This essay is not intended to convince people that they should believe therians “aren’t born” or that even some of them seriously ‘become’ therians later in life. My aim is to help increase better respect for varying opinions and beliefs among therians, and to realize that one is fine to disagree with the very notion that someone can “become” a therian (regardless of how) rather than be born one. But that we should realize the facts are not set in our knowledge yet about many aspects of therianthropy–the beginning of therianthropy during a person’s life, being one of them. Further, this is about recognizing that there maybe people who develop therianthropy (become a therian) later on in life, at whatever point, but this does not mean I am providing evidence that any therians are such factually, just as I am not trying to factually refute the idea that any or most therians maybe ones born as such.
It’s our responsibility to realize when we are expressing information and observed (even if through anecdotes) parts of therianthropy or defining terms that need defining, and doing such for educational or helpful reasons. And in contrast, we need to realize when we are instead stating things that are beliefs and opinions about the experience or state of therianthropy in general, and using them to shun, shame, or “win over” people into our own particular views of what we believe the “facts” of therianthropy’s requirements are.
Many therians have expressed a more explanatory view of the born-as-a-therian hypothesis to describe why therians often express only noticing their therianthropy (as an experience and part of self) at a later point in life than early childhood (particularly adolescence). This explanation follows that the therianthropy is (1) “dormant” until a certain time in life for the individual, (2) active but to a lower level of self-perception (thus an occurrence of “awakening” to this part of oneself), or (3) that the therianthropy has the potential to develop (such as through a psychological means). These are fine explanations and I personally agree that each one of them likely occurs, though amongst what percentage of therians I will make no guess.
However, the flaw does not so much come into the hypotheses themselves, but instead comes in the form of how these hypotheses are often delivered to other therians, mainly those who make statements or inquiring questions about why s/he hasn’t recognized therianthropy being an active part of him/herself before that later point of realization, beyond early childhood. People are too often quick to silence these statements or inquiries with supposed ‘facts’ of how therianthropy is necessarily a state or occurrence beginning at or before the individual is physically born. This is also a response that is delivered normally by multiple people, to help support and further back up the information as factual necessity of the therianthropic state. Consequently resulting in further inquiring or statements regarding the notion of therianthropy developing and, essentially, coming into existence for an individual years after birth, being dropped and not further explored, at least in a public/near-public discussion format.
I, as well, have had difficulty up to this point in getting deeper discussion out of this subject through my few efforts of trying to carry the discussion much further beyond “therians are born, even if it only comes to the person’s attention much later in life”. Though I will admit, I am glad to have gotten the levels of discussion on this topic that I did, even if they weren’t as satisfying and in depth as I prefer. Yet the social taboo of the becoming-a-therian