Let me start with the facts: I used to be really into the idea of twin flames.
In fact, I was so intrigued by the idea that not only did I write some of the most highly read articles on the internet about it, but I also created a 20,000+ member Facebook group on it, AND I co-wrote an entire book about it that accumulated over one hundred 4.5 star reviews on Amazon.
Someone the other week even commented that I was “you know, the twin flame authority on the internet,” for which I immediately cringed because that’s certainly not what I want to be known for (but Mindful Shadow Work or the Spiritual Awakening Process? Yes please).
Having started my romantic relationship before the whole twin flame craze back on the 11th of November 2011 (yeah, I know, 11.11.11, one of many “twin flame numbers”), on some level, it once felt like destiny for me to write about twin flames. Love, after all, has been such a transformative catalyst for me that I wanted to share my journey with others.
But very rapidly, I started to realize that not only did I have no passion for continuing down the twin flame road, but the path actually nauseated me, and I began seeing more and more how the idea could be toxic and easily misused.
While I attempted to provide some kind of grounded and psychospiritual understanding of this twin flame concept in the book I authored, the message just didn’t get through. Instead, I would witness over and over again how such an idea could be used to justify narcissistic, codependent, and otherwise toxic relationships.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You can’t build a stable foundation upon an idea propagated by the new age movement that is defined by push-and-pull psychodrama dynamics, so I’ve had to let it go – and all the many hours of work I’ve put into it through the years.
Needless to say, I’ve since taken this entirely off my plate, handed the twin flame Facebook group over to someone else, redirected all the articles on this website about twin flames, and unpublished the twin flames book.
As someone who takes pride in their work and wants it to be as helpful and healing as possible, this has been a big personal blow and a true lesson in humility for me.
In this totally rewritten and revamped article, I’m going to explain firstly what is a twin flame (as I once understood it) and why I feel like the twin flame idea can be more harmful than helpful. Buckle up.
Table of contents
- What is a Twin Flame?
- 21 Twin Flame Signs
- 7 Reasons Why the “Twin Flames” Idea Can Be Toxic and Disempowering, aka., Why I Abandoned the Notion
- 1. The notion that your twin flame completes you or is the “other half of your soul” is anxiety-provoking and disempowering
- 2. The idea of having a “twin flame” can cause people to stay in relationships that are unhealthy and blatantly toxic
- 3. The “runner and chaser” twin flame dynamic can lead to people feeling obligated to deal with bad behavior and trapped in abusive relationships
- 4. The belief that having a twin flame will solve all your problems is a lie
- 5. The twin flame idea has caused many people to abandon their healthy and functional relationships in favor of an illusory ideal
- 6. The twin flame notion misses the whole point of spiritual partnerships
- 7. There are scam artists and sharks who smell the blood of emotional vulnerability in the water and are using it to their benefit
- What Term I Use Now
- Final Words
What is a Twin Flame?
Here’s the original definition I shared in the chapter I wrote on twin flames in the twin flame book that I’ve since unpublished:
Your twin flame, or twin soul, is a person with whom you are destined to feel connected on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. A twin flame is a person who’s your friend, lover, and teacher in this life.
21 Twin Flame Signs
Some signs of a twin flame that I later shared in the book were the following:
- You feel a strange, inexplicable sense of “recognition” when you meet the person.
- You have a feeling that they are going to play a crucial role in your own development.
- You’ve established an immediate, intense connection.
- You feel as though you’ve finally found a “home” or safe place with the other person.
- You can be your authentic self.
- You both embody the yin and yang.
- You feel a sense of expansion with them, as though you are larger than your limited identity.
- They make you a better person, and you make them a better person.
- When together, you are both bonded but free, attached but unattached.
- You are finely tuned to their energy, and they are finely tuned to yours.
- You feel as though you have been waiting for this person your entire life.
- You both connect deeply and mirror each other’s values and aspirations for life.
- Your twin flame is a mirror of what you fear and simultaneously desire the most for your own inner healing.
- Your childhoods were polar opposites.
- One of you is more spiritually mature than the other and often serves as the teacher, counselor, or confidant within the relationship.
- You are taught important life lessons such as forgiveness, gratitude, empathy, and open-mindedness by them and alongside them.
- Your connection is multi-faceted (they are your best friend, lover, teacher, and muse all at once).
- The most growth you’ve ever experienced has been with them.
- Your twin flame doesn’t try to change you. They accept you for who you are and what stage you’re at and encourage you to do the same for yourself (and vice versa).
- You can be truthful with each other about anything.
- Together, you both feel driven towards a higher purpose.
