Twin Talk Newsletter Spring 2010
This is the first edition of a quarterly newsletter to be published by Dr. Margery Runyan for her personal friends, twin friends, dream friends, spiritual friends, business and volunteer associates and other contacts. We hope that you enjoy it and welcome your feedback. Our motto is: It’s a Twin Thing! Thank you.
Dr. Mercy will be hosting a brand new internet radio program called Twin Talk on World Talk Radio beginning Friday, April 2, at 11am Eastern Time and continuing for at least 13 weeks, same time, same station. Tune in to www.worldtalkradio.com, click on Twin Talk and you will hear ‘all about twins.’ The first guest is Dr. Barbara Klein, twin and author of many books including ‘Not All Twins Are Alike.’ On April 9, Dr. Nancy Segal, research psychologist and author, will discuss her work with twins who were separated at birth and reunited and her studies on grief after twin loss and nature versus nurture. On April 23, Dr. Jane Greer, author and family therapist, will present her psychotherapeutic work with twins and families. Subsequent guests include Lee Tapager, practitioner of Chinese Medicine and identical twin, grandmothers and mothers of twins, and experts in psychic abilities. We are still recruiting sponsors, advertisers, and guests, so hop on board for a great ride. The shows will be archived for listening any time.
PROMO ON WORLD TALK RADIO.COM
The number of twin births has doubled in 20 years. More than 2 in every 100 persons is now a twin or multiple. The chances of living in close relationship with a twin are increasing rapidly. Designed for twins, want-to-be twins, parents, children, spouses, partners of twins and anyone who finds twins fascinating, this program will entertain and inform. Society has feared, revered, and sensationalized twinship. Twin Talk will uncover the truth about twins. Dr. Mercy will spotlight the latest science on learned vs. inherited traits, raising twins, understanding twins, living with twins, and twin loss. Our guests will be researchers, therapists, authors, twins themselves and you. We will discuss mental telepathy, premonition, and after life communication. Dr. Mercy and the twins can guarantee that you will adapt to the post modern world of facsimiles and identicality once you know ‘It’s a twin thing!’ Twin Talk airs live Fridays at 11 AM Eastern on World Talk Radio Variety.
DR. MERCY’S DISSERTATION is published and the ABSTRACT appears below.
DO TWINS DREAM TWIN DREAMS?: A QUANTITATIVE STUDY OF TWIN DREAMS COMPARED TO SINGLES’ DREAMS.
This study of the dreams of adult female identical twins used a quantitative method of content analysis to compare the dream content of dream sets from female identical twins with living twins, female identical twinless twins, and a female normative sample. The research asked if there are significant differences between the dream content of female identical twins and the dream content of the female normative sample, and if there are
significant differences between the dream content of female identical twins with living twins and female identical twinless twins. The study was designed to explore the cognitive schema of twins through dreams to provide direction for psychotherapists treating twins. Thirty-four female identical twins were recruited from ages 18-64 who recorded 164 recent or memorable dreams ranging from one to a series. The International Twins Association and Twinless Twins Support Group International were instrumental in recruiting the twins.
The dreams were coded using the Hall and Van de Castle coding schema (1966) and compared to the norms developed in the 1940s and 1950s from 500 dreams of female college students. The twin dreams in general contained significantly fewer Friends, more Family, more Unfamiliar Settings, and more dreams with at least one event of Friendliness, Sexuality, Good Fortune, Misfortune, Success, and Failure than the norms, generally reflecting more complexity. The dreams of twins with living twins included more Family and more Unfamiliar Settings than the female norms, less Aggression and more Friendliness, and more dreams with at least one Success, Failure, Fortune, and Misfortune. The twinless twins dreamed fewer Bodily Misfortunes and Negative Emotions than the norms.
The twinless twins dreamed more often of Unfamiliar Settings and Unfamiliar Characters and less often of Physical Aggression, Negative Emotions, and Misfortune than the twins with living twins. The twinless twins had episodes of after life communication within existential and transcendent dreams. The findings support the ideas that female identical twins have more complex dreams than female singles due to thinner personality boundaries, that twinless twins have undergone a greater evolution of the self and reveal psi abilities through dreams, and that twins in general have unique conceptual schema including a powerful co-twin and more events experienced, stored, and dreamed than do singles.
The entire dissertation can be purchased from ProQuest/UMI Customer Services under the number ‘11165’ at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-800-521-0600 ext. 7020.
Any twin who contributed dreams is welcome to speak with Dr. Mercy about the content of those dreams and work with her to interpret them in light of your own life. Those identical twin sets who both participated are welcome to call Dr. Mercy at 239-839-8230 or email her at email@example.com to schedule a conference call in which the five dreams from each twin can be interpreted in light of the co-twin’s dreams.
The following article was published in the Spring 2010 issue of
Dream Network which you can join at
“We Are Somehow Different”
Dr. Mercy Runyan
Vol. 29 No. 1/Dream Network 43
I was born an identical twin in the post WWII baby boom in Cincinnati, Ohio, when twins were still a rare occurrence. I have experienced the world for these many years through twin eyes. I cannot explain this world view nor can I truly understand the singleton experience. We are somehow different. Several years ago my identical twin was killed in the crash of a small plane and I was thrust into the deepest grief. Through my gradual acceptance of ‘twinless twin’ status, I was privileged to meet Dr. Jane Greer, a clinical expert in twin loss, and Dr. Nancy Segal, a researcher into twin psychology and herself a fraternal twin. We were all seeking the answer to what differentiates the cognitive schemata or, in other words, the archetypes of the twin psyche from those within the singleton psyche. All were looking to understand twinship and to help twins adjust to life in a singleton-dominated culture.
