The Wendy Syndrome: Caring for Others and Neglecting Yourself

It is important that we take care of ourselves in order to be able to care for other people and other responsibilities. If we don’t, our health, happiness, and personal growth can be affected.
The Wendy Syndrome: Caring for Others and Neglecting Yourself

Last update: 30 November, 2019

When speaking about The Wendy Syndrome, many people think that the description given by popular psychology is somewhat outdated and typical of past generations (of our mothers and grandmothers).

But nothing could be further from the reality. The need to care for our partners, give them our all, and put their needs before our own, is something that is viewed as normal today.

Many women make the mistake of “loving too much” causing them to lose their own self-esteem.

It is important to limit this and work to find a balance. You can adore your partner, give a lot of love to your parents or friends, but you must never go so far as to forget your own needs.

Nothing should be more important than your own personal growth.

In this article we will address this topic and find out a little bit more about The Wendy Syndrome.

The Wendy Syndrome, the perfect woman for a Peter Pan

Do you remember the personalities of Wendy Darling and Peter Pan from the famous book by James M. Barrie?

Peter is a young boy who refuses to grow up. He doesn’t want to have the responsibilities of an adult, and seeks a life of adventure without ever having to enter the realm of stability and maturity.

Peter Pan, therefore, depicts immature men. They are not only unable to take responsibility for their own life, but also that of others.

And what about Wendy Darling? She is the young girl, who – from day one – takes responsibility for cleaning the house, looks after the “lost boys”, and even sews Peter’s shadow back in place so that he doesn’t have to worry about losing it again.

She gives everything for others because that is what makes her happy.

Characteristics of people with the Wendy syndrome:

They put the needs of others before their own

  • They feel the need to provide care, to tend to others. In this way, they feel that they are making other people happy.
  • These people will put the needs of others above their own, and then slowly, they begin to sacrifice their own desires and even the things that are important to them.

Doing things for people makes them feel better

  • For these people, giving care is a way of offering love.
  • They do it freely and because they want to.
  • No one makes them care for others.

However, they often “become attached” to a partner with Peter Pan Syndrome. This is immature men who allow people to take care of them, who don’t want to be responsible, and who are comfortable with having a partner to take responsibility for everything, including their children.

Wendy Darling in The Wendy Syndrome

Fear of being alone

People with The Wendy Syndrome fear two things: that other people will stop needing them, and they will be left all alone.

The idea of not having anyone to take care of terrifies them, because this is the way in which they feel useful and demonstrate their love. At the same time, this helps them to see themselves as valuable and necessary.

Things change

There is one important aspect to keep in mind. It is possible that caring for and helping others will make you happy. However, the time will come when you realize that others could be manipulating you

At some point, you will start to feel as if you’re giving too much with nothing in return. The day may come when you feel frustrated and undervalued, and this is when the problem arises.

You must be careful so that this doesn’t transform into possible depression.

We recommend this for depression: Fighting Depression with Yoga

Caring for yourself and also taking care of others

Woman sitting in a field blowing a dandelion flower, caring for herself

Should we perhaps stop caring for others? Or worrying about our loved ones? Not at all. Never do that.

Our partners, families, and especially our children – these people form a huge part of our lives. They are part of our identity, and are indisputable pillars in our daily lives.

However, in all our personal relationships, it’s important to have a sense of balance, and to keep the following aspects in mind:

Personal growth

Never forget the importance of developing your own personal growth, of having your own space, your hobbies, of defending your values, and of caring for your self-esteem.

If you give everything for other people, you’ll end up feeling empty. Then you’ll start to feel unsatisfied, frustrated, and sad.

And what good are you to others if you yourself are unhappy?

Positive energy

If you’re someone who feels proud of yourself, if you feel happy, you have good self-esteem and the self-sufficiency to take responsibility for yourself, you will also be able to give all this positive energy to others.

All these positive traits will rub off on those around you.

You deserve to feel loved

You can care for your partner or the person you love but keep in mind that you also deserve to be cared for, recognized, and valued.

It is a power play where both should win and neither lose. If you’re one of those people who feels happy when caring for others, remember that you should start by taking care of yourself.

If you fall, so will they. Cultivate your own happiness and then you will also be able to offer happiness to others.

It’s worth the effort!

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