Otherwise known as the Puer Aeternus, manchild, or more recently, kidult; refers to an ancient mythological theme of the eternal youth, or one who never grows old. Ovid first wrote about the Puer Aeternus (PA) in the Metamorphoses; but the motif of the mischievous god child reaches across many cultures, including Egypt, India, the Near and Far East.
The modern usage of the term was popularised by Carl Jung and exponents of Jungian psychology, when referring to an adult man who retained the behavioural and emotional characteristics of an adolescent. Its no accident that the play by J.M. Barrie has the main protagonist Peter’s name as Pan, “betwixt and between” – neither man nor boy.
Peter Pans tend to act entitled, driven by excessive attention and affection, which they become masterful at manipulating and obtaining. Charming and pleasant, they are usually good natured which makes them appear attractive, but they rarely take any serious interest in any subject outside of themselves. They fantasise about and elaborate on grand schemes and ideas but lack the discipline and sustained effort required to achieve success on their own merits, expecting others around them to support their schemes financially.
They typically live on other people’s credit. This makes them prone to confabulation and false bravado as a mechanism to hide their lack of real, individual achievement. When challenged, they have a narcissistic tendency to deflection and to externalise blame, never holding themselves accountable or growing from past experiences. In today’s video we discuss some of the characteristics of Peter Pans, how they have become so prevalent in our society and how you can identify and rectify those traits in yourself, and your sons.