What Is the Toxic Truth About 'Twin Flames?'
It's July 2020, all of our summer plans are now on Zoom, Gen Z TikTokers are shaming millennials for their side parts and skinny jeans, and the term "twin flame" has entered our lexicon, thanks to something actress Megan Fox said on a podcast.
"I knew right away that he was what I call a twin flame…Instead of a soulmate, a twin flame is actually where a soul has ascended into a high enough level that it can be split into two different bodies at the same time. So we're actually two halves of the same soul, I think," Fox gushed about her intense connection to musician Machine Gun Kelly on the "Give Them Lala…with Randall" podcast.
The origin of twin flames
Where did the term "twin flames" come from? Did FHM's 2008 Sexiest Woman in the World coin it?
"Your twin flame is a spiritually connected being who is a mirror image of yours. While soulmates are people with whom you have shared many lives, a twin flame is the other half-part of your soul that has experienced similar serenity and trauma," said Sidhharrth S Kumaar, a numerologist and relationship coach based in Delhi, India.
As for where this term came from, no, it wasn't coined by Fox on that podcast. The word is credited to American spiritualist Elizabeth Clare Prophet back in the 1970s. She explored this concept more in her 1999 book, "Soul Mates and Twin Flames: The Spiritual Dimension of Love and Relationships." There is also evidence of the concept of "one soul, two bodies" dating back to Greek and Indian mythology.
The science behind twin flames
Unsurprisingly and similar to most spiritual concepts, twin flames have not been proved by science. But neither was celery juice and that didn't stop thousands of people from swearing by it when a medium told them to chug it a few years back.
While there isn't any science to back up this intense emotional bond, there is truth in two people having an instant connection.
"We are all intuitive to some extent and we are often able to tell upon meeting someone, on both a conscious and subconscious level, whether we feel a strong bond," said Jessica Alderson, a relationship expert in London and co-founder of So Syncd, a dating app.
Finding your twin flame
If twin flames are more intense than soulmates, how do you find yours? Do you know the saying, "You find love when you're not looking for it"? Well, sorry to say, the same rings true with twin flames.
"You continue to exist as your best self, nurturing positivity and gratefulness. Your twin flame finds their way to you themselves when the time is right," Kumaar said.
OK, let's say you think you are dating your twin flame. How do you know this is it for sure?
"[If] you've only met the person once yet it feels like you have known them forever. You relate to them like no other, share the same likes and dislikes and can easily understand their feelings and vice versa," Kumaar answered. "It takes the honeymoon period to get over to be sure about it."
The dangers of twin flames
When we feel a deep, intense connection to someone, the relationship isn't always healthy, and twin flames are no exception.
"Dating your twin flame is highly rewarding, until the impossible expectations and codependency sets in," Kumaar warned.
Focusing too much on your twin flame and convincing yourself this is the real deal can be problematic because it can lead to you lowering your standards.
"It can be dangerous to think a single person is your only route to true love, because you are far more likely to struggle to set clear boundaries. This can result in people putting up with behaviors that make them unhappy," Alderson said.
The toxicity of twin flames
Another issue with an instant connection is it often makes you overlook apparent red flags. You're so focused on having a lot in common or how rare this intense connection feels that you become determined to make the relationship work, even if it's toxic. This situation is more common for people who have experienced trauma.
"Trauma can change our behavior in unexpected ways," warned Emily Avagliano, a dating and relationship coach in Houston and creator of the Dating to Get Married program. "When unresolved, it can act as a trigger setting off a cascade of emotions and feelings when we date a toxic partner. We can mistake fear and anxiety for passion and love. The scientific term is called 'misattribution of arousal.' I would hate to see people use the twin flame concept as a way of sugar-coating a toxic relationship."
Should you date your twin flame?
It seems as if a twin flame can often be a toxic relationship in disguise.
"Please don't date your twin flame! Run like hell," Avagliano said. "If you want to recover from trauma and past pain, see a therapist or relationship expert. Learn what 'healthy' is and don't waste your time, energy and emotions on a relationship that brings out your dark side for the sake of growth."
If you believe you are dating your twin flame, good luck (it sounds like you'll need it). It could work out, as long as your relationship is healthy and you don't get burned.