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Revenge or Redemption

When twins separate, the deserted sibling wants his brother to feel exactly as he does—miserable, angry, and annihilated. Perhaps this expectation evolves from the abandoned twin’s conviction that he and his brother think and feel exactly alike. However, his sibling has moved on and pledged allegiance to an outsider. The forsaken twin is lost, blindsided, and unprepared for the onslaught of unfamiliar feelings. The discovery of his brother’s desertion rocks his world. In reality, the emotions of each twin are […]

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When One Twin Feels Victimized

Parents of twins face a challenging dilemma in attempting to establish equitability between twins who have strikingly different temperaments, needs, and personalities. At times, the twin who appears more laid-back, self-contained, and independent begins to resent his twin sibling who actively and aggressively demands considerable time and attention. Unhappy about the competitiveness with his twin, the “quieter” one devises methods to get recognition and validation. This child might experiment by exhibiting obstinate, stubborn, or controlling behavior. He may become a […]

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Twins: Helicopter Parents or Snowplow Sibs

Many young-adult twins live together out of necessity or by choice. Their situation appears to work well until a change in one twin’s circumstances disrupts the twin dynamic, causing disharmony or disparity. For instance, one begins to date seriously, one achieves significant financial success, or one finds his own social group that does not include his twin. A twenty-seven-year-old man whom I shall call Michael confides that he is at his wit’s end trying to care for his twin, Bruce. […]

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Hanging On or Letting Go

Over the last few months, many twin pairs consulted me for help with their relationship. As we delved into the presenting problems and underlying issues, we discovered that both siblings struggled to accept that their childhood expectations of equality did not match the reality of their divergent adult lives. For many reasons, one of the twins inevitably felt dismissed, unimportant, and left out because she no longer played an integral role in her sister’s life. As one woman told me, […]

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Shared Misery Is Not Empathy

Often, twins raised together are bound by shared trauma. Their dysfunctional families drove them to care emotionally and physically for each other and to depend solely upon one another for support and understanding. However, as they mature and their lives diverge, the widening gap between their individual experiences can lead to emotional rifts and resentment. For example, if one twin moves away or begins an intimate relationship, the other may feel that their bond is lost. While they may pay […]

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