Twinship, a master status in sociological terms, reverberates through mythic and recorded history. The post modern world embraces the facsimile, the doppelganger, the body snatcher, the loss of uniqueness at the subatomic level, and the inevitable slide of identity towards identicality. Will the real person please stand up? How better to understand the inner world of twins than to study their dreams? This I did with prodigious support from Dr. Robert Van de Castle, coauthor of the Hall and Van de Castle dream coding scales, and Dr. William Domhoff, a prolific researcher in quantitative dream studies and author of the web site www.dreamresearcher.net. Given my life-long fascination with both twins and dreams, I forged ahead and have published a dissertation for my PhD from Capella University, “Do twins dream twin dreams?: A quantitative comparison with singles’ dreams,” available at ProQuest/UMI. This present moment however evokes a phenomenological exploration. One of my own dreams which I dreamt the very night after being diagnosed with breast cancer on August 5, 2008, reveals the inner narrative. The characters are my identical co-twin Malinda deceased on July 21, 1988, and my second twin and husband Hank deceased September 5, 2009. He was alive at the time of the dream and we were separated due to severe alcoholism.
The dream as recorded the following morning: “I gave Hank to Malinda. They loved each other. They were far away on a large field. I went to them. I asked for inclusion. They looked at each other with love and understanding and did not make room for me. I realized that it was too late. They did not need me any more.” Looking at the dream through the twinship lens, I can see that it fits to some degree the quantitative profile of the 164 female identical twin dreams in the sample. The characters are familiar and include the co-twin. The setting is unfamiliar. The dream activity, however, is minimal compared to the sample twin dreams where the complex narrative is filled with events and strivings as one would expect from ‘dream people’ with thin personality boundaries described by Dr. Ernest Hartmann. But what does this dream mean? How does it reflect on the diagnosis of breast cancer? What does it tell us about ‘the twinless twin?’
The interpretation depends upon the two levels of imagery analysis, objective and subjective, used by Dr. Carl Jung and recently restated by Dr. Yoram Kaufman in ‘The way of the image.’ Objectively, Malinda often got the guy. How many times did boyfriends meet her and drop me flat? (Well, at least once.) I was the more outgoing twin, the second born, the usurper, the sorceress and yet Malinda was so loving that people flocked to her. Hank had met her once when we were 20-something; Hank and I were lovers then and child abuse caseworkers in the same office in Jersey City, NJ. The field might be the large green and playing field on Pleasant St. near our childhood home where Malinda and I played endlessly with our friends until the church bells rang in the carillon tower summoning us home to dinner. Perhaps Malinda had run down the field with a friend and I was left out. But no, this dream is not the typical triangle. There is more to be revealed here in twin terms. The diagnosis of breast cancer that very day had transformed me from a joyful healthy woman into a ‘dead man walking.’ Three weeks later I learned at the Mayo clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, that HER2-NU breast cancer had been curable since 2006 with the targeted chemotherapy ‘Herceptin.’
The morning after the dream I believed that the dream implied my impending death and that I was leaving Hank behind in this world with Malinda as spirit guide. “It was too late” meant that it was too late for me to change my lifestyle and avoid this disease. Therefore it was best that Hank not need me. I would be a very young soul and less capable of guiding and protecting Hank than the experienced and evolved soul Malinda. After all, were we not identical twins separated at earth? She would certainly love Hank in the same way that I had always loved him. I had been absolutely convinced for many years based on hypnotic regression and my dream experiences that Malinda and I had planned to come to earth together and would rejoin on the other side. I still did not understand how, when or where that glorious reunion would occur. Subjectively, both Malinda and Hank were powerful twin introjects.
I can only believe that Malinda represented my anima and Hank my animus. My animus was an alpha male, professional football player and sportsman, very intelligent in IQ terms and yet very weak emotionally. Stress and crisis led him back to the proverbial infantile breast or bottle. Malinda was a gentle and beautiful anima with long hair and sensual features. She was the introverted twin, the compliant daughter, the devoted wife and elementary school teacher. She lived literally in my shadow as we grew through childhood and adolescence. I was the ‘bad’ twin, the free spirit, the child who escaped the family system. Malinda escaped through her transformation to spirit at the age of 39. No doubt she had less bad karma to overcome! At the subjective level, the diagnosis of breast cancer freed ME from my ties to Malinda and Hank. I had no time left to delay my individuation.
I needed to own my projections immediately or risk despair when I desired integration. ‘It was too late. They did not need me AS THEIR TWIN any more.’ In fact, Hank was dead 13 months later from the physical ravages of alcoholism; he died of a heart attack or, in other words, his heart was broken. I could never save him but I could become fully my Self. The denouement: I am fully cured of breast cancer and finished all treatment in December of 2009. The tenth year is completion. The PhD is complete. A new beginning arises for my twin self, hosting Twin Talk, a radio program on WorldTalkRadio.com at 11am ET on Friday mornings. The energy of the image transforms us in our respect for the dream.
Twincerely, Dr. Mercy Runyan, the Twin Doctor
PhD, LCSW, ACSW, LCAP, SAP
See also my website: www.twindreams.info
Dr. Mercy is practicing psychotherapy in South-West Florida, on Pine Island, as well as in Durango, Colorado. She is a licensed clinical social worker in Florida, Colorado, and New Mexico, and a licensed certified addictions professional in Florida and New Mexico. She uses Feeding Your Demons by Lama Tsultrim Allione and hypnosis. She is a Diplomat in the national center for crisis management and an ACSW.