Category Archives: Conflict

Nurturing Differentiation Mitigates Hurtful Rivalry

An acquaintance of mine who is the mother of identical ten-year-old daughters shared a lovely story about her girls’ first sleepover. Since her daughters were previously reluctant to do sleepovers, the mom was pleasantly surprised when both girls expressed a keen desire to sleep at their friend’s house. The mother mirrored their enthusiasm about embarking on a new experience. Nevertheless, she was well aware that one of the girls might not make it through the night. When bedtime came, the […]

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Fighting to the Bitter End

A mother recently called me to ask if I could help her adult identical twin daughters learn how to communicate with one another. Both women, who are in their thirties and have lived together in their family home since nineteen years of age, have endured a myriad of destructive, quixotic relationships that ended in turmoil and despair. In most cases, the sisters blame one another for the relationship’s demise. Each accuses the other of driving their respective boyfriends away by […]

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Enemy or Frenemy?

I asked an older adolescent twin patient the other day to tell me some of her thoughts about competition. She related the following: Oh, it’s horrible. The only good competition is the Olympics—those athletes train and train to be able to compete for one of the highest available honors. When I played softball in high school I had to think that the girls we played against were all bad; it’s silly to think about this now, but I had no […]

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Twin Lethargy—Not Twin Synergy

When I was in fifth grade, we had to complete a class project that involved choosing a proverb that had special meaning and artfully making it into a parchment manuscript. I have always remembered the maxim I chose: “The easy way is not always the best way.” While I had little realization of the unconscious meaning of that idea in my ten-year-old thought process, I can make meaning of my choice in hindsight. While this is a subjective interpretation on […]

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Twins and Uncompromising Compromise

Recently I have been thinking about the issue of twins and compromise because the subject has come up in a few of my patient sessions. Certainly I have learned about my own compromising behaviors as a twin and as an adult in my personal therapy. I recognized that my overriding inclination to compromise too quickly was rooted in my twinship, as well as in the dynamics of my family of origin. Growing up, my twin sister and I attempted to […]

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