The Oedipus complex

By | November 8, 2015

The Oedipus complex has intrigued generations of psychoanalysts since Sigmund Freud popularized it when offering a description in the early portion of the 20th Century. In part, the taboo nature of the topic has made it one that guarantees that it will receive attention, regardless of how accurate the assessment is in relation to an individual.

We believe that is due to the tendency of some to exploit the salacious nature of this belief. In pop culture, this is usually represented by older boys (generally teenagers) expressing desire for their mothers.

However, that’s a misrepresentation of Freud’s belief that this stage only spans a few years during the pre-school era (age three to five) of a youngster’s life. Freud also believed that normal development resulted in this complex dissipating considerably, if not being eliminated outright, soon after the stage has ended.

Given the fact that I have intently explored the work of Freud, I can offer a more valid opinion on whether or not the latter’s assessment is valid. I’ve noted the case of a five-year-old boy dubbed “Little Hans,” who had a fear of his father and of horses. According to Freud, this translated to Oedipus tendencies.

One drawback to that analysis is that Freud tended to exaggerate his involvement of some of these cases. In this particular instance, he was only able to make this judgment through the reading of letters from the father of the boy.