Do you know what a Complex is?
Simply copy-pasting the definition off of the internet brings us to, ‘A complex is a core pattern of emotions, memories, perceptions, and wishes in the personal unconscious organized around a common theme, such as power or status.’
In attempts to simplify it down for our understanding, I’d say a Complex is a reason why we feel what we feel because of what we’ve been through. And to understand why we feel what we feel and help ourselves feel differently, we study Complexes. It’s all a circle.
Wait, did I clear the confusion or create one?
Maybe the American Psychological Association will help you – complexes as a group or system of related ideas or impulses that have a common emotional tone and exert a strong but usually unconscious influence on the individual’s attitudes and behavior.
There are many people in the world, and different people feel and think differently. And for those different feelings and thoughts, we have different Complexes. Easy? Phew, okay. Your experiences and mentality towards an incident in your life could lead you to find yourself having a complex about it.
Carl Jung has exemplified it in a simple, easy manner, here, ‘if one had a leg amputated when one was a child, this would influence one’s life in profound ways, even if he or she overcame the physical handicap. A person may have many thoughts, emotions, memories, feelings of inferiority, triumphs, bitterness, and determinations centering on that one aspect of his or her life. If these thoughts were troubling and pervasive, you might say he or she had a complex about the leg.’
Now that we have the basic idea about what complexes are and how there are so many of them, I’d like to tell you a story.
There was one dude, Icarus. Icarus, what a name. Icarus was a straight-A student, always pushing himself to do his best. Be the best. He’d also sign his emails with, ‘Best.’ He thought of himself to be the best. But that wasn’t enough for him, he wanted to push himself further to such an extent where he overworked himself. Tested his limitations at every turn. He wanted to see if he could be better than best.
He also had this friend, Cassandra. Lovely girl. However, Icarus seldom gave any regards to what Cassandra thought, her opinions, her views. Icarus seldom gave thought to what others had to say, actually. And in all honesty, no one really cared what Cassandra had to say, anyway. People often slid Cassandra’s opinions and thoughts in the bin.
Cassandra’s feelings were disregarded every other time. But there was this other friend they had, Medusa, who never spoke about how she felt. You could say she was made of stone, never let any emotion dance in her eyes. She preferred freezing her emotions out, staying shush about them.
Okay, storytime done.
Do these names sound familiar to you?
Icarus, Cassandra, Medusa…? If you guessed ‘Greek Mythology,’ yes! You’re right. From the vast mythology the Greeks have out for us, a few complexes hold hands with these famous names. Here, I’ll tell you how. Presenting to you, Psychology meets Greek Mythology, behold!
Icarus attempts to escape the prison in Crete with his father, Daedalus. Very James Bond-esque their escape was. Daedalus had crafted wings made of wax and feathers for his son and him to escape. However, warned Icarus not to fly too high because, hey, sun and wax are not a good combination. However, once he started to fly, Icarus forgot all about his father’s words and literally went ahead to touch the sky. Consequently, his wings melted and down went Icarus.
People with Icarus Complex are characterized as overly ambitious in such a way that it often leads them to face downfall. These are some reckless people with strong feelings of over-confidence.
We have Cassandra next. Cassandra, in her day, was a very beautiful girl. So beautiful that she managed to fascinate the God of music and poetry, the truth of prophecy, Apollo. He presented her with the gift of prophecy, wherein she’d be aware of the future events. However, Cassandra denied this, and Apollo should’ve seen this coming, haha! Anyway, Apollo placed a curse on her that ensured that she would not be believed. Basically, she would be aware of the future, but no one would believe her. Well played, Apollo.
Cassandra Complex leaves the person helpless because nobody believes you. Sometimes, you tend to share your innermost feelings and thoughts but are met with the slap of disbelief. People pay no heed to your troubles and trauma. This could also be the relationship we have with our human morale conscious, wherein we often know the consequences and effects of some action of ours. Yet, sometimes, we ignore that little voice in our head and do it anyway.
Lastly, Medusa. The one with the head full of snakes.
Medusa was a beautiful maiden once. Allow me to introduce you to Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and war. Life was good for Medusa; life was good for Athena. Until one day, Poseidon, God of Sea, seduced Medusa.
In. Athena’s. Temple.
This angered the Goddess, she then cursed Medusa with a head of snakes, an ugly green hue for her skin and the worst of all, whoever locked eyes with Medusa shall turn to stone.
Anyway, Medusa Complex is characterized as freezing out of emotions. Turning into a stone (kind of?) because you choose not to display your emotions.
That’s it. Behind every complex, there’s meaning, there’s understanding. It is important to know why you feel what you feel to help yourself understand and help yourself with your feelings!