The Electra complex

The Electra complex

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

The Electra complex is a term used to describe the psychoanalytic psychosexual stage analogous to the Oedipus Complex, in which a girl competes with her mother for her father's affection.

Solving the Electra complex ultimately leads to identification with the same-sex parent.


  • 1 What is the Electra Complex?
  • 2 Origin of the Electra Complex
  • 3 When does the Electra Complex appear?
  • 4 Brief history of the Electra Complex
  • 5 Defense mechanisms and the Electra Complex

What is the Electra Complex?

According to Sigmund Freud, during female psychosexual development, a girl initially joins her mother.

But when she discovers that she does not have a penis, something her father does possess, she begins to feel resentment towards her mother, which is to blame for her "castration." As a result, Freud believed that the girl begins to identify and emulate her mother for fear of losing her father's love.

Origin of the Electra Complex

While Electra's complex term is frequently associated with Freud, it was actually Carl Jung who coined the term in 1913. Freud rejected the term and described it as an attempt to "emphasize the analogy between the attitude of the two. sexes. ”Freud himself used the term female Oedipus complex to describe what we now refer to as the Electra complex.

When does the Electra Complex appear?

According to Freudian theory, An important part of the development process is learning to identify with the same-sex parent. During the stages of Freud's psychosexual development theory, libidinal energy focuses on different erogenous zones of the child's body.

If something goes wrong during any of these stages, a fixation could occur at that point in development. According to Freud, these fixations to they often lead to anxiety and play a role in neurosis and maladaptive behaviors of adulthood.

Freud described the Oedipus complex as a child's yearning for his mother and competition with his father.

The child has an unconscious desire to replace his father as his mother's sexual partner, which leads to a rivalry between father and son.

At the same time, however, the child is also afraid that his father can discover these desires and castrate him as punishment. To resolve this anxiety, the child begins to identify with his father and develop a desire to be like him. Freud believed that it was this process that leads children to accept their gender roles, the development and understanding of their own sexuality and even form a sense of morality.

Brief history of the Electra Complex

The term itself is derived from Greek myth of Electra and her brother Orestes, which represents the death of his mother by the revenge of the murder of his father. Freud refers to the tendency of a girl for the possession of her father, something similar to the attitude of Oedipus in female version or also called negative Oedipus complex.

Freud and Jung were originally close friends and colleagues, but each time Jung separated more than certain aspects of Freud's theories. He thought that Freud placed too much emphasis on the role that sexuality plays in motivating human behavior.

The defense mechanisms and the Electra Complex

For Freud a whole series of defense mechanisms play an important role in the resolution of the Electra complex. To resolve the conflict, impulses and desires must first be repressed from conscious memory. During the next part of the process, identification occurs at last. The girl begins to identify with her mother and incorporate many of the same personality characteristics in her ego.

This process also allows the girl to internalize her mother's morality in her superego, which ultimately directs her to follow the rules of her parents and society.

More definitions of Psychology: Dictionary of Psychology