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Adler, E. (2010). The Effacing of the Oedipus Complex. Psychoanal. Inq., 30(6):541-547.

(2010). Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 30(6):541-547

The Effacing of the Oedipus Complex

Elliot Adler, Ph.D.

Introduction

I believe I am the only presenter who attended the annual psychoanalytic society cocktail party where Harriet Pappenheim initially announced the idea for this conference. The planners had not yet arrived at an official title, and perhaps Harriet let out more of their private deliberations than she had intended, for when she said, “We're thinking of calling it ‘Whatever happened to the Oedipus Complex?,’ or ‘Where has the Oedipus Complex gone?’” she was met with spontaneous collective laughter. Now, the Postgraduate Psychoanalytic Society is not one of those analytic communities where one can be sure to score easy laughs by publicly patronizing Freud or things Freudian; besides, to my ears our laughter sounded more anxious or even guilty than derisive. It was as if, in the midst of a raucous birthday party, we were suddenly reminded that we had forgotten to invite our aged parents. “There's something to think about here,” I said to myself and I attempted a quick internal Rolodex shuffle through my current cases, only to discover, to my chagrin, that I couldn't come up with one clear instance where I could definitively say, “Yes, we're working to resolve his or her Oedipus complex!” As this recognition definitively brought on some identity dissonance, I immediately downed a second vodka martini and promptly forgot all about it—that is, until Eva Papiasvili called to invite me to participate in today's conference.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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