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Lost Twin Syndrome: An Invisible Wound

Lost Twin Syndrome
Family and Systemic Constellation by Suzanne Cerutti
Understanding and recognizing lost twin syndrome can be very helpful in finding emotional balance and finally feeling complete.

It is now proven, thanks to advances in ultrasound, that many pregnancies begin with twins, but often end with only one child. About 15% of pregnancies are twins at first, but only 1% result in the birth of twins. The loss of a twin early in pregnancy is therefore a frequent reality, with some experts even estimating this figure at 20 or 30%.

Physical and Emotional Loss

An embryo may disappear due to malformations, placental problems, or other factors. The surviving embryo is rarely affected physically, but the psychological impact can be immense. Evidence shows that even at an embryonic stage, the presence and absence of a twin can be felt deeply.

The Feeling of Loss

From birth, the surviving twin may experience the loss of their mate in utero, a phenomenon called lost twin syndrome. This syndrome can manifest itself as feelings of nostalgia, guilt, loneliness and a deep sense of loss.

Lost twins may be expelled as in a miscarriage or absorbed by the placenta or surviving twin. Sometimes, remains of the twin are discovered years later in the form of cysts of flesh, bone or hair. For example, a young woman discovered as an adult that her twin was "living" on her uterus in the form of a cyst, which had gone unnoticed for years.

Subtle Signs

The signs of losing a twin early in pregnancy can be subtle: bleeding, stomach aches, or feelings of miscarriage which eventually resolve naturally. Even more subtly, those who have lost a twin may feel throughout their lives an incessant search, a waiting for their lost "half", a feeling of incompleteness.

I have experienced many constellations where this subject appears, as a facilitator I always exercise caution, I ask the consultant if he has any information. But sometimes this subject becomes recurring for the person and therefore it is really important to be able to recognize it and to be able to support the other in this. The constellation then becomes a valuable aid. This makes it possible to finalize a movement that could not be done: to mourn, to overcome the guilt and to be able to live one's own life. This by being able to complete this departure in a secure environment and with words.


Emotional Symptoms and Consequences

People who have lost a twin often feel a deep emptiness and loneliness. Among the symptoms, we find:

  • A feeling of lack and incompleteness, with an intense need to find the lost twin.

  • A fear of abandonment and hypersensitivity to separations and bereavements.

  • Difficulty parting with belongings, often purchased in duplicate.

  • A feeling of guilt, with self-sabotaging behaviors.

  • A tendency to be very sensitive, quiet, and to feel misunderstood.

  • A problematic relationship with food (anorexia or bulimia).

  • Difficulty making choices and depressive tendencies.


Finding Relief

Faced with this suffering, therapeutic practices such as “Family Constellations” can offer great comfort. It is essential that the therapist shows great sensitivity if this case arises during a session. Sensitivity and empathy are crucial in helping the client navigate this complex emotional experience.

In the family constellations facilitator training , this theme is addressed to be able to transform and release this. In conclusion, lost twin syndrome is an invisible but real wound, with deep emotional impacts.

Recognition of this syndrome and access to appropriate therapies (including constellations) can help many people regain a feeling of wholeness and inner peace.



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