Types of Complexes
”Encyclopedia of Psychological Complexes” is abundant in sorting of variety of existing complexes. Like any systematization exercise, typology of modern complexes, indeed, poses a challenge for modern science as long as an increasing number of emerging complexes does not cease to appear. Here is just a brief reference for some of the most recurring complexes.
Complex of Oedipus\Elektra
A famous mental dilemma of a child that has to choose between his father and his masculine desire for his mother has grown into psychological disturbance known as a Complex of Oedipus (for boys) or Complex of Elektra (for girls). It`s been believed that the heroes from the Greek mythology Oedipus and Elektra fell in love with their parents and in order to fully possess them they had to kill another parent, the father in a case of Oedipus and a mother in a case of Elektra. However, having committed the murder, none of them felt satisfied as they were not in position to have intimate rapports with the loved ones neither to marry them, which would be considered as incest, nevertheless, the myth hides these details.
Since that time enormous love for one parent to exclusion of another is considered to be a sign of Oedipus\Elektra Complex. However, not all love of such kind shall be undoubtedly regarded as such. Notably the complex is manifested by:
– Deep affection, which becomes publically evident for the parent of the opposite sex;
– Brusque attitude to the parent of the same sex;
– Perception of the parent as the center of the child`s life;
– Expressed desire to “marry” the parent;
– Ultra-sensitive reaction to the emotional or physical rejection of the parent, which carries the unconscious sexual character, especially in early childhood;
– The fantasying about the sexual relations with the parent, which might also be unconscious;
If left untreated, the complex might give rise to the incurred difficulties in finding a proper partner in adulthood as all candidates will be compared and leveled up to a parent.
It is much alike to Elektra complex, as both were Oedipus’daughters. Complex is shown as irrational love of daughter towards her father. In case of Antigone, such devoted love can be directed not only towards father, but other male family members, e.i. brother.
It is an obsessive fixation of mother on her son, which is intensified by latent desire and creation of an adoration cult of son. Many have heard of Oedipus complex, however, only few are aware that as much as Oedipus desired his mother, his mother, Jocasta, had the same feelings towards her son. Usually such a relation develops in absence of astrong father figure, or father at all.
– Domineering and intense adoration, which converts into blind worshiping of son;
– Insatiable desire of constant physical contact expressing non-incestuous love;
– Mother`s unceasing demands of permanent presence of son by her side.
A boy, surrounded by mother`s hypercare, grows into an adult who does not fully realize that the mother-son relations could be more free and less emotionally dependent. For mamma`s boy it is difficult to lead independent life as a man, as all steps, even a choice of his woman should be agreed with the mother. And this is not because he does not have his own opinion. Most probably he does, however, it is hidden so deeply inside under tectonic layers of mother`s influence.
If a mother has several sons, Jocasta complex is likely to manifest itself in relation only with one son, the most preferred one.
This complex embodies an obsessive desire of a father to keep his daughter permanently by his side, which prompts him to impede her getting married, and, therefore leaving him.
Usually a relational knot gets undone when a daughter continues granting her attention and care to father, thus, giving him assurance that he`ll always have her support even if she raises her own family.
This complex illustrates unconscious or pre-conscious hatred of mother toward her children, which evidences all mum`s attempts to harm her offsprings morally, verbally and physically. In such a way, a biological mother fulfills her pathological desire to revenge on her husband. Therefore, by hurting her kids, she also inflicts injury on her husband.
It is viewed as a surpressed desire of a son to get rid of his mother by all possible means. Its initial stage is manifested when a son totally isolates a mother from his life until a total cut-off of a mother-son connection. A final stage includes son`s manifested aggressive behavior, and may get different forms depending on mother`s response.
It is viewed as latent or manifested rivalry between brothers or/and sisters for achieving all-inclusive parental love (in childhood) and highest social status (in adulthood). Competition may take violent forms and accepts victory (supremacy) only of the one.
‘The Ego Complex’ stems from conviction that ‘I am a center of the Universe’ and that one`s own desires should be satisfied instantly, whereas those of others might wait. Still practice shows that it is not always true, which hurts egoists and makes their Ego complex vulnerable and insatiable. Usually such egoists were the only child in family, who were used to the situation when all their desires were accomplished momentously. Having grown into adults, they do not seek to change the reality, but they are eager to nourish their ‘self-love’ at all costs. However, it is not always the case. Those people, who have Ego complex might have been also deprived from basic capabilities in childhood and satisfaction of one`s own Ego has become their only interest.
