What are Oedipus Complex and Electra Complex



A complex is a group of associated ideas (which may be partly unconscious) that have strong emotional overtones. They may significantly influence attitudes and associations.

The Oedipus complex, first described by Sigmund Freud, refers to the attachment of the male child for his parent of the opposite sex accompanied by feelings of envy and aggression toward the parent of his own sex. Attitudes arising during critical phases of infantile emotional development and largely repressed (made unconscious) because of fear of punishment by the parent of the same sex are responsible for the complex. Originally the term was used only in relation to male children. A parallel type of complex has long been recognized as existing in girls and is called the Electra complex. Both of these terms are derived from Greek mythology.

Inadequate mastery of the emotions during the “oedipal” period results in prolonged (unconscious) emotional attachments and persistence of emotional disorders resulting in neurosis.