We come across “Sids” in our daily lives in the form of friends, cousins, colleagues or the uber cool neighbour next door. They are the “man child” – man who is unwilling to grow up. These men love to be in a state of extended adolescence. So these men (even in their late twenties) do not mind getting pocket money from their parents, or having their mom do their bed every day. Over protective parents are one of the reasons why these wonderful boys never grow up.
Psychologist Dan Kiley in 1983 defined this behavior as the “Peter Pan Syndrome”. Men with this “syndrome” are unwilling to take on adult responsibilities, they glorify adolescence and see the adult world as problematic.
Dan Kiley also defined the term “Wendy Syndrome” to describe women who play “mother” to their partner or people close to them. “Wendys” are the women behind “Peter Pans” – they would not let Peter Pan take up challanges and responsibilities that would eventually let him “grow up”. We all have heard the married Wendy women say –“I feel like I have three children, not two, because I have to treat my husband just like one”. There are certain conditions that transforms a woman into a Wendy – she might be suffering from a fear of rejection at some level, has a negative self image through an inner voice of inferiority, or is so dedicated to her social image that she fails to examine her true personal potential.
The “Peter Pan man” and “Wendy woman” combination might look like complementary at the first glance. Wait until you hear the Wendy woman complaining – “He can’t, therefore I have to.” The truth is that the Peter Pan man can, but he is unwilling to take up responsibilities or many times the Wendy partner does not give him a chance. This “over protection” over a period of time would diminish each person’s individuality, creating a pathological bond of dependency leading the Wendy woman to hit rock bottom leaving her totally exhausted in a relationship.
So what should the Wendy woman do? She needs to be a woman who is willing to give up and let her partner grow up – and that’s exactly what Konkona Sen does in the movie “Wake Up Sid”- rather than mothering Sid, lets him know that she needs a “man” and not a “boy”.
There isn’t anything uncool about owning up responsibilities – so Peter Pan boys “Wake Up”. And Wendy girls “Stop being your partner’s mother”.