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Did Freud Kill His Father?

OEDIPUS Φ

Today is Freud’s birthday .

Whether one is or is not a “Freudian,” his idea that a large part of family conflict arises out of failed efforts to resolve developmental issues seems to be true.  In my own family, my father was utterly committed to his practice and rarely spent time with his children … even sending us off to summer camps.  This never diminished his dominant role,  For my brother and I the experience was complicated by the ten years difference in our birthdays.  During the years Freud described as the “penal period,” when boys sexual power becomes focused, I was in my teens while his pubescence was just beginning.  I left home at 17 when Hugh was 7, possibly explaining our life long struggle.

The mechanism is described tin the following excerpt from Wikipedia:

In psychoanalytic theory, the term Oedipus complex denotes the emotions and ideas that the mind keeps in the unconscious, via dynamic repression, that concentrates upon a child’s desire to sexually possess the parent of the opposite sex (e.g. males attracted to their mothers, whereas females are attracted to their fathers).[1][2] Sigmund Freud, who coined the term “Oedipus complex” believed that the Oedipus complex is a desire for the parent in both males and females.

In classical Freudian psychoanalytic theory, child’s identification with the same-sex parent is the successful resolution of the Oedipus complex;  key psychological experiences that are necessary for the development of a mature sexual role and identity. Sigmund Freud further proposed that boys and girls experience the complexes differently: boys in a form of castration anxiety, girls in a form of penis envy; and that unsuccessful resolution of the complexes might lead to neurosis, paedophilia, and homosexuality. Men and women who are fixated in the Oedipal and Electra stages of their psychosexual development might be considered “mother-fixated” and “father-fixated”. In adult life this can lead to a choice of a sexual partner who resembles one’s parent.

 

Freud described the man Oedipus from Sophoces’play:

His destiny moves us only because it might have been ours — because the Oracle laid the same curse upon us before our birth as upon him. It is the fate of all of us, perhaps, to direct our first sexual impulse towards our mother and our first hatred and our first murderous wish against our father.

Freud saw pubescent boys as living Sophocles drama. The boy , as his penis develops, begins to directs jealousy and emotional rivalry against his father — because it is he who sleeps with his mother. Moreover, to facilitate union with mother, the boy’s id wants to kill father (as did Oedipus), but the pragmatic ego, based upon the reality principle, knows that the father is the stronger of the two males competing to possess the one female. Nonetheless, the boy remains ambivalent about his father’s place in the family.

Defense mechanisms provide transitory resolutions of the conflict between the drives of the id and the drives of the ego. The first defense mechanism is repression, the blocking of memories, emotional impulses, and ideas from the conscious mind; yet its action does not resolve the id–ego conflict. The second defense mechanism is identification, by which the child incorporates, to his or her (super)ego, the personality characteristics of the same-sex parent; in so adapting, the boy diminishes his castration anxiety, because his likeness to father protects him from father’s wrath in their maternal rivalry.


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