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The Oedipus and Electra Complex as The Main Part of Phallic Stage

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Freud said that from ages of 3 to 6 years old children have a so-called “Phalic phase”. In both sexes, sensitivity now becomes focused on the genitals and masturbation, and it becomes a new source of pleasure. In boys, the Oedipus complex and in girls the Electra complex is explained by Freud as their functional sex changes, which sets in motion the conflict between erotic attraction, dislike, competition, suspiciousness and anxiety.

The child identifies this process by adopting the behaviours and characteristics of the same-sex parent. Freud’s most debated idea was the Oedipus complex. The name Oedipus complex descends from a Greek myth, which says a young man called Oedipus killed his father to marry his mother. Young boys develop sexual desires toward their mothers, and they reject their fathers. Also, they think that if the father finds out about their feelings towards their mothers, they will take their mothers away. Boys love their penis during this Stage and develop castration anxiety. Little boys try to solve this problem by copying their dad’s behaviours which are called identification. They adopt attitudes, values and behaviours from their fathers. On the other hand, girls always want to have a penis. They envy the penis and always wish to be a boy. They dislike their mothers but later they identify mother’s behaviours and copy them to reduce their anxiety.

There are a life-based example: Chris is a little boy who is four years old. He loves his parents, but he does not want his dad to stay close to his mom. He wants to stay with his mom all the time to protect her. Also, he wants to make sure that his mom is safe. He is afraid of the dark. He says in the dark, a tall ghost will come and take him and his mother to a cave for its breakfast. This can be interpreted as the tall ghost for his dad. Dad is tall, and he knows that dad spends time with his mother at night alone when it is dark. Little Chris is not allowed to go to the dad’s study room, and this room is dark during the day as it is closed when dad is not at home. So dads study room represents the cave. I suggest that this phobia can be treated if they could keep the study room open during the day and let the boy play or read in it with dad. Also, if the parents could keep little Chris in their bedroom for a while, then he will get rid of his doubt. Dad to keep a close relationship with Chris is also very important. 

In conclusion, a Greek myth about a young man called Oedipus who killed his father  is seen as the part of Phalic Stage within developmental psychology; the stage when boys have the Oedipus complex and girls have the Electra complex. Both appear during the age of 3 to 6 and have relation to child’s parents. 

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The Oedipus and Electra Complex as the Main Part of Phallic Stage. (2022, August 30). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from
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