Why Do Twins Feel Entitled to Possess Each Other?

Some twins track each other, both physically and emotionally. One set of twins put tracking devices on their cell phones in high school so that they would be certain of the other’s whereabouts. Other twins track their twin emotionally by demanding detailed accounts of their activities, friendships, and sometimes even food intake. This particular dynamic becomes increasingly complicated and cumbersome after one or both twins begin to develop intimate relationships outside of the twinship.

When outside attachments threaten to relegate one twin to a secondary position, the inclination or need to possess the other becomes even more dire. Secrets, lies, and mistrust become important pieces of the narrative. Differences and divided loyalties severely destabilize the twinship. At this juncture, ruptures in the twinship are likely to occur. If they cannot be repaired, estrangement creeps in and becomes the order of the day.

Feeling entitled to possess one’s twin results from many factors. First, the biological experience prenatally and postnatally seems to engender an indelible perception that twins are intrinsically and inexplicably attached—a powerful beginning to their birth story. Moreover, since many twins—both fraternal and identical—are treated as a unit for so much of their lives, their dyadic presence gives the impression that they belong exclusively to the other. If twins grow up without adequate parental attachments, on a psychological level they feel as if belong to each other. They become each other’s surrogate parent and their most important attachment figure.

Possessing one’s twin keeps many dangerous threats at bay—specifically competition, betrayal, and the fractured fantasied notion that each twin will be treated fairly and equally. This building block of emotional stability is easily toppled as twins attempt to forge their own careers, friendships, and living arrangements. To possess means to own another—a very unhappy and unhealthy conundrum for those seeking a refuge from sameness and identicality.


Photo by cottonbro studio, Pexels

1 Comment

  1. Lee

    Very good article

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