Table of contents:
- Origin of the Oedipus Complex
- Psychosocial Theory Underlying the Oedipus Complex
- Signs of Oedipus Complex
Oedipus complex is a condition when a boy is attracted to his mother, both emotionally and sexually. In psychology, this term is still controversial, because some consider it normal and some do not. So, what is the Oedipus complex?
Basically, parents and children have an emotional bond, including a son with his mother. However, there are conditions when a son likes and has a sexual attraction to his own biological mother. This condition is known as the Oedipus complex.
Some people think that the normal Oedipus complex occurs as a form of a boy's affection for his mother. However, others consider this condition as deviant behavior. Therefore, the Oedipus complex is still a controversial concept in psychology.
Besides the Oedipus complex, there is also the term electra complex which is a condition when a daughter is attracted to her own father.
Origin of the Oedipus Complex
The term Oedipus complex was first coined by Sigmund Freud, a well-known psychiatrist in his book The Interpretation of Dreams in 1899. However, he did not formally use this term until 1910.
The term Oedipus complex is taken by Freud from the Greek mythological character Oedipus Rex who accidentally kills his father and marries his own mother.
From the story, Freud described the Oedipus complex as a condition when a boy wants his mother only for himself. He sees his father as a competitor and even appears the desire to get rid of his father.
When he realizes that his father is more powerful and stronger, there will be feelings of anxiety. To get rid of this anxiety, usually a child with Oedipus complex will imitate the nature or behavior of his father in order to get his mother's attention.
Psychosocial Theory Underlying the Oedipus Complex
Freud believes that humans are sexual beings from birth. Physical touch, such as caresses, hugs, and kisses is very important for a child's growth and development.
According to Freud, psychosexual development in childhood occurs in stages. Each stage represents sexual development in a different part of the body.
Freud also mentioned that there are several phases that babies and children will go through in the process of growing and developing. The stages of psychological development of infants and children include:
This phase occurs from newborn to 18 months. Babies who are in the oral phase will feel satisfaction when using their mouths. This satisfaction can be obtained by the baby by sucking, licking, chewing, and biting.
This stage occurs when the child is 18 months to 3 years old. This stage focuses on the sensations that the child feels during bowel movements and when the child begins to develop he althy toilet training habits.
This stage takes place when the child is 3-5 years old. In this phase, children begin to realize the gender differences between men and women.
Based on his theory, Freud believed that the Oedipus complex developed at this stage. In the phallic or phallic phase, sexual desire and attraction to the opposite sex may appear in children, including boys to their mothers.However, these feelings are not realized by the child.
The latent stage occurs when a child is 5–12 years old or at puberty. At this stage the child will develop passive feelings towards the opposite sex.
This stage occurs from puberty to adulthood. The maturation of a he althy sexual interest occurs in this phase. Adolescents who have reached puberty will begin to feel sexual desire for other people they find attractive.
Signs of Oedipus Complex
The signs of Oedipus complex do not always refer to things of a sexual nature, so sometimes it is difficult to tell whether a child has Oedipus complex or not.
In general, the signs that a boy has an Oedipus complex are:
- Be possessive towards his mother
- Not letting dad touch mom
- Insisting on sleeping between parents and prefers it if dad doesn't sleep with mom
- Hoping dad is away for a long time or isn't near mom
According to Freud, a child must be able to overcome conflict at every stage of sexual development in order to develop normal sexual desires and behaviors. When conflicts during the phallic stage are not resolved properly, tendencies toward deviant sexual behavior can develop and persist.
This causes boys to become too attached to their mothers and girls to become too attached to their fathers. In fact, children should have a balanced attachment to each parent.
When children enter adulthood, it can cause them to choose a partner who resembles their parents. This is what then raises the notion that the Oedipus complex can also be interpreted as young men who like women who are much older or the same age as their mothers.
The Oedipus complex itself is a debatable concept. If you have further questions about your child's behavior, growth, or sexual development, try talking to a psychologist or psychiatrist.