DR. MERCY RUNYAN
EVERYTHING YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT TWINS

Twinless Twins

Twinless Times 2.10.11

The Healing Journey

Sacred Violence

Margery Runyan, PhD, LCSW, LCAP

 

The theme of warring brothers and even warring twins is extremely common in history and mythology. We are familiar with the legends of Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Romulus and Remus, and Richard the Lion Hearted and John Lackland who succeeded Richard as King of England.  For those of us who experienced little conflict in our twinship, these stories can be painful to hear.  Why would one twin turn on the other?

 

The simplest answer is that the subject desires the object which his rival also desires, a process known as mimesis or mimicry.  It is not the differences between them but the loss of differences that gives rise to reciprocal violence and chaos. The rivalry is often symbolic, and divinity or succession is the prize. The roles of dominating and dominated, oppressor and oppressed, are constantly reversed; kingship and exile are alternated.  Identity, symmetry and reciprocity are the primary processes.  One hero is ultimately sacrificed to protect the community.  This one is the scapegoat who carries the sins of all people on his shoulders into exile and death.  The unity of the community is restored and miracles are wrought.  Myths, rituals and kinship systems are the first fruits.  The loss of the identical twin is cause for celebration because the reciprocal violence is ended and peace settles over the land. 

 

Is this our human experience as twins?  Rivalry is endemic in twinship, and so twins often find different arenas in which to excel rather than allow the twinship to deteriorate into outright competition.  There are times however when we wish that the other twin would disappear, so that we could have more freedom, more attention, and more goodies.  There are also times when one twin appears as the evil one, the usurper, the magician, and the other manifests as the good child, the cooperative and compliant twin.  Then the family or community may will that the evil one be exiled. 

 

None of these symbolic losses or ‘little deaths’ substitute for the absolute physical wrenching that occurs within the surviving twin when the co-twin actually dies.  Immortal power, divinity, long life, fame and fortune would all be sacrificed in one moment for the return of the twinship.  That is our truth.

 

 

TWINLESS TIMES MAY 10, 2010

 

THE HEALING JOURNEY

MARGERY (MERCY) RUNYAN, PHD, LCSW, LCAP

 

The Grief Process

 

The Egyptian, Chinese, and Medieval alchemists sought through a complex and sacred process to transform the base material of all matter, known as prime matter or lead, into gold.  This process of purification entailed many operations that were held as secrets by the alchemists.  They worked their magic with the help of female assistants. Lead is symbolic of the unconscious state when we come into the world and gold is the achievement of enlightenment and wholeness that we attain when we have become fully and truly who we are meant to be. In my studies of twin dreams, I have come to understand that losing a twin is the ultimate process of transformation that mirrors the alchemy of the ancients.

 

The alchemical process of twin grief occurs in four major phases: the nigredo (black), the albedo (white), the rubedo (red), and the citrinatas (green/yellow).  The nigredo is the darkness, the dismal, a very black time.  Life is full of confusion, bewilderment, disorientation, and sickness of spirit. We suffer greatly. This period is followed by the albedo, the white, which is a lightening of the spirit. In this phase, we make the acquaintance of our inner partner, the twin within, and we learn to recognize the opposites within our nature, beginning to achieve an integration of the twin into our psyches.

 

In the rubedo or the reddening, we learn to see life from a transcendent perspective and experience once more the joy of being alive on the physical plane. We can sustain and love the tension of opposites, the good and the bad, our male and female sides, and our twin nature.  In the final stage, the citrinitas or the yellowing, we come to understand that we are participants in life and co-creators of our own wholeness and oneness. We have fully integrated the twin side of our nature and we love our lives again, knowing that we are part of the divine and capable of fulfilling our destiny with joy. This period is the integration of the twin into the self at the core of our inner being. We have become pure gold.

 

Take heart. There is light at the end of the tunnel! The journey is worth every step.

