may be identical, but they're not interchangeable; people need
to know this!
to distinguish between us when we look so alike?
identical twins, people not bothering to, or not being able to,
distinguish between them is likely to reinforce the twins' tendency
to be seen as a unit (the twins) rather than as two unique individuals.
up I always thought of myself as an individual (as well as a twin)
and it was strange to me that other people didn't see this as
because we looked so much alike and hung out together all the
were often called "the twins" and I guess at the time
I didn't really mind. Looking back though I suppose it really
was because people didn't see us as properly separate individuals.
our friends, who could easily tell us apart, sometimes referred
to us as the twins rather than using our names. I think some of
it is just people's laziness, not bothering to recognise and develop
separate relationships, but I think some of it is also because
twins have such a close bond that it sort of shuts other people
with "unit identification" during early development
mean that some twins find it hard to discover themselves as separate
individuals (rather than one of a pair).
my twin sister and I went our own seperate ways, it was hard to
deal with being apart. It was difficult to contemplate "me"
alone without my twin; she'd always been such an integral part
of me. Who was I if she wasn't around?
are "we" versus who am "I"?
big problems for identical twins (and fraternals, to a lesser
extent) is what is known as individuation. This relates to the
psychological issue of identifying as an individual.
most singletons this occurs around the age of 3-4 years as they
go through the "I" stage - learning to distinguish themselves
from other people and things around them. Identical twins often
experience this stage very differently from singletons. For twins
it's not an "I" stage but instead, a "we" stage, where twins learn
to distinguish only so far as "us" and "them" creating a unit
identical twins continue to relate to each other in this way into
young adulthood and find themselves identifying as "we" instead
of "I" even in their adult conversation.
eventual results of this unit style identification vary considerably
depending on the pair of twins involved and on the specific circumstances
of their upbringing. Twins who do develop a very strong "we" identification
often define themselves more through their differences from each
other rather than with the eye of an individual.
into our mid-twenties we often used the pronoun "we" in place of
"I" during conversations. I remember one time during a job interview
having to give the interviewer a quick explanation why I was always
saying we: "I'm actually an identical twin and we both worked
for these same employers together". I guess it finally wore
off though cause I find myself saying it a lot less these days.
identity issues often lead to problems for them during their teenage
years. Like singletons at this age, twins are also seeking to
define themselves, but for individual twins this often involves
trying to redefine themselves as "not the same as their twin".
cut my long hair into a much shorter style (to contrast with my
sister's hair which she kept long). Some twins develop an
unspoken agreement to split their roles or interests so
each one strongly identifies with "her own" interest.
identical twins cope with this teenage stage depends largely on
their previous upbringing and the circumstances they find themselves
in at this potentially difficult time. It can prove helpful if
identical twins have a pre-established separate circle of friends,
so that they are known as individuals within their peer groups
rather than only as a twin pair.
always ask "What's it like being a twin?" but I don't
know what it's like to not be a twin. Being a twin is just
part of who I am. It's hard to explain to non-twins.
from: Identical Strangers: A memoir of twins separated and
115) - by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein
researchers make the claim that twins raised apart are more alike
than twins raised together, who make an effort to differentiate
themselves from each other. If Paula and I had been raised together,
perhaps, wanting to accentuate our differences, only one of us
would have studied film. Only one of us could have claimed our
true nature. But there is no possibility of testing this hypothesis."
twins are not clones of one another; each one is unique in spite
of their similar external appearance!
twin and I always received almost identical marks in all our subjects
at school - it was lucky because it meant we didn't have to put
up with being labeled the smart one versus the dumb one (like some
twin pairs do). We both strove to keep our grade as high as possible,
which was usually within a mark or two of each other. Unfortunately,
when you look and achieve so much alike it's too easy for everyone
to think you are actually "the same" (like a clone) rather
than just very similar in your looks and talents.
always thought that I looked very different from my twin sister,
even though we're identical twins. Often other people can't tell
the difference though, which means we have to make obvious ways
for them to be able to tell us apart or else they're always mixing
us up and they don't even think it matters!
send us your own story to add
often have strong ambivalent feelings towards one another. They
may express that they love each other beyond anyone else in the
world and yet they also feel the constriction of their intensely
close twin relationship.
twin is often close to their 'ideal' companion, someone who always
understands them and knows how they feel. Yet, having someone
who knows them so well can be stifling, making them feel smothered.
want to be free from the restrictions and burdens the twin relationship
places on them and yet they don't want to be apart or estranged
from their twin.
opposing ideas and feelings can be very distressing and confusing.
might be fun to fool people by switching places (and they sure love
using this as a plot line in trashy novels) but in reality twins
can't be simply switched for each other. For a short time you can
act like each other and maybe even fool people close to you, but
ultimately even identical twins are different.
I was 14 years old my identical twin and I spent a year apart.
She was popular and because she already had a boyfriend another
boy admirer decided he 'loved me instead' even though he'd never
twin told me about this like it was some type of compliment, but
that's not what I thought. I was annoyed not flattered.
me it was just another example how people don't understand what
it's like to grow up as an identical twin. They tend to make twin
troubles even worse because of their ignorance. Being a teenager
is hard enough without being an identical twin too.