Self-Identity in the shadow of a sibling


Having a twin can be like having a best friend for life, or worst enemy.

By: Isabella Wnek, Reporter

Out of all the experiences and journeys we take in life, we cross the path of individuals with siblings. Throughout childhood, and even into adolescence, siblings spend more time with each other than with any other person. Having a sibling can completely transform one’s identity. The influence of a brother or sister can dictate one’s habits, behaviors, personality traits, and interests. Being a sibling comes with two sides. On the good end, one could develop good teamwork, provide moral support, give good advice, and collect inspiration. But on the other end, being a sibling could cultivate a bad family reputation, and create competition and rivalry. With both sides in mind, self-identity plays a big role in the life of siblings.

My Experience

As a sister and a twin, I can say that finding self-identity in the shadow of a sibling can be considered difficult. Being a minute older than my twin sister shaped our relationship from the start. Though we are considered exactly the same age, the sixty seconds separating us has shaped my personality of playing a reliable, leading role for my sister. This made be very responsible but also bossy, considering that I would always preach and treat my twin as a student not as a sibling. She on the other hand, as the younger sibling became very caring and creative but also a little attention-seeking due to my large personality presence in our family.

When it comes to school or any social engagement where we are together, two identities were often merged into one named “the twins.” Because we looked alike, we were often assumed to have the same interests, behaviors and character traits. This was something fellow students and teachers would sometimes admire. We would often finish each others sentences, have identical opinions and the same responses. Often being in the same class, the teacher would call us the same name, which amused the students. People compared us to find differences, often which made us uncomfortable and insecure. Our desire for individuality triggered rivalry between us. This comparison made us despise each other, cultivating illogical actions to “be better” at whatever we were compared in. Finally, after many pointless arguments we decided to face the real problem instead of each other. But what we considered as a curse, turned into a blessing.

As twins, we learned to use our connection to our advantage, and not against us.

My Advice

Being a sibling ensures some sort of competitive aspects to life, that many individuals struggle with. Thankfully, my sister and I could share our experiences to heal sibling relationships and turn them into powerful bonds. When it comes to improving a long-run relationship, we took it one step at a time. Spending time apart allowed us to take a break from our constant critiquing of one another. We began to take up different interests and branch out to different friends.  Our connection became something positive, making it help us instead of hurting our individual growth. This allowed us to finally enjoy one another’s presence and have fun again! Being a sibling can mean having a best friend for life. We would need to see each other anyway, so why argue?