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Lampl-De Groot, A. (1928). The Evolution of the Oedipus Complex in Women. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 9:332-345.

(1928). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 9:332-345

The Evolution of the Oedipus Complex in Women

A. Lampl-De Groot

One of the earliest discoveries of psycho-analysis was the existence of the Oedipus complex. Freud found the libidinal relations to the parents to be the centre and the acme of the development of childish sexuality and soon recognized in them the nucleus of the neuroses. Many years of psycho-analytical work greatly enriched his knowledge of the developmental processes in this period of childhood; it gradually became clear to him that in both sexes there is both a positive and a negative Oedipus complex and that at this time the libido finds physical outlet in the practice of onanism. Hence the Oedipus complex makes its appearance only when the phallic phase of libido-development is reached and, when the tide of infantile sexuality recedes, that complex must pass in order to make way for the period of latency during which the instinctual tendencies are inhibited in their aim. Nevertheless, in spite of the many observations and studies by Freud and other authors, it has been remarkable how many obscure problems have remained for many years unsolved.

It seemed that one very important factor was the connection between the Oedipus and the castration complexes, and there were many points about this which were obscure. Again, understanding of the processes in male children has been carried much further than with the analogous processes in females. Freud ascribed the difficulties in elucidating the early infantile love-relations to the difficulty of getting at the material relating to them: he thought that this was due to the profound repression to which these impulses are subjected.

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