Category Archives: Independence

From Function to Freedom

One of the many joys of working with patients over the long term is the extraordinary process of discovering the unhealthy, unconscious behaviors that perpetuated destructive relationships throughout their lives. I have been treating a woman in her early thirties for about three years. She initially sought counseling for the tremendous shame and loss she felt after breaking up with her long-term boyfriend. In our ensuing years together, we spent considerable time discussing how she conceptualizes attachment. Due to her […]

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When Twins Break Up

Twins who do not get along with their sibling definitely feel a sense of loss. Although the rupture most likely begins with anger and resentment, the ultimate split results in a distressing emotional upheaval. While this estrangement is not tantamount to the death of one’s twin, the split can nonetheless intensify painful feelings of grief and regret. Acknowledging that one’s twin connection is no longer special or comforting is heartbreaking. In fact, some twins feel tremendous shame over the split. […]

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A Room of Her Own

A mother of six-year-old identical twins shared a lovely story that illustrates how natural it can be to attend to each twin’s needs when guilty feelings don’t get in the way. Mother explained that her daughter Sandy talked about wanting to have her own room. Two issues had to be managed. The first was that this sentiment hurt her other daughter, Anna. Anna told her mom that Sandy’s wish to be on her own hurt her feelings. The second issue […]

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Joined at the Hip

Understandably, some twins long for immediate intimacy because they have grown up with a constant companion. A friend of mine, an identical twin in his thirties, struggled in many relationships because of this issue. He tends to become too intimate with his boyfriends too quickly. He feels threatened and insecure if the connection is not hot and heavy from the get-go. When the relationship falls apart, he is overwhelmed by loss and grief. His big feelings, as we describe them, […]

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One Step at a Time

Many parents of twins confront the daunting challenge of helping their children develop individual friendships. This is not usually an issue with boy-girl twins, vut same-sex twin pairs frequently have difficulties in this arena. A mom of ten-year-old identical twin girls recently shared a story with me that illustrates this challenge. Both girls have been in separate classrooms since kindergarten. One of the girls, Kaye, has more self-confidence than her sister, Clarissa. She is outgoing, independent, and easygoing. She attends […]

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