Such people stand out in a crowd as they care only about the satisfaction of their own needs. The communication of such people is usually limited to the topics that are interesting to the person`s ego, which might be also called ‘business deals’. Contacts, which do not serve their own pleasure, are usually eliminated.
The complex does not present evident danger, neither for the personal health nor to the society. These people are efficient in finding what they want to, however as soon as their goals are achieved they stay lonely.
This complex derives from a natural habit of constant preoccupation and care about the child, which soon might grow into a complex. Possessors of this complex are usually those who are publically called ‘good fathers’ or “ideal fathers”, that is to say, the ones, who give to their offspring the best without asking any remuneration or gratitude in return. In this mental dilemma, a child becomes a kind of parent`s obsession, which cannot be dealt with easily. Even when a moment comes and all needs of a child are satisfied, a parent remains constantly perplexed and he is ready to run to ‘child`s rescue’ as he is used to. And if he does not do so, he becomes anxious. And even when he does so, he is anxious as well. So, a dilemma has two ends, that is why this complex resembles a sort of vicious circle.
All caring male parents are sensitive to possess ‘Father complex’ and it is practically difficult to avoid it. In early childhood, a father tends to spend all his free time with a child, helping him/her to learn the world, if not to mention that all father`s thoughts are concentrated on idea of providing a happy and adequate life for a child. As a toddler grows up, the father is right here to accompany the child on his/her life path, whether he/she learns his/her first ABC or he/she rides a bicycle. In a teen age, the father is always ready to render the advices or give instructions, which sometimes might be considered to be too intrusive from a teen`s point of view as he/she does not usually ask for them, and that is here wherein a complex starts manifesting itself in full bloom, and that is exactly here wherein parent-children conflicts start following a scenario: ‘I have told you!’, – “Don`t teach me how to live!”. In young age such fathers feel free to intervene into child`s private life by suggesting the most appropriate couple to marry. When a child becomes an adult, he/she always remains a child for his/her parent. For a parent it seems difficult to get accustomed to the idea that his offspring is an adult now. That is why the ‘parent-child relation’ does not change significantly since the childhood, but tends to develop. Sometimes they can even get closer if both parts accept it, and if not, there happens a rupture and alienation.
‘Father Complex’ does not require any specific psychological treatment, however it is highly recommended that the parent reduces his tensions and worries about a child as long as he sees that the last can take care of him/herself.
‘Mother complex’ stems from the same roots as the ‘Father complex’, however in mother`s case it might take more serious and bigger dimensions as a mother is the one, who constantly remains with a child. ‘Mother complex’ differs from ‘Father complex’ also for the cause of her pregnancy and a necessity to carry a child throughout 9 months, which can be also saturated with a fear of loosing a child or giving birth to an unhealthy person. The mother is the one, who is the most connected to the child and all her life revolves around the urgent necessity to care about him/her.
The complex’s manifestations are practically the same as in the father`s case, however, it might take the feminine forms in particular situations, which is individual for each case.
‘Mother`s Complex’ is not grave as long as it does not grow into obsession and does cause complications for mother`s life and that of a child.
Complex of Don Juan
Complex derives from constant personal frustrations incurred in intimate relations with women. Sad love story with a broken-heart-end or sexual traumatic experience might also be in the roots of this masculine complex.
Complex`s manifestations vary from case to case, whereas, common aspects are the following:
– Psychological perception of a woman as a source of pleasure;
– Ignorance about women;
– Easy-going and superficial attitude towards all women;
– Tendency to change the intimate partners frequently, without concentration on someone in particular;
– Dramatization of the relations with women, e.i. leaving without saying ‘good-bye’ etc.;
– Habit to live at woman`s cost;
– Incapacity to love a woman truly and to build a long-term stable relation.
Such people are not capable of raising a family. However, if this person aims at changing his life, psychoanalysis and personal-relations therapy shall be applied.