 

 

 

 

 

TWINLESS TIMES MAY 10, 2010

 

THE HEALING JOURNEY

MARGERY (MERCY) RUNYAN, PHD, LCSW, LCAP

 

The Grief Process

 

The Egyptian, Chinese, and Medieval alchemists sought through a complex and sacred process to transform the base material of all matter, known as prime matter or lead, into gold.  This process of purification entailed many operations that were held as secrets by the alchemists.  They worked their magic with the help of female assistants. Lead is symbolic of the unconscious state when we come into the world and gold is the achievement of enlightenment and wholeness that we attain when we have become fully and truly who we are meant to be. In my studies of twin dreams, I have come to understand that losing a twin is the ultimate process of transformation that mirrors the alchemy of the ancients.

 

The alchemical process of twin grief occurs in four major phases: the nigredo (black), the albedo (white), the rubedo (red), and the citrinatas (green/yellow).  The nigredo is the darkness, the dismal, a very black time.  Life is full of confusion, bewilderment, disorientation, and sickness of spirit. We suffer greatly. This period is followed by the albedo, the white, which is a lightening of the spirit. In this phase, we make the acquaintance of our inner partner, the twin within, and we learn to recognize the opposites within our nature, beginning to achieve an integration of the twin into our psyches.

 

In the rubedo or the reddening, we learn to see life from a transcendent perspective and experience once more the joy of being alive on the physical plane. We can sustain and love the tension of opposites, the good and the bad, our male and female sides, and our twin nature.  In the final stage, the citrinitas or the yellowing, we come to understand that we are participants in life and co-creators of our own wholeness and oneness. We have fully integrated the twin side of our nature and we love our lives again, knowing that we are part of the divine and capable of fulfilling our destiny with joy. This period is the integration of the twin into the self at the core of our inner being. We have become pure gold.

 

Take heart. There is light at the end of the tunnel! The journey is worth every step.

 

TWINLESS TIMES SPRING ISSUE

 

The Healing Journey

Dr. Margery (Mercy) Runyan, PhD, LCSW, LISW, LCAP

 

Extraordinary Lives

 

As twins, we are designed to live extraordinary lives.  We view the world surrounding our twinship through a powerful lens.  We are blessed with insight that others can only imagine.  We are feared and revered in folk tale, myth, and popular culture.  Is it any wonder that our lives and our deaths are celebrated?

 

I have been rereading a paper that I wrote in high school for my Latin class in cursive with the old form of referencing.  Encyclopedias were accepted as sources back then before they became outdated in minutes after publication.  The subject was the founding of Rome by the twin heroes Romulus and Remus.

 

The story was told by the Roman poet Virgil in his master work the Aeneid.  After the Greeks defeated the Trojans and sacked the city, Aeneas fled with his son and father into the mountains where the gods told him to go to Italy.  Generations later a brother usurped the power of his brother the rightful king of the Latins and forced the niece to become a Vestal Virgin to prevent inheritance of the throne by her children.  She was impregnated by the god of war Mars and bore twin sons who were set adrift in a basket on the river.  The twins were suckled by a she-wolf, one of the symbols of Mars, and raised by a shepherd until they returned to restore their grandfather to the throne.

 

The story of the founding of Rome is filled with competition between the brothers.  Romulus, the first born, was reputed to have better leadership qualities and to vision more powerful signs from the gods than Remus.  When Remus defiled the sacred boundaries established for the city of Rome, legends say that Romulus struck him with a spade and killed him, that Romulus’ followers struck Remus down with a stone, or that when Romulus threatened Remus he fled over the Alps and founded the French city Reims.

 

Romulus at his death was taken in a golden chariot by his father Mars to Olympus the home of the gods and became a god Quirnus, another name for Mars.  He then reappeared to an elder the following day and prophesied that Rome shall be the greatest city of the world and no human power shall be able to conquer it.  The church where the tradition of celebrating Christmas on December 25 was built by Constantine in 325 A. D. near the wolf cave, a shrine to the twin brothers, to unite the Roman people under Christianity.

