ELECTRA COMPLEX: ARE FATHERS REALLY THE FIRST LOVE OF THEIR DAUGHTERS?

The Electra complex is a theory put forward by Carl Gustav Jung and corresponds to the Oedipus complex in girls proposed by Freud. It takes its name from Elektra, who killed her mother to avenge her father in Greek mythology. This theory is used to explain the conflict that girls experience with their mothers during the Phallic period (ages 3-6) due to the admiration and love they feel for their fathers.

Oct 4, 2023 - 18:19
Oct 5, 2023 - 13:54
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ELECTRA COMPLEX: ARE FATHERS REALLY THE FIRST LOVE OF THEIR DAUGHTERS?
ELECTRA COMPLEX: ARE FATHERS REALLY THE FIRST LOVE OF THEIR DAUGHTERS?

The Electra complex is a theory put forward by Carl Gustav Jung and corresponds to the Oedipus complex in girls proposed by Freud. It takes its name from Elektra, who killed her mother to avenge her father in Greek mythology. This theory is used to explain the conflict that girls experience with their mothers during the Phallic period (ages 3-6) due to the admiration and love they feel for their fathers.

Undoubtedly, the most fundamental and important relationship a child establishes is the relationship with his/her parents, which he/she begins to establish before he/she is born. Freud suggested that every child's first love is the opposite-sex parent. In this context, he argued that children's admiration and unconscious desire for the opposite-sex parent during the phallic period (3-6 years), which is one of the psychosexual development periods, leads to conflict and competition with the same-sex parent, and defined this conflict as the Oedipus complex. According to this theory, the boy competes with his father to own his mother. The girl competes with her mother to have her father. This conflict arises especially in the phallic period, which is the period when the focus of attention is on sexuality and erogenous zones.

Freud rejected the Electra complex put forward by Jung, thinking that the Oedipus complex was valid for both girls and boys. According to Freud, while girls are dependent on their mothers until the phallic stage, they begin to discover the differences between the sexual organs during this period. Realizing that they do not have a penis, they blame the mother for this and tend to become attached to the father along with the anger they feel towards the mother. They unconsciously develop desires towards their father. Thus, they develop aggressive impulses against the mother, kill her and take her place in their fantasies they creates in their own world. Later, out of fear of losing the father, they identify with the mother and begin to imitate her. Freud defines the Oedipus complex in women as the "feminine Oedipus complex". Freud explains the underlying cause for this situation with the concept of "penis envy". According to him, these emotions and desires are much more intense in women, but they are strongly suppressed by women. For this reason, he argues that women will always be suppressed and will never be able to progress as much as men.

The points that distinguish the Electra and Oedipus Complexes are as follows:
•While the Oedipus complex was suggested by Freud, the Elektra complex was developed by Jung and took its place in the literature as its valid version for girls.

•While the Oedipus complex is mostly used to describe how boys hate their fathers because they see them as a potential enemy in their relationship with their mothers, the Elektra complex is used to describe how girls see their mothers as responsible for their deficiencies and failures.
•According to Jung, girls do not develop a special attachment to their mother or father until the phallic stage. Over time, they develop an attachment to the father as defense and generation mechanisms come into play.
Jung, like Freud, believed that these conflicts were seen in every child and were a natural part of this period. Overcoming these conflicts positively was an important step for the child's psychological maturity.

Electra Complex Symptoms
• Aggressive and resentful attitudes of the daughter towards the mother.
• Making sentences such as "I will marry my father" and the close attitude towards the father.
• Interrupting the contact between parents and constantly intervening between them.
• Not wanting to leave the father and constantly crying in his absence.
• In arguments between mother and father, often taking the father's side and becoming angry at the mother.
If these symptoms are at a certain level and can be overcome by the end of the period, there is no problem. However, if this complex cannot be overcome, the effects and symptoms of the Electra complex can also be seen in adulthood.

The Electra Complex Symptoms in Adulthood
• Women look for older partners and want to find traces of their fathers in their partners.
• Self-blame and mood disorders due to an unconscious desire for closeness to the father. 
• Experiencing failure in romantic relationships.
• Feeling unconscious anger towards the mother and mother figures.

Of course, it is not right to call every closeness to the opposite-sex parent an Electra complex. As a result of parental separation and some events, it may be possible to approach the opposite sex parent. At this point, it is up to parents to act consciously on this issue and not to exacerbate this conflict. In this context, certain behaviors and attitudes called "seductive parental behaviors" in the psychoanalytic approach should be avoided. If we give examples of these behaviors:

• Parents should accustom the child to sleeping separately starting from the age of 3. 
• The child should not be addressed with terms of endearment that are addressed to the partner (my love, my darling, etc.).
• Approaches that suggest sexuality should not be made to the child, and the child should not be kissed on the lips.
• From the age of 3, the child should not take a bath with the parent.

To summarize in general terms, during the phallic period, when the child's curiosity about sexuality and gender differences increases, girls begin to unconsciously desire closeness to the father and compete for the father against the mother. They feel angry at the mother, thinking that their mother gave birth to them as an inadequate person due to the differences between the genders, and compete with the mother to win the father's love. Later, in order to resolve this conflict with the mother, they identifie with the mother and take her as an example, using the defense mechanisms of suppression and identification. This conflict is a natural part of development. If the child can get through this period in a healthy way, she will gain a positive sexual identity and can establish healthy emotional relationships. If this conflict is not resolved, the child will experience various problems and negative romantic relationships in adulthood. At this point, parents need to understand the child and help her resolve the conflict by being there for her. The bond between parents should be explained to the child. In addition, the child should be helped to understand her curiosity about sexuality by answering her questions and not punishing her. Thus, the child understands that she grows up in an understanding and loving family and that both parents have an important place in her life; and can develop a successful sexual identity and positive relationships.

Bibliography
Kocabey, E. (2022,29 Mayıs). Elektra Kompleksi Nedir? Kız Çocukları Gerçekten de Annelerine Karşı Babalarını Kayırır mı? Evrim Ağacı. https://evrimagaci.org/elektra- kompleksi-nedir-kiz-cocuklari-gercekten-de-annelerine-karsi-babalarini-kayirir-mi-11849
Akkaya, B. (2021,6 Nisan). Elektra Kompleksi. Düş Psikoloji. https://duspsikoloji.com/2021/04/06/
Rehber Psikoloji. (2021, 28 Mart).Elektra Kompleksi Nedir? https://www.rehberpsikoloji.com/elektra-kompleksi-nedir/

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Nur Dunuk İzmir Katip Çelebi Üniversitesi Psikoloji bölümü 3. sınıf öğrencisiyim. Lisans eğitimim süresince çeşitli topluluklarda görev aldım ve mesleki deneyim edinmek amacıyla stajlar yaptım. Güncel olarak akademik ve kişisel gelişimim için dil öğrenmeye ve düzenli kitap okumaya vakit ayırıyorum. Edindiğim bilgileri kişisel yorumlarımla harmanlayarak siz okuyuculara başarılı yazılar sunmaya gayret ediyorum.