C.G. Jung, On the Nature of Complexes
So far, I have purposely avoided discussing the nature of complexes, on the tacit assumption that their nature is generally known.
The word “complex” in its psychological sense has passed into common speech both in German and in English.
Everyone knows nowadays that people”have complexes.” What is not so well known, though far more important theoretically, is that complexes can have us.
The existence of complexes throws serious doubt on the naïve assumption of the unity of consciousness, which is equated with “psyche,” and on the supremacy of the will.
Every constellation of a complex postulates a disturbed state of consciousness.
The unity of consciousness is disrupted and the intentions of the will are impeded or made impossible.
Even memory is often noticeably affected, as we have seen. The complex must therefore be a psychic factor which, in terms of energy, possesses a value that sometimes exceeds that of our conscious intentions, otherwise such disruptions of the conscious order would not be possible at all.
And in fact, an active complex puts us momentarily under a state of duress, of compulsive thinking and acting, for which under certain conditions the only appropriate term would be the judicial concept of diminished responsibility.
from “The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche”; in Collected Works Volume 8, Paragraph 201 .