Extreme Envy
Dr. Phil talks to a woman says her sister looks better and has a better body -- and they're twins!
"I'm really jealous of my twin sister and it's getting out of hand," says Missy. "I feel she was given the lucky gene and I was given the short end of the stick. I'm jealous that she gets better grades than me. I'm jealous that she's smaller than me even though I exercise more than she does. I'm jealous that she has more friends than I do. When we go to parties, people think that she looks prettier. I
hate it. Whenever I have a friend, Cammy likes to barge in and they end up liking her better."

Cammy says they don't talk about the problem, but it's no secret. "Missy's been jealous of me all her life," she says. "She's jealous of the fact that I eat what I want and don't gain weight ... I'm outgoing, happy-go-lucky. Missy is shy and pessimistic."

Missy fears that envy will consume her. Turning to Dr. Phil, she says, "My jealousy of my twin sister makes me angry and depressed. How can I get over this jealousy?"Dr. Phil tells Missy that she's choosing to react to Cammy in anger. "Tell me why you're choosing this particular way," he says.

"I want to be happy for Cammy when something good happens to her. I try to tell her that, but it just ends up with me being mad or me starting to cry," Missy explains. "Then she gets mad because she doesn't think I'm happy for her or I'm frustrated with her or I don't like her, and that's not the case."

When Dr. Phil questions if Missy can be happy for her twin, she replies, "Honestly, no. We have four classes together this semester and it seems that she keeps getting better grades than I. I'm never happy. I usually get frustrated ... I'm so mad because I feel like I studied more and she didn't study at all, and I just don't feel like it's fair."

"Does this bug you?" Dr. Phil asks Cammy.

"It bothers me that she can't be happy for the things that she has instead of always comparing herself to me and trying to live up to me," she says. "In reality, she doesn't have to live up to me; she has to live up to herself and meet her standards."
"Have you ever thought about measuring yourself against your own standards instead of somebody else's?" Dr. Phil asks.

Missy says it's hard because she and Cammy are inseparable. "We work together. We share a dorm room together. We have some of the same friends. It's hard not to always see her and try to compare myself," she explains.

Dr. Phil is unconvinced. "If that's not working for you, why do you do it?" he questions. "Why don't you go to different schools? Why don't you get independent friends? Why don't you pursue your own independent interests instead of going in tandem?"

"It's a twin thing just because I'm really close to her. I don't want to leave her because she's my best friend," Missy answers. "At the same time, I think it would be good for us to separate because I am so jealous of her."
Dr. Phil notes that Missy is taking her anger to the extreme. "She could sprain her ankle and you would be mad, right?" he teases. "There would be some way you would find to be offended about that."

Missy agrees, adding, "She had to have braces and I didn't. It made me jealous because my mom and dad spent more money on her and it hurt my feelings. I feel like they liked her better."

Missy's issues are not really about her sister. Dr. Phil tells her, "I truly believe she has become a very convenient scapegoat for you, a very convenient excuse for you, a very convenient dumping ground for you to complain about what you haven't created in your own life."
"If you want more in your life, require more of yourself," Dr. Phil tells Missy. "Want it because you want it, not because she has it."

He encourages the twins to create breathing room by taking different classes, going to different schools or at least getting new roommates. "Have some separateness, where you develop your own identity," Dr. Phil urges. "Does that mean she won't still be your twin and you won't be close? No. But it means that you might learn, 'I've got some gifts. I've got some skills. I've got some abilities. These people like me for me, not because I'm her sister.' You are an intelligent, articulate, capable young woman. But instead, you're focused on comparing. You haven't accepted yourself, and you haven't identified yourself in this world as an individual. You see yourself as her sister. As long as you do that, you'll never be who you are."