Not Seeing Eye to Eye: The Eye of the Twinship Storm

Many of the adult twins that contact me are experiencing emotional pain due to a growing awareness that they are different from their twin. They struggle mightily with this dawning realization that they are not magically and nonverbally on the same page. Often, external circumstances trigger a series of events that make a twin pair’s differences obvious. For example, becoming a parent for the first time can be a tumultuous developmental adjustment for many people. When one twin discovers that her sibling is critical of her maternal decisions, she may be surprised and disturbed to realize that she and her twin do not think alike. Unfortunately, disagreements between twins can devolve over time into a disheartening inability to accept what each other is saying or doing. Twins often feel utter disbelief that their twin could be so harsh, unsupportive, and opinionated.

Naturally, these feelings highlight an inability to handle differences that eventually results in a nasty, vicious contest to prove who is right and who is wrong. While it is not uncommon for siblings to have very different parenting styles, this does not have to lead to a disruption in their connection. In the best of circumstances, they can agree to disagree without causing a major communication breakdown.

However, for some twin pairs, disagreements are not an option. Their arguments do not play out as two separate persons asserting their views and thoughts; rather, dissenting opinions seamlessly morph into feelings of rejection and wrongdoing. In severe circumstances, such discord may result in twins deciding not to talk to one another.

The sad truth is that neither one of them truly understands why their relationship deteriorated. Most likely, their contrasting styles of relating or living highlighted significant disparities that were not dyadically managed throughout the twins’ lives together. So, their differences disrupt the progression of a seemingly harmonious lifetime bond. Unbeknownst to them, the twinship inhibited them from experiencing opportunities to process and manage expectable conflict.

Nonetheless, seeking professional intervention from a knowledgeable psychotherapist can offer some guidance about why their twin connection broke down. Hopefully, the twin pair will eventually understand that disagreements do not have to end in dissolution if both parties can be receptive to the other’s state of mind and respect each other’s personal subjectivity.

Image courtesy of Andrea Fistetto (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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