What Are “Twin Flames”?

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“Twin flames” is a descriptive phrase that is being increasingly used. Some people describe it as meeting someone and in a spiritual sense it seems as if you’re looking in a mirror. 

There is a sense of déjà vu. As they tell their life story it is as if they are telling yours. There is an instant powerful connection. They have a very similar life history, and that often includes trauma.

People who have met a twin flame say they feel ignited, hence the description “twin flame”. Almost instantly they know in an often overwhelming way that they have met someone who’s going to be a defining part of their life.

There is a sense of “coming home”. This can be extremely intense and life transforming. Twin flames are a reflection of each other. This can help them both recognize their faults and also see their unresolved trauma reflected back.

Due to the similar intensity, codependent relationships and relationships where one partner is a narcissist are often mistaken for twin flames relationships. But although it usually is, a twin flame is not necessarily even about romance – and twin flames relationships are often not lifetime relationships.

It’s much more about revealing shared wounds. Then sharing their learning about it all in order to grow.

Difference between a soul mate and a twin flame


Twin flames are also sometimes known as “mirror souls.” Twin flames are said to be like two halves of the very same soul – but a twin flame is different from a soul mate.

A soul mate is a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner. Twin flames are not necessarily ideally suited in this way – and as the name implies the relationship between the two can often be extremely fiery.

Most soul mates feel something like they’ve lived at least one lifetime together before: they are two souls that share a profound connection. But unlike with a twin flame there may well be no shared traumas or lessons in life that they can both learn and grow from together.

Soul mates are two distinct separate souls that complement each other. But it is felt that twin flames are one soul that’s been divided in half. Each half of that one soul is in somebody. That’s why twin flames are mirror images that act as a reflection.

Soul mate relationships are generally supportive and calm. As issues and traumas are revealed, twin flames relationships can frequently be challenging and turbulent. In The Neverending Story fantasy movie the old gnome lady Urgl says: “It has to hurt if it’s to heal.” This can sum up most twin flames relationships.

Where did the concept of twin flames come from?

The term “twin flame” is usually credited to author and spiritual teacher Elizabeth Clare Prophet. She reportedly started using the phrase as far back as the 1970s.

Then in 1999, Prophet’s book Soul Mates and Twin Flames: The Spiritual Dimension of Love and Relationships was published. This really put the phrase “twin flames” into the world.

However, the concept of a soul being divided and put into two bodies goes much further back. This is at least to Greek philosopher Plato’s philosophical text The Symposium, dated c. 385–370 BC.

Prophet explains well the difference between how she sees a soul mate and a twin flame:

“A soul mate is a person with whom you may have worked for many centuries on the same mission or the same initiation of the chakras – some parallel path of soul development. 

“Even though there may be a great attraction and bond between soul mates, fundamentally, in the ultimate sense, you could define it more as a brother/sister relationship, even though soul mates have great marriages and a great union of hearts.

“There is that sense of ‘we’re comrades, we’re pilgrims on the path together, and what we’re doing has to be done together’. You may come together for several lifetimes, and you may feel a great tie.

“But if you really meditate at inner levels, you know that that relationship doesn’t go as high or is not as profound as the one with the person who is your direct counterpart—the twin flame you have known as your other self from the first moment of your creation…”

Typical signs of a twin flames relationship

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Twin flames relationships are a concept. Some people dismiss the idea of them, saying that it is perhaps just two traumatized people who find each other.

Then they desperately attempt to cling on to an unhealthy and/or dysfunctional relationship due to how broken and alone they feel. According to the popular spiritual website Lonerwolf, a twin flame relationship’s purpose is to help us to heal broken hearts, reduce ego and to spiritually awaken.

But it also cautions that twin flame “is a theoretical mental idea meaning that it isn’t objectively true, but is instead a helpful label that can describe a unique relationship we might experience in life”.

There are cautions not to see just any burgeoning relationship as a twin flames one. This is because it could be an excuse to flee an existing healthy relationship or do something spontaneously that might be regretted such as moving across the world.

