Trust Your Instincts, Not Your Twin

Many twins have limited access to their inner feelings because of the

expectable emotional disruption triggered by growing up alongside a same-age sibling. Until they experience a developmental change or environmental shift, they do not realize that they have missed out on opportunities to acknowledge their gut feelings. Many twins maintain compatibility in the twinship by accommodating their sibling’s needs. So, if one twin has grown up believing that emotional equilibrium is best managed by ceding control to the other, one can deduce that the compromising twin feels stymied in connecting with his inner self.

If one twin commandeers the twinship, the other might struggle to have faith in himself as well as his own sense of reality. Trusting his instincts helps build self-confidence, assertiveness, the capacity to believe in himself and carry out his convictions, and a resilience that can cushion inevitable failures and rejection. Sadly, an overly compliant twin who stays on high alert to keep his sibling content will not experience these feelings. This secondary position may contribute to his feeling devalued and unimportant.

A creative young man in his midtwenties, whom I will call Barney, has recently recognized that his twin habitually demanded—both nonverbally and verbally—that Barney conform to his brother’s expectations. Barney did not resent this arrangement because his twin bond was integral to his sense of self. He did not realize how much his compliance contributed to his enormous self-doubts, oversensitivity, and lack of self-esteem. Now that he appreciates the consequences of this situation, he is working hard to discover his intrinsic voice and trust his instincts. He feels liberated from the limitations that he previously placed on himself and delights in experimenting with his newfound talents to expand his creativity.

Image courtesy of Portrait Specialist (CC BY 2.0)

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