Till Death Do Us Part

Twins are born paired with a partner they did not choose. From time to time, twins struggle to find a healthy balance between their connection and their longing to be separate. Inside Edition’s recent story about a twenty-seven-year-old female identical twin who fatally stabbed her sister stunned many people. While it is not uncommon to read about siblings abusing one another, the public seems stupefied that a twin would harm her “soulmate.”

This horrific event provides a significant insight into twin dynamics and demonstrates the importance of understanding why growing up as a twin can be challenging. While the details of the killing have not been released to the public, the women allegedly began physically assaulting one another while competing for the attentions of a man. Both twins had been drinking—we can hypothesize that this escalated the violence.

I understand this tragic event as a crime of passion, as defined by LegalDictionary.net:

A crime of passion is a crime committed by someone so quickly that he doesn’t have time to “cool down” and stop himself. In other words, a crime of passion is exactly that: it is a crime that someone commits while in a passionate state. That passion can either be out of heartbreak, like if someone breaks up with another person, or out of rage. . . .

. . . When emotions take over, individuals may act on impulse and ignore the rational voice in their head that is telling them what they are about to do is wrong. Because individuals tend to feel the strongest emotions for their friends and loved ones, this is why crimes of passion examples are so common.

There are several reasons why crimes of passion are prevalent, as being rooted in emotions, like fear, revenge, anger, and jealousy. People may not even realize they are feeling these things consciously when they commit the crime.

I imagine these two sisters loved one another fiercely; yet, at the same time, perhaps they were sick and tired of a lifetime of being compared and competitive. They likely had little opportunity to reflect on these ambivalent feelings, which were ultimately acted out catastrophically rather than contained and managed. While examples of twins killing each other are extreme and rare, it does typify the animosity that can manifest in some twin relationships.

I emphasize that my speculations about this event are purely hypothetical. Yet, through my work with other twin pairs who successfully worked through twinship-related developmental struggles, I have cultivated a deep understanding of the depression, self-destructive behaviors, and irreparable rifts that can result from unhealthy twin connections.

Image courtesy of Wimena Kane (CC BY 2.0)

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