Complex may start manifesting itself already at early age, that is to say, when a child gains consciousness of himself/herself as of an individuality. Such children usually stand out in a crowd as bearers of a particular cause. The role of ‘the Chosen One’ may serve as a pretext to their social demarches (i.e. not going to school) or the excuse for the deviant behavior (i.e. certain habits). The complex might be formed also during more mature age due to non-possibility of self-realization and as a consequence of the life crisis.
The person, who suffers from the ‘messianic complex’, feels that there is a certain mission confined to him/her, which he/she has to fulfill at any cost. The paradox is tha the whole lifetime can be spent in search of that ‘mission’. Not having found it, there is still a feeling of ones own ‘exclusiveness’, which provokes a bunch of miscomprehension between him/her and the society. Such people hold irrational belief in one`s own ‘uniqueness’. They have a tendency to isolation and a manner to express themselves in prophetic phrases.
The complex does not carry any danger to life as long as it does not grow into mania.
Complex of Cleopatra or a Complex of a Queen is inherent to a big number of powerful women. She is assured about her own uniqueness and possession of total power above the rest of the world owing to her eminent beauty, great talent or other outstanding qualities.
At first sight such a woman might seem frigid and disinterested in company of men: a priori she considers that no man deserves her. From her partners she demands total adoration and veneration as that is what her sensation of exclusiveness urges. And in a case when it is not received, the consequences might be dramatic and even tragic for both parts. Any competitor might be eliminated instantly as such a woman asks a man to be to totally loyal to her.
It is difficult to name at least one powerful woman who would not experience ‘the dilemma of Cleopatra’ to the point that it is frequently considered as an elite mark rather than a psychological disorder. However, the complex is dangerous, as a woman, who possesses a ‘Complex of Cleopatra’ is sensible to commit suicide.
Complex of Napoleon
Person with a ‘Complex of Napoleon’ has visible physical disadvantages, however, he/she is victorious in other domains, which grants him/her a status of leader.
Primary syndromes are:
• Obvious physical disadvantage(s) and evident tentative to hide it (them);
• Self-centrism (or rather complex-centrism);
• Leadership and ability to lead masses;
• Big number of followers;
The complex does not endanger life, it is rather good psychological stimulation for the development of the unique talent that each ‘Napoleon’ has.
Complex of Lolita
Complex appears as a consequence of difficult relations between a daughter and a father in a childhood, or it might also be provoked by fatherless childhood. A girl makes up for the lack of father`s love with the men of senior age and.
The complex is usually attributed to the teen girls, however, it is also frequent at the adult women, which is demonstrated as following:
• Adoration of a man, who could probably be her father;
• Search of attention from the men of senior age;
• Complete disregard of her peers and inability to obtain satisfaction with them;
• Tendency to avoid women`s company and friendship.
Usually the complex does not bring about the complications as long as both partners consent to such relations.
Complex of Inferiority
The complex grows out of the amalgam of personal insufficiency and perception of one`s inability to be ‘like others’.
The complex can be either ‘apparent’ or ‘hidden’. Its common features can be listed as follows:
• Careless attitude to one`s self;
• Ungrounded self-restriction, which, in grave cases, might grow into auto-deprivation and self-torturing;
• Lessening of one`s own needs, talking about oneself in a diminutive manner without respect;
• Difficulty in expressing one`s own point of view;
• Tendency to the masochism.
Complex needs psychological cure.
Complex of Superiority
Complex stems from the inner perception of oneself being better than the others. The complex can be transmitted by heritage, or, in rare cases, gained throughout the life. In the first case the complex is demonstrated in all life`s spheres disregarding any conditions, whereas in the latter one it is rather concentrated on the area, where it rose from (work, social relations etc.).
Its features are namely:
• Protracted belief of one`s eminence above the rest of the world;
• Consideration of others as those who do not deserve their company or even ‘retarded’;
• Personal relations building in specific schemas, wherein in the centre there is always gain;
• Incapacity to develop friendship relations;
• Aim to control any life`s situation at any cost.
Complex does not require psychological intervention unless it gains the complete control over the personality.
This masculine complex stems from the perception of the uniqueness of one`s own beauty, which is enhanced by the tremendous effect that it has on the surrounding people. The Adonis Complex is remarkably influenced by the role of the public opinion played in its primary conception, further consolidation and final consequences.
