Flinging accusations and criticisms often occurs at the beginning of couples counseling. Both parties want the opportunity to air their grievances and hurts. The back-and-forth exchange allows for deeper issues to emerge eventually. A pair of identical twin women in their thirties contacted me because both felt they could no longer stand to be in the presence of the other. One accused the other of being pretentious and selfish, while her sister countered that her sister’s thoughts and beliefs were […]
Enmeshment and Enabling: A Dangerous Duo
In many of my cases in which enmeshment has been the primary issue, the twin connection has intensified owing to insufficient parental involvement. However, recently I had the opportunity to speak to parents of twenty-eight-year-old identical twin men who admitted to an overinvolvement in their sons’ lives. More than likely, this ongoing entanglement magnified the twins’ enmeshment. The two men are the only children in the family. They are smart, handsome, and socially appropriate with other adults on a superficial […]
What’s in This for Me?
For a twin who has functioned as a lifelong caretaker, embracing the notion of “healthy selfishness” can take quite a while. Attempting to figure out what it means and what it feels like can involve many hours of therapy and soul-searching. A twin whose major identity has been predicated upon living for another finds it incredibly difficult to all of a sudden begin to embrace life for oneself on one’s own terms. If the caretaking behavior has been interrupted by […]
Twin Love: Too Late, Too Little, Too Much?
Twins who are surrogate parents for each other play a vital role in the absence of attuned adult caretakers. They ensure each other’s emotional stability for the majority of their formative years. Depending upon individual circumstances, the outcome can be positive or detrimental. I have worked with both male and female twin pairs who attribute their emotional survival to their twinship. This loving and precious connection can be tested when both twins acknowledge without rancor that this ongoing arrangement no […]
I Don’t Want to Be Your Twin Anymore: Part Two
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post entitled “I Don’t Want to Be Your Twin Anymore.” It was about my first meeting with 85-year-old identical twin women who sought help to figure out why their relationship had become so contentious and ugly. Couples therapy can work miracles when both participants long for change and harmony. In our second session together, both women demonstrated how beautifully transformations can happen when people have open hearts and open minds. In our first […]