The Science Behind: Complexes (& their Dangers)

Psy·cho·log·i·cal Com·plex

/ˌsīkəˈläjək(ə)l/ˈkämˌpleks/

A concept that serves as a result of past experiences, where similar elements of feeling are organized. In summary, complexes are bundles of intense emotion that have a strong influence, although unconscious, in the way we condition ourselves.

Carl Jung: The Science Behind Complexes

Curiosity is inherent within human nature; delving into psychological complexes posits the understanding of psychoanalyst Carl Jung. His theories write that modern people are ignorant of what they really are, in many nuances.

The main patterns that were explored included the Anima/Animus and the Shadow;

— An Anima or Animus acts as a node of unconscious feelings in our psyche.

— A shadow acts as the exclusion of a psyche from our awareness.

Hence, the name ‘complex’ stays with Jung — as different conditions of the human function.

Destructive Sides Of Our Being

People are ambitious, and this leads to the discovery that not everything can be understood or attained. As a result, they either:

  • Deny this and shift their efforts elsewhere,
  • Or take them as natural occurrences and minimize their effects.

In essence, some can call their effort a ‘hustle’, while they are blissfully unaware that not everything goes to plan.

We often hear phrases such as: ‘I’m the only one that can help’ or ‘I feel incapable’, which are direct responses to one’s capacity to be perfect. Although striving to be better is inherent, striving to unreasonable goals of perfection will result in destructive behavior.

After all, even supermodels don’t always look like supermodels.

What does it look like?

People normally view traits such as assertion, helpfulness or confidence as positive characteristics, yet they could be masking a difference between a person that is good or a person that has no choice but to pretend to be. In simpler words, you believe that there is someone that is perfect to some extent, and that person is you. Harmful tendencies that point to this include the thought of thinking you’re the only capable person amongst those around you, helping for wrong or selfish reasoning, and constant sense of failure.

It’s understandable to want to be the best version of yourself. You might think of self-improvement, but it often backfires on how you treat those around you — the same people who you would potentially seek approval from.

Bringing Complexes Into Our Awareness

In Jung’s theory, complexes are directly related to experience, whether traumatic or healing; due to how we are not aware of their effects, they make our own egos (selves) directly associate with them. Someone’s psychological box of tools are normally complemented with a complex, which can develop under prejudice, fight or flight mechanisms or a change in thought pattern. A few psychological complexes can include:

  • Superiority/Inferiority Complex
  • Persecution Complex
  • Cassandra Complex
  • God Complex
  • Savior Complex

Although a complex helps avoid emotional or mental pain, the habits it seems to warrant are pathological!

Disorder’ Or ‘Defense Mechanism’?

To exit the stage, or to stay protective? The way our personality takes form will define how we overcome weaknesses, and complexes unfortunately act as the only reinforcement we have. Taking the aforementioned form stems from failures, whether it was a low score you’ve been dreading or moving on from a year-long relationship, and it causes an explanation for our psychological complexes.

Although jokingly tossed around, our psychological complexes are never justifiable. Don’t worry, there’s always a valid reason behind them — we just simply have an option to change how our psychological complex affects us.

Projection!

Fortunately, there is a way out! Identifying the correct projections of your psyche can help eliminate negativity from your complex, and to remove areas of your adaptive being that are destructive.

LITE has the following advice:

  • You only control yourself. Remember that other people’s perceptions and problems are only theirs.
  • Uncover through past trauma or experience, no matter how painful they are!
  • Create a clear definition as to what your psychological symptoms may bring; they do not automatically equate to a label.
  • Instead of creating ‘personas’ that will completely alter your psychological complex, you must prioritize looking for a greater sense of awareness.

Sources

“Carl Jung, the Shadow, and the Dangers of Psychological Projection.” Academy of Ideas, 1 Mar. 2018, https://youtu.be/nI-Ko-d29X4.

Types of Psychological Complexes. 8 Apr. 2021, http://docshare01.docshare.tips/files/18489/184890149.pdf.

“Complexes and Archetypes” Society of Analytical Psychology, https://www.thesap.org.uk/resources/articles-on-jungian-psychology-2/about-analysis-and-therapy/complexes-and-archetypes/.

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