Complex is demonstrated in the following psychological aspects:
• Constant perception of one`s eminent physical attractiveness;
• Comprehension of the power that one`s charm gives above the others;
• Reclamation of due attention, which usually grows into exaggerated forms;
• Sensation of one`s exclusiveness that needs to be constantly stimulated;
• Extreme selfishness.
Sometimes the Adonis Complex takes up grave forms and might threaten the safety of the others, which leads to the forceful isolation of the ‘sufferer’ from the rest of the world. The psychotherapeutic intervention would be required only in grave cases.
‘The God Complex’ is a widespread illusion of unlimited personal potential, which misguides the person and can sometimes be the cause of serious troubles between the person and the society. This misleading idea of the omnipotence can be caused by substances abuse as well as by constant stimulation of the brain core.
The complex might demonstrate itself from different sides in dependence of the area of its cultivation, varying from the easy-apparent to the highly-apparent signs, all of which might be resumed to the following:
– Ungrounded conviction of one`s own unlimited power;
– Persistent demonstration of one`so abilities;
– Incurring of the constant life-threatening risks;
– Aiming at the top difficult tasks and the constant attempts to accomplish them;
– High self-concentration and ignorance of the opinions of others if they do not agree with the personal position;
– Stubbornness and categorical unwillingness to admit one`s own faults.
The complex tends to grow into the maniac syndrome, so the preventive measures shall be taken.
It is in 1949 when the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard coined the term ‘Cassandra Complex’ to refer to a belief that the destiny can be known in advance. In psychology, ‘the Cassandra metaphor’ is applied to the individuals who experience physical and emotional suffering as a result of distressing personal perceptions, and who are disbelieved when they attempt to share the cause of their suffering with others.
It is not difficult to recognize the ‘Cassandra Complex’ as soon as the following features are noted:
– Assurance that there is a certain important mission to accomplish;
– Constant warnings about the consequences of incorrect behavior;
– Permanent appeal to the moral principles and the order;
– Ability to feel grief of the other to the point that it becomes one`s own;
– Sufferings caused by the people`s ignorance and disobedience.
The Complex might cause inconvenience only to the one who has it it as it practically eliminates the sensational threshold, thus making the ‘sufferer’ vulnerable to any exterior troubles. In this case the session of the psychotherapy might bring relief.
The inability ‘to find oneself’ in the specific craft or the failure to do so in professional realization might be considered as the main factors of the appearance of ‘the Hero Complex’. This psychological dilemma is characterized by the following features:
– The perception of one`s self as a hero whereas certain actions are considered to be weird from the standpoint of the social norms;
– The acceptance of one`s ‘heroic’ burden to carry;
– The constant complaints about one`s uneasy destiny and miscomprehension from the side of society;
– The noble impulse to come to rescue of the sufferers even when there is no necessity;
– The possible temporary auto-reclusion or the rejection from the side of society.
‘The Hero Complex’ does not provoke grave complications as long as the person stays occupied with one`s own ‘mission’. However, as soon as it is ‘accomplished’, there comes the period of confrontation with reality, which provokes nothing else than deception and depression. So, among the most common psychological consequences of ‘the Hero Complex’ is the disillusionment.
In contrast to the ‘Hero Complex’, with which ‘the Martyr Complex’ has got quite a lot in common, the destiny of the latter is even more tragic, as the “Martyr” not having received the sought sympathy of the others would fall into illness. The main features can be observed in such cases:
– The life is considered to be as a huge challenge, wherein the sufferings are the only way to achieve one`s aims;
– The attempts to influence other people by the demonstration of the ‘tortures’ that he/she goes through;
– The tendency to exhibiting one`s own poor state;
– The strong belief that all the sufferings will be compensated;
– The enjoyment of moral and physical torments.
The hardest version of ‘The Martyr Complex’ is psychosis. In such a case, hospitalization is urgent.
‘The Persecution Complex’ is one of the most common psychological syndromes of the modern globalized world. Being constantly in a hurry and experiencing a lack of time, the person can easily obtain its syndromes, which are the following:
– Permanent illusion of being spied at, which is accompanied by feeling of presence of somebody even if the person is alone;
– Experience of Zeitnot;
– Tendency to accomplish one`s own duty in a hurry due to the lack of time;
– Apparent mistrust towards the rest of the world;
The modern lifestyle leads to certain psychological consequences, and, notably, to the acquisition of ‘Persecution Complex’. The Complex might take different variations; however, it cannot disappear as long as the same pace of life is preserved.
