Do we all suffer from complexes?. The term itself has long since found its way into our general linguistic usage. Most of us have heard of the Oedipus complex, the inferiority complex, or the mother complex. But what exactly is meant by complex? How do complexes arise and are they necessarily negative?
What possibilities are there to overcome complexes – and is it even necessary? These and similar questions are answered in the following article.
What are complexes?
Although the term complex can be found in our general linguistic usage, complexes are generally little known to us in their diversity and depth. The majority of us may have heard of the inferiority or Oedipus complex, but very few know exactly what complexes are and how they arise.
The complex theory is relevant in analytical psychology or psychotherapy. It goes back to Carl Gustav Jung, but was also understood and further developed by other well-known scientists such as Sigmund Freud or Alfred Adler. Jung describes complexes as conflictual experiences in interpersonal relationships that are accompanied by uncomfortable feelings.
Such emotions can be fear, shame, or anger. The conflicting process is experienced as so stressful that it has to be suppressed and stored in the unconscious. Many complexes have their origin in childhood and adolescence, since demarcation and affect regulation are still difficult. In principle, however, you can have complex relational experiences for a lifetime.
If a current situation or event triggers a complex from the past, this can trigger an overreaction. Emotions overflow and you no longer react appropriately. The current situation is not perceived objectively, but rather linked to the event and associated emotions from the past
So it becomes clear that complexes describe something that we are initially not aware of. This is where topics come up that almost cry out to be dealt with. If this does not happen, negative complexes can be associated with severe suffering. In order for us to become aware of complexes, some reflection is necessary.
Sometimes it can be painful. Complexes are not a problem for individuals, we all have complexes. Usually they are buried in the depths of our psyche and can become active again at any time. Just as our life experiences are positive or negative, complexes are also positive or negative. Negative complexes are usually associated with uncomfortable feelings and excessive behaviors.
It can also lead to loss of control. Last but not least, complex projection and transmission result. Inner conflicts and emotions that are almost unbearable are attributed to other people because they are far too stressful for the psyche. 2 C.G. Jung’s theory of complexes, as it has existed since the beginning of the 20th century, is still very much present in psychotherapy.
What types of complexes are there?
A number of different complexes have been described in the past. Many of them seem out of date to us today, for example the Oedipus or castration complex. Others – such as the inferiority complex, Jonas complex or father and mother complex – have hardly lost any of their topicality.