Twin Life: Individual Identities

Comparing children, twins, or siblings with one another creates a spirit of competitiveness. The constant comparison among twins can be a constant headache, “The comparison, I guess I enjoyed when we went to different High schools. We never were compared on academics!”, Jean a fraternal twin.

Diana, a fraternal twin, got tired too early, “I got tired of comparisons when I was still a toddler, but at the time I had no idea what that meant. Recently, however, my sister twin and I just make fun of others who try to compare against us. We’ve realized that we are two different individuals with different tastes and viewpoints in life and nothing anyone can say changes that. Comparisons build walls; we want to build bridges instead.”

The pressure to be uniform as twins, to always be alike; is a ticking time bomb. The chase of independent personalities can be tasking. We asked a set of twins if they formed their own identities, “I did and so did he. Our dreams and ambitions were parallel as kids but later changed to be a bit similar. For instance, my twin brother, went to pursue Applied Physics and Mathematics at the university while I pursued Journalism. Funny thing is that we now complement each other a lot in our current careers. I handle Communication and marketing roles while he works in the E-commerce industry as a Digital Media Advertising expert…..this kind of, proves we are twins,” Jean shared.

Diana and Mwendwa, fraternal twin sisters had different mindsets. This helped to create independent identities that still built their bond as twins, “Unlike identical twins who identify with themselves so well they become literal mirror images of each other, my twin and I realized very early that we are two individual persons with our own lives to live. Yes, we share a lot of things and have others in common, but at the root of it all, God designed us to express our unique differences and individual characteristics that bring Him glory and allows us to grow as wonderful human beings.”

Nancy L Segal a psychologist shared, “Most twins have two identities: The one they share with their twin brother or sister as part of a pair, and the one that they enjoy all on their own. Personal and pair identity as a twin is, however, very different depending on the twin type (identical, same-sex fraternal, or opposite-sex fraternal).”

The psychologist further shared same-sex fraternal twins have an easier time forming personal identities. Their differences in appearance lead to less comparison as compared to identical twins. Hence, developing an identity apart from the twin is not as difficult. However, the case is different for “Opposite-sex twins because they are in a unique position. Girls typically mature ahead of boys—socially, physically, and intellectually. They tend to “mother” their brothers, who may enjoy the attention and protection. However, the boys from these pairs need time away to develop their personalities and interests; parents need to be mindful of what transpires between male-female twins. Of course, these twins will never be confused with one another because of their different sex and their interests are likely to diverge; developing independent identities should not be difficult, as long as the boy is given some time on his own. Not all opposite-sex twins have this experience, but many do,” The Psychologist from Psychology Today, shared.


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