Complex of Indecisiveness
‘The Complex of Indecisiveness’ might develop in childhood as well as in the adult age due to the impediment or stress that occurred during the decision-making process.
The complex has the following features:
The apparent disorientation in life;
The lack of confidence;
The inability to take serious decisions independently;
The high dependence on the opinion of others;
The tendency to change one`s mind at the last moment.
‘The Complex of Indecisiveness’ might be the cause of the major troubles in a life, such as inability to speak publicly, or defend one`s own position. The complex shall definitely be treated.
Complex of Dependence on the Opinion of Others
The lack of personal confidence and absence of individual position might lead to the situation, when the opinion of the entourage becomes the central element of one`s own judgment. The public praise encourages one`s own specific behavior, whereas the disapproval, inhibits it. The complex can be resumed to the following feautures:
Inability to formulate one`s own position without the preliminary counseling with the others;
High estimation of the opinion of ‘the other ‘ and depreciation of the personal opinion even if it is right;
High tendency to follow blindly the particular groups, directions, sects;
Excessive influence of the public opinion on one`s private life;
Acute reaction to the public indifference, which causes deep emotional sufferings.
The complex tends to develop in the vicious circle “action-reaction-inhibition/advancement”. However, there are possible dramatic consequences if this person receives the public rejection. The complex can be cured by the relation, which is built on mutually respect and esteem.
Complex of Castration
All men without exception possess ‘the Complex of Castration’. At the base of the major part of the typically masculine acts lies ‘the Complex of Castration’, which is also the cause of the great feminine-masculine miscomprehension, as the last ones do not possess penis and, therefore, cannot realize fully its importance to a man. From time to time each man can sense such syndromes:
The high dependence of one`s self-esteem on one`s masculine power;
The tendency to view the threats stemming from the exterior world as those aimed at his emasculization;
The ungrounded beliefs that certain women`s attitude aims at the liquidation of their virile organ, and, therefore, considered as dangerous;
The complex makes up the part of the natural development of each man and, therefore, there is no necessity to fight against it. The complex becomes more evident when there is an imminent threat and it is less demonstrated when the situation presents no menace to the masculine power.
Complex of Virility
Being a man in any situation – that is how the Complex of Virility might be paraphrased. The complex takes its onset in the childhood, when the parents were teaching a small boy to behave like ‘an adult man’ and endure any difficulties. Since that time, a small boy has grown up, however, the psychological directive has engraved so deeply that henceforth it would regulate the whole life of a man. The complex can be observed as follows:
The anxiety caused by constant necessity to take responsibility, whether it carries a minor or major character;
The tendency to fall into depression, which, however, is scrupulously hidden from the rest of the world;
The constant psychological tensions;
The public demonstration of one`s masculine traits in a explicit or implicit ways;
‘The Complex of Virility’ is a natural state of the normal masculine development, and shall be regarded as an advantage rather than the opposite.
Complex of an Excellent Student
It is true that ‘the Complex of an Excellent Student’ may be conceived at the school age and its effect may last throughout the whole life. Therefore, it demonstrates itself in any life sphere, where the responsibility and the complete accomplishment are required, from the working up to the intimate relations as it follows:
High exigency from oneself concerning the duty performance;
Unconscious fear to get ‘a bad mark’;
High level of stressfulness;
Shame with all possible consequences if ‘the lesson was not prepared’;
Ultra vulnerability to all types of critics.
This complex is all about the relations between oneself and the sense of responsibility. Once priorities are settled up correctly, a person feels less tensed, and the complex has no more control over him/her.
Complex of Non-Love to Oneself
The complex might be caused by possible traumatic experience concerning one`s own appearance, which was unfavorably judged by the others, especially the close people, whose opinion is the most valuable.
Ungrounded perception that one doesn`t merit the love of others and, therefore, one`s own love;
Extremely low self-esteem;
Rejection of the possibility that somebody might like this person;
Neglectfulness towards the personal care;
Careless attitude towards one`s own destiny.
