The Electra complex is a psychoanalytic concept proposed by Carl Jung in his Theory of Psychoanalysis, paralleling Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus complex, which centers on the psychological development of young girls during the phallic stage of psychosexual development (ages 3 to 6).
Named after the character Electra from Greek mythology, this complex delves into a girl’s unconscious emotions, involving both an attraction towards her father and a sense of rivalry or jealousy directed at her mother. This stage marks the third phase in Freud’s psychosexual stages, during which children become more aware of gender differences and their own bodies. Within the Electra complex, a girl forms a strong admiration for her father, desiring his exclusive attention while viewing her mother as a competitor for his affection. This desire is linked to the “penis envy” theory, where girls become aware of their perceived lack of power due to the absence of a penis, intensifying their aspiration to replace their mother in their father’s eyes. Ultimately, the complex is believed to be resolved through identification with the mother, allowing the girl to internalize maternal values and behaviors, thereby establishing her own identity and gender role. Although the Electra complex is a significant concept in psychoanalytic theory, modern psychology has expanded beyond its constraints, considering a wider array of perspectives to comprehend human development and behavior.