Closely related to the Oedipus complex , it appears in early stages. Very concerned with the admission of sexual identity and role in the sexual. As such, this complex was pointed out by Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). It is related to the fact that children discover the sexual anatomy of their parents and compare it with their own.
Complex castration complex concept
It is detected in children between the ages of 3 and 5 . In turn, it happens that it is evident in both males and females. In each gender, boy or girl, it forks into separate manifestations. Therefore, it is necessary to take into account the sex to be able to attend the problematic cases.
Basically, what happens is that the children discover their own sexual anatomy : the males who have a penis, the females the absence of it. Trying to understand the complexion of their bodies, they question or spy on the parents. What do they notice? In the first instance, that the father has a phallus and the mother does not. That is why it is called a castration complex: everything revolves around having or not having that virile appendix. Not possessing it gives a feeling of absence, of castration, or of denial in case of non-acceptance of one’s own body.
This complex is normal. Where is the problem? It turns out that it should be attended with psychological help when the child cannot resolve the impact of discovering the differences between their anatomy and that of other people.
Characteristics of the castration complex
A complex that oscillates between the masculine and the feminine . With different features and sequences in each gender, it is necessary to describe it in girls and boys separately. In this sense, the following peculiarities are detailed:
Castration complex in children
In the case of males, this complex is clearly evidenced in a chain of stages . Each of them is described below:
- Initial phase : the boy realizes that he has a penis. Therefore, he comes to believe that all people have that same organ.
- Threat: the child wishes to occupy the place of the parent. He does it through gestures and palpating his member. He is admonished for it. The notion then arises that, if the penalized behavior is perpetuated, the punishment would be the loss of the penis (castration).
- The revelation of the absence : now the little man realizes that the anatomy of women is different, since women do not have a phallus. The inculcated notion is that a woman is someone “castrated.”
- Anguish : now the boy realizes that his mother does not have a penis either. A power figure without a phallus is something that causes you severe distress. Thus the idea of castration is gestated: that he must behave accordingly so as not to lose his virile member.
- Resolution : here the child renounces to occupy the role of the father and accepts the paternal law. It is a normal process, but it can present occasional problems.
Males must adapt to a situation in which they behave according to their gender . Failure to act in this way is thought to cause you to lose your penis. For this reason, this complex is classified as “castration”.
Castration complex in girls
In females this circumstance is different. Curiously, the girl tends to believe that everyone has a penis too . However, that member is different in men and women. Next, we detail the female behavior in the face of the castration complex:
- First notion: the girl judges the penis as something universal in anatomy. His opinion is that the clitoris itself is a phallus, albeit with very peculiar features.
- The difference is revealed : the little girl sees that her clitoris is too small for a penis. She then imagines that she has been castrated, feeling uncomfortable about this situation.
- The relationship with the mother: the girl realizes that the mother does not have a penis either. He blames his mother for this situation, for which he considers that she has inherited the absence of a penis through her mother.
The outcome of the castration complex in girls opens up into a range of three options . The first is that the acceptance of not having a penis distances it from the sexual. A second alternative is for him to grow up with the intention of possessing a penis, through erotic contact with someone of the other sex. Finally, the denial of the loss of the penis and the acceptance of masculine behaviors (lesbianism).
Practical examples of the castration complex
It happens that this complex is a problem when it transcends adult life . When this happens, it requires specialized care. Let’s see some cases below:
- When the male becomes too submissive to the father , unconsciously fearing he will be castrated and lose his virile condition.
- The woman suffers from penis envy . You constantly wish you were born with the opposite sex. Because she is a woman, she feels inferior and this hits her self-esteem.
- Females who depend a lot on a male figure can give symptoms of this complex. Given the fact that they do not have a phallus, they seem to require someone to make up for this absence.
- The castration complex affects self-esteem . It must be overcome, it is even a necessary stage to discover one’s sexuality.
- A child who begins to suffer from it has a lot of interest in his genital part.
- A girl who goes through this stage may show rejection towards the mother.
- It usually happens in families where there is a dominant father who openly manifests his power. Therefore, it is believed that the penis is a symbol of strength.
It is worth saying that the psychological nicks of this complex can be strong. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to deal with this problem.
How to identify the castration complex?
By presenting at least three of the aforementioned items , a castration complex can already be inferred. In addition, many feelings of sexual insecurity are linked to this complex. The important thing is to evaluate the way to treat it.
How to cure the castration complex?
Professional help is needed, especially propped up in behavior . It is necessary for the person to change behavior habits, since this is what most affects the castration complex.
One of the ways is to get the affected person to understand their sexuality . The woman should stop feeling affected by the absence of a penis. Likewise, the child must be sure of himself, since in this way he will stop being afraid of being neutered.
Keep in mind that this complex has to do with power relations. Also, with the feeling of absence or fear of losing. And what is at stake is the notion of the phallus! Therefore, it is necessary to treat the patient so that the following happens : that he stops being afraid of losing or the absence of what the penis represents.
Precisely, it is necessary to demystify the cultural idea of the phallus . Only in this way would people understand that this virile member is relative, it is a constructed symbol. Understanding that, an important step can be taken in overcoming castration as a complex.
Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.