What is a "Peter Pan Complex"?

United States
February 17, 2009 6:07pm CST
i have heard this term several times and most recently on seinfeld when kramer was saying that jerry had a "peter pan complex" because he had a ton of tennis shoes and then other people have said that michael jackson has a "peter pan complex".. what the heck does it mean? like child like or something?
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14 responses
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
18 Feb 09
I'm answering this from an email so I don't know if you've received your answer yet or not, probably have so I'm sorry for repeating! A 'Peter Pan syndrome' is when a man acts like a kid... takes no responsibility for himself or his actions. A man who doesn't want to grow up, like Peter Pan. I was married to one of them myself. It was so obvious to everyone but me that my mother bought me two books, one entitled "The Peter Pan Syndrome" and the other was "The Wendy Dilemma". That second book is what I had... we need to feel needed so we'll put up with our stupid, 'Peter Pan' husbands, doing the things THEY should be doing ourselves, even if it makes us very angry. Luckily, I actually READ those books! LOL I'm no longer 'Wendy' (sorry, guys!) and won't put up with another 'Peter Pan' as long as I live!
@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
19 Feb 09
Woah~~~! Peter Pan Husbands? Hmm... how do you define a husband as a Peter Pan Husband? How do you deal with a Peter Pan Husband? Does the Peter Pan Husband know that he is doing a Peter-Pan?
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@mentalward (14695)
• United States
19 Feb 09
Hmmm, let me think. I'd define a Peter Pan husband as a man who marries a gal whom he HOPES will take care of HIM instead of the other way around. Maybe he thinks that, by getting married, his wife would be less likely to get rid of him. I was a very independent gal before my physical problems started interfering with my life. I tended to attract men who wanted another "Mom". How I dealt with mine was by getting really angry at him whenever he would do something stupid like spend all his paycheck on himself or forget special days like anniversaries, birthdays, etc. I got angry until I had simply had enough, then booted him out the door. (See, being the "Wendy" that I was, I owned my own home... perfect for Peter Pan, he wouldn't have the "burden" of providing a home for me.) I doubt the Peter Pan husband realizes what he is. He simply wants to do whatever he wants to do which has nothing to do with growing together as a couple. I doubt there are too many little boys who think about why they are the way they are, right?
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@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
19 Feb 09
Make me see the need to review my own behavior! Thanks for sharing though.
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@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
18 Feb 09
Puer Aeternus is Latin for eternal boy, used in mythology to designate a child-god who is forever young; psychologically it refers to an older man whose emotional life has remained at an adolescent level. Peter Pan syndrome is a pop-psychology term used to describe an adult who is socially immature. The term has been used informally by both laypeople and some psychology professionals in popular psychology since the 1983 publication of The Peter Pan Syndrome: Men Who Have Never Grown Up, by Dr. Dan Kiley. (Kiley also wrote a companion book, The Wendy Dilemma, published in 1984.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Pan_syndrome
• United States
18 Feb 09
ah ok.. i wonder why we dont hear it more often then if its used by doctors too
2 people like this
@mentalward (14695)
• United States
18 Feb 09
Oh, wow!!! Ahgong, read my response below. I think I'm no. 10. I READ those books!!! See, moon, they DO exist! LOL
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@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
19 Feb 09
moonlitmagikchild, I guess not that many people are suffering from this syndrome enough for it to be a clinical case. mentalward, you read all those books? Which ones? Are they any good? I quoted the whole text from wikipedia. I have come across the book Men who never Grow Up at the book store before. Yet to actually read it myself. :p
1 person likes this
• United States
18 Feb 09
Basically this is an all about "me" type person. They get attention through negative behavior, believe everything should be handed to them on a silver platter and they should not have to work at anything or for anything. They're generally lazy slackers that will do that absolute minimum to get by. They tend to ignore problems instead of facing them. They think fun is the most important thing in the world and pay little attention to the real world.
2 people like this
• United States
19 Feb 09
those kind of people drive me nuts!!
@dodo19 (33316)
• Beaconsfield, Quebec
18 Feb 09
I believe that it is associated with what Peter Pan wants, which is to stay a boy forever. So, if you say that someone from either gender has a "peter pan" complex, it means that they don't want to grow up.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
that definitely fits michael jackson
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@bunnybon7 (37162)
• Holiday, Florida
18 Feb 09
yes its someone that refuses to grow up. i've been acused of it myself because of my love of dolls and especially paper dolls that i've collected for many many years. but i think even the most mature have some small peter pan in them and if they dont i feel sorry for them. how do they have fun?
