Oedipus's Daughter: The Formation and Function of the Destructive Animus

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Pacifica Graduate Institute, 1995 - 406 pages
Beyond identifying the animus as an archetype, Jung avoided discussing the way in which the animus developed, the process by which it functioned in a woman's life--particularly in its more pathological constellations--and the way in which the destructive animus complex becomes activated in the analytic setting. Jung's failure to address the critical impact of the personal father upon animus formation in girls paralleled Freud's failure to focus upon the relationship between fathers and daughters during oedipal development. In his metaphorical discussion of the Oedipus myth, Freud completely ignored the psychological and emotionally incestuous relationship between Oedipus and his daughter, Antigone. Consequently, both Jung and Freud set the precedent for the historic inattention to the role of the father in feminine development. This theoretical dissertation advances the hypothesis that both the Oedipus complex and the destructive animus complex in women are integrally related and originate from oedipal developmental and socialization protocol for males in our culture. The relationship between animus pathology and disturbances in oedipal development is explored at length in this study, in order to render a more complete understanding of the impact of father's psychological constitution upon the formation and function of the destructive animus complex in women. In developing a more comprehensive understanding of animus pathology, both object relations and archetypal theory are revisited, in order to discuss the importance of considering both-developmental and archetypal components in conceptualizing the destructive animus complex. Additionally, a re-analysis of the many versions of the Oedipus myth examines the heretofore neglected relationship between Oedipus and his daughter, Antigone, offering a metaphorical rendering of destructive animus pathology. Among the many ideas advanced in this study regarding the origins of the destructive animus is the conclusion that a narcissistic personality organization underlies the complex and that the narcissistic personality structure is inherited directly from the father. Furthermore, the formation of the narcissistic personality organization occurs during oedipal, not preoedipal, stages of development, as girls become unconsciously identified with father's destructive, omnipotent narcissism.

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