Date: Friday July 20, 2012
Posted in: Uncategorized

Although the twin pairs showcased on the TLC program Twintervention appear extreme and dysfunctional, there are some insightful moments amid the sensationalism. In reality, many twin pairs DO have tremendous difficulty separating from one another and so must seek out a significant other who can tolerate divided loyalties.

Both married sisters on the show worry excessively about their twin and neither can bear that her sister is alone and on her own. These circumstances depict a realistic portrayal of co-dependent behavior having nothing to do with drugs, alcohol, sex, or gambling. In essence it is a TWIN ADDICTION. The married twins need to be needed and their sisters need to be dependent, cared for, and infantilized. As one of the husband’s remarked, “you can’t be possessive if you are married to a twin.”

I imagine that many parents of young twins are watching this show and mostly likely dismissing its message because the content appears so extreme and exaggerated. However, parents of young twins take heed! This is an important wake up call and reminder not to fall into the grasp of the “twin mystique”. While the twin connection is palpable and important, the twin parent connection is the most vital. As I have written ad nauseum, many parents are fearful about intruding upon the twin bond and therefore do not play an active parenting role with their twins.

Believe me, had these twin pairs been raised by parents who understood the importance of alone time and developmentally appropriate separate experiences, I doubt these twins would be happily (or unhappily) exploiting their dysfunctional relationship for thousands to witness. Their twin behavior is not cute, adorable, or precious. This is twinship gone amok.

A healthy twinship is a blessing and a gift. It requires terrific sacrifice and emotional growth on the part of the parents and the twins themselves. Adult twins must learn how to cope with life as “singletons” after so many years of feeling special and connected to an intimate other. This is accomplished gradually and naturally when parents understand early on what their twins need to become resilient, individuated, and self-confident without their twin.

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I know for my mother it was heart wrenching to split up my sister and I but she did what she thought was best for us. In fifth grade we separated and went to different elementary schools. Don’t get me wrong, the moment school was out I would eagerly await my sisters bus to arrive so that we could share our daily experiences. But the days were long and hard without my sister. In hindsight, it allowed for us to venture out on our own. We became individuals instead of the twins. We learned how to make friends on our own. We were only apart for three years until rejoining in the seventh grade. Those years prepared us for the future. Thanks to my mom for seeing us as two instead of one. Now in our forties we only live 5 miles from each other and still talk every day. But we also have our own families, interests and lives.

Comment by Antoniou, A on November 24th, 2012 @ 9:13 am

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