How Important Is It to Get Along With Your Twin?

Do special new year resolutions apply?

Posted Dec 22, 2020

Unrealistic expectations for immediate understanding from your twin and close others creates the propensity toward the problem that twins have getting along with each other and with other people. If you take the time to understand twin psychological development, the ups and downs of twin relationships will seem normal. And, really, no one twin or parent is to blame for twin arguments. Although when you hear about twins fighting, it is hard to believe that “no one” started the fight and impossible to imagine how the bitter awful magnificent disagreement might end. Truly, twins are very sensitive to miscommunications and “mean” attitudes that are hurtful within the context of their relationship. Miscommunication is a two-way street for twins. “Who can be more hurtful” is always a possible outcome of twin fighting.

Almost every adult twin who has talked to me has had, metaphorically speaking, a roller coaster twin relationship, from longed-for close harmony to downturns into disappointment and sometimes rage. Caring parents, children, and friends think and often say, “Why can't you get along?” or “It breaks my heart that you don't want to spend time together. Please be more forgiving of your brother or sister.” Some therapists suggest that a Hallmark card might help. Or better yet, some might say you are overreacting. All of the uninformed therapy insight falls on deaf ears to those twins who are in trouble because they are longing for twin closeness.

Twins themselves get very frustrated and exhausted from their longings for closeness or attempts at closeness that turn into anger and disappointment. I have heard so many times: “I just can't try anymore to get along with her. When will our fighting stop?” I cannot answer this question.

I suspect that if I could write a perfect greeting card for twins to mail to one another on the holidays I would make so much money that I could buy my longed-for retirement home on a serene lake in Switzerland. My holiday card would truly take into account the hope and unhappiness that twins share in their relationship troubles. Guilt and blame would be erased from the greeting card text. Instead, acknowledgment of twin love and twin pain would be the focus of my message.

As importantly, I would tell twins that they were not alone in feeling distressed at the holidays. No matter how deliberate and thought-out an estrangement between twins may be, Christmas and New Year’s are very difficult for twins who are estranged or just not getting along. I am including myself in this group of lonely estranged twins. I often wish that I did not have to ever again experience the pain of missing my twin sister.

Can we, as estranged twins, make New Year’s resolutions to be strong and proactive about the feelings of loss we have about our twin on the holidays and throughout the year? Of course, the answer is maybe or maybe not. Try but don't try too hard.

Mistakes to Avoid

I am going to suggest some mistakes to avoid when you are trying to reconnect with your twin.

  1. Do not ask your twin to apologize for what you believe that they did wrong. This will backfire for sure and start a new argument. I have made this mistake myself and regret that I tried to be the twin who was right.
  2. Do not pretend like nothing was really wrong at the time of the last fight, or suggest that you were both just overreacting. This is just a dishonest approach that creates more anger.
  3. Don’t find family members or friends who will take your side and prove your twin wrong. This action will intensify your twin problems. It never ever works.
  4. Don’t ask a trusted friend to initiate an intervention that will promote forgiveness. I have never seen this strategy work.

Strategies That May Help

What may help, but there are no guarantees:

  1. Share some memorable feelings with your twin that will promote closeness.
  2. Avoid hostility and resentment.
  3. Stay in the present no matter what. Rehashing the past history of unhappiness will just breed anger.
  4. Do not criticize your twin no matter how hard this may be for you.
  5. Work on being positive and supportive no matter what.
  6. Don't expect your twin to be supportive of you because you are being supportive of them.
  7. Avoid competitive issues that you know will provoke anger and jealousy.
  8. Keep your meeting short and to the point.

To read more, visit Estranged Twins.