Oedipus and Electra complexes role in anorexia nervosa

Oedipus and Electra complexes
Anorexia Nervosa

Patients with anorexia nervosa always have something to surprise the therapists. In different sources, various causes of anorexia nervosa have been stated.

Some time ago I had a teenage patient who was suffering from anorexia nervosa. Despite numerous sessions, the patient was very resistant to eating. In a one-on-one session where I decided to spend time on increasing her motivation to get better, she told me the only reason she didn’t want to gain weight was so her dad could hug him. Because her father was suffering from back pain, the patient did not want to lose his father’s arms due to her weight gain.

Freud believed that the child is growing since birth and each age has certain developmental characteristics. In the meantime, he called the period of 3-6 years the phallic stage and believed that children at this age react to their sexual organs for the first time. In other words, this is the first time they notice this organ in their body and then sooner or later they will notice the pleasure they feel from stimulating this area.

This awareness may first arise in a person accidentally, but in any case, because of the pleasure it brings to the person, it will continue until the Oedipus complex is formed in boys and Electra in girls. It can be assumed that Oedipus and Electra are two crises in the Freud phallic stage and they cannot be considered as a separate stage.

Freud called the Electra complex the condition in which girls direct their desires towards the father and compete with the mother. He believes that all children in the first years of life are more interested in their mother than any other person. Although girls, like boys, their first object of love is their mother, but gradually this desire changes direction towards their father.

Dysfunction through the Oedipus and Electra complexes may be the central cause in some cases of anorexia nervosa.

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