Oedipus complex: meaning and importance in relationships

Of the Oedipus complex we often hear, sometimes inappropriately. But why is the Oedipus complex so important in the growth of a child ? Because it represents a crucial phase , to be overcome also in order to have healthy and non-obsessive adult relationships .


In this regard, we interviewed Dr. Velia Bianchi Ranci , Psychologist and Psychotherapist.


«The Oedipus complex derives from an intuition of Freud , which lit a beacon on a crucial age of the child. In summary, it can be described as the child’s exclusive love for the opposite-sex parent and the child’s desire to “eliminate” the figures that intrude on this type of exclusive relationship (for example, for the male child, typically the father ) »Explains the expert.


Often, in fact, an adult who considers the partner as a kind of property, has been a child who has not had the opportunity to experience different types of relationships . In this sense, the role of parents becomes crucial because it is precisely mom and dad (in this case, the mother for the male child) who can open the door to various relationships that become a fundamental baggage in adulthood.


What is the Oedipus complex

The Oedipus complex represents the human being’s difficulty in passing from a two -person relationship to a relationship that also involves a third person.


“The first” symptoms “of the human being difficult to move from a unique relationship between two people in a relationship to three (display-type family with mom, dad and baby), Freud could be placed temporarily at around three years of age of the child . In this temporal setting, however, today we must also consider different variables , including a different socio-cultural context . However, the Oedipus complex does not concern only childhood but is a concept of much wider, universal scope. As long as you are two, the relationship is typically perfect, exclusive. Then, with the arrival of a third “inconvenience”, important difficulties arise that the child learns to manage and overcome, even withhelp from parents ”says Dr. Velia Bianchi Ranci.


The maternal role in the Oedipus complex

Therefore, an unresolved Oedipus complex could cause a series of difficulties in adulthood, at the relational level . But what can a parent, in this specific case the mother, do towards a male child ? Opening the doors of relationship to the world.


«The human being is born very immature and needs a long period of care in which he is, inevitably, totally dependent. What was not known before, however, is that the child is, right from the start, open to the relationship with the other person and therefore does not necessarily need an exclusive relationship. Even a very young child, in fact, already has discriminatory relational skills (he poses differently with other children or with an adult, with his mother and father …) but, even if today the socio-cultural context is very changed, however, a pre-eminence remains for the relationship with the mother , which can therefore be considered exclusive»Explains the expert. «In this sense, the mother has the task of leaving open for the child the possibility of having different relationships, of entering into relationships with other people as well. This type of openness means that, once an adult, a child can have a more complex and, therefore, healthier set of relational skills with him »concludes Dr. Velia Bianchi Ranci.


How to overcome the Oedipus complex

The mother , therefore, plays a crucial role for a male child in overcoming the physiological Oedipus complex , opening him to different types of relationships . This does not mean, as many think, to skimp on affection and demonstrations of love for fear of exaggerating. A possessive and unsolved adult man from this point of view was not a child who received too much love but a child who lived with his mother a type of exclusive relationship , in which the “third parties” were seen only as enemies, rivals. , intruders.


« Adult possessiveness betrays the fear of not being self-sufficient , of not being able to find means to satisfy oneself in relationships. For this reason, it is important to go through the Oedipus complex and resolve it by opening up to relationships .


It is also important that, even in adulthood, different types of relationships remain and that the latter are projectual (such as those between men and women who manage to “create” something , specifically a family). The concept must pass to the child that “the other” is not something that one owns but is a partner with whom one does something , with whom one builds and shares. The Oedipus complex is, therefore, a fundamental passage in the psychic organization of the individual , without the overcoming of which the relationship between two becomes deadly “concludes the expert.


The existence of unresolved conflict situations and tensions, therefore, can  put a strain on life for two . In this regard, read Couple therapy: when it is needed and how it takes place


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