Another prominent aspect of the Peter Pan syndrome is chronic underemployment or unemployment. Although they are mentally and physically capable, they will refuse to seek or do jobs to earn money. Moreover, they may also get fired repeatedly due to misbehavior and absenteeism.
3. Avoidance of financial responsibilities
Peter Panners are highly reliant on their friends and family for financial support. They ask, request or even manipulate others to help them out with the money issues without offering to do something in return.
4. Not doing any work
These individuals will refuse to do any work or chores around the house. Although they might be married and even be parents, yet they will refuse to do any chores like cleaning the house or taking care of children.
Causes of Peter Pan syndrome
Limited research has been conducted to understand this condition. Hence, not much is known about the exact causes of this psychological phenomenon. Here are some factors that may lead to the development of the Peter Pan syndrome:
1. Helicopter Parenting
According to psychologist Humbelina Robles Ortega, the primary reason for this condition is overprotective parenting, which is also known as helicopter parenting. It is an unhealthy and hyper-involved parenting type where the parents show more control over their children than is necessary for appropriate development. This can affect the child’s ability to learn new things and take risks in life to move forward.
By being overprotective, parents make their kids overly dependent on them. As a result, they fail to learn the necessary skills for adulthood. Author and poet Jude Paler writes that this includes “skills like doing laundry, washing the dishes, or handling finances. Other more complex ‘adult’ skills include being able to communicate one’s emotions and taking responsibility.”
Being an adult and taking responsibilities is difficult. When starting out, most of us feel anxious about making money or getting a job or being successful in life. Peter Panners often feel crippled by these thoughts and allow their anxiety to get the best of them. Hence, they look for a possible escape route, like a loving parent or a responsible spouse or even a Wendy to look after them and meet their needs even in their adult lives.
3. Childhood trauma
Trauma experienced as a child can also lead to such behavior in many individuals. Jude Paler explains “Someone who was abused as a child will not have a happy childhood. When he grows up, he may feel like he needs to ‘catch up’ on being a kid.” So when they become adults, they choose to live their life as a child. “One classic example of this case is the King of Pop, Michael Jackson,” she adds.
Humbelina Robles Ortega claims that individuals suffering from Peter Pan syndrome are usually afraid of being lonely. Therefore, they are always looking for care and attention from others, especially their family, spouses or romantic partners.
5. Commitment phobia
It is believed that these Peter Pans have a strong fear of commitment. According to Good Therapy, “People with Peter Pan syndrome often have a pattern of unstable relationships. They may form relationships with progressively younger partners, who they assume will have less plans for the future and require less investment.”
Read also: 4 Driving Forces Behind Commitment Phobia