a problem, as a child is a child, but this article will discuss "boys" who have long passed the milestones of 20, 30, or even 40 years.
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In adolescence, they may express coldness, aloofness, aggression, and other negative emotions towards their loved ones. This mostly affects parents. However, such behavior may also be a normal manifestation of a typical rebellious period. You can suspect an emerging disorder if your son is already 15-17 years old, but he still doesn't know what he wants to do, cannot make breakfast for himself, and is not interested in girls. In general, he has another important battle in a computer game, so "I have no time, we'll talk about it later."
Then, a young man with Peter Pan syndrome faces the inability to build healthy relationships. Encountering communication problems, especially with girls, the "boy" decides that the people around him are "not what they should be." This makes him feel superior, and he starts mistreating them.
"Trolling" his loved ones and hitting their most vulnerable spots becomes one of his favorite amusements for self-affirmation.
Sooner or later, he finds himself in the company of "kids" like him and falls under their influence. Parties become long and regular, and the man lives his life "to the fullest," "here and now," which affects his studies and other important life spheres. A lazy pastime becomes the most important thing. This is a dangerous period, as alcohol, drugs, games, and other types of addictions can develop.
Later (mostly after graduation),the necessity to work makes such a man desperate. Now he faces his first serious crisis between "I want" and "I need." Gradually, he will adapt to the norms and rules established in society and will try to comply with them. However, no position requiring responsibility and job functioning will morally satisfy him.
Frequent changes of workplaces and the search for self are natural traits of "Peter Pan," which never meet with success. At the same time, he can often make very decent money, most of which will be spent on endless fun.
Attempts to establish relationships fail and are limited to casual relationships or even the absence of sexual contacts until the age of 20-22. He believes that no woman can meet his interests (this is not about sex, but about the inability to establish normal communication with the opposite sex in general).
The guy denies his communication problems, and by developing a sense of uniqueness and superiority, he becomes a typical narcissist. At the same time, "Peter Pan" learns to charm everyone: he is seen as a kind, sensitive, interesting, well-groomed man with extraordinary charisma. No doubt he impresses women, but in practice, it turns out to be nothing more than his subconscious manipulation.
For sure, he wants to establish closer contact with women, so there are always many women around him. Most of them quickly leave due to his immaturity. However, sooner or later, there is one who falls into his cleverly made trap.
A distinctive feature of the relationship's first stage with "Peter Pan" is its fast-paced, stupefying beginning: extremely strong emotions, lengthy correspondence, conversations that take hours, and impetuous passion. Both are sincerely convinced that this is love at first sight, and they were made for each other.
Subconsciously, the "eternal boy" has only one goal – to get to know the girl as closely as possible, to win her trust, and then to launch his favorite manipulative device – "emotional swings."
"Emotional swing" is a repeating cycle of mood ups and downs: either maximum intimacy or sharp and unreasonable distance.
After establishing closeness and having a vivid love period, suddenly "Peter Pan" becomes cold and indifferent. Usually, the eternal boy's victims are bright and successful women: responsible, reliable, strong, independent, who are "strike a woman, strike a rock"; completely opposite to the immature and carefree boy. For "Peter," they are a tempting morsel that can be used for easy self-assertion.
A woman for him is another point in a “boy’s wishlist”, like a new car, quadcopter or a gadget, – the list is endless.
The man's abrupt and inadequate emotional change can be a worrying sign during the first six months to one year of relationships. Today you are the love of his life, the future mother of his children, and the best woman in the world, but tomorrow his opinion will be completely opposite: he will suddenly become dissatisfied, gloomy, and in every possible way avoid talking to you.
When you try to find out the reason of his coldness, most likely you will get a long answer about the autumn (and then winter, spring, etc.) depression, the moon in the wrong phase, and the unfavorable nature of the Universe in general. And if you swallow this, he will use even more ridiculous and sophisticated answers. For example, “Sorry, but you have cellulite on your left thigh, I can’t help myself”.
After that, "Peter Pan" will shrug his shoulders and disappear, and the woman will be left alone in complete confusion because, most likely, she has never experienced such an attitude towards herself before. Everything was so fine and nice, but now it turns out that it is she who has a problem. A sense of guilt and inadequacy forms.
Trying to answer the question "What was it?" the girl will spend all her energy and money to deal with cellulite (which, probably, doesn't even exist). She's not crazy; it's just that by this moment, the "eternal boy" had already managed to attach her emotionally so much that, taking into account their perfect relationship, the man's sudden alienation is perceived as if she is the one to blame for the breakup. The woman's self-esteem rapidly decreases.
And guess who appears as soon as the girl calms down a little? That's right! Our "boy"! With flowers, wine, declarations of eternal love, singing praises and apologizing for his actions! He bursts back into her life as quickly as he left it. The girl decides that the man "came to his senses" and she takes him back.
The period of euphoria and romance begins again; they might even get married. However, the woman has no suspicion that she has just passed the first test by "Peter Pan" to see how deeply she has swallowed his hook. The second cycle of the "emotional swing" starts, and then...
You can change the color of your hair and eyes a million times, learn 33 ways to cook turkey for Thanksgiving, attend all kinds of femininity/makeup/technique classes, but he will always find a new flaw in you, reject intimacy, devalue your achievements, spread feelings of guilt, leave you without looking back, and then return, regretting his behavior and making declarations of "love".
If you are already married, during periods of estrangement he can be with you physically, but emotionally he will be far away in his dreams or in a "parallel universe". All chores and even the responsibility for the family's financial well-being will become the woman's responsibility.
"Peter Pan" will spend days partying while his wife stays with their baby alone; he will spend endless hours surfing the Internet in search of another boyish "wishlist", while at home the faucet has been leaking for three months already or a door is about to fall out of its hinges; he will drive his friends home until midnight, while his wife waits for him at the airport, having arrived from another exhausting business trip.
"Peter Pan" will put off all the important family matters for later, which mostly means "never." Immaturity leads him to set incorrect life priorities. Real life seems boring and dull to the "boy", and responsibilities make him feel desperate, constantly discontented, and disappointed in the whole world. A teenage soul, imprisoned in an adult body, constantly craves parties and fun.
The inability to establish deep emotional connections with loved ones causes "Peter Pan" to constantly search for what he perceives as the "ideal" woman. Remember how we mentioned that there are often many women surrounding the "eternal boy"? If he has a wife, nothing changes. Even if you were to chain him down and put a strict collar and muzzle on him, he would still find a way to cheat.
If physical infidelity doesn't occur, he will still be emotionally involved with another woman. Given the choice between addressing pressing family matters and flirting with an attractive colleague through messaging, he will undoubtedly choose the latter. At the slightest hint of his wife's suspicion, the "boy" will either withdraw or resort to pathological lying, concocting the most absurd excuses on the spot and causing the woman to doubt her own sanity. The accusations will escalate, with him now claiming she acts more like a mother than a wife. This is logical, as the woman often does become a "mother figure" for him. After all, what can she do when the person beside her is more like a 14-year-old teenager than an adult man?
For “Peter Pan”, a woman is simply a resource for satisfying his needs and addressing his insecurities. Such relationships can significantly damage a woman's mental well-being, potentially leading to the development of severe depression and even suicidal attempts. Often, the woman only realizes the utter absurdity of the situation after several years, or sometimes even decades.
By this time, the “emotional swing” had already drawn both of them to the extent when it became almost impossible to stop them.