I Need to Be Needed and I Resent My Twin’s Dependence

What a difficult dilemma it is to grow up with your twin in a childhood caretaking role that may result in emotional turmoil as you mature. Unfortunately, and yet predictably, a divergence occurs frequently as twins approach adolescence and young adulthood. It stands to reason because at this developmental juncture, outside relationships with friends and romantic partners become salient and singular. Ironically, the caretaking twin may find this conundrum more conflictual because she has put many of her own needs and desires on the back burner. Suddenly she finds herself replaced, feeling resentful and burdened by the responsibilities she has either knowingly or unknowingly assumed. Twins who find themselves in these circumstances need wise parents or a qualified therapist to help them untangle some of the confusion.

Oftentimes parents are puzzled by what appears to be a horrific rift in their twins’ connection. They are upset and worried that something is terribly amiss. They do not understand why or how such a lifelong close and loving attachment can be so quickly severed by a shift in the twin dynamics. Once parents can appreciate that twins need some separateness and space, they can relax and support each twin in her or his respective emotional journey. Twins yearn for their parents to understand these longings without becoming distraught or offended. Otherwise, twins carry tremendous guilt about wanting to be “selfish,” searching for independence and decisiveness.

Many older adult twins who have not managed to work though these struggles remain imprisoned in conflict, sadness, and hostility. Their twinship remains mired in older behavioral expectations and patterns that did not have the opportunity to be reworked to each twin’s satisfaction or approval. Their inability to recognize and accept their differences becomes a barrier to their connection, sometimes giving rise to irreconcilable circumstances.

Photo by Felipe Bustillo on Unsplash

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