Healing steps for a solitary twin
“Thanks to life that – no matter what - has always pushed us forward”.
This article describes the different stages that take place in the inner process of a solitary twin on the healing journey. It is a resume of what I’ve been able to observe in my own life as well as in the therapeutic process with my patients. This doesn’t mean that it has to be like this for all solitary twins. Nevertheless I think it can serve as a route map for solitary twins, giving some orientation in a journey that requires some time.
1. The first step is the recognising of yourself as being a twin, and of the significance of this fact in your own life. The great majority of twins don’t know that they are. They feel different but they don’t know why. A lot of feelings, experiences and habits, such as buying everything in pairs or the wish to die seem incongruent, out of context. So discovering that you are a twin may mark a turning point in your life. You begin to realise the relevance of this fact in your own life. The first relationship in life, even before the one with your mother, was with your own twin. Having lived in union with a twin and then having suffered this loss marks decisively a person’s life script. Old and constant feelings of yearning, loneliness, sadness, guilt and that something (someone) is missing have their origin there. Suddenly all that before were unconnected pieces in yourself begin to make sense, and a new way of understanding your own reality opens up.
2. From suspicion to certainty, that is the second step. Frequently you may have doubts in the early stages about being or not being a solitary twin, and if this fact has anything to do with your difficulties in life. Although this idea explains so many things, it sounds very rare and extraordinary at the same time. The general ignorance regarding the topic of the vanishing twin doesn’t help. Society still needs to be made aware of it. Usually there is no definitive proof, such as an early ultrasound scan, which could have confirmed it. However, the more you continue to investigate, the more things you discover. Only you know the truth about your own history, because it is kept within the cellular memory in your body. Indications like your own patterns of behaviour; feelings; memories; body sensations; dreams; drawings; tales and poems; some information about one’s own pregnancy and birth, etc. convince you more and more, until the point comes when you accept reality and no longer doubt it.
3. The next step is building a relationship with your twin. This is the realisation that there is someone very close and dear, whom you have yearned for a long time, and that it is possible to relate with your lost twin, sensing that tiny presence. Giving your twin a name is important, even having a cuddly toy in bed that represents the twin could be helpful. In this way you can enter into contact with your own “twin soul”, instead of looking for him or her in the external world, like you have done until now. For many solitary twins this relationship at first is lived with ambiguity between yearning and love, fear and pain. In this your two deepest and oldest memories show up: the intimate union and the devastating loss. Once fear is conquered and - breaking through these old memories of the pain caused by their separation - one surrenders to the loving encounter with your twin, then for first time ever the emptiness fills, that you have felt the entire life in one’s own soul. The person feels whole, complete. Finally the search comes to an end. Consequently, one strengthens during time this relationship with his twin, until the experience of feeling well being in contact with him remains steady. This sensation of love and union in the soul remains forever so.
4. Recognising your twin helps you to distinguish between your own feelings and those of your twin. Feelings like being invisible, not having a place, being ignored, wanting to disappear, being dead (“I should be dead”), they all have to be with the experience of the twin, not with your own life. In this way you can begin to unwind the mess in your emotional world, understanding yourself better at the same time. You also realise that certain beliefs about yourself and about life created at that early moment now need to be revised. For example, from “I’m guilty, I didn’t hold onto it.” The person arrives at: “I’m innocent, it wasn’t in my hands, I was very little.” This new understanding is also strengthened by the experience that your dead twin normally doesn’t have any reproach towards you as the living one; on the contrary he feels love for you.
5. Next step is unifying the external life and the internal life. A lot of solitary twins have lived their lives being absent in one way or another – for example by being workaholics; a spiritual search; constant changes of their working or living place; escaping from close relationships, or by a depression – unconsciously looking for their lost twin. At the bottom of your soul you may have felt that being with your twin means staying away from the world, and being in the midst of life means abandoning your twin. Now you can learn that your twin accompanies you everywhere, and being with others is not betraying your twin at all. There is no need to choose between your loved ones any more.
6. At some point you begin to realise that you are feeling well and your twin is fine too, but that there’s also a little, yet unborn child inside you, who suffered the death of your twin, still in a state of shock, loneliness and overwhelming sadness. It is important that one starts taking care, comforting and loving this little “I” inside until you feel good. A good complement could be an additional treatment with a healing method for trauma – in psychology we speak of post traumatic stress – like for example EMIR, to modify the imprinted memories, dissolve the emotional and energetic blockages in the body and regain your suppressed energy.
7. Finally you will discover that there are two aspects in the relationship with your twin, one “dead” aspect and one “living” and begin to distinguish between them. I want to explain a little further about the “living” aspect: when I’ll be 80, my parents will still be “living” inside me although they may have died decades ago. In this sense there’ll always be a living relationship with your twin. But as the surviving twin you also carry the engraved memory of living for some time with your twin’s dead body, until it disappeared, or until birth. It is very unlikely that a funeral took place for your twin or that a grave exists. It is of great help to say goodbye to your twin’s dead body through some kind of ritual or a symbolic burial. By this you can conclude your grieving for the fact that the other is not here in life, while maintaining your twin in your heart. It is a profound act of love and acceptance. At the same time the two paths can split up, which helps you to stay with your own life and feelings, rooting you even more in life.
A twin remains a twin throughout life and maintains some perceptions and attitudes from this determinant experience. Knowing this will enable you to understand yourself better, and to discriminate which piece of the puzzle belongs to where. In this particular destiny you do not only suffer the consequences, but also you will come to discover the richness of being a twin. Walking along your own healing path as a solitary twin, you will finally feel more and more complete and free to live your own life, and moreover to live it as happily as possible.
© Peter Bourquin
Barcelona, August 2008
A twin pregnancy of about 10 weeks. The lower sac contains a live fetus but the fetus in the upper sac has died. The sense of Something or Someone being there for a while but now gone missing, will remain somewhere in the back of the mind of the sole survivor - the womb twin survivor.
This project, started by Althea Hayton in 2003, is the first project of its kind to explore in depth the psychological impact on the sole survivor when a co-twin dies during pregnancy or close to birth.
It would seem impossible that such an early event could leave an impression - but we now know it is true. So if you have always had a sense of being a twin, you are probably right, and above all, you are not crazy!
The Womb Twin Survivors Project pages are now maintained and administered by Womb Twin.
We are unable to provide personal support if any of these issues apply to you
but if there are problems with this site, please contact us.
Everything you ever needed to know about womb twin survivors. Womb twin survivors are the sole survivors of a twin or multiple pregnancy. This group, 1 in 10 of the population, includes survivors of a stillbirth, miscarriage, abortion and a "vanishing twin" pregnancy. It is a story of a twin bond broken by death, leaving a lonely survivor. Follow the links on this site and learn all about it!