Researching about the topic of Electra complex, the constant word that I have found most people use is “
Daddy Issues”. Some marriages and relationships do not flourish based on the fact that the woman is too
attached and dependent on their fathers. However, it is not common knowledge on how these “Daddy
issues” develop. A psychological view of the matter brings up a terminology referred to as “Electra Complex”.
What is Electra Complex?
Electra Complex refers to a girls feelings and desire for her father. A girl is in constant competition with
her mother for her father’s attention. According to Freud, it occurs as part of the psychosexual
development process in the Phallic stage. At the initial stage of development, a girl is attached to her
mother. However, when she discovers her lack of penis, she resents her and gets attached to her father. It
is a process known as penis envy where the girl blames her mother for the lack of a penis.
The term closely relates to Oedipus complex in the males.
Difference Between Oedipus and Electra Complex
Oedipus complex was discovered by Sigmund Freud and it originally referred to a Child’s feelings and
desire for the opposite-sex parent. However, Carl Jung a student of Sigmund Freud identified the term
Electra complex. Hence Oedipus Complex is distinctly used to refer to a boys desire for their mothers
affection and Electra Complex a girls desire for her fathers affection.
Examples of Electra Complex
- Clinginess and overdependence to the father.
- Constant wish that the mother would go away
- Constant cross reference between romantic partners and their father. Either in the positive or negative manner.
- Dislike of the mother for no significant reason
How Does Electra Complex Get Resolved?
Electra complex just like the Oedipus complex is resolved when the child learns to identify with the parent
of the same sex. The girl will try to match her mothers character, behavior and values in order to win her
fathers love. It is during this period of development that the girl develops her super ego that also
identifies with moral values within the culture and society she has been raised in. With the development
of the Ego and Super Ego, the child learns to repress her Id, she gets to learn to differentiate the ideal
from reality and thus shifts her affection towards other males.
What Happens if Electra Complex is Not Resolved?
In a case that the Electra complex is not resolved, a fixation is developed. A fixation refers to an obsessive
drive or persistent focus on a given stage of the psychosexual stages of development. Sigmund Freud
alluded to the fact that unresolved Electra complex may lead to homosexual tendencies since the child
fails to identify with the parent of the same sex. However, no further studies has supported this claim.
However, most of the Psychologists agree that unresolved Electra complex leads to challenges in adult
romantic relationships hence the term ” Daddy issues”.
It is also important to note that a strong attachment to a given parent does not necessarily mean that one
has not resolved the complex. However, there are other factors that might cause these attachments for
example a child’s experiences with an adverse environment.