 

We need to believe in ourselves, the pivotal role that we play in society, and the uniqueness of our miraculous state of twinship.  The death of our twins does not disempower us; the death propels us to new insights and higher states of spiritual growth.  This myth was promulgated to strengthen the Roman society and also to remind twins just how powerful we are.

 

Dr. Mercy Runyan, the Twin Doctor

PhD, LCSW, ACSW, LCAP, SAP

 

 

 

 

 

 

TWINLESS TIMES 12/09


The twin will return in dreams if we wait for the messenger and listen for the message.
The dream figure appears in many forms and brings many messages depending on the state of readiness within the dreamer, the nature of the death, and the symbolic world of the twinship, Dream recall is affected by our intention to recall dreams, our belief in the significance of dreams, and our willingness to record the dreams as recalled. The nature of the death, whether sudden, violent, prolonged, unresolved, or peaceful will affect the content of the dreams. The images in the dream will reflect the symbolism of Twinship within the Animus Mundi (World Soul), the soul of the specific twinship, or the individual psyche of the twins. When the time is right, the message arrives.

 

The symbol may be dark and veiled, crisp and clear, symbolic or realistic, and anywhere within the dream landscape such to the left or right side, right in front of us, or far away.

In the early stages of loss, the twin may return to say “I am not really dead.”  This dream may represent the wish fulfillment of the dream or the defense mechanism of denial in Freudian terms. The twin may not yet have crossed over the River Styx or the Rainbow Bridge in mythical terms.  The twin may return as a corpse in a coffin to state that s/he has died to the physical body and the physical world. The twin may appear clearly as youthful, healthy or old and wise and say ‘I am OK. Go on with your life.’ These messages help us to integrate the reality of the loss into our daily waking lives. Begin to record these dreams into a dream journal and then wait patiently for the next dream.


TWINLESS TIMES

 

October 26, 2009

THE HEALING JOURNEY

 

Delayed Grief

 

Twinless twins are no strangers to grief.  Dr. Nancy Segal reported at the Denver TTSGI conference in May that twin loss registers higher than any other loss on the grief distress scales in her research.  Some twinless twins wonder if the grieving process will ever end.  Others wonder if it will ever begin.  These twins are experiencing the absence of feelings that accompanies deep denial.  They await the tears which do not come. They ask themselves how they can keep on going through the motions as if the co-twin were still alive.  These twins might imagine that this loss is a dream from which they will awaken.  They comfort the others grieving around them and perhaps even pray to feel something, anything.  They want to know that they are still alive.  Inside is emptiness.

 

Suddenly months or years later a voice speaks, a door opens, a person rounds the corner and all the grief comes flooding in.  We experience the horrifying revelation that the co-twin is dead and that we will never see that person again in this lifetime.  The despair can be overwhelming when we come face to face with the painful reality of our loss.  This delayed grief is just as real and just as painful as any grief.  It can be triggered by a remote memory or a recent loss.  With newer losses, the sense of abandonment can be so deep that we know it exceeds the recent circumstance.  We ask why this situation is so painful.  Sometimes we recognize that our grief from twin loss has been triggered. 

 

On the healing journey, we feel these feelings as they arise.  We do not try to cut them off from our awareness.  We know that the grief is now safe to feel.  We come to understand that we could not feel all the grief before because we were too young, too tired, or too busy with other needs.  We are thankful that the grief has come; we welcome the memory of our co-twin in the pain of that grief.  We remember that we are still deeply alive.

 

Margery Runyan, LCSW

www.twindreams.info

970-946-0992



THE HEALING JOURNEY

MARGERY (MERCY) RUNYAN, LCSW, ACSW

Differentiating Grief from Depression

www.twindreams.info

 

We are so fortunate to have a support system of other twinless twins. The conferences are so healing because we can connect with other twins and do some twinning once again. Who else but other twins could fathom the pain of feeling half of a whole? Who else knows the emptiness of losing the alter ego, the mirror, and the memory bank all at once? We long for reunification with the object of our desire, the physically missing twin and the wholeness of the twinship.

