Oedipus Complex and Electra Complex

“We cannot get away from the assumption that man’s sense of guilt springs from the Oedipus complex and was acquired at the killing of the father by the brothers banned together.” –Freud, 1930

When I talked about repression mechanism in my last post, I mentioned that Oedipus Complex is the most infamous example. The reason is that most people don’t admit they have that kind of desire described in the theory. So, what exactly is Oedipus Complex?

According to Freud, boys will experience Oedipus Complex at the age from 3 to 5. During that age period, boys wish to stay with their mothers and sometimes hate their fathers, even wish their fathers to die. The opposite is the Electra Complex. Girls are fixated on their mothers and compete with their mothers for maternal attention. This is the reason most people deny this theory because it makes them evil. However, it is actually a nature development process, everyone experiences that. As people grow older, those desires will change to someone or something else.

freud-oedipus-complex
Stages of Freud’s Oedipus Complex

 

Psychoanalysis

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”
― Sigmund Freud

Psychoanalysis is a set of theories related to the study of the unconscious mind. Sigmund Freud, an Austrian neurologist, established the disciplines in the early 1890s.

psychoanalysis

You must have seen some cartoons like the picture above: a character with a devilish incarnation of him or herself on the shoulder, and an angelic one on the other. According to psychoanalysis, although we can’t see those two little incarnations on our shoulder, we have them in our mind.

Central idea of psychoanalysis is that lots of human desires are beneath the level of conscious awareness. Those desires just spilling over as a neurotic tic occasionally. Also, sex plays a big role in this theory. We tend to deny some of our unacceptable desires with the repression mechanism. Freud believed a common source of psychic conflict comes from sexual fantasies in childhood. The most infamous example is the Oedipus complex, which I will explain in my next weeks’ post.

Critiques points that what psychoanalysis claims are untestable. But there are examples in today’s research showing that repression mechanism do exist.