Tag Archives: conflict

Nurturing Differentiation Mitigates Hurtful Rivalry

An acquaintance of mine who is the mother of identical ten-year-old daughters shared a lovely story about her girls’ first sleepover. Since her daughters were previously reluctant to do sleepovers, the mom was pleasantly surprised when both girls expressed a keen desire to sleep at their friend’s house. The mother mirrored their enthusiasm about embarking on a new experience. Nevertheless, she was well aware that one of the girls might not make it through the night. When bedtime came, the […]

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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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Fighting to the Bitter End

A mother recently called me to ask if I could help her adult identical twin daughters learn how to communicate with one another. Both women, who are in their thirties and have lived together in their family home since nineteen years of age, have endured a myriad of destructive, quixotic relationships that ended in turmoil and despair. In most cases, the sisters blame one another for the relationship’s demise. Each accuses the other of driving their respective boyfriends away by […]

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Enemy or Frenemy?

I asked an older adolescent twin patient the other day to tell me some of her thoughts about competition. She related the following: Oh, it’s horrible. The only good competition is the Olympics—those athletes train and train to be able to compete for one of the highest available honors. When I played softball in high school I had to think that the girls we played against were all bad; it’s silly to think about this now, but I had no […]

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Don’t Kid Yourself—Are You Loyal, or Overaccommodating?

A few months ago I received an e-mail from a gentleman asking for marital advice. He had been married for four years to his wife, an identical twin. He described that his wife grew up in a terribly dysfunctional alcoholic family. She and her sister survived the ordeal by relying on one another. While I am not privy to many details, I have imagined or assumed what must have transpired to give rise to the marital difficulties. The husband described […]

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