We are complex beings and we all have complexes. If we didn’t we would be very boring people. Complexes are a source of energy and conflict, of creativity and discouragement.
Often they are thought of in negative terms, because we get caught in the negative expression of them.
We joke about our complexes, but when a person is caught in a complex it can be very painful and discouraging. A complex is a term used to describe a cluster of emotions within a person that are bound together around a common theme or focus of energy that can be ignited by a word, a look, a situation and more. When it happens a person can react in a way that is out of character for him or her. The person might freeze up, or act like a two-year-old, or become very sad or angry without knowing why.
Some of the emotions around the complex can be very old, meaning they began to gather in the person when she/he was a child and are built up and reinforced over the years of life.
A man may have an authority complex. In growing up, his father was very stick gave orders about most every aspect of life. As an adult, the man reacts vehemently within himself when his boss, a woman, asks him to correct a small item on a report. He may not outwardly show his reaction, but he is burning with rage inside. The complex was tapped into by his boss, but in reality has nothing to do with her. If the complex really took over, the man would do or say something he would deeply regret later.
Dealing with Our Complexes
It is very hard when a complex is awakened. An event, a word, a film - anything can tap into a powerhouse of emotion that surprises us, perhaps even embarrasses us and we have no idea what is going on, except it feels terrible. When we begin to become more conscious of a complex and how it gets activated, we learn a great deal about ourselves and the complex becomes less powerful. The key is coming to a deeper understanding of what the complex and its energy is all about. Eventually the energy of it may even take a positive form. Our dreams often tell us about our complexes and are a helpful source to working with our complexes.
Coming to Therapy
When someone comes to therapy, often it is a complex that is the source of suffering and also a source of healing. We need not be afraid of our complexes. Carl Jung felt complexes are key in a deeper understanding of the unconscious life.
Common complexes include the mother complex, the father complex, power complex, inferiority complex, a money complex and many more. At the core of each complex is an archetype which reaches into the realm of the collective unconscious which connects us with all humanity.
Please contact me if you are interested in making an appointment to begin the exploration of how a complex might be holding you back in life.