The idea of incest sends shivers up our spine, so it is understandable how so many of us would rather deny that sexual feelings exist between parents and children. But the truth is, though not every one is effected by it to the same degree, the Oedipus complex is alive and well within all of us. And until we recognize its patterns, and accept them, we are doomed to neurotically repeat the same pattern in all of our relationships that we originally had with our parents.
Let me first explain the legend of Oedipus. Oedipus was born to King Laius and Queen Jocasta. Laius visited The Oracle at Delphi, who prophesized that his son would grow up to murder his father and marry his mother. Thus, he staked his son out in a field to die of exposure. The baby was found by shepherds and raised by King Polybus and Queen Merope in the city of Corinth. Oedipus visited the oracle at Delphi later in his manhood and again, The Oracle prophesized that he would kill his father and marry his mother, but believing he was fated to murder his adoptive father Polybus and marry his adopted mother Merope, he left Corinth. Heading to Thebes, Oedipus met an older man in a chariot coming the other way on a narrow road. The two quarreled over who should give way, which resulted in Oedipus killing the stranger and continuing on to Thebes. He found that the king of the city (Laius) had been recently killed and that the city was at the mercy of the Sphinx. The sphinx would kill anyone who could not give the correct answer to a riddle. Oedipus answered the monster’s riddle correctly, defeating it and winning the throne of the dead king and the hand in marriage of the king's widow, Jocasta. Oedipus and Jocasta had two sons and two daughters. In his search to determine who killed Laius (and thus end a plague on Thebes), Oedipus discovered it was he who had killed the late king (his true birth father) and married Jacosta (his true birth mother). Jocasta, having realized that she had married her own son and Laius's murderer, hanged herself. Oedipus seized two pins from her dress and blinded himself with them.
The lesson inherent in this legend is multi fold, the first lesson being that we are fated to experience the very thing that we resist. This is a concept that adheres perfectly to what we know about the law of attraction, as it applies to the principal that whatever we resist persists. The second lesson being that we are destined to have a sexual relationship with our opposite sex parent and to develop rivalry with our same sex parent. Oedipus complex is a deeply ingrained part of our psyches and it’s dynamics play out in every one of our relationships. If we were made to feel guilty and shamed for our sexual feelings (for masturbation or for nudity etc.) It breeds neurosis because we have two contradictory states within ourselves such as desire and resistance to that desire based on guilt. It puts us at war with ourselves. Neurosis is an in internal war of conflicting ideas within ourselves. We begin to resist ourselves, which cuts us off from the source current that flows from non physical to physical, supporting our life functions. The Oedipus complex can cut us off from life itself.
As a woman, you are destined to be in a romantic relationship with your father. As a man, you are destined to be in a romantic relationship with your mother and play out the painful dynamics that were present between you and that parent again and again and again. Oedipus complex simply put, is the subconscious desire to unify with the parent of the opposite sex (that desire to bond, manifests in the animal kingdom as the desire for sexual involvement) and an accompanying subconscious rivalry with the parent of the same sex. On occasion, homosexuality can be caused by the Oedipal situation that occurred in one’s childhood. On occasion, if someone is homosexual, the Oedipus complex is reversed and the desire to unify is directed at the same sex parent, while the rivalry is experienced towards the opposite sex parent.
The bottom line is, we will play out the dynamic we had with our parents over and over again in adulthood so as to try to find resolution for the feelings we had to suppress as children, because there was no way to resolve those feelings as a child. This concept goes hand in hand with the idea of “love reincarnations”. The idea of love reincarnation is that as people, we get into relationships again and again with people who remind us of the parent that we didn’t get the love we wanted from as a child. Usually this is the opposite sex parent. We then try to get them to love us in the way we needed that parent to love us when we were young. Doing this, is our subconscious attempt to resolve our daddy or mommy issues. This is why you keep having the same issues in relationships over and over. You see the same patterns come up. And you keep dating the same person over and over even though they have different faces and different names. Our system reincarnates our parents and plays out the Oedipus complex again and again to try to find resolution and healing. When your psyche comes up against pain or trauma it cannot resolve, it must suppress the feelings associated with the experience. But suppression does not heal anything. Instead, your entire personality becomes “stuck” on that experience. It plays out like a skipping CD. And the cd cannot resume playing (you cannot progress past it towards something else) until the pattern is recognized, the original pain is revisited and that part of you is accepted.
