“Make that noise again,” I quietly beseeched my sister while I lay in bed, eyes closed, just beginning to wake one morning long, long ago.
“What noise?” she asked from the floor beside our bed.
“The noise you were making yesterday,” I answered, expecting her to know exactly which memory I was trying to recreate from the day before just because I was thinking it.
She adjusted her play and asked, “Like this?”
“No, that’s too loud. It was softer,” I answered, growing slightly annoyed that her inability to recreate what I was remembering was beginning to wake me from the comfy fog I didn’t want to exit.
She adjusted again and asked again, “Like this?”
“No, that’s not it either. Just do what you were doing yesterday.”
“I don’t remember what I was doing yesterday.”
“Oh never mind,” by now I was fully awake, so I decided to just get out of bed and join my twin sister in her quiet play.
The noise I was asking my twin sister to recreate was simply the noise of her existence. I couldn’t make sense of this at the young age I was at the time, about 3 I guess. But looking back I believe I remember that morning so clearly because it was one of my first memories of the comfort of my sister’s very existence. I was aware of it in my faintest state of awakening in the still quietness of the morning.
Being an identical twin is definitely mysterious. As much as our closeness was a blessing, it was not always beneficial. Neither me, my twin, nor my parents really knew what to do with this phenomenon as we struggled to grow up. The struggle was itself camouflaged by our synchronicity. This was the trouble, we were too much of the time functioning as one, inside the other’s world, instead of two separate individuals who got along fabulously. And what parent would complain or wonder about siblings who got along?
My dad was the only person equipped to understand the complexity of being a twin because he was a twin also! But since he didn’t have it figured out either, even as an adult, he wasn’t able to teach us how to be our own uniquely separate individuals. What I did learn from my dad and his twin was how to compete. From my perspective, everything they did looked like a battle of who was stronger, smarter, and just plain better than the other. I love them both dearly, but I chuckle every time I remember their exchanges. Their most obvious competition was cars. They both had garages full of cars, trucks, and other vehicles of all sizes, makes, models, decades and uses, and one could never keep up with the other.
I saw this tree at our youth camp last week, and it was like looking into a mirror, strange I know. The tree instantly registered as an image of my family’s life-long twin dilemma. I wondered to myself, “Is this one tree that just split at the base, or is this two trees that grew extremely close together?” Either way, you can see the intertwining of the roots at the base and how separating the two halves without interfering with either side would be impossible. For those who don’t know the science of twins, identical twins form from one egg that splits. Fraternal twins form from two separate eggs. This tree looked to me like an identical twin tree that split from one seed.
I’ve learned in the past few years that this dilemma is not unique to twins. Anyone who has struggled with co-dependency knows what I’m talking about. Non-twins usually form co-dependent struggles out of trauma, whereas twins, I believe, are born inherently co-dependent. There are surely pluses and minuses of being an identical twin, as there are pros and cons of co-dependency.
Having someone to rely on during a traumatic period of life is wonderful, but when the trauma is passed and this dependency remains, trouble looms. Even worse, letting yourself either become more needed or more supported than the other person is naturally designed to sustain over the course of time and will ultimately become damaging to the entire relationship.
- Are you a twin struggling with these issues?
- Are you a parent of twins wondering what to do with this situation, or hoping to prevent such dependence or controlling by either twin?
- Or maybe you’re not a twin, but you’re realizing that you may be in a relationship that is becoming unhealthy because of co-dependency.
Come back for Part 2 of this blog where I will share my journey of becoming whole from half…