Effects of oedipal triumph caused by collapse or death of the rival parent

Gill, H.S.

International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 68: 251-260


ISSN/ISBN: 0020-7578
PMID: 3583570
Document Number: 418
It is suggested that the threat of castration at the phallic-oedipal phase results in repression, effecting no change in the unconscious fantasy, that the resolution of the Oedipus complex depends on developments during latency and adolescence, and that during this period one of the determinants impeding the resolution may be the collapse or death of the rival parent. Death of the oedipal rival results in a confusion of the unconscious wish with an external happening. The child, unable to cope with the consequent guilt, resorts to regression. Thus, the critical aspects of the oedipal triumph remain potentially operative in the unconscious, hindering the patients's functioning in all closely associated areas. Three clinical illustrations of oedipal triumph are described to indicate some of the psychodynamic issues that arise in the analysis of such patients. Of particular importance are: the concept of reality testing; differential adaptation to the unconscious sense of guilt; the varying degrees of resistance evidenced in the analysis of such patients; and the impact of oedipal determinants in differential outcome of bereavement.

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Effects of oedipal triumph caused by collapse or death of the rival parent