We are attracted to people based on our expansion. The universe hopes that if we come up against the same reflection over and over and it gets bigger and bigger, we will eventually recognize the pattern and shift our vibration so as to be a match to new things. In other words, we will expand. When we are young, we don’t deal well with nuances and contradictions. We can’t conceptualize that the person who gives us pleasure and the person who gives us pain can be the same person. So we split our idea of them into two, the good parent and the bad parent in one body. We always find ourselves attracted to our mates because they represent “the good parent”. And our relationships degrade when over time we begin to see in them more of the traits that we associate with the “bad parent”. We act out against them in a way that we couldn’t as children. We have suppressed our feelings about our parent so deeply that we do not experience those feelings towards our parent, we experience the suppressed feelings we feel for our parent, towards our spouse or romantic partner (the reflection of our parent) instead.
If you want to change your chronic relationship patterns, it is essential to take a serious look at how your childhood relationship with your parents plays out now in your adulthood relationships with lovers. Let go of caring what us true or not true about your childhood. Your current life and feelings are only the result of one thing, your perspective. Healing is only ever the result of addressing your perspective. Write a synopsis of the way that you felt relative to each of your parents as a child and relative to your siblings. What caused you pain? What did you need or want? What was it like to be you as a child? Admit to your family dynamics from your subjective perspective. Then look at the patterns in your romantic relationships. Can you identify a correlation between the patterns in your relationships and the relationship you had with your parents, especially the opposite sex parent? Then write down a list of positive things about your opposite sex parent. What did you like about them? What did they do that was nice? After that, write a list of negative things about that same parent. What did you not like about them? What did they do that hurt you? And compare those lists to your previous relationships. Do you see any patterns? Again, your suppressed feelings towards your opposite sex parent, will often not surface relative to the parent themselves, but instead will surface in your relationships towards the women or men you’re romantically involved with. For example, a woman may have suppressed their rage at being abandoned by their father, so they don’t feel that fear and rage when they think of him, but that rage will instead surface and be expressed towards every man she becomes romantically or sexually involved with.
The most important part about the Oedipus complex however, is about our relationship with fate. Sometimes we believe negative things to be true and unavoidable to such a degree that no one can convince us otherwise. This occurs when our problems have become so much a part of us, that they are now a part of our personality. When this is the case, our fate has been decided; and anything we do to try to escape that fate brings that fate ever closer. If you struggle against fate, it wraps its coils around you even tighter than before. For example, if we were rejected by one of our parents as a child, we may do everything we can do to avoid being rejected in the future. And in the process, our fear may make us so difficult to be around, that people won’t want to be around us. And so, we have ensured that our inevitable fate is that people will reject us.
We suppress our pain relative to our childhood relationships because we cannot change them; we simply have to live with them. But when we suppress something, it becomes part of our personality. To try to ignore or deny a problem that is part of one’s personality is impossible. This only suppresses it and ingrains it into the personality further. To try to overcome a problem that is part of one’s personality is to turn part of yourself against another part of yourself. By trying to overcome a problem that is part of your personality, you are unintentionally waging war with yourself. And when we resist something, it persists. We unintentionally commit ourselves by our thoughts, words and actions to the very fate we are trying desperately to avoid. This is the heart of neurosis. The defenses that we erect to protect us, create the very condition we are trying to avoid. Our resistance is so great and our problems have become an integral part of our personality to such a degree that we cannot align with what we want to create. We are locked into a creation pattern.
The remedy for intense resistance is counterintuitive. We must accept that whatever we are resisting, is our fate and find a way to approve of that fate. We need to understand what we are doing and why we are doing it, re visit the old, suppressed pain, express the feelings associated with it, and ultimately fully accept it as part of us. For example, if one of my parents made me believe that I was forsaken, I might believe that it is my fate to suffer. I identify with suffering even though I do everything I can think of to get happy. I’m desperate to get happy, but being unhappy is part of my personality. If I want to overcome that part of my personality, I will suffer for the rest of my life. The remedy is to accept that even though I try to be happy, I believe my fate is to suffer. I must accept that I will suffer for the rest of my life and find a way to genuinely approve of that. For example: If I am destined to suffer, then I can know that nothing has gone wrong if I do suffer, I can just let myself experience it. If I am destined to suffer, I will know exactly how to help people when they suffer. If I’m destined to suffer, the happy times will be much more meaningful to me. If I am destined to suffer, it means I am stronger than other people. If I’m destined to suffer, I will be full of compassion. If I am destined to suffer, I will be humble and that is an admirable quality. If I’m destined to suffer, I am experiencing so much contrast that my desires will be greater than most other people’s desires and so, my expansion will also be greater. I will be adding to universal expansion more than most people do, etc. Accepting one’s fate or despair, is not resignation. It is an acknowledgement that one cannot overcome what is part of the self. And the minute you do that, the coils of that fate loosen around you. And you are free from it.