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   Oedipus Complex

Oedipus complex, a concept used in psychoanalysis, is a child's unconscious desire for the exclusive love of the parent of the opposite sex. This desire includes jealousy toward the parent of the same sex and the unconscious wish for that parent's death. 

The term Oedipus complex was first used by the Austrian psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. It comes from the myth of Oedipus, a Greek hero who unknowingly killed his father and married his mother. Freud used the term to describe the unconscious feelings of children of both sexes toward their parents. However, later researchers used the term Electra complex for the complex in girls. According to Greek legend, a woman named Electra helped plan the murder of her mother. 

Freud believed that the Oedipus complex is a normal part of human psychological growth. The Oedipal phase of development is commonly considered to last from the age of 21/2 to 6. During this period, children experience intense feelings--love and hate, yearning and jealousy, fear and anger--that produce emotional conflicts. Most people outgrow the Oedipal phase, but some mentally ill individuals have a strong Oedipus complex as adults. According to Freud, the principal reason for the weakening of the complex in boys is the fear of punishment from the father. 

Freud thought that all peoples experience the Oedipus complex. But many anthropologists and researchers in psychoanalysis doubt that the complex exists in certain non-Western societies. They believe it develops as a result of a person's social environment and does not occur in everyone.


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