Category Archives: Psychology

Evolving from We to Me

In my writing and presentations, I frequently mention the difficulty twins have with becoming self-ish—that is, learning how to discern their individual feelings, needs, and desires. Understandably, this is a difficult task because they grew up in a twin bubble. The stability of the twin bond requires mutual accommodation to survive conflict and differences. This equilibrium endures in a largely unconscious manner. As a result, multiples who are invested in discovering their individuality struggle to disentangle themselves from the twin […]

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Loving a Twin: An Emotional Roller Coaster

I received an email from a distraught young woman describing how her boyfriend of five years struggles with divided loyalties between her and his identical twin brother. The young woman says that her boyfriend’s twin frequently requires rescuing due to chronic problems with drug use and unemployment. Her boyfriend’s family has always been insistent that he take care of his less fortunate twin. The family resents their son being in a committed relationship because it derails his commitment to his […]

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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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Pedagogy or Pathology?

Following my radio interview on KQED in San Francisco, a listener wrote an email chastising me for propagating unnecessarily negative views about twin development. Moreover, my colleague Dr. Nancy Segal also expressed a similar viewpoint by stating that statistics show that twins are no more at risk for mental health issues than anyone else in the population. She, too, seemed uncomfortable about my desire to highlight adult twin challenges. While I am well aware that most twin relationships are healthy […]

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Three Traumatized Identical Strangers

The documentary Three Identical Strangers reveals the story behind the uncanny, mystical reunion of nineteen-year-old identical male triplets who had been separated at birth. The details of the boys’ adoptions are horrific—the boys and their adoptive parents were deliberately uninformed about the boys’ siblings, and the adoption agency collusively conducted a secret experiment on nature versus nurture variables using adoptees. Dr. Peter Neubauer, a prominent child psychoanalyst at the time and the head of this experiment, was a proponent of […]

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