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Well, the emotional world of little children
is not a peaceful world.
It's a world in which the child
experiences intense desires,
intense anxieties.
It's a time when, for the first time,
love relationships come onto the scene.
And with love relationships,
problems appear on the scene.
Around the Oedipal period,
around the ages of three to five,
you're being asked to do such difficult things,
to give up such a lot.
I mean, the idea of becoming obedient,
of not taking things that you want,
of letting other people go first.
He talks later of the baby as
'His Majesty the Baby',
as a figure who's at the centre of everything.
And for Freud, the Oedipus complex is about
having to face the fact
that we're not omnipotent,
that we can't possess our parents,
and he thinks this has a tremendous
powerful, violent force in infancy,
that's universal.
The Oedipus complex is a genuine complex.
So it's not Oedipus simplex.
In its simple and misunderstood form
it is about that the child loves the parent
of the opposite sex
and hates the parent of the same sex
as a rival.
There was the early idea in psychoanalysis
that the boy loves the mummy
and the girl loves the daddy
and some people today still believe in that.
But Freud had already recognised
that things are more complex.
He revised that theory to say that
both little girls and little boys love,
first of all, their mother
because she's the one who has provided
all the care for the child,
or whoever stands in for the mother.
Now Freud had absolutely no reservation
calling this sexual.
But the idea of wanting to have
sex with a parent at a very young age
it's not really so straightforward
because there's the question of
what wanting to have sex means.
I don't think Freud said children
want to have sex with their parents,
what children want is, at the Oedipal stage,
they want to in some way
possess the mother.
They want to fuse with her.
They have some idea that the genitals
may play a part in this as well,
but they have no clear idea,
and certainly not the idea that it involves
what adults would consider to be genital sex.
And so if, as a, I don't know, a 23 year old,
you say 'I want to have sex with that person',
that might mean one thing to you.
But a three year old child
who wants to get satisfaction
from its mother somehow, and its mother
who has been giving it satisfaction
all of its life,
it means something totally different.
So it might want to rub its genitals against her,
it might want to suck part of her,
it might want to do all sorts of
things with her
that then it might never want never want to
admit to having wanted again.
By the time its ten or twelve
it might find that just ultimately disgusting.
For Freud,
the child itself wants to be loved.
It's not just about the child loving,
it's also about the child being loved.
But mother's got other fish to fry,
she's interested in other things.
There's a competition, there's a rivalry of some sort.
So the Oedipal triangle is about
love and jealousy,
so it's about love and exclusion,
and hatred as it weaves itself into that.
Its got the strong love for the mother.
Its got the hate for any rival: a sibling, a father.
Its got conflicts arising
from the love and hate for the same person,
and the anxiety of
what they might do with him
if they discover his hostile feelings.
The child will naturally cling to the mother.
Now, when the mother also clings to the child
and doesn't allow enough separation,
maybe because the child is the only thing
that the mother enjoys in her life,
then that can become problematic for the child.
And that would be
part of the Oedipus complex.
And so a mother might be incredibly overwhelming
and actually, you might, you know,
the idea that your dad could step in and
do something about that,
you might go 'errrgh' to your dad
because he's laying down a rule,
but you might also be incredibly relieved
that he was able to do that for you.
So the father, in the Freudian model,
is the person who represents authority,
who represents the law,
and who, in a sense, also functions,
and this is very crucial,
as a love object for the mother.
It just needs to be something
that captures mother's interest
more than we do.
It could be another woman,
it could be a family friend,
it could be a relative,
anyone who has the function of separating
the mother from the child
and the child from the mother.
The crucial thing
about the resolution of the Oedipus complex
is the identifications that take place.
For Freud,
he didn't believe that you were just
'born a boy' and 'born a girl'.
He thought that
how we move to the position
of either being a boy or a girl,
or indeed a man or a woman,
comes about at the time of the Oedipus Complex.
So one of the points of having
a father and a mother,
according to classical psychoanalysis,
is that you have these exemplars,
these instances of gender.
You have to position yourself in relation
to this idea of 'man' or 'woman',
then you have to try to ascribe the meaning to it
and, in a way, you can't really
ascribe a meaning to it that sticks.
Whatever you say a man is,
you'll come across a man who isn't that,
and vice versa.
And these are really difficult and intense
crisis moments for a young child to cope with
and the result is not necessarily
always a stable situation.
Basically, there is no proper, perfect,
neat resolution of the Oedipus complex.
It's always something fudged.
And so the resolution is kind of:
'It's okay, you can function,
you're not going to melt down,
everybody can co-exist.'
But, it's always just... blergh!
It's a mess.
In a way, psychoanalysis is about how
someone hasn't been able to
constitute themselves as a man or woman.
What we witness in each case
is the failure of each boy and each girl
to move through, perfectly, that complex.
There is the idea in psychoanalysis
that the Oedipus complex,
and how we dealt with it,
either marks us for life or haunts us.
That it's very, very critical.
And you can see that at work in adults
because, what do people talk about
when they come and see a psychoanalyst,
apart from directly about their symptoms:
recurrent nightmares, depression, anxiety.
What do they talk about?
Well, they talk about relationships at work,
they talk about
the relationships they have
with boyfriends, girlfriends, partners,
but they also talk about their parents.
They talk about their family.
Quite often one sees that
what Freud characterised as
the Oedipus complex
continues to work through in adult life.
One could say that there's a normative
Oedipus complex,
which differs for boys and for girls.
Whether we actually see that complex
obtaining in each individual case
is another question.
What we see are the ways in which
people have failed to live up to
the kind of Oedipus complex
that we read about in textbooks.
And psychoanalysis is really about,
to a certain extent,
exploring the history of that failure.
Oh yeah, isn't that what human life is?
Just trying to get over the horror
of your family!
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What is Psychoanalysis? Part 3: The Oedipus Complex

352 タグ追加 保存
Christina Yang 2018 年 7 月 27 日 に公開
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