 

How do we know when this longing turns from grief into depression and how do we realize when to seek clinical help such as psychotherapy and/or medication?  Grief has many faces and does not progress in a straight line as society once believed.  The major feelings or stages of grief are denial and isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Denial is often a healthy defense mechanism which keeps us from being overwhelmed by the enormity of the loss. Going about our daily lives and focusing on the tasks at hand is import to maintaining touch with reality. Isolation can also be a healing process because we may not feel like explaining, socializing, or meeting the needs of others. We may have memories to process. Anger has its cleansing aspects also if we can eventually direct the anger appropriately instead of generalizing it to the universe, our Higher Power, or ourselves. Depression in this context does not have the clinical meaning that I will describe below. Often we use depression to describe the feeling of going through a dark tunnel with little prospect of seeing the light at the end. Perhaps we lose interest in activities that used to give us pleasure. This sadness is also helpful because it allows us to plumb the depths of our feelings and return refreshed. Acceptance is a plateau that we all reach where we can rest and gather strength to live life on life’s terms, to adjust our attitudes, and to regain the small pleasures of the NOW.

 

Depression on the other hand has a clinical definition as well and may require psychotherapy and/or medication. (For those persons reluctant to take psychotropic medication, please be aware that many new medications have been discovered recently that are non-addictive, targeted to the affected area, and thus effective.) If we do not emerge from grief after several years, we need to look for symptoms of depression. They include feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, prolonged isolation, disturbances of sleeping and eating, self-destructive behaviors such as heavy use of illegal drugs or alcohol, thoughts of suicide, frequent rage sometimes coupled with violence, and constant, consuming sadness.  ASK FOR HELP.  CALL A TWINLESS TWIN. SHARE.

 

Blessings, Mercytwin2Malinda

 

Twinless Times April 09

THE HEALING JOURNEY

Margery (Mercy) Runyan, LISW, ACSW

 

Survivor guilt is a subtle demon.  Personally, I did not face my guilt until many years after my sister was killed.  Each one of us is unique in this way.  The age at our twin’s death, the type of death (suicide, accident, or medical reasons), and the style of the twinship all complicate this process.  Be aware that survivor guilt is lurking in the darkness waiting to strike.  This guilt is not rational or fair, does not consider the facts, and seeks to punish us for surviving.  On one hand, the conscious mind may be saying, “I am not to blame.  I was nowhere in the picture.  I cannot be held accountable.’  Deep in the psyche, the unconscious mind may be saying, ‘It must be my fault; after all we were twins and I am still here.  I should have been able to protect my twin.’ 

 

Here are the words this demon speaks: ‘If I had been a better twin….  If I had only paid more attention….  If I had warned him/her of this danger…, then none of this would have happened.  I would have willingly taken her/his place.  After all, I was the bad twin and s/he was so good.  Everyone loved her/him.  The world would be better off if I had been the one who died.  If there is a God, S/He should have taken me and left my twin.  If this tragedy is the way of the world, I would rather not be here anyway.’

 

If this thinking is familiar, you are not alone.   Make a decision to bring these thoughts and feelings out into the open, share with another twin, tell a counselor, and somehow acknowledge that your time has come to deal with survivor guilt.  These irrational and magical beliefs about our power to save lives, trade lives and foil destiny are natural and normal.  They are generally intensified for twins because of the early physical bond that we believed would never be broken.   We are facing the overwhelming shock that the twin has left this worldly form and disappeared.

 

The Healing Journey requires that we awaken to the Consciousness of our Being which is both separate and interconnected with the twin.  We have not been left behind; we are meant to be here now.  A larger purpose has been met of which we know only a little.  Each day we will know a little more.


ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR TWINLESS TIMES OCTOBER 2008

RELEARNING OURSELVES AND THE WORLD

 

I remember clearly when the phone call came that Malinda was dead.  Her accidental death in a small plane crash gave us no time to say goodbye.  Suddenly my world was undone.  Nothing would ever be the same; our memories, our language, our allegiance, our plans, our visions, and our interpretations of the past, present, and future were smashed.  I would have to relearn everything through different eyes.  Of course I did not know this at first. 

