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The Oedipus Complex: one of the most controversial concepts of Freud's theory

The Oedipus Complex: one of the most controversial concepts of Freud's theory

April 4, 2024

The Oedipus Complex: one of the most controversial concepts of Freud's theory

The Oedipus Complex is a term used by Sigmund Freud in his Theory of Psychosexual Development Stages to describe the feeling of desire of a child for his mother and hatred for the father . This hatred is due to the fact that the child perceives that his father is a competitor to get the mother's affection, and expresses his feelings in the form of anger, tantrums and behaviors of disobedience.

Freud proposed the Oedipus Complex for the first time in 1899 in his book Dream interpretation, but did not begin to use it formally until 1910. The name was born after being inspired by Oedipus, a character from Greek mythology who accidentally killed his father.

The Psychosexual Theory of Sigmund Freud

At the time when Freud lived there was a strong repression of sexual desires. The Austrian psychoanalyst understood that there was a relationship between neurosis and sexual repression. Therefore, it was possible to understand the nature and variety of the disease by knowing the patient's sexual history.

Freud considered that Children are born with a sexual desire that they must satisfy , and that there are a series of stages, during which the child seeks pleasure through different objects. This is what led him to the most controversial part of his theory: the theory of psychosexual development.

Phallic Stage and Oedipus Complex

According to Freud, there are several stages of the infant's psychosexual development, and the Oedipus Complex happens during the Phallic stage : important moment for the development of sexual identity.

This phase takes place after three years and extends to six. The genitals they are the object of pleasure, and there is an interest in sexual differences and genitals, which is why it is very important not to repress this desire and the correct management of this stage, since it could obstruct the ability of research, knowledge and general learning of the child.

Freud states that male children experience sexual desires towards their mothers and see their parents as rivals, so they fear being castrated, a process that results in the Oedipus Complex. Later the children identify with their parents and repress the feelings towards their mothers to leave behind this phase. The correct assimilation of this stage has as a consequence the maturity of the sexual identity.

The concept of the Oedipus Complex only refers to boys, since in girls it is called Electra complex .

Overcoming the Oedipus Complex

For the correct development towards an adult with a healthy identity, the child must identify with the same sex as his parent . Freud suggests that while IT wants to eliminate the father, the EGO He knows that his father is much stronger. Then, the child experiences what is known as castration anxiety, fear of emasculation. As the child becomes aware of the physical differences between men and women, he assumes that in women the penis has been removed, so that his father can castrate him as punishment for wishing his mother.

Many are the criticisms that Freud has received for the concept of the Oedipus Complex, even from within the world of psychoanalysis itself.

Oedipus Complex | Analysis of Freud's Most Controversial Theory - Part I (April 2024).

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