(DISCLAIMER: I am by no means an expert in social psychology or communications. This is based off of personal experience, as well as gathered other experiences over the years as a Therian and being communicative about it. Please understand that everyone's experience is different, and my advice or words might not work for you. If you have any questions, please ask me! I would love to help you out if you need it. :3 I AM ALWAYS UPDATING THIS ESSAY.)
my discovery of Therianthropy and understanding what this meant to me, it opened up new doors and clearing pathways in the woods of my mind. I was overwhelmed with excitement. Everything I experienced as a child up until adulthood was explained suddenly with a burst of information that I couldn't have ever known beforehand.
I admit, the shifting? That happened. A lot. Involuntary shifting was common and frustrating -- even brought on anxiety! With this new information, I felt like I needed to tell someone.
With that came a lot of consequences that I want to share my experiences about, and talk a little about how you may approach -- if you choose to -- others who may or may not understand your new discovery.
In this Essay, we will discuss the importance of communicating and where, who, and when it's appropriate to discuss this very intimate part of your mind, soul, and heart.
SO WITHOUT FURTHER ADO....
okay here we go. Shh. Keep reading.
Making Sure You're Actually Ready:
So you've made up your mind:
to discuss this with someone in your life. Friends, family, coworker, partner, maybe a stranger? This is something that you feel strongly about, and to help cope, you have chosen to communicate. This is ingrained in the evolution of humans -- and that is normal (after all, you are in a human body. Despite what you feel in your mind and shifts, you are still physically human
, and most have been raised to human social norms).
There's an anxiety in not discussing your discoveries, and that can cause depression, angst, and a bunch of negative feelings for you.
MAKE SURE YOU ARE READY FOR THESE DISCUSSIONS
. Before you discuss these things with whomever you choose, please understand that there are a variety of different reactions you will receive
*expression of feelings
*true acceptance or
*true denial and separation
Not all people really do go through all of these reactions, some go straight to acceptance and some will instantly separate. These are the things you should prepare for SHOULD YOU CHOOSE TO COMMUNICATE. Just as you want acceptance, they will expect you to respect their choices as well.
It's not just a silly Lion King song anymore. It's readying your mind, body, and spirit for the inevitable: The questioning. The accusations. The guilt. Possibly, none of these things. Ask yourself these questions:
Are you SURE and COMFORTABLE about your Therianthropy?
For some, this can be simple fun and for others, a very, very serious way of life. DO YOUR RESEARCH ABOUT THERIANTHROPY
and make sure it's not something else (Examples; wanting to fit in, wanting to be special, just liking animals very much, feeling "kin" to these animals, or even stress making you feel more primal, but not entirely animalistic). Make sure that you will not flip flop about your discovery
. This can lead to ridicule and self-doubt.
Do you have Support?
In the times that others might ridicule, make sure you have a safe place to tuck into when things look bleak. This is very important before you come out to anyone about pretty much anything. (Let it be sexuality, gender, religion, or spirituality) It's important to stay positive and surround yourself with positivity.
Is it a safe place or time to discuss?
Try not to discuss your discoveries with your family, friends, or therapist without the correct setting. If you are suffering a loss in the family or your friend is dealing with a lot of personal issues at home or at school, perhaps discussing it then and there is not a good time. Make sure everyone is ready to listen to you. Your Therapist is also more likely to dismiss your discovery
if you have been suffering from troubles in school or home -- this is because they might only see it as a coping mechanism and not as a true discovery about yourself.
What are the moral/religious views your family or friends have?
Discussing something very spiritual and soul-bending can come as a shock to the ones you are telling and it might not end well when you fear religion will try to disprove or debunk your feelings. Some are not even religious and believe animals cannot and do not have souls or spirits to pass. You will most likely face ridicule and how you choose to handle this is up to you. Remember: Anger and disbelief is a very normal reaction to something not of the norm for your family or culture.
Remember that your self-worth is more important than opening up and being degraded for who you believe you are
. Choose who you come out to wisely.
Is this truly your decision?
Peer pressure can push us to do things we shouldn't be doing. Don't be pressured to do this if you feel the outcome will not come positively whether you want acceptance or not.
Dealing with Reactions
So you've told your friend, parent, therapist, a stranger, etc. This is where it can get tricky for both you and the person you have discussed your discoveries with. There are an array of emotions they can express at this moment. Remember the list of emotions I stated up there? The shock, denial, shock, expression of feelings, etc? Yeah, it's time to hold on to your holster full of information and get ready to aim when it comes to the questions (if you receive them).
You Will Become the Teacher:
Not a lot of parents, friends, or --surprisingly-- therapists know about Therianthropy, and you'll have to become the teacher. Remember:
Lashing out, name calling, rolling your eyes, stomping your foot, yelling, and door slamming isn't going to fix anything and not possibly bring them to accepting you and your beliefs. Even if their first response is to do all of these things, remain calm and mature about your feelings. Remember: the name calling usually isn't personal.
They are more than likely scared, confused, or freaked out. Human beings usually try to separate themselves from things that make them uncomfortable and weirded out. Sometimes that means doing an array of things which we will discuss below. You might not even get a chance to explain yourself. We will discuss how to bypass that (or at least try). Therapists will more than likely listen and what to know how you came to your conclusion -- though like said, some might shrug this off. Be vigilant and have info with you to share.
Give them time and space:
Sometimes its a lot to take in -- remember when you were learning about yourself and in all your research, you also probably felt confusion and frustration? They will more than likely do the same. This is when you can give them information. Printing out pamphlets or research papers on it -- or even some essays from therian-guide.com will help out.
