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Identity Origin Theory
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Post: #1
Identity Origin Theory
Hey there

It has most certainly been a while since I have come onto TG though I am glad to be back. I have been doing a lot of hard digging into my identity as of late and have been reflecting a lot on how I feel in the present as opposed to how I've felt in the past. This post is to serve as the theory of my identity that I have now formulated and is welcome to any feedback Smile

My identity stems as far back as early childhood as that is where I believe my identity begins. I was raised around a Labrador Retriever since infancy and have always shared a deep connection to that dog in specific as well as the breed in general. I would look up to my dog for how to act or behave at school, and would on the regular simulate behavior that the dog showcased such as eating / laying on the floor or being a socially outgoing person.

I regularly mimicked this dog's behavior to the point where it began reflecting in my own baseline personality, meaning that qualities of the breed's temperament began to show itself in my personality. I was very socially outgoing as a child, needed constant exercise (though I was also diagnosed ADHD), always had the urge to please people, developed a hard work ethic and showed an interest in the water. I also showcased friendly behavior towards strangers and my peers, something that is noteworthy in the Labrador's temperament as well.

It wasn't until a bit later in childhood, around 7-8 years old, did I begin getting bullied physically and verbally by people at my school for the way I behaved (keep in mind I was also acting like a dinosaur on the regular at recess, though I now know that this is because it was out of love for the species). People found me weird and different, so as a result I went through a lot of bullying. I believe that in this moment in my life I formed an unconscious coping identity as a Labrador Retriever to help cope with the bullying going on ontop of having already imprinted upon this pet dog.

This identity I believe myself to have showcases itself on a regular basis. I still very heavily relate to the personality and temperament of the Labrador Retriever (as well as the Golden Retriever) as well as the urges and instincts of them (the hard work ethic, the attraction to water, the urge to please). I believe that the other aspects of who I am today stem from the bullying as a child, as if I weren't bullied I don't believe I would have developed an anxiety disorder or be so reclusive from society as I am today. Don't get me wrong, I still have the instinct to be social and so forth though this is held back by the fear of being judged for who I am (an insecurity that stems from bullying as a child).

I am not claiming that ALL of my personality is entirely Labrador Retriever, but there are certainly major aspects of it that are Labrador like such as the hard work ethic, social tendency, attraction to water and urge to please. My anxiety, fear of judgement and so forth I see as archived into their own category of my personality that stems from bullying, just as I see the Labrador behavior archived into its own category as an identity if that makes sense.

Overall, I can definitely now say that if I weren't around my childhood dog I don't believe I'd be the person who I am today, thus why I am questioning the identity heavily. I still feel such an intense euphoric sense around Labradors and a sense of finally fitting in around them, and that they understand me at my core being. I am still open to the idea of this not being a theriotype, though as of now I do believe it to be a theriotype.

Thoughts?
2020-02-22 11:43
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Tdae
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Post: #2
RE: Identity Origin Theory
The unconscious mind is marvelously creative and adaptive. The creative unconscious mind can do things most people wouldn't even believe are possible, in order to help the child cope with pain and fear. The development of an alternate or non-standard identity is one possibility. The mind can become compartmentalized to keep the painful stuff separate from your normal self. If you feel the bullying contributed to your identity, you are probably correct. How did/does it help you to identity yourself as a lab dog? Does it help you to be social and friendly in spite of the bullies? Or something else?

We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness. -Thich Nhat Hanh
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2020-02-22 14:25
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Post: #3
RE: Identity Origin Theory

(2020-02-22 14:25)Tdae Wrote:  The unconscious mind is marvelously creative and adaptive. The creative unconscious mind can do things most people wouldn't even believe are possible, in order to help the child cope with pain and fear. The development of an alternate or non-standard identity is one possibility. The mind can become compartmentalized to keep the painful stuff separate from your normal self. If you feel the bullying contributed to your identity, you are probably correct. How did/does it help you to identity yourself as a lab dog? Does it help you to be social and friendly in spite of the bullies? Or something else?


Thanks so much for the reply!

I definitely believe that since I spent so much time around and looked up to my dog for how to behave that the general demeanor of the breed rubbed off on myself in the process of such. I believe that it has given me the tendencies to be social despite the very clear other parts of myself clashing against this telling me to avoid talking to people so that I can protect myself in some shape or form.

What I am still wary of with this questioning identity is if it may be kith or not. I have an intense connection to the Labrador breed but I do not get the euphoric sense of "aha this is why I act the way I do" around them, which leads me to believe that maybe it might not be a theriotype after all. I definitely feel that they understand me on a level that humans don't, they do feel very akin to me, but I don't feel a sense of relief of "oh thank god this is me". Would that mean it could possibly still be a theriotype or just a kithtype?