2 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
ah ok.. its sad when people cant cut loose and have fun.. i may act or do something immature just to cut loose and have fun!! i was raised to be all mature and have been more mature for my age than most so now its like i okay myself to be silly since i didnt get to be that way before.. i think the problem only lies if the person cant turn it off
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• Philippines
18 Feb 09
I'm guessing that's got something to do with refusing to grow up just like Peter Pan and Michael Jackson. I guess for Kramer having ton of tennis shoes is something immature or something like that.
• United States
18 Feb 09
ah ok.. i had thought that might have something to do with it when i heard it with michael jackson but wasnt sure if my theory was correct when it came to jerry
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@jillhill (37383)
• United States
18 Feb 09
Yes....I think that's what it refers to also living in a fairy tale. I am not sure but usually it applies to both....
2 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
Well Peter Pan never wanted to grow up and always remain a child, so the term applies to adults who continuously act like children. It was applied to Micheal Jackson because...look at where he lived...it was his own fantasy land. As for jerry having because of his tennis shoes i dont get...but what i have seen of the show he does act immature.
2 people like this
• United States
18 Feb 09
I have never heard this saying before. Like the person before me said I would think it mean never wanting to grow up if their talking about Michael Jackson because he always wanted to act like a child and hang around children, he even had a Peter Pan ranch. But I don't know why that would be said about some one having a ton of tennis shoes, unless what their getting at is: most kids wear tennis shoes all the time, unless their going some where that they can't wear them at.
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@winterose (39918)
• Canada
19 Feb 09
the peter pan complex is when a person acts like a child all the time, Peter Man never wanted to grow up he wanted to stay a boy
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Feb 09
after everyones explanations im convinced i know a few people with this lol
• United States
18 Feb 09
Have you ever seen "peter pan"? Peter Pan doesn't want to grow up. I think it is great to hold on to your inner child but unfortunately when you become an adult you are expected to become responsible for yourself. Michael Jackson took the whole peter pan syndrome to the extreme but he could afford to. He built Neverland as an escape from the real world where he could indulge himself and live like a child. Between the amusement park rides and petting zoo he also used it to attract children to be comfortable coming to see him. Being in the business since he was a child and being so sheltered, he never grew up. Or maybe because of the millions he was making, he never had to. Unfortunately in his case, he also has a lot of emotional issues. Michael Jackson is a classic case of peter pan syndrome.
• United States
19 Feb 09
its been so long i dont remember most of the movie.. with mj it made sense but i have heard it with normal people so it had me confused
@angelface23 (2498)
• United States
18 Feb 09
I probably have that complex. I definately don't ever want to grow up. It sucks being an adult. I liked life much more when all I worried about was school and what I was gonna do on the weekends. I was on my mom's insurance, had no bills to pay, didn't have to buy my own clothes. Ahh, I mean obviously I have to grow up in some ways but I will probably always be a kid at heart. I still like Disney movies, I eat lunchables, i like to color in coloring books (with other kids not by myself), I dress like I did in highschool. My husband and my ex boyfriend don't like that about me and they say I am childish and need to grow up but I say f-em: you're only as old as you feel!!
• United States
19 Feb 09
i think as long as your mature when it counts (such as with life decisions or paying bills etc/being responcible) then who cares? i know i still dress similar to when i was younger and still like to have fun but in other ways im mature in how i handle life issues and money etc.. so if your not hurting anyone or your future i dont think it should matter
@Toofancy (549)
• United States
18 Feb 09
My guess is that it means never wanting to grow up. I haven't seen that Seinfeld episode. I don't think I have heard that term before, but that is how I would interpret it.
• United States
19 Feb 09
yeah its the one where kramer takes all of jerrys shoes to the "ma and pa" shoe store to give them business.. they make a comment on how many pairs does a guy need and kramer says he has a peter pan complex
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
18 Feb 09
This term is used by people referring to men who do not want to grow up. They all want to be young and play and do anything they like without taking responsibility. They are also selfish and full of self ego. Of course it came from J.M. Barrie's book "Peter Pan and Wendy". This fictitious boy always wanted to remain a boy. I hope that this helps. On elove.
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