 

In deep grief, we become pain.  We lose our wholeness.  OUR TWIN -the Object that was also the Subject, the desire of our hearts, the very language of our Selves, and our primary attachment to the world - is no longer a physical presence.  We ask ourselves ‘who am I now?’  Recreating ourselves, relearning the world and finding new meanings in a world without the physical presence of our twin have become our life long pursuits.   

 

What is this process that we are facing?  Can anyone help us who has not been through the loss of a twin?  Twin loss is indeed unique in the sense that twin life is unique.   Unconsciously those of us born together believe that we will die together.  There is no training school for solo twins.  This is a journey requiring great courage, creativity, hope and faith.

 

The challenge has become reintegrating our twin who has died into a new framework of wholeness.  We begin to transform from being pain into carrying pain.  We gradually learn to transform ‘loving in presence’ into ‘loving in absence.’  We make space to accommodate the mystery of worlds beyond the one we once knew.  We begin to trust that each day, in fact each moment, can be lived as a world of its own. We steadily rewrite our life narrative. 

 

After 21 years, I am still a twin.  I still love Malinda as much or more than I ever did.  She is still as much a part of my life as she ever was.  I continue to evolve my world view and my life narrative to incorporate her memory, her legacy, and the life of her soul.  As long as I am conscious on this earth, there is more….

BE FREE to join me at www.twindreams.com or call me at 970-946-0992. 

 

Twincerely,  Margerytwin2Malinda aka Mercy Runyan

 

Sense of cosmic purpose

Dedication to a higher power

Search for meaning

 

Spirituality versus religiosity

ARTICLE FOR TWINLESS TWINS

  

RESTORING THE MIRACLE OF TWINSHIP

My identical twin sister Malinda Marlay Runyan was killed in a small plane crash when we were 39 years old.  She was undoubtedly at the height of her beauty and promise.  She was teaching elementary school in Ithaca, New York, and starred in a local production called More Than the News.  Her face adorned the back of buses as an anchorwoman, and her spirit graced the hearts of the entire town.  The small plane crashed on a remote mountain near Montreal, and Malinda was crushed.  The three others in the plane including the pilot who was found at fault for the accident survived with injuries.  Her husband waited while she drew her last breath with rescue helicopters circling overhead.  I got a call from my younger sister Anne who said ‘I am going to tell you the worst thing that I will ever tell you.  Malinda is dead.’ She loved to fly but like Icarus she flew too high.  That was 20 years ago and seems like yesterday.  My pain is yours.  Dr. Raymond Brandt called me the next week and told me that I would dream about her.  I did.  He also told me that the pain would get better but never leave.  He was right about that also.


THE GOOD NEWS……I have a psychotherapy practice devoted to twins.  I can provide support to twins face-to-face in either Fort Myers, Florida or Durango, Colorado.  I have clinical social work licenses in Florida and Colorado and an independent social work license in New Mexico.  I also offer telephone sessions which are very successful particularly for twins far away from my offices.  Having lived through the worst loss imaginable, I have deep empathy and boundless compassion for those of us who have lost a twin.  I believe that I can help you regain your sanity and even joy.  Dr. Raymond Brandt helped me to understand how to live without Malinda and I am committed to doing the same for all of us.  Presently I am writing a dissertation on the dreams of twins for my PhD at Capella University.  Please learn more at my website
www.twindreams.info or call me at 970-946-0992 (cell).  I am here for you.

 

TWINLESS TIMES SPRING ISSUE:  Due February 10, 2010

 

The Healing Journey

Dr. Margery (Mercy) Runyan, PhD, LCSW, LISW, LCAP

 

Extraordinary Lives

 

As twins, we are designed to live extraordinary lives.  We view the world surrounding our twinship through a powerful lens.  We are blessed with insight that others can only imagine.  We are feared and revered in folk tale, myth, and popular culture.  Is it any wonder that our lives and our deaths are celebrated?

