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Psychology Glossary

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Oedipus Complex



Oedipus Complex:

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Within psychodynamic theory, the Oedipus Complex occurs during the phallic stage and is a conflict in which the boy wishes to possess his mother sexually and perceives his father to be a rival in love. According to Freud, the child must give up his sexual attraction for his mother in order to resolve this attraction and move to the next stage of psychosexual development. Failure to do so would lead the child to become fixated in this stage. Typically the Oedipus Complex refers to a boy wanting to possess his mother, while the Electra Complex refers to a girl wishing to possess her father. But don't be surprised if some refer to the Oedipus Complex for both boys and girls.