Through a Jungian Lens

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Anatomy of a Mother Complex – Pt 7

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Oedipus Rex - Oedipus complex - Mothers and sons

Oedipus Rex – Oedipus complex – Mothers and sons

Men, all men, are wounded in some fashion by their mothers and fathers, as are all women. But as I am a man, I can only speak as a man. When I was a youth of 18, I went to see a live production of Oedipus Rex at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. I was captivated by the story. I wondered why, in later years why a teenager would like a Greek play such as this where the pull into an incestuous relationship with the mother lead to so much destruction. The presence of Eros is always there between a mother and a son (as well as between a father and a daughter) despite all conscious intentions. Thankfully, most parents manage to navigate the relationships of parent and child without falling into the unconscious expression of Eros upon a child.

With the death of my own mother, the veil was lifted to reveal my own Oedipus story. Men are wired to find an Other that evokes the mother either as a positive or a negative figure. Regardless of the dark or light aspect of personal mother, each boy child wants to be loved by his mother, the person with whom he has had the most intimate of all relationships from birth until separation. So, it should come as no surprise, that following separation, the search begins for someone else who will then love the boy child grown into a man. But, it would be a mistake to think that this someone else is necessarily a woman; it just isn’t that simple.

The person we find becomes a Magical Other.

Behind the search for the Magical Other lies the archetypal power of the parental imagos. Our first experience of ourselves is in relationship to these Primal Others, usually mother or father. Consciousness itself arises out of that splitting of the primal participation mystique which characterizes the infant’s sensibility. The paradigms for self, for Other, and the transactions between, are formed from these earliest experiences. They are hard-wired into our neurological and emotional network.” [Hollis, The Eden Project, p. 37]



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