‘The Complex of Non-Love to Oneself’ is, indeed, one of the most widespread complexes in the modern world, which, however, might not be recognized and be well concealed from the others. The complex only provokes unnecessary sufferance, which can be avoided owing to a practical psychological assistance. In this case, the courses of the elevation of the self-esteem will be of high effectiveness.
Complex of Loneliness
‘The Complex of Loneliness’ appears as a result of unsuccessful and unhappy contacts with the exterior world. A person rests with an idea that ‘it`s better to be alone than with somebody else’, which consequently brings about the social isolation and even volunteer reclusion. Its main features are:
Unconscious will of isolation, or to hide oneself;
Ungrounded belief that nobody would understand his/her situation, sufferings etc.;
Difficulty of finding the contact with others;
Recurring failures to build permanent relations;
Habit of finding comfort and happiness in solitude.
The Complex should be fought against instantly at its onset. The good company and family support, either the psychological counseling would be of necessary assistance.
Complex of Sexuality Oppression
In the majority of the cases, at the base of this complex lies the oppressed libido, which leads to frigidity hidden in a form of sexual disinterest.
The avoidance of intimate relations;
The unnatural disinterest towards the opposite sex;
The categorical unwillingness to get enlightened about the sexual matters;
The paranoic vision of the sexual relations;
The pervasive perception of the sexual life.
This complex is unhealthy reflection of one`s oppressed sexual energy, which might lead to the grave consequences in the intimate relations. The complex shall be eliminated instantly by the consultation with the sexologist or psychoanalyst.
Complex of Guilt
‘The Complex of Guilt’ derives from the eternal aspiration to justice and when something goes wrong, the person, who possesses this complex, feels personal responsibility for it. The complex might also appear due to sublimation of certain traumatic events (e.i. witnessing the accident and not being in position to help) that took place in the past and which the person wanted to revert, but cannot.
Obsessed idea “that everything could have been done better”;
Readiness to accept the responsibility even if one didn`t commit wrongdoings;
Inability to judge objectively;
Miscomprehension of the person`s limits and the constant attempts to surpass them;
High sensitivity to the opinions of others.
‘The Complex of Guilt’ provokes, undoubtedly, sufferings and the major inconvenience in the rational vision of the surrounding people and current events. It should be treated. Its complete cure requires the deep psychoanalytical approach with intensive restorative therapy.
Complex of Incapability to Say “No”
It is widely believed that the people, who accept the reality with their emotions, rather than with their judgment, tend to possess ‘the Complex of Incapability to Say “No”’. Its main indications are the following:
Incapacity of the analytical judgment of the situation;
Disturbed optimistic vision of the reality;
Excessive sense of responsibility;
Permanent fear that if the person answers negatively, then the whole world would turn his/her back to him/her;
Desire to help the others even if there is not such a possibility to do so.
As long as this complex causes no disturbances, it can be considered as a particularity of the individualism, however, it depends entirely on the person if he/she wants to change one`s approach to life or not.
It`s true that from time to time any person can feel fear of huge responsibility for achieving success in life. However, when this fear starts blocking a personality from further personal growth, here psychologists start talking about “Jonah Complex”. Those who suffer from this complex, tend to ignore all their extraordinary capabilities and talents, and moreover, surpress them intentionally. They believe that by running from their own personality, they`ll avoid public success, which they fear the most.
– Lack of interest in self-actualization;
– Turning down all offers that would bring light to personal talents;
– Total misunderstanding, of necessity to display one`s own talent in public, or even admit presence of such.
Usually Jonah complex is brought up alongside with parent`s installments, who taught a child to be “like others”, and not to stand out of a crowd. Sometimes it`s only in old age when a person`s talent may be discovered, however, it`d be already too late to develop it. Or, a talent may die with a person, without ever been appreciated, or even known about it.
Having chosen modern style of life, a person even does not suspect, what psychological consequences it might lead to, and, notably acquisition of the ‘Persecution Complex’. The Complex might take different variations; however, it cannot disappear as long as the same pace of life is preserved.
There exist as many complexes as there are the people in the world and the list of the complexes herein exposed is not full and can be filled continuously as every day the new complications appear.