2020-02-22 15:22
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Post: #4
RE: Identity Origin Theory
Hey there! Hello

My experience is not so dissimilar to yours.

As you can see, in comparing both of us, the feelings of deep connection, familiarity, kinship we felt with dogs seems to predate any abuse or trauma we went through later on in life so to me, coping mechanism doesn't quite make sense.

One thing that does make sense on the topic of being mistreated is that domestic dogs are typically very quick to move on from hurt feelings. We are less prone, in general, to hold onto the fearfulness that is typical of our wild counterparts. Of course, this places us at a strong advantage when it comes to surmounting things like anxiety and social reservation.

Granted, the extent and duration of mistreatment we've endured may have some impact on how long it takes us to overcome these things, as does "who" we are trying to overcome them for/with.

Dogs are extremely resilient, adaptive creatures who rise to challenge instead of run from it. We are stalwarts who do not give up. We are born to love, to serve and to assist.

It's no method of coping, it's what makes us dogs. Wink

Lyc

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2020-02-22 16:20
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Post: #5
RE: Identity Origin Theory
I agree that the coping mechanism theory isn't an explanation for all of us. I also have been having therianthropic experiences as far back as my memories go before any sort of trauma. I also was bullied a lot as a kid for acting more like my theriotype and developing social anxiety because of that. I know how difficult that is, and I am truly sorry you had to go through that and everything that comes with it.

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2020-02-22 17:21
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Tdae
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Post: #6
RE: Identity Origin Theory
Great answer @LycanTheory, @little wolf

I cringe a little at the terminology of "coping mechanism." A coping mechanism implies a conscious choice, but what I'm talking about is unconscious and far more profound than a coping mechanism. I think there is some innate tendency, like "predisposition X," or even a constellation of predispositions that are cultivated by environment. When people think about trauma, they think about what would be traumatic to an adult human. But what would be traumatic to a child or animal, that is quite different. I would speculate that living among humans could be traumatic in itself to some people because of the unnatural human behavior.

We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness. -Thich Nhat Hanh
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(This post was last modified: 2020-02-22 22:04 by Tdae.)
2020-02-22 18:17
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Post: #7
RE: Identity Origin Theory

(2020-02-22 16:20)LycanTheory Wrote:  Hey there! Hello

My experience is not so dissimilar to yours.

As you can see, in comparing both of us, the feelings of deep connection, familiarity, kinship we felt with dogs seems to predate any abuse or trauma we went through later on in life so to me, coping mechanism doesn't quite make sense.

One thing that does make sense on the topic of being mistreated is that domestic dogs are typically very quick to move on from hurt feelings. We are less prone, in general, to hold onto the fearfulness that is typical of our wild counterparts. Of course, this places us at a strong advantage when it comes to surmounting things like anxiety and social reservation.

Granted, the extent and duration of mistreatment we've endured may have some impact on how long it takes us to overcome these things, as does "who" we are trying to overcome them for/with.

Dogs are extremely resilient, adaptive creatures who rise to challenge instead of run from it. We are stalwarts who do not give up. We are born to love, to serve and to assist.

It's no method of coping, it's what makes us dogs. Wink

Lyc


Thank you so much for the reply Smile

I just read over the post you linked (which were your experiences) and I have to say that I can relate to them on some parts.

I especially relate the most to having a canine companion that feels irreplaceable and the intense bond shared between the two of them. That sort of bond was something I shared with my pet dog as a child and still look for in a canine to this day, but have yet to find. I felt that we both shared a similar thought process and that I could literally speak to animals. I even proclaimed this to my parents multiple times.

I too can remember not understanding the peers around me (and still do) or their motives in this world. At times it feels I am here to observe the human race from afar or to assist them, but to never actually be a part of them. I am only as connected as I am now to society as I know I have to weave in.

Where our experiences diverge is primarily the sense of feeling animalistic. I have felt at times that there is an animal inside myself that is chained due to society's expectations, and that I can never truly be myself or express myself. It feels like I have a muzzle at times over my snout restraining me, the beholder of that chain being once again society.

I feel entirely trapped by the standards society has set and, in an effort to alleviate this, have tried my best to weave into society by suppressing all behaviors I exhibited as a child. Truthfully this was to protect myself, but I wish I never did this.

I'm curious as to how exactly you pinpointed your experiences to be dog instead of wolf. What made you determine that it was more dog like than wolf like?

2020-02-22 20:35
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