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Ortmeyer, D. (1975). Comments and Criticisms. Contemp. Psychoanal., 11:511-512.

(1975). Contemporary Psychoanalysis, 11:511-512

Comments and Criticisms

Dale Ortmeyer, Ph.D.

To the Editors:

In a previous paper (Ortmeyer, 1970), I proposed the thesis that twins develop a psychological unity, a we-self, involving a complementarity of mutually shared aspects of personality.

It was recently suggested (Feiner, 1975), that we might consider three selves in identical twins, each twin developing an independent, idiosyncratic self plus their shared we-self. Such a thesis will be discussed here. The idea has been suggested before. Joseph and Tabor (1961) write of a "twinning reaction" involving twin unity. They also discuss the individuality of each twin as arising from identifications with different aspects of parents' personalities, and through a desire to separate so as to have the benefits of a single individual. They do not clarify, however, how individuality and unity blend and differentiate in twins.

One problem that twins have is that each twin may not sufficiently differentiate between the other's personality and his own. They may not develop a clear functional or cognitive distinction. One, therefore, does not develop his personality potential in certain areas where his twin has developed; yet his awareness functions as though he has done just that. A twin, e.g., may develop a verbal facility to express feelings, whereas the other twin may develop a nonverbal facility (e.g., facial or body expressivity).

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