 

I have been rereading a paper that I wrote in high school for my Latin class in cursive with the old form of referencing.  Encyclopedias were accepted as sources back then before they became outdated in minutes after publication.  The subject was the founding of Rome by the twin heroes Romulus and Remus.

 

The story was told by the Roman poet Virgil in his master work the Aeneid.  After the Greeks defeated the Trojans and sacked the city, Aeneas fled with his son and father into the mountains where the gods told him to go to Italy.  Generations later a brother usurped the power of his brother the rightful king of the Latins and forced the niece to become a Vestal Virgin to prevent inheritance of the throne by her children.  She was impregnated by the god of war Mars and bore twin sons who were set adrift in a basket on the river.  The twins were suckled by a she-wolf, one of the symbols of Mars, and raised by a shepherd until they returned to restore their grandfather to the throne.

 

The story of the founding of Rome is filled with competition between the brothers.  Romulus, the first born, was reputed to have better leadership qualities and to vision more powerful signs from the gods than Remus.  When Remus defiled the sacred boundaries established for the city of Rome, legends say that Romulus struck him with a spade and killed him, that Romulus’ followers struck Remus down with a stone, or that when Romulus threatened Remus he fled over the Alps and founded the French city Reims.

 

Romulus at his death was taken in a golden chariot by his father Mars to Olympus the home of the gods and became a god Quirnus, another name for Mars.  He then reappeared to an elder the following day and prophesied that Rome shall be the greatest city of the world and no human power shall be able to conquer it.  The church where the tradition of celebrating Christmas on December 25 was built by Constantine in 325 A. D. near the wolf cave, a shrine to the twin brothers, to unite the Roman people under Christianity.

 

We need to believe in ourselves, the pivotal role that we play in society, and the uniqueness of our miraculous state of twinship.  The death of our twins does not disempower us; the death propels us to new insights and higher states of spiritual growth.  This myth was promulgated to strengthen the Roman society and also to remind twins just how powerful we are.

 

TWINLESS TIMES MAY 10, 2010

 

THE HEALING JOURNEY

MARGERY (MERCY) RUNYAN, PHD, LCSW, LCAP

 

The Grief Process

 

The Egyptian, Chinese, and Medieval alchemists sought through a complex and sacred process to transform the base material of all matter, known as prime matter or lead, into gold.  This process of purification entailed many operations that were held as secrets by the alchemists.  They worked their magic with the help of female assistants. Lead is symbolic of the unconscious state when we come into the world and gold is the achievement of enlightenment and wholeness that we attain when we have become fully and truly who we are meant to be. In my studies of twin dreams, I have come to understand that losing a twin is the ultimate process of transformation that mirrors the alchemy of the ancients.

 

The alchemical process of twin grief occurs in four major phases: the nigredo (black), the albedo (white), the rubedo (red), and the citrinatas (green/yellow).  The nigredo is the darkness, the dismal, a very black time.  Life is full of confusion, bewilderment, disorientation, and sickness of spirit. We suffer greatly. This period is followed by the albedo, the white, which is a lightening of the spirit. In this phase, we make the acquaintance of our inner partner, the twin within, and we learn to recognize the opposites within our nature, beginning to achieve an integration of the twin into our psyches.

 

In the rubedo or the reddening, we learn to see life from a transcendent perspective and experience once more the joy of being alive on the physical plane. We can sustain and love the tension of opposites, the good and the bad, our male and female sides, and our twin nature.  In the final stage, the citrinitas or the yellowing, we come to understand that we are participants in life and co-creators of our own wholeness and oneness. We have fully integrated the twin side of our nature and we love our lives again, knowing that we are part of the divine and capable of fulfilling our destiny with joy. This period is the integration of the twin into the self at the core of our inner being. We have become pure gold.

 

Take heart. There is light at the end of the tunnel! The journey is worth every step.

 

 

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