As the Lonerwolf website says: “Please try to avoid misusing the concept of having a twin flame to dream of a ‘better’ and ‘more spiritual’ partner, sabotage your current relationship, or pressure your pre-existing partner to fit into the twin flame role. This is all an unnecessary mind game, so please love and cherish what you have already (provided it’s a relatively healthy relationship).”

However, there are some signs that can indicate there is such a thing as a twin flames relationship.

Here are some key signs of a twin flames relationship:

  • Meeting a twin flame is totally unexpected, seemingly out of nowhere. Yet it also feels predestined, that it always had to happen.
  • There is a strong sense that you are meeting yourself.
  • It feels almost instantly as if you have always known your twin flame. There are so many aspects about them that feel utterly familiar.
  • There is a profoundly deep connection that is reached almost immediately.
  • Your twin flame seems to very quickly know you better than anyone else in the world.
  • The very moment of meeting signifies a massive transformation in your life. This you will sense almost instantly, that there is something profoundly important going on here. A twin flame is not necessarily what you might call “the one” or a soul mate, but without a doubt they will transform your life, often starting from the first second you meet.
  • You may think that you can feel your twin flame’s emotions. You may feel like you can read each other’s moods or you could be thinking something, then they will say what you were thinking… You will also become extremely skillful at reading their body language, and vice versa.
  • Your weaknesses and strengths seem to perfectly match each other.
  • You share very similar aims and morals.
  • There are a great number of similarities between you and your twin flame. These are frequently remarkable. For instance, you might discover in your upbringing that you have so much in common. This could be such as that you are both twins or you might have been in the same places a lot of the time throughout your lives, but without ever meeting.
  • Everything about it all can feel overwhelming, even like it is all to do with some greater power, a divine destiny.
  • A twin flames relationship does not necessarily have to be romantic, although they often end up being that way – and extremely passionate too.
  • There is a mirroring of traumas, perhaps particularly of a traumatic childhood. Everything that you have spent your life masking, denying, numbing or running away from in some way is suddenly there in front of you.
  • A twin flames relationship means your life changes rapidly. Any plans you had can often be thrown out of the window to make time to be with your twin flame. It is as if you are aware of the transient nature of this relationship.
  • You will be acutely aware of your twin flame’s weaknesses, insecurities, fears and faults. So too will they be of yours.
  • This will help you to teach each other and to grow from all of this. This is the purpose of a twin flame. They will help you towards becoming the person you were always meant to be. You will do the same for them.
  • There is more interest in individual growth than being in a relationship. But, paradoxically, there is the feeling of needing to be in the relationship to continue with individual growth.
  • Because twin flames are mostly about encouraging each other to grow, there is frequently a degree of tension. This is to be expected when someone is being challenged. But being challenged is often the most rapid and best way to make changes.
  • You are both seeking to grow in a spiritual sense, to know your true spirit, your real self.
  • Twin flames relationships are very often on and off. There’s a great yearning for each other and yet due to the intensity of the relationship and the sharp growth curves, there is often a need to pull away too. There is frequently a lot of chasing each other as one is ready to commence the growth again, but the other may not be.
  • A twin flames relationship is unlikely to last a lifetime either or even any really significant amount of time. Once sufficient growth has been reached, the relationship will eventually end. Although that final parting can be painful – with both going through the five stages of grief – both twin flames know deep down it is how it has to be from now on.

As twin flames relationships are so intense, the break-up is usually just as intense. That’s when many people who have been in a twin flames relationship turn to professional therapy.

The relationship has set you in the right direction. It has helped you confront some major unresolved wounds.

Think of a twin flame as a spark, a crucial catalyst for vital changes that needed to be made. But many people know there is much more to look at and do healing work on.

Our experienced team of experts has treated people with all emotional issues and types of mental health problems. Call us today to discuss how we can help you or someone you care about.

David Hurst - Tikvah Lake Recovery

About David Hurst

David Hurst has four books published on mental health recovery, including 12 Steps To 1 Hero, The Anxiety Conversation and Words To Change Your Life. He has written for national newspapers and magazines around the world for 30 years including The Guardian, Psychologies, GQ, Esquire, Marie Claire and The Times. He has been in successful continual recovery since January 2002.

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