What is Electra Complex?

Meaning of Electra Complex

Electra complex is an expression used by Carl Jung, founder of Analytical Psychology, to designate the female Oedipus complex, marking its existence in both sexes.
Oedipus complex

The Oedipus complex is a concept first described by Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis. Designates the set of loving and hostile desires that the child feels towards her parents, having reached its peak during the interval between three and five years of the subject.

In its simple and positive form, the son admires the parent of the opposite sex and rivals the parent of the same sex.

Freud drew on the Greek tragedy of Oedipus the King, Sophocles (496-406 BC), to illustrate the complex. In the narrative, the protagonist, who did not know his parents, kills his father and marries his mother, with whom he had four children.

Jung had theoretical differences in relation to Freud, among them, the reading that the Oedipus centered on the bond of the boys with their mothers, being little elaborated with respect to the feminine cases.

Then, in 1913, in the Exposition Essay on Psychoanalytic Theory, he presented the Electra complex, in which the girl would love her father and hate her mother, with whom she would have a complex identification.

In turn, he resorted to the myth of Electra as a paradigm of female development, attributing, metaphorically, a greater applicability to describe the phenomena. In the narrative, then, Electra murders her mother, to avenge the crime against her father, killed by her and her lover.

Initially, Freud claimed to have no interest in the denomination. In hindsight, however, he was more categorical, stating that in fact the masculine and feminine complexes are not symmetrical.

Finally, F. demonstrated the different effects of the castration complex for each sex – in the female case, it is what allows Oedipus, and in the male case, what causes its dissolution. He also stressed the importance of the girl’s preoedipal attachment to her mother, and the dominance of the phallus for both sexes.

However, the Electra complex is often included in the Oedipus complex, since the principles that apply to both are very similar.

Panoramic Thought

Both the Oedipus complex and the Electra complex are reductions and schemes. The development of the subject has many variables, so it is irreducible to generalizations.

In addition, it is essential to contextualize the reality in which the subject finds himself, that is, to consider the beings or

Institutions that exercise parental functions in each individual case.

The cultural school presents contributions to reflection. In addition to revealing that the heterosexual family nucleus is only one of the possible (recent) models, it shows that, in certain civilizations or times, the father is devoid of the repressive authority. Therefore, there would be no Oedipus complex, but a typical situation of such a structure.

Finally, as an illustrative suggestion, I quote Lacan: “every analyst who does not reach the subjectivity of his time must abandon the practice of psychoanalysis.”

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