Leave them on the table or in the living room for your parents who have more than likely chose to brush your beliefs off. Sometimes literature helps out. A LOT.
They will probably not want to speak to you about it, and that's their choice. Don't push the topic unless you really feel you need some feedback after something negatively has happened.
They might suggest counseling, therapy, or medication:
This is a toughie and very frightening for some. Some parents, partners, or friends want you to seek help because you feel like an animal and it has become part of your mind, body, and spirit, and religious families seem to find this harder to accept and seek out help from churches or even forcing you to seek help.
You can choose to do three things:
- Accept Help
- Deny help
- Request Unbiased Help
means you are comfortable with who they choose to pick for you, and perhaps something positive will come from their suggestion of help. This is helpful when they try to schedule you to an unbiased therapist or counselor. Some parents, partners, or friends prefer seeking church help. This can be positive or negative for you, depending on how comfortable you feel with your church or establishment of worship. Some choose to completely deny this help, or any help at all. Even if you are forced to go to therapy, make it very clear you choose to deny help from the therapist
and you might waste your parent's, friend's, partner's money.
That's up to you.
(Personally, I became the guinea pig of a bunch of therapists, and instead of trying to help me, they would try to trigger my shifts and ask me how I was feeling. This was also induced with depression medication or other said medications. Please be careful if you choose to open up to therapists.
They might blame themselves or other stimuli:
Sometimes, parents believe that the reason you might feel more spiritually, emotionally, and physically connected to your theriotype is because they believe you have not received enough attention, have many friends, or someone is forcing you to change your mind. They might blame a new friend or a new crowd you hang out with? Perhaps the movies or just...the "interwebs". and that's normal.
Your friends might think you have problems at home or something they are doing is making you feel kind of weird, or blame a break up or friendship trial that might have made you connect with therianthropy.
If none of these things actually have induced your therianthropy, then explaining why your friends and family are "not to blame" should be relatively painless. Tell them its been a welling thing inside of you for a while, and it has nothing to do with parenting or friendships. Sometimes it IS stress induced, and bringing up that it comes out when you are stressed happens, but its not the reason it has been part of your life is acceptable too. Just stay strong and keep your ideas straight and clear: It's just a part of who you are. It doesn't change your relationships with these people. Its just..part of your life!
Final Decisions, Reactions and Relapses
Understanding that there is a point where they have to really think about you and your beliefs. You've given them the education, information, and time and space they need to come to a decision about what they feel about you. There are different reactions for different people in your life. Remember that you need to respect their choices.
Relapsing in acceptance and unacceptance happens, and learning how to cope with that comes with time and patience.
NOTE: Some parents, friends, partners, and therapists will skip straight to these conclusions. If so, congrats!
Not all people reach this stage, but there IS understanding out there! Parents, friends, partners, and therapists with an open mind and acceptance usually come to this conclusion and will accept you with open arms. They will embrace your differences and allow you to live your life the way you want (Within reason). Remember to appreciate these times!
Middle of the Road:
There are times where your friends and family and even your therapist will hear what you are saying, and accept certain parts of your beliefs, but will not pursue this part of you any more. They will not push the idea and out of respect, you should do the same.
THE ONLY TIME
you should push is if you feel there is an unease and if you choose to live a certain way and it might affect them, communication is wise (examples; therian partner comes over, friends for discussion and Therian play, etc)
This kind of conclusion usually can end in relapse, complete denial or even acceptance
. Choose the way you tread.
Denial (including Separation):
This is the hardest to deal with. There are many out there that choose to deny your beliefs, and there are varying degrees of denial. Some people choose to deny whatever you believe, shrug it off, and move on. Some (mostly parents and family) will deny your belief and seek help for you, and some that deny you and choose to separate you from themselves or others.
- Denial- It can be scary. Family can keep you from other members or events. Friends can lose respect, partners can choose to not take you seriously, and therapists can chalk you up to being unhealthy in thought. Tread cautiously!!!
- Separation- This is why having a support system is very important. Separation can be dangerous, frightening, and depressing. Friendships can sever, partners can split, and families can choose to isolate you or even kick you out. You need to tread VERY carefully when you choose to approach your loved ones about this, or anything that could possibly harm your well-being.
It happens. Sometimes fully accepting loved ones and therapists can relapse and start coming at you with poisonous words and behavior. Please understand this can happen and learning different coping mechanisms is important. Seeking support groups or a safe place is very important.
Understanding is key, and seeking out the reasoning behind the relapse is important as well
. Please be careful! This can lead to constant warfare and spiral you into depression. This is very dangerous.
So maybe this has helped you! Maybe it hasn't. I understand each situation is different, and its up to you to decide whether or not you want to come forward about your theriananthropy. It's a very difficult time for a lot of us -- it can be just as confusing, frustrating and headache-inducing as sexuality or finding your gender, since it comes such a deep part of us. (DISCLAIMER: This is not to ever take away the struggles of those coming out sexually or gender-wise. Period. That is a battle as well!
I cannot and will not take responsibility for your choices coming out to friends and families, as well as therapists and the results it might bring you.
I will never advise others to come out or pressure them, because this is a personal and very intimate thing for many of us. The stigma behind Therianthropy is somewhat negative, and we are trying to build ourselves up with positivity.
Thank you, and if you have any questions or any more advice, I would be glad to answer you and edit this essay for others to read.
Have a brilliant day, my friends! Welcome to our family.
We accept you.