Tuesday, September 06, 2011

MZ womb twin survivors - finding a kindred spirit

The MZ womb twin survivor always seeks out a kindred spirit - someone who is similar is some way, either in looks, or behaviour or interests or beliefs.

For example, Eva loves people, and is always inviting people to her house to feed them sumptuous meals, but she is always somehow in the back ground of the group, serving the food. However  if she finds someone who agrees with her opinions or who likes to do what she likes to do, she becomes excessively excited and awakens  in a way, and feels very happy and contented.

IT is not unusual for young MZ survivors to talk about " another me" and be interested in their own mirror image, for here at last is the missing identical twin!

At school there is the Best Friend, who is always there, and you do  everything together.  Julie, who has  severe cerebral palsy ( a condition associated with the loss of an MZ twin before birth)  and  spent her youth at a special school for the disabled,  asked only for a twin pram for her dolls and  when she was sent away to school made an instant and lifelong bond with another girl, and insisted in being next to her at all times. The other girl had  great difficulty communicating but Julie always knew what she wanted.

And as adults, the idea of a substitute twin is a helpful and comforting one - here is someone who is exactly like you, and who understands you without you having to say anything.  

The need to find a substitute twin and not feel alone any more can take the form of hoarding possessions, addictions of various kinds, over-dependent relationships, keeping a daily diary and living a double life, as if one was two people.

The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde has passed into folk lore and psychological literature.

The young Robert Louis Stevenson suffered from repeated nightmares of living a double life, in which by day he worked as a respectable doctor and by night he roamed the back alleys of old-town Edinburgh. In three days of furious writing, he produced a story about his dream existence. His wife found it too gruesome, so he promptly burned the manuscript. In another three days, he wrote it again. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was published as a "shilling shocker" in 1886, and became an instant classic. In the first six months, 40,000 copies were sold. Queen Victoria read it. Sermons and editorials were written about it. When Stevenson and his family visited America a year later, they were mobbed by reporters at the dock in New York City. Compulsively readable from its opening pages, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is still one of the best tales ever written about the divided self.
Do we have another womb twin survivor here, I wonder? Was Robert Louis Stevenson a womb twin survivor, who dreamed of his twin, his shadow, and wrote about it ?

As the womb twin work begins, and the idea of the lost twin being a real and separate person is brought into the forefront for consideration, the need for a substitute twin becomes acute; the degree of dependency becomes clearer.

When it is time to let go, and allow the lost twin to be dead and gone, there is great resistance to any kind of letting go. The resistance can last for years in one form or another until it is fully understood. I know- it was the same for me, but at last my little identical twin, who never developed very far, is now at rest and I am free to be myself completely. That inability to be fully alive will be the subject of tomorrow's blog.


  1. Dear Althea,

    I regognised myself in your description about identicals but I believe I am a fraternal...
    when will you write about fraternals and their specialities?
    I am looking forward to it.

    very curious

  2. Just a few more posts about MZ womb twin survivors, and then we move on to Dizygotic womb twin survivors, and finally the multiples!

  3. I completely relate to this. All through school I'd end up becoming really good friends with just one boy. I had other friends too, but this closeness was with this one particular person. I'd often pick up their mannerisms (as people do), but I'd do it consciously too. I've recently realised that I continued to do this in more subtle ways since school too. I've no major desire to be unique. It's as if part of me knows I was supposed to be part of a pair.

  4. Isn't it amazing how deep these feelings go? And there are so many so-called "experts" out there who claim that prenatal events cannot possibly have a life-long psychological effect like this....

  5. Althea- although I genuinely feel the way I do, I guess whether it's proof of anything is a matter of opinion. Though I suppose what counts as proof is also subjective. I've nothing to suggest I didn't have a twin. But then, is it up to us to 'prove' we did? I could go on, but won't :)

  6. Feel free to go on!!

    As for me, I have been collecting details of these subjective experiences for five years now, and have 1200 completed questionnaires. It is possible to analyse statistics of subjective experience, and that is what we are doing. The results prove that womb twin survivors share many of the same kinds of subjective experience, regardless of gender, family, nation, creed or anything else. Furthermore, there is a distict difference in individual experience, according to the zygosity of the twin and the nuber of embryos present. That is scientific enough for me, and I will be presenting the results at our international conference in England on November 19th. Come and join us and be amazed!