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Schmidt-Hellerau, C. (2005). The Other Side of Oedipus. Psychoanal Q., 74(1):187-217.

(2005). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 74(1):187-217

The Other Side of Oedipus

Cordelia Schmidt-Hellerau, Ph.D.

The Oedipus complex has been understood as a series of conflicts between feelings of love and hate (sexuality and aggression) in the relationship between the child and his/her parents. This article presents a different view, defining oedipal struggles as conflicts between love and care, sexual desires and self- and object-preservative needs. The crucial conflict the child has to deal with is: to love the one and nevertheless to preserve the other (the rival). Further, the author distinguishes between monolithic conflicts, which are conflicts between different objects of one drive's strivings, and binary conflicts, which involve the objects of both basic drives. In three illustrative examples, she shows that monolithic conflicts can indicate a regressive movement, while binary conflicts tend to foster a progression in the analytic work.

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