Revenge or Redemption

When twins separate, the deserted sibling wants his brother to feel exactly as he does—miserable, angry, and annihilated. Perhaps this expectation evolves from the abandoned twin’s conviction that he and his brother think and feel exactly alike. However, his sibling has moved on and pledged allegiance to an outsider. The forsaken twin is lost, blindsided, and unprepared for the onslaught of unfamiliar feelings. The discovery of his brother’s desertion rocks his world.

In reality, the emotions of each twin are far from identical. The sibling wishing to separate feels guilty and sad that his actions are hurting his brother. Nonetheless, he continues on his individual journey to pursue an intimate relationship, leaving his twin bereft. The abandoned sibling has difficulty recognizing that his brother is genuinely upset about causing him pain while establishing another attachment.

Crises frequently offer the opportunity to confront longstanding habits that inhibit the emotional growth of both twins. Of course, the suffering sibling is initially unable to appreciate that a positive, healthy long-term outcome might arise from this discord. Hopefully, the falling out will enable each twin to develop these necessary skills: standing up for oneself, embracing rather than avoiding competition, learning how to manage setbacks and disappointments, discovering one’s own feelings and interests, and recognizing the dire repercussions of a self-less life. Twin pairs who wisely utilize therapy enhance the likelihood of developing a stronger, healthier bond.

Image courtesy of William Tung (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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