Now, most of these signs seem pretty innocent, right?
The problem with the twin flame idea is not so much the signs (although depending on the voice behind detailing them, it can be a problem) but how the concept is applied to everyday life.
7 Reasons Why the “Twin Flames” Idea Can Be Toxic and Disempowering, aka., Why I Abandoned the Notion
Now, here’s the thing: if you love and have found benefit in the idea of having a twin flame, that’s wonderful. You do you. I’m not here to try to change your mind because I trust in your ability to make the right decisions for your own life.
Hopefully, something I wrote about this topic in the past helped you, and I wish you all the best in your relationship with yourself and your partner moving forward.
But personally, as hard as I tried to make the twin flame idea work for me, and as much as I tried to make it a viable, down-to-earth reality, it became increasingly obvious through the years that I had to extricate myself from it completely.
Here are seven reasons why the twin flame idea can be toxic and disempowering and why I’ve decided to move on from the notion altogether:
1. The notion that your twin flame completes you or is the “other half of your soul” is anxiety-provoking and disempowering
Firstly, can you imagine how humungous a burden it is to place on someone else’s shoulders the responsibility of “completing” you or even being the “other half” of your literal soul? That’s an immediate recipe for dysfunction and horrific codependency in my book.
The twin flame notion is an anxiety-provoking idea that disempowers us because it makes our wholeness entirely dependent upon someone else and what they do or don’t do. Can you see how messed up that is?
Besides, it is my deep experience and realization that the Soul is innately whole and complete; it’s just the fragmented mind that believes otherwise. As such, how can someone else be the “other half” of your Soul?
We need to question our spiritual beliefs carefully because they can be the difference between mental peace and psychological torture.
2. The idea of having a “twin flame” can cause people to stay in relationships that are unhealthy and blatantly toxic
Hearing from a friend of mine that the twin flame idea caused her to stay in a toxic relationship long past its expiry date because she believed “he was her twin flame” made me want to scream and cry at the same time.
The reality is that I’ve seen this happen a lot, particularly on the twin flame Facebook group I used to be an admin of for about five years. There were so many people in that group claiming to have twin flames, but when they described their connections, they were clearly one-sided or else utterly toxic and harmful.
When we get into our minds the idea that someone is our twin flame due to confirmation bias, it can be an extremely hard belief to shake. After all, it makes us feel special and shrouds our relationships in a kind of holy glow that we’re less likely to want to give up.
3. The “runner and chaser” twin flame dynamic can lead to people feeling obligated to deal with bad behavior and trapped in abusive relationships
The push and pull experience in relationships is common, aka., things are normal, we get into an argument, then we make up. Fairly typical, right?
The issue with the idea of twin flame relationships is that they’re largely defined by something known as a “runner and chaser” stage, where one person is pulling away from the relationship, and then the other is pursuing that person and trying to bring them back. Perhaps things work out for a while, and then again, the runner and chaser pattern happens.
Now, I have heard of people getting into some pretty blatantly abusive relationships and yet saying things like, “Oh, she totally ghosted me and pretends I don’t exist: we’re in the runner and chaser stage,” or “he’s behaving in such a controlling way because he’s the chaser and I’m the runner.”
In psychology, this push and pull dynamic is known as the Cycle of Abuse where tension builds, there’s an incident of abuse, reconciliation occurs, and then a period of calm before the cycle starts again.
So what abuse do people tend to justify in twin flame relationships? Some of these abusive tactics can involve things like:
- Being overly controlling (restricting what you do, who you see, where you go)
- Shaming and blaming you
- Criticizing and putting you down
- Guilt tripping or emotionally blackmailing you
- Humiliating you in front of others
- Controlling your finances
- Displaying extremely possessive or jealous behavior
- Ridiculing and dismissing you
- Accusing you of unfaithfulness
- Neglecting you (e.g., emotional withholding, silent treatment)
- Spying on or monitoring you
- Gaslighting and hoovering you
- Playing mind games with you
- Abandoning and ghosting you
You get the picture. What I’ve shared above is emotional and psychological abuse – but physical abuse can and does enter the picture as well.
All of the above abusive tactics, and more, have been suffered yet justified in the name of being in a “twin flame relationship.” But there’s a big difference between a healthy and satisfying relationship and one that is mentally, emotionally, or even physically toxic.
4. The belief that having a twin flame will solve all your problems is a lie
The notion of having a “harmonious twin flame union” that will provide you with utter peace, fulfillment, and unending joy sounds magical on the surface. But the reality is that we are all imperfect beings with flaws, annoying quirks, and traumas to work through.
We will inevitably feel a lack of peace, an absence of fulfillment, and other uncomfortable emotions at times, and that is totally normal. It’s part of being human, and we don’t need to pathologize and run away from it into a romantic fantasy.
The “happily ever after” and “eternal union” story is one of the best marketing gimmicks. But the honest truth is that we don’t know if our love will last forever. We don’t know if our relationships will be our “happily ever after,” even though we may desperately need and want them to be.
This doesn’t mean we become cynical and denounce love and relationships completely, but it does mean that we become more grounded and realistic. In my experience, the more realistic and down-to-earth we are in our relationships, the healthier and stronger they become.
5. The twin flame idea has caused many people to abandon their healthy and functional relationships in favor of an illusory ideal
This is one of the saddest parts of the twin flames nonsense. So many good, mutually respectful, and healthy relationships have ended because one person within the couple has found someone else who they believe is their “twin flame” – and therefore, they feel the need to abandon their current relationship in favor of their ideal one.
Positioning the supposed “twin flame relationship” above other relationships as superior is harmful, toxic, and life-destroying for many people.
Imagine this: everything was harmonious in Jane and Bob’s relationship until one day, Bob discovered the twin flame idea, and BOOM. Now, Bob is no longer happy because his relationship doesn’t meet his fantasy spiritual ideal. He realizes that the crush he has at work on the receptionist must be his “true twin flame” because they have such a “fiery spark” – and so he abandons his wife in pursuit of this newer, more ideal twin flame relationship that will apparently fulfill his every need, make him whole and complete, and give him eternal happiness.
It sounds crazy, but this shit actually happens. And it breaks my heart.
6. The twin flame notion misses the whole point of spiritual partnerships
As Antoine de Saint-Exupery once wrote,
Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.
The twin flame idea promotes this kind of sickly preoccupation with the other person, what they’re doing, and how much happiness they’re bringing you – and whether they’re your “true” or “false” twin flame.
But this is all a distraction, in my opinion, as the point of a spiritual partnership isn’t to obsessively fixate on the other but to work towards making this world a better place.
Perhaps the twin flame notion is just a result of our hyper-individualistic narcissistic society that elevates the individual and their happiness above everything else. Perhaps that’s just a cynical observation.
Either way, the unhealthy preoccupation and obsession with another idealized person who is the “missing half of your soul,” to the exclusion of everything and everyone else, is self-absorbed and missing the point of love-centered spirituality.
7. There are scam artists and sharks who smell the blood of emotional vulnerability in the water and are using it to their benefit
As documentaries such as Escaping Twin Flames and Desperately Seeking Soulmate: Escaping Twin Flames Universe have come out, it has become increasingly clear that the twin flame idea has caused many to get sucked into disturbing and controlling cult-like groups.
Being raised in a fundamentalist religious cult-like environment, this is extremely disturbing to me and something that triggers feelings of anger and regret that I got into the whole twin flame thing in the first place (although, with self-compassion, I can understand why).
The highly emotional nature of the twin flame idea has led some scam artists who claim to be twin flames to charge huge amounts of money to access their services – I’m talking in the thousands of dollars range.
There is so much I could say about this, but I want to keep what I write simple and direct and encourage you to please exercise caution.
Paying thousands of dollars for courses and coaching packages that promise you to find your twin flame is not just ridiculous but, in my opinion, unethical to a criminal degree.
Keep your money and find someone who’s actually trained as a licensed relationship counselor – you’ll be much better off in the long run, financially, emotionally, and psychologically.
What Term I Use Now
As much as I dislike the twin flame label, I do appreciate the value and power of relationships as a spiritual catalyst.
Since I’ve dropped using the “twin flame” term, I much prefer the term “spiritual relationship” or even just soul mate, as that feels more accessible and available to everyone, not just a select few who pay $7777 in a workshop to be matched with their “true twin flame” – or through divine cosmic intervention happen to find “the one.”
If you’ve got this far, congratulations. I hope you feel more liberated from the twin flame idea by now – since dropping the label, I certainly have! And I’m never looking back.
Please be mindful and careful when navigating these murky waters.
Yes, there may be many well-intentioned, ethical people out there who talk about twin flames. But there are also many unethical and money-grabbing snakes out there ready to sink their teeth into the most desperate and lovesick among us, promising them fantasies and castles in the clouds.
Remember that twin flames won’t and don’t complete you. Your wholeness doesn’t depend on finding another person – this belief is a recipe for suffering, so let it go. True happiness and wholeness originate from within you.
You are the one you’ve been waiting for.