There’s a popular, widely used saying that goes like this – ‘Never judge a book by its cover.’ It’s a saying that runs true, especially when considering twins. While the two may look identical, from birth through old age, as they grow older their distinctness grows stronger. This uniqueness comes from the inside, their personalities. Inevitably, it’s only natural that one half ends up on top, holding the right of the strongest twin within the pairing. We are part of the animal kingdom, after all.
Let’s create an example to really illustrate this idea. Allow us to take two fraternal twins, Matt and Abby for example. Matt, the boy, is the strongest. He was born first and weighed 4.19 pounds. Next came Abby. Abby is known for being quite vocal, with a birth weight of 5.95 pounds. As they grew older and older, every single other aspect about the two remained the same. Eventually, Matt’s weight took the lead, and with it he grew into a dominant role. This such dominance and submissiveness between twins is naturally forming and is often demonstrated in a couple of different ways.
The Personalities that Form Pecking Order of Twins
Abby is a known troublemaker, mischievous and playful, she spends every moment of her day exploring something new. With Abby in the household, there’s always noise. Matt, in stark contast, is quite, reserved and typically sees himself in less trouble. He’s charismatic and loved by most, if not all. Well, this is all true until you leave the two alone together.
The two being twins have, as expected, sparked up a rivalry. Let’s just say things often get physical, and apparently everything you think you know about Matt goes flying out the window (as Abby once almost did). If you were to leave them in a room together, it wouldn’t be long before cries and screams for help were to be heard. Often times, these came from Abby.
In essentially every scuffle of their twin rivalry, Matt comes out the victor. Kicking, biting, scratching, Matt does not shy away from unfair tactics to get a leg up on his rival. Despite this, if you were to meet Matt at any other time you’d think that the sun may just shine out of his backside.
It seems that Abby almost never retaliates. At least, you’ve never seen the same signs of abuse on Matt. It almost seems as though they have everything worked out, with Matt as the boss. As all bosses must sometimes do, Matt has to demonstrate his authority once in a while. But, is this dominance and submissiveness between twins something to be worried about?
Is Dominance and Submissiveness between Twins Normal?
Fortunately (for you at least, maybe not so much for Abby), this pecking order is natural. We see dominance and submissiveness between twins in almost every twin sibling group. However, in some cases it can be more severe, and so there are steps taken in order to ensure each child’s individuality.
For example, within schools it’s recommended that each child is split into different classrooms, allowing them a space to blossom into their own person. This is because, with the dominance and submission within the relationship, one twin is more inclined to speak for the other and rule over the other, which is detrimental to both education and personality.
The three Categories of Dominance Between Twins
Physical Dominance – As would be expected, the stronger, bigger twin is the physically dominant. This is a theme that is seen in almost all of nature. It is simply a natural pecking order. This also is not a concept limited to twins, as it is commonly seen in traditional siblings as well. The older is bigger, meaning it is easy for them to assert themselves through physical dominance. He holds the right of the strongest twin.
Psychological Dominance – This may be the most demeaning and dangerous form of dominance between twins. While males typically are stronger and are traditionally seen using physical dominance, this form is more commonly used by females. It involves the rampant enforcing of opinions, decisions and mannerism through means of manipulation. The dangerous part is if this form continues through into adulthood.
If one sibling is under extended psychological dominance, they are more likely to encounter and experience psychological issues and shortcomings in their future. From anorexia to depression, the submissive twin may not have the psychological strength to overcome these things. This is also unhealthy for the dominant twin as well, for they are sometimes seen to express more anxiety and nerves than their submissive counterpart.
Verbal Dominance – This form of dominance may be detrimental for the submissive one’s speech development. In these circumstances, the dominant become a verbal crutch for the other. They essentially claim the role as being the voice for the two, not allowing the other to develop those crucial skills. The relationship dynamics from that point on see one as the vocal leader, and the other as a mere follower.
The Cause Behind Dominance and Submissiveness
This stems from our roots, the animal kingdom. As occurs in nature, those who are smaller and weaker often fall to the bottom of the pecking order – the submissive. Experts on this put this phenomenon, as occurs in humans, down to perinatal complications.
So, from this knowledge, let us return to the example given beforehand. Abby and Matt. While Matt may be stronger, Abby was born larger. However, as it turns out, Abby suffered from a few minor ailments after being born. She spent a short time on oxygen, as well as suffering from reflux more than her partner. It’s likely that this is why she grew into the submissive role.
Is the Pecking Order Something to Worry About?
In short, most likely not. As these types of pairs turn older, often it turns into a good thing. It means that the weaker will have a protector, to keep them safe in the future. It turns into a complimentary pairing. Besides, scolding and such will always work to ensure one eases off the other, just a little bit at least. Overall, do not worry, before long you will bear witness to an unbreakable team.