What About The Peter Pan Syndrome?

I was talking to a pal last night…

“What happens to these Peter Pan Syndrome types when they get their cancer diagnosis? You know. Play your whole life and then they tell you that you’ve got cancer. How do you cope then? What do they do?

I would like to find some psychologically sophisticated nurses and ask them about this. What do these men do? The women too, for that matter. The female version, whatever she’s called because they exist as well. You’ve run through 800 people who might have loved you, but you left them and now you’re going to die. How do you cope?”

“I don’t know but it would be a good question for your blog…”

I don’t know if any nurses read here but if you know someone who could answer this – get them over here, would ya? Thanks.

Submit your own open question…

15 thoughts on “What About The Peter Pan Syndrome?”

  1. I think that is a really good question. But if they didn’t want to be tied down to someone who loves them when their life was unlimited, why would we think that they want to be tied down when they have to face death? News like that has got to change a Peter Pan’s perspective for sure, but what if it doesn’t even make them wish for that one partner they never wanted to begin with? Maybe they want to swordfight with Captain Hook on their own.

  2. And for me it was not about judging them. I just really would like to know what people who have seen this have observed… because I have never observed it.

  3. Not everyone feels the need to have “the One” person in their life. Not everyone is cut out for marriage, or long-term commitments. It doesn’t make them bad, or make their life a waste because they didn’t decide, “Oh, perhaps I should go ahead and settle for one of these people just so I won’t be alone.” (Some people do settle to settle down, some people actually find their love, and some people stay single).

    The fact is, even when you have someone in your life…you still end up having to face Death alone. They don’t come with you, even if they’re standing by your side the whole time.

    I’m not standing up for people who blatantly play and hurt others and all that, but as someone who is single for a rather long time now, mostly by choice, I find it disturbing that people think life isn’t really lived unless one has a significant other to share it with, and that someone must somehow regret not doing so when faced with a terminal illness.

  4. Carielle– it’s really not about those people. it’s about people who use people up cos they think there will always be an endless supply. but then there’s not. and most people DO need someone in that situation, not necessarily a love, but someone who genuinely cares about them, and they’ve burned all their bridges. so what do they do? just wondrin’. it was never about singles-by-choice.

  5. I am a Virgo/Scorpio mix but I am not a nurse. My observations of Peter Pan’s are that they always land on their feet regardless. People still love them. Even if they have burned through dozens, there are dozen’s more waiting to be burned. Not necessarily with deep abiding love but attention, favours et al. It always amazes me as I tend to suffer in silence but I don’t think Peter Pan’s suffer quite the way the rest of us do because they don’t have that deep well of emotional complexes to start with.

  6. Since it takes two to play the game, so-called Peter Pans have a long line of partners in their pasts, and also in their futures. Peter Pans’ partners go along with the agenda and don’t take responsibility for their own actions. So. Let’s not belittle Peter Pan. He/she is just playing out a script, along with all the other people in his/her life. As to end of life… being alone can happen to anyone at any time. Peter Pans probably fare better than others; they have a bigger pool from which to choose.

  7. I don’t think a Peter Pan type necessarily will regret having lived a non-committal life style upon receiving a terminal diagnosis. I know of a couple of old men who are terminally ill right now, and refusing all visitors. They don’t want any company at all, let alone a partner hovering. Some terminally ill people want lots of company or, at least, a loved one near by. I don’t understand them, but they are probably by far the norm.

  8. I’m not a nurse, but I have seen this played out when I worked for a psychiatriac group. (NB for clarity’s sake: Peter-Pan is not an actual psychological diagnosis but a social construct. We just happened to have patients with other disorders who acted this way. 🙂 )

    There were two outcomes:
    Peter-Pans that still had a support system reacted like anyone else. If by some chance their parents were still alive it almost seemed like they relished the chance for “mommy” to take care of them again.
    Peter-Pans that did not have a support system usually broke, exhibiting severe depression or anxiety (and sometimes both). Usually the displays were very dramatic, so I’m not sure if it was a genuine reaction or an act to try and garner sympathy/support; I’m not a professional, after all, I was just the receptionist.

    Carielle, I feel the same way when people assume all atheists and agnostics are going to have death-bed conversions. It’s exasperating!

  9. I’ve finally been “burned” by my match- another peter pan type who shocked me into the realization of my ways. In the end when I’m have a “time limit” on my time on earth I’ll continue living like I always have – with vigor, with grace, with a fun-loving spirit and a big heart ready to drench my next partner with love.

    Ha- I remember a guy friend of mine telling me that my ‘boyfriends’ are my victims but I think of of it different. I’m just blessed with consorts in this adventure of life – nobody participates unwillingly. The way I see it is Peter Pan could fly..he knew that the minute you are born is the minute you start dying. A diagnosis won’t slow him down…it’ll only make him fly even further and laugh even louder…and he’ll make sure everyone around him is laughing as well 🙂 Thank goodness for these types. 😉

    1. Whosthatlady Thanks so much, because I must be a Peter Pan type for my body is aging but my spirit is forever young and when it’s time to leave this body I’m not afraid to be alone I came here alone.

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