The Wendy Syndrome: Caring for Others and Neglecting Yourself

· March 2, 2016
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 do so, our health, happiness, and personal growth can be extremely affected.

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The Wendy Syndrome, many people think that the description of this behavior given by popular psychology is somewhat outdated and typical of past generations (of our mothers and grandmothers).

But nothing is further from reality. The need to care for our partners, of giving them our all, and of putting their needs before our own, is something that is viewed as normal today. There are many women who make the mistake of “loving too much” and then begin to have lower self-esteem.

It is important to limit this and have a balance. You can adore your partner, give a lot of love to your parents or friends, but you must never go to the extreme and forget your own needs and overlook your own personal growth.

Today 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 that refuses to grow up, that does not want to have the responsibilities of an adult, and above all, looks to live a life of adventure without ever having to enter the realm of stability and maturity.

Peter Pan, therefore, depicts immature men, unable not only to be responsible for their own life, but also that of others. And what about Wendy Darling? She is the young girl, who from the first day worries about cleaning the house, about taking care of the “lost children,” and gives everything for others because that is how she is happy.


Characteristics that usually define people with the Wendy syndrome:

  • 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.
  • For these people, giving care is a way of offering love. Therefore, they do it freely. No one makes them care for others. However, they often “become attached” to a partner with Peter Pan Syndrome. This is immature men who don’t want to care for anything, who do not want to be responsible, and who are comfortable with having a partner to take over responsibility for everything, including their children.
Wendy Darling in The Wendy Syndrome

  • People with The Wendy Syndrome have a lot of fear 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, thanks to this, they see themselves as valuable and necessary.
  • It is vital to keep in mind that it is possible that caring for and helping others will make you happy. However, the time can come when you realize that others could be manipulating you, or that you are 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, our families, and especially, our children, are the people who form a major part of our lives, that identify who we are, and that are indisputable pillars in our daily lives.

Also try reading: 7 Ways to Watch Your Weight and Care for Your Family

Caring tips to remember

Keep clearly in mind these aspects:

  • 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 could end up feeling unsatisfied, frustrated, or sad. What good are you to others if you yourself are sad?
  • If you are a person who feels proud of yourself, if you feel happy, with good self-esteem and self-sufficiency to take responsibility for yourself, you will also be able to provide all this positive energy for others. Above all, these emotions are necessary for you and to be able to care for others.
  • 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 are one of those people that feel happy when caring for others, remember that you should begin first with yourself. Cultivate your own happiness and then you will also be able to offer happiness to others.

It’s worth the effort!