Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Playing psychologist

I've edited many psychology books and journal articles, so many that I sometimes feel certified to open my own practice. I'd probably be more qualified to tell you what words are misspelled most often in the psychology field than the presenting symptoms for a cognitive disorder, but close enough. I also lived for two years with two psychology students diagnosing me for various disorders (some of which I may indeed have), I own the DSM-IV, and I watch Frasier. These are my criteria for my following blog entry.

I can't remember if I've talked about this before, but I would like to introduce a new disorder into the field. You've likely heard of the Peter Pan syndrome. It's not in the DSM; it's a pop psychology term, but awesome nonetheless. It was introduced by psychologist Dan Kiley, who wrote The Peter Pan Syndrome and The Wendy Dilemma. Quick overview: Peter Pan = men who refuse to grow up, and Wendy = inappropriately self-sacrifing woman (does all the work, complains all the time but does nothing to remedy it, "admits" to being wrong when not, full of self-pity, and generally an annoying and unnecessary martyr). Staying on the J. M. Barrie theme, I'd like to introduce to the wonderful world of pop psychology the Tinker Bell Disorder.

I termed this disorder a few years ago during a discussion with a friend. It reoccurred to me this morning due a dream I had last night of an ex (who may have appeared as Sonny Corinthos from General Hospital). In the dream a group of friends and I were staying at a beach house. A hurricane was coming, and my ex had decided to go stand by the ocean. He likely, as in real life, was doing this because he decided I would be better off without him. He loved me, or at least thought he did, and so because he loved me he'd stay away--think Edward Cullen in Twilight and you'll get the picture, minus the vampire part, although sometimes I felt like il suo cantante. Not that this ex ever in real life threatened suicide, by hurricane or any other means--he was never horrible and manipulative--but he did remove himself from my life on multiple occasions under the same premise. (This drama may explain why he appeared in the dream as a soap opera star). Anyway. In the dream I decided that I too would stand out in the hurricane for as long as he did. I woke up before the battle of stubborness could be won.

Ironically, when my ex was trying to be most like an adult--making decisions for me based on what would be best for me--he was behaving his most childish. He didn't really have Peter Pan Syndrome, mostly because of circumstances beyond his control, but it was this childish behavior, and subsequent non-grown-ups I was attracted to/I attracted, that led me to diagnose myself with Tinker Bell Disorder: Women who like men with Peter Pan Syndrome. Different from Wendy. Tinker Bell loves Peter even though (or because) Peter can't love her back. Tinker Bell exists only because someone wills her to be there, and, in fact, she has a very short life in Barrie's novel, because that's the way it's supposed to be. Fairies live (commit) only a short time because to fairies it seems like a long time. By the end of the novel Tinker Bell has died and Peter has forgotten all about her. Disney leaves this out.

Those diagnosed with Tinker Bell Disorder aren't really ready to be adults either. Aren't ready to be adults and aren't ready to love adults. Once Peter decides to leave Neverland Tinker Bell will stay back, or will actually cease existing because Neverland is the only place she can exist. In the movie Hook, where Tinker Bell actually talks, she tells Peter, "Peter, you know that place between asleep and awake? That place you still can remember your dreams? That's were I'll always love you, Peter Pan." Not the real world.

However, it's okay to visit Neverland now and then. (Just not Michael Jackson's.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

LOVE THIS!!! i think i have tinker bell syndrome