Self

8 Signs You Have 'Wendy Syndrome' & Need To Mother Your Partner

Photo: Dragana Gordic / Shutterstock
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Peter Pan syndrome is a condition where a person refuses to grow up. Instead of taking responsibility for their own lives, they place the blame on other people and circumstances.

People with Peter Pan syndrome are typically the result of overprotective parents that shield their children from the realities of life. They can also be created by parents who don’t impose boundaries.

Peter Pan syndrome is characterized by insecurity, a fear of rejection, lack of discipline, and traits that are also associated with narcissism.

But what is a Peter Pan without a Wendy? If you’ve ever seen Disney’s "Peter Pan," you know Wendy is the "mother" figure to Peter Pan's crew, the Lost Boys, while Peter Pan is considered the "father."

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Long story short, Wendy Darling helped Peter Pan get reattached to his shadow after he loses it while peering through a window to watch her mother read bedtime stories.

She then proceeds to share bedtime stories with him, prompting him to invite her to Neverland to be a mother to his gang. In typical savior fashion, Wendy finds this offer appealing and heads back to Neverland with her two brothers in tow. Sounds fun, right?

Not really, but Wendy, nevertheless, becomes a mother figure to a bunch of boys around her own age. She goes on to put them first, even when her own life is on the line.

So, now that we know who Wendy is, what does it mean to have Wendy syndrome?

What is Wendy syndrome?

Wendy syndrome is the tendency for women to act like mothers to their romantic partners. Wendy syndrome is the opposite of Peter Pan syndrome.

Wendy is the woman behind Peter Pan. She deals with everything he doesn’t want to do, giving him the freedom to just exist.

People with Wendy syndrome take the lead in a relationship, taking care of responsibilities and making decisions. Wendy is well-aware of Peter’s tendency to be unreliable, so she accepts it and adjusts.

Wendy syndrome is primarily found in women, though men can have it, too. It might seem outdated, but nothing could be further from the truth. Women everywhere put the needs of their man above their own.

If Peter Pan represents immature men, Wendy is a representation of women who pick up the slack for those men.

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What causes Wendy syndrome?

The root cause of Wendy syndrome can be found in family history and upbringing. Many women who suffer from it have felt unprotected as a child, so they want to give others what they did not have.

People who have Wendy syndrome emulate the love and concern they wish their parents would have given them as children and shower their men with it, whether he deserves it or not.

8 Signs of Wendy Syndrome

1. You put the needs of others above your own.

Selflessness is a beautiful thing. But don’t confuse it with self-sacrificing.

People with Wendy syndrome find it necessary to constantly tend to the needs of others and take on issues that don’t belong to them. Those with Wendy syndrome place the needs of other people above their own, and sacrifice what they want in order to make others feel good.

2. You make yourself believe that doing for others is your purpose.

If you have Wendy syndrome, you likely believe that taking care of people is akin to love and that it makes you feel good. You want to be there for the people you love.

However, Wendys usually attach to Peter Pans who take no responsibility in the relationship and leave them to shoulder the burden. This usually leads to burnout and resentment.

3. You are scared to end up alone.

Wendys are scared that one day, their Peter Pan will find a new source to mother him through life. They never want people to stop needing them.

The idea of being alone with no one to care for makes you terrified. Your ability to please people is closely tied to your self-esteem, so being left is a particularly low blow.

4. You walk on eggshells.

If you have Wendy syndrome, your habit of putting people above yourself and your constant fear of abandonment leads you to walk on eggshells.

You want — no, you need — to be important. Nothing makes you feel more worthless than rejection. So, people with Wendy syndrome try not to upset others, burying any divisive thoughts or ideas they might have.

5. You try to do it all.

Wendys take on more than they should. You want to be seen as a superwoman and you have to be needed. So no matter how exhausted you get, you continue to do it all.

Your service doesn’t stop at your duties. You take on responsibility for your partner’s and children’s needs as well, leaving everyone else to go with the flow.

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6. You have the wrong idea about love.

In a Wendy’s mind, love and sacrifice go hand in hand. You believe that being hurt and giving up things that are important to you are just part of loving someone.

In true self-sacrificing fashion, you allow transgressions that should be a dealbreaker to be swept under the rug along with your hurt feelings and broken heart.

7. You are matriarchal.

Your relationship with your partner is more parent-child that one of romantic love. You know that he or she is irresponsible and unreliable, so you spend a lot of time cleaning up their mess.

If your partner has to be up at a certain time, you set your alarm clock to make sure they get there. If they have paperwork to fill out, you complete it for them. You are definitely a Wendy.

8. You are controlling and co-dependent.

Underneath all that helpfulness, Wendys really want to control their relationships. By making your partner depend on you to make it through life, you feel indispensable and that feels good.

Wendys will even encourage codependence in their mates by making them believe doing things on their own is impossible. This is a great way to keep them under your protective, motherly wing.

Like those with Peter Pan syndrome, people with Wendy syndrome don’t see themselves as part of the problem. However, they both work together to enable one another.

Relationships should be reciprocal, with two mentally stable, well-adjusted people coming together to make each other’s lives a little better. If you suffer from Wendy syndrome, it’s time to cut the umbilical cord.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington, and the author of seven books. She covers lifestyle and entertainment & news, as well as navigating the workplace and social issues.

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