The mind’s eye – Psychology Today – twin sisters – Brief Article

Beverly Engel

Do all sisters fight? Apparently not. Twins Pat Trimble and Jean Mitchell cooed like a pair of doves for seven decades. Jean died about five years ago, and Pat is now 77 yeas old. Pat remembers growing up with her sister like it was yesterday. Here, family therapist Beverly Engel, MFCT, examines a sister’s love.

Pat Trimble: When this photograph was taken, we were working at a bowling alley in Santa Monica, California. I worked the desk, and Jean was the bar-tender. We worked at the alley for 15 years. My best score was around 255. I was a professional bowler at one time. Jean bowled high too, but she didn’t bowl professionally. We weren’t competitive. In fact, we always wanted each other to bowl well.

My sister and I were mirror twins. Mirror twins look the same when they look in the mirror. We had moles on the opposite sides of our cheeks. We used to highlight our moles ’cause they’re a funny red color. They just don’t look good. So you have to darken them just a little.

When we were growing up together, we didn’t have any other brothers and sisters. Having always been twins, we wouldn’t know anything else. We were always together. Jean was my best friend. I never fought with her. I didn’t understand why my five children fought and argued all the time. If Jean and I had cake, she would want me to have the bigger piece, and I would want her to have it.

We never fought over boys, either. We had mix-ups, though. One boyfriend would bring a present for Jean, but he would give it to me. We dressed alike. We are wearing the same blouse in this photograph. We were always confusing people.

We both lived in the same town, except when she lived in Oklahoma and North Carolina. Her husband was stationed all over, so she went with him. But we were never separated. I was flying to see her or she was flying to see me; we saw each other a lot. Jean had three children, and I had five. Her son, since she died, calls me. I think he wants me to take her place.

We don’t have to be twins to realize that we are much more alike than we are different. Sometimes it takes looking in the mirror to realize that the very qualities we are critical of in others are the ones we possess–but deny having.

Pat and her twin sister Jean remind us that we don’t have to compete with one another. There really is plenty to go around. Why not wish the best for the other person–and give him or her the bigger piece of cake?

Therapist Beverly Engel, MFCT, is an award-winning author. An adaptation of her book The Power of Apology ran in the August 2002 issue of PT. Her latest book, The Emotionally Abusive Relationship: How to Stop Being Abused and How to Stop Abusing, will be published this year.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group

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