What is the Oedipus complex?

The Duden defines the Oedipus complex as follows: "Psychoanalytic term for the early childhood, in both sexes developing relationship with the opposite sex parent". But what exactly does that mean and where does the term come from?

Who was Oedipus?

Oedipus is a figure from Greek mythology. He is exposed as a child with pierced ankles, as he should kill his father after an oracle and marry his mother. Oedipus is rescued and received by the King of Corinth. A few years later, he unknowingly slays his father and marries his mother, who gets four children from him. When the two finally find out the truth, the mother hangs herself and Oedipus blinds himself.

What is the Oedipus complex?

The Oedipus complex is a psychology term coined by Siegmud Freud. According to Freud's theory, every male child goes through the so-called "oedipal" or "phallic phase, " which occurs for the first time in the third to fifth year of life. In this phase, the child feels attracted to his mother and looks at the father as the biggest competitor.

How can the oedipal phase go out?

In the best case, the child stops seeing his father as a competitor and gives up his incest wishes to his mother. The boy should look at the father as a role model and identify with it. However, if the oedipal phase is not overcome, Freud sees it as a cause for the emergence of neuroses or perversions.

Is the Oedipus complex actually available to girls?

Carl Gustav Jung found a term for the feminine variant of the Oedipus complex - the Elektra complex. This is characterized by the desire of the girl to want to have a child from the father, while at the same time develops a dislike of the mother. This desire persists until puberty and disappears only because of the lost interest in the father and the simultaneous identification with the mother.

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