Some brothers are just unable or incapable of growing up and show it in their attitudes in relationships; this is otherwise known as the Peter Pan Syndrome or in ladies it’s often called Patronas as in the character in the Peter Pan story. I am not one of those personality types that can live in a relationship with such guys and I have been burnt by it, although the glare of fun or the off the beaten path can add some spice to the thing it can be grossly problematic on the other hand; there is a time and place for everything mi seh. There are many components impacting persons who may have the Peter Pan Syndrome some may include the kinds of attachment that the partner had with their parents especially mothers as some clinical psychologist surmise.
The relationships with parents may have elements of insecurity, un-attachments, avoidance, otherwise known as ‘spoil pickney’ lol and so forth; persons tend to take such issues into adult life, fear of harm or hurt which plays out in perceived childish behaviours or a carefree attitude with less follow through when compared with the average person, Michael Jackson’s demeanor comes to mind for some Peter Pans while others are sophisticated generally, typically masculine acting but take him home or move in with him and then it shows up. The old adage ‘See mi and come live wid me are two different things.’ (See me and come to live with me or getting to know me are two different things) The feeling of being in Neverland as the story goes there are no goal directions and impacted persons have difficulty in adult life settling down or maintaining intimate relationships. In same gender loving relations it plays out from personal experience with tendencies to be narcissistic, aimless, selfishness and they tend not to understand or exude compromise and the ‘whatever’ attitude or one doesn’t care about consequences in some instances show up. The Patronas or girl Peter Pans are not usually paid attention to generally by society as it is expected that women are stereotypical passive and in Jamaican culture the ‘I want a man to mind me’ (financial responsibilities in common law unions) chips in or they are taught from very young so called women responsibilities such as clothes washing, ironing and other domestic chores as she is expected to take care of a man later on.
The bisexual drama
To have to deal with a Peter Pan lover or sex buddy and his attachments to parents is one thing but he ends up with two loves and dependency or narcissistic complexes with me and her and loves to play just a little too much and is irresponsible. With his opposite sex partner (as we knew of each other’s existence) he expects her to provide the same creature comforts as his mom did and then with me he wants more company and pampering to satisfy his male attraction while not performing as agile as I expected in bed. He eventually broke it off with her and I ended up with all the needs and challenges as he dumps his dependency and childishness on me as we spend more time together.
Possible causation as one local clinical psychologist suggest has many and there is a school of thought that suggest adults now who are Peter Pans had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD as children but then have grown up and simply dropped off the H to ADD or adult attention deficit disorder. There has always been a feeling in Jamaican culture of hyper active children losing their hyperactivity as they grow older but while there is some truth in that the attention disorder if present remains and causes challenges in adult life which may explain the Peter Pan Syndrome. Gay/bi men with PPS especially ones in the creative arts are bored easily I have found and loose interest or have none in long term repetitive activity I dated a few and boy I ask myself why do I attract these babies? Even sex becomes a challenge as experimentation or exploration for new things is not welcomed as it involves too much sharing whilst Peter Pans are self centered and narcissistic. Strangely while the aforementioned fun loving component is there and risk taking otherwise it does not seem to play out in their sexual exploits I have found with the two guys I had to contend with.
Suggesting a psychologist to men overall is a no no as I learned the hard way; when I did it he flipped and suggested that I was suggesting he was mad; he thought I was trying to change him and we all know how Jamaican men in particular resent that. The heart connection can be good but the head connection is another matter. That was when we broke it off eventually as I could not continue with a big baby or teddy bear. As his mother cooks and leaves food for him he wanted me to do the same, he does very little chores around the house, at one point he wanted me to repeatedly literally feed him his food which at first looked cute but then when it got to a chronic stage it was too much. Playful moments can spice up the relationship but there is a time and place for everything; I also recognized I could not drive him into commitment so better we say goodbye as an intimate couple but we still say him.
Jamaican culture has certainly impacted to the Peter Pan problem in my mind peer pressure, parenting or overlove, Hetero-normative constructs and gender role and power differentials too come into play. Frankly a vast number of children come into the world based on a statement such as ‘I missed my period you know’ there was no apiary discussions in terms of planning for life and responsibilities; circumstances force persons hands to raise children in a where the wind takes us approach. Girls are raised to be chore doers or domestics with a view to taking a man from pretty early in life; yet boys do not get that and that same mother who may have a son a twenty five and she is still doing his laundry (or cooking his food as explained above) in other words helicopter parenting. It gets worse when they are double gendered siblings in the home then the boys get special treatment as opposed to their sisters. Culturally there is a forced delayed development barring sexuality and understanding of sexual orientation (homophobia) in our education and family life systems and culture and tolerance is nowhere in sight. Boys are not encouraged to take responsibility early. So gay or bisexual men with this Peter Pan issue have it hard to function or have steady relationships.
Then we turn around and wonder why the process effectively continues as evidenced in prisons, who do we see making the visits in the waiting lines with meals? The same mothers who raised the boys with preferential treatment etc. I remember a workshop I was facilitating on HIV and I asked the participants to list the things one tells boys to help them becomes responsible men yet NONE of the persons answered as they all listed what they will do for their girls. I found that instructive. Class has a lot to do with it as household/lifestyle children are now in may not be replicated by that child when he/she matures in terms of socio economic class. As what is now in play jobs are hard to find, persons have degrees but are stuck and a parent may encourage that child now adult to remain in the house citing feared expenses, difficulty navigating life thinking they are doing so out of love when said parents should be encouraging risk taking. Mother is still feeding and providing but a child on the part of the pampered person is brought into the picture of that man may get married and import the wife into the very home causing more challenges psychologically and otherwise. Worse yet if such a man is bisexual then it becomes problematic for the male lover living elsewhere and who is forced to encounter this effectively spoilt brat with adulation seeking tendencies. The transition from feeling secure to managing responsibility sees to be the main core of Peter Pan problems and they have little or no coping skills.
Some men do not bother to try as the best way in the minds of some to not fail is to not try. If one is in a context of being taken care of, bills are paid and expectations of parents to die or the opposite where parents see kids as old age pensions and it leads to laziness on the surface but I think this Peter Pan Syndrome. Then there is the issue of punishment as rewards for failure as children via verbal abuse or physical so persons fear taking risks of any sort in adulthood and expect to be spoon-fed; it presents itself in fathers who have gay relationships they walk away easily from responsibilities. Then it gets worse when the parents expectation of continuity of the blood line is not met; or the wanting of grandchildren even though the grown child is still living in the home and he may be gay or bisexual then we see the forced evictions and sibling rivalry cases I have seen over the years.
The moral of the story look out for the Peter Pans and tread carefully, I would not suggest ending the relationship or liaison as I did you may be lucky for a resolution.
Peace and tolerance