Wendy Syndrome: the Need to Satisfy Others

November 18, 2018
The problems with Wendy Syndrome occur when you empty yourself to give everything to someone and get nothing in return. You deserve more.

Wendy Syndrome has its roots in popular psychology. Despite the fact that it’s not a recognized disorder in diagnostic psychology manuals, it’s made up of certain aspects that need to be treated psychologically.

Focusing your entire life on caring for another person causes a slow process of self-destruction. The loss of self-esteem or extreme physical and mental exhaustion can easily lead you into depression.

Classical literature has provided several examples that help describe this very real behavior. Wendy Syndrome, also known as “Peter Pan Syndrome,” “Othello Syndrome,” or “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome” all describe disorders, problems, and behaviors where fiction becomes reality.

Now you could easily say that the subject of this article is the most common syndrome of them all. In some ways, many women live it out as a reality, not because they are forced to, but because it’s what they have seen for generations and it’s what they feel.

Giving yourself up for someone else seems to be an exceptional way to love. Sometimes it’s easy to forget something, however: whoever gives also deserves to receive.

This is where the problems start, with emotional dissonance and sadness. Today we are going to analyse it in the following ways:

Wendy Syndrome, or progressive denial of self

Although this syndrome, as we mentioned, is rooted in popular psychology, the symptoms of it are very clear. The person believes that to love is, above all, to serve another person.

  • For a long time this kind of relationship can feel good. It’s how you understand love.
  • You’re not concerned (at first) that others don’t care for you equally. You just know that your partner feels loved by you and is happy. That is what makes you feel good.
  • You do it so that those around you don’t get angry or upset. You fight for external happiness while forgetting your own.
  • Gradually, however, you perceive that other people consider everything that you do as “normal.” All of this can lead to them becoming tyrannical and demanding.

If you’re experiencing Wendy Syndrome now, look at these aspects that you should change.

Wendy in Peter Pan

Understand that love isn’t sacrifice: love is to give and receive

Many people were brought up with the idea that in order to love you have to give up certain things to cement the relationship. If you want someone, you have to “put up with” many things. You have also been made to believe that you have to say “yes” when you want to say “no.” You begin to prioritize others over yourself, which is the other person’s goal.

If you have integrated these ideas into your way of thinking, you’ll start to collapse under the weight of new ones:

See also 7 signs you don’t love yourself enough

  • Love doesn’t mean giving up. If you give up, you’ll only become a victim of yourself.
  • A loving relationship should be mature and aware. Both parties must give, without a doubt, but it’s equally important to receive.
  • Love is about forming a team, coordinating your strengths, interests, and needs.
  • In Wendy Syndrome, there is always one person giving and one receiving. One wins and the other gradually loses.
  • The real problem, however, is that the other person doesn’t even realize it. At the start of the relationship you feel happy caring for them, worrying about them, attending to every detail to maximize their well-being.
  • After months or years, though, you notice that something’s wrong. In the end, you are just taken for granted, not appreciated, and more and more is required of you.

You mustn’t let yourself fall into this difficult and unhappy trap.

Girls with stars in her hair

How to focus on other types of emotional relationships

Our first and most essential piece of advice: never fail to be yourself, no matter how much you love the other person. Otherwise, sooner or later, frustration, discomfort, and unhappiness will appear.

See also: Don’t let love change who you are

Caring, protecting, giving, denying yourself certain things… All of this is OK, but your partner should also take care of you, give you things, and deny themselves things for you. Whatever the case, such self-denial should only occur if it’s for the common good.

  • Don’t apologize for something that isn’t your responsibility.
  • The greatest fear that people with Wendy Syndrome have is being abandoned. To prevent this from happening these people are capable of going to any extreme, and this must be avoided.
  • You need to learn to be happy on your own. Enjoy your own company to the point of knowing that if you were suddenly on your own, the world wouldn’t end.
  • Learn to also correct your thought patterns, especially those that bring you suffering. This will help you create new emotions that make you stronger.
  • Break away from ideas like, “If I care for them more, they’ll love me more,” or, “It’s better if I give this up and they’ll see how much I love them.”
  • Stop projecting all of your hopes, desires, and energy on another person. Do so only in a fair way. You deserve my love and I deserve your respect.

Remember, in love we must have dignity. Never accept anything less: learn to receive and fight for your personal integrity.

  • Quadrio, C. (1982). The peter pan and wendy syndrome: A marital dynamic. Australasian Psychiatry. https://doi.org/10.3109/00048678209161187

  • Dalla, R. L., Marchetti, A. M., Sechrest, E. A., & White, J. L. (2010). “All the Men Here Have the Peter Pan Syndrome- They Don’t Want to Grow Up”: Navajo Adolescent Mothers’ Intimate Partner Relationships-A 15-Year Perspective. Violence Against Women. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077801210374866

  • Monod, E., & Boland, R. J. (2007). Special issue on philosophy and epistemology: A “Peter Pan syndrome”? Information Systems Journal. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2575.2007.00231.x