So who are the Lost Boys?
They are boys "who fall out of their prams when the nurse is looking the other way and if they are not claimed in seven days, they are sent far away to the Neverland" where Peter Pan is their captain . There are no "lost girls" because, as Peter explains, girls are far too clever to fall out of their prams, a pram being a British word for a large baby-carriage.
So what does all this have to do with men and therapy? First of all, most guys don’t need therapy because therapy is all that touchy-feely, New Age psycho-babble and Real Men don’t do any of that girly stuff, right?
Or do they? Let’s go back to Peter Pan for a moment and the Lost Boys. So what if you do fall out of your pram when the nurse (mom or whomever) is looking the other way? First of all, why is she looking the other way? There could be a couple of reasons she’s not looking right at you...perhaps she’s a narcissist and it’s all about her so why would she waste her time looking at you instead of herself?
Or she could be alcoholic or on drugs or maybe even on “ladylike” drugs like prescription pills, "Mother’s Little Helper," as the Rolling Stone’s song called them.
Maybe she has an anxiety disorder or suffers from depression or PTSD.
But whatever the reason, she looked the other way and you ended up in Never Land.
And perhaps that’s where you stayed, or at least you kept going back there. But what is Never Land for an adult man, as obviously you grew up...or at least a part of you did while another part of you still hangs out in Never Land. For many men, Never Land can be many things. It’s a place where you go to when you can’t take it any more, when life gets too stressful and often on automatic pilot, you find yourself there.
For some of us it’s the oblivion of alcohol or other drugs including medical marijuana.
Others it may be a chronic pornography addiction.
Or sex addiction.
Or always needing to win, to be Numero Uno.
And what do all these things have in common? They’re addictive; they typically meet the diagnostic criteria for addiction including the hallmark signs of :
Loss of Control (loss of predictability, that once I start, I can’t always predict when I’ll stop)
Increase in Tolerance (I need more and more to get the same effect)
Withdrawal (I’ll feel discomfort, pain, aggravation, distress when I stop)
Craving (Not doing it causes stress, stress creates cravings, cravings mean I’m back in Never Land against my wishes).
The sad part is that what began as something seemingly pleasurable now becomes a prison of our own making and that despite so many promises to quit, for some reason, we keep going back.
And that in turns creates a cycle of shame, stress, anger, anxiety and depression.
But there is a way out...that’s what counseling is all about...escaping from Never Land and living in the present without the anger and frustration. It’s about letting go of the shame and leaving the self-imposed prison and living a fulfilling life with meaning and purpose.
See? Real Men do therapy after all!