Oedipus complex

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Oedipus complex

 [ed´ĭ-pus]
a term used originally in psychoanalysis to signify the complicated conflicts and emotions felt by a child when, during a stage of his normal development as a member of the family circle, he becomes aware of a particularly strong, sexually tinged attachment to his mother; the term also applies to a similar attachment felt by a girl to her father (called also Electra complex). At the same time, the child tends to view the other parent as a rival and yearns to take that parent's place. This pattern, which was described by Sigmund Freud, is named from the legend of the mythical Greek hero, King Oedipus of Thebes, who was raised by foster parents, unknowingly killed his real father in a quarrel, and later married his mother. When he learned of his unwitting incestuous relationship with his wife he blinded himself.

According to psychoanalysts, a child enters the oedipal phase at about the third year and usually has solved his largely unconscious conflicts in a satisfactory way by the age of 5 or 6. He does this by turning his feelings of possessiveness toward one parent and competitiveness toward the other into a wish to be liked by both of them. Eventually, a child who has worked out his conflicts well can focus his affection on members of the opposite sex outside the family circle and can establish satisfactory marital relationships as an adult.

Freud's theory is generally accepted by psychiatrists, although many have developed supplementary theories for the behavior pattern he described.

Oed·i·pus com·plex

(e'di-pŭs, ē'),
a developmentally distinct group of associated ideas, aims, instinctual drives, and fears generally observed in boys 3-6 years old: coinciding with the peak of the phallic phase of psychosexual development, the child's sexual interest is attached primarily to the parent of the opposite gender and is accompanied by aggressive feelings toward the parent of the same gender; in psychoanalytic theory, it is replaced by the castration complex.
[Oedipus, G. myth. char.]

Oedipus complex

n.
In psychoanalysis, an unconscious sexual desire by a child, especially a male child, directed to the parent of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by hostility to the parent of the same sex.

Oedipus complex

[ed′ipəs, ē′dəpəs]
Etymology: Gk, Oedipus, mythic king who slew his father and married his mother
1 (in psychoanalysis) a child's desire for a sexual relationship with the parent of the opposite sex, usually with strong negative feelings for the parent of the same sex.
2 a son's desire for a sexual relationship with his mother. Compare Electra complex. See also phallic stage.

Oedipus complex

Psychiatry Normal attachment of a child to the parent of the opposite sex, accompanied by envious and aggressive feelings toward a same-sex parent; the OC is a constellation of consequences–per Freud–resulting from the sublimation of a boy's psychosexual desire for his mother, likened to Oedipus of Greek mythology, who killed his father and married his mother. See Jocasta complex.

Oed·i·pus com·plex

(ed'i-pŭs kom'pleks)
A group of associated ideas, aims, instinctual drives, and fears in male children 3-6 years old; at the peak of the phallic phase of psychosexual development, the child's sexual interest is attached primarily to the mother and is accompanied by aggressive feelings toward the father; in psychoanalytic theory, it is replaced by the castration complex.
[Oedipus, G. myth. char.]

oedipus complex

The Freudian belief that much psychiatric disorder, especially the ‘psychoneuroses’, are caused by the persisting effects, including unresolved guilt feelings, of the child's unconscious wish to kill the parent of the same sex and to have sexual intercourse with the parent of the opposite sex. The notion was one of the central tenets of Freudian dogma but is no longer widely held. Freud derived the term from the name of the swollen-footed, mythical hero of Sophocles' tragedies who was nailed up by his feet as a baby (hence the swelling) but who survived to kill his father and marry his mother. See also FREUDIAN THEORY.

Oedipus,

King Oedipus of Thebes, mythical Greek hero.
oedipism - (1) self-infliction of injury to the eyes; - (2) manifestation of the Oedipus complex.
Oedipus complex - a phase of psychosexual development in which the child is erotically attached to the parent of the opposite sex and has feelings of aggression toward the same-sex parent.
Oedipus period - the time of a child's development characterized by erotic attachment to the parent of the opposite sex.