Document Detail

The Oedipus complex revisited: Oedipus abandoned, Oedipus adopted.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10216814     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The author considers that the Oedipus of Sophocles' drama, who kills his biological father and marries his biological mother, is an illustration of the failure to work through the complex named after him. She draws attention to the contrast between the obscurity that surrounds the hero's adoptive parents and the notoriety of their biological counterparts arguing that the former are equally important in the universal oedipal fantasy. In her view the fact that Oedipus has two sets of parents--abandoning and adopting respectively--is significant in that the resulting dichotomisation of the parental imago enables him seemingly to avoid a conflict of ambivalence in relation to a single object. The author further contends that the plague of Thebes represents the symptomatic return of repressed or disavowed aggression. Three clinical examples reveal the parental imago's division to be an unconscious defence against oedipal anxieties and the sense of solitude vis-à-vis the intimacy of the parental couple. The working through of the Oedipus complex is stated to require the synthesis of love and hate and of the abandoning and adoptive aspects of the parents whereby the formerly sadistic superego becomes protective. The author also argues that a useful distinction can be made between splitting and dichotomisation.
D Quinodoz
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Case Reports; Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The International journal of psycho-analysis     Volume:  80 ( Pt 1)     ISSN:  0020-7578     ISO Abbreviation:  Int J Psychoanal     Publication Date:  1999 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1999-08-11     Completed Date:  1999-08-11     Revised Date:  2004-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  2985179R     Medline TA:  Int J Psychoanal     Country:  ENGLAND    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  15-30     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Middle Aged
Oedipus Complex*
Parent-Child Relations
Psychoanalytic Therapy

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