Oedipus complex

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Oedipus complex,

Freudian term, drawn from the myth of OedipusOedipus
, in Greek legend, son of Laius, king of Thebes, and his wife, Jocasta. Laius had been warned by an oracle that he was fated to be killed by his own son; he therefore abandoned Oedipus on a mountainside.
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, designating attraction on the part of the child toward the parent of the opposite sex and rivalry and hostility toward the parent of its own. It occurs during the phallic stage of the psycho-sexual development of the personality, approximately years three to five. Resolution of the Oedipus complex is believed to occur by identification with the parent of the same sex and by the renunciation of sexual interest in the parent of the opposite sex. Freud considered this complex the cornerstone of the superego and the nucleus of all human relationships. Many psychiatrists, while acknowledging the significance of the Oedipal relationships to personality development in our culture, ascribe love and attraction toward one parent and hatred and antagonism toward the other not necessarily to sexual rivalry but to resentment of parental authoritarian power.
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Oedipus Complex

the unconscious wish of little boys to kill the father and marry the mother (from the Greek legend of King Oedipus). This is regarded as integral to the Phallic Stage in FREUD's psychodynamic theory of development.

Freud suggested that between three and five years old a boy develops sexual jealousy of his father, and since his wishes cannot be realized in fact, he resolves the situation by realizing them vicariously through identifying with his father. This IDENTIFICATION involves internalizing the perceived moral standards of the father, thus forming the SUPEREGO. The obverse of the Oedipus Complex, for the little girl, is the Electra Complex, involving the unconscious wish to kill the mother and marry the father, though the term Oedipus Complex is generally used for both sexes.

Though the theory still has credibility among some psychoanalysts, feminist psychodynamic theorists have proposed other explanations for the development of the superego. Freud's theory was not a satisfactory explanation of female personality development. CHODOROW (1978) suggests that when gender awareness develops (between three and five years) a boy needs to differentiate from his mother with whom he has had a close physical and emotional identity. He therefore develops ways of coping with feelings of insecurity and a veneer of independence. A little girl does not have this need to differentiate, therefore she continues modelling on her mother and is thereby assisted in developing a mature personality. See also KRISTEVA, NARCISSISM.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000

Oedipus complex

[′ēd·ə·pu̇s ‚käm‚pleks]
(psychology)
In psychoanalytic theory, the attraction and attachment of the child to the parent of the opposite sex, accompanied by feelings of envy and hostility toward the parent of the child's sex, whose displeasure and punishment the child so fears that the child represses his or her feelings toward the parent of opposite sex.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Oedipus complex

Psychoanal a group of emotions, usually unconscious, involving the desire of a child, esp a male child, to possess sexually the parent of the opposite sex while excluding the parent of the same sex
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Mitchell (2003) argues that despite evidence of affective experiences relating to siblings, many therapists seem to deny these conflicts in their patients or interpret them as if they were vertical Oedipal conflicts. Sharpe and Rosenblatt (1994) found that patients seemed to find it more difficult to identify and resolve conflicts around siblings compared to parental pre-oedipal and oedipal issues, which could suggest a lack of engagement with sibling relationships in clinical practice.
Add to this the rich and meaningful life of pastoral leadership and service and you have the makings of a well-established Oedipal conflict. The strong undercurrents of anxiety and restlessness easily go unnamed and if they remain unnamed, as a matter of course, lead to a simmering envy and rage that for the most part remain just below the boiling point.
It occurred to me that the struggle for authority in voluntary organizations has thus often the characteristics of an Oedipal conflict, involving the need to usurp or even kill off past leadership in order to make a new relationship with the originating vision.
In short, sexual, colonial, and class politics, the history of sexism in Australia, and the Oedipal conflict between generation-specially feminist mothers and feminist daughters -- an explain only so much.
Significantly, such a recognition of the intersubjective foundation of the self has led psychoanalytic debate away from issues of Oedipal conflict and sexual repression to a concern with the earlier pre-Oedipal period and disturbances in ego-formation.
Without such love, there would be no oedipal conflict. In fact, the conflict is called a conflict because love and hate for the father conflict with each other in the son!
To what extent is the so-called Oedipal conflict or complex primarily or exclusively a wish to erotically possess mother and to get rid of daddy?
In subsequent years Freud divided his "presexual" period into oral, anal, and genital stages of development and focused especially on the Oedipal conflict in which, Freud claimed, little boys want to incestuously possess their mothers and kill their fathers.
Steiner is especially good on Creon's "war-truth"; on the male-female conflict and the case for feminism at the heart of the battle between Creon and Antigone; on connections between language and politics; on the Sophoclean sense of menace and transcendence; on the way fathers instigate Oedipal conflict by killing their sons (not only Haemon but, here, Creon's lost son, of the "Ode on Man" the play's great second chorus which sings human grandeur as a tragic mix of monstrosity and might.
Grace (Carrie Brownstein), labeled as a "hypochondriac," is a classically repressed woman burdened by an oedipal conflict; her symptoms began after her father took up with a girl younger than Grace.
Le Fils naturel, viewed in the light of its associated metatext, ceases to be a triumphant celebration of secular ethics; the play is undercut by the contrasting vision of events formed by other characters, and unresolved tensions and jealousies are revealed in Dorval, whose play lets him re-enact unresolved incestuous tendencies and who also relives an Oedipal conflict with his father for control of the narrative.
Blos (1985) supported the traditional interpretation of the initial, childhood resolution of the Oedipal conflict. However, he offered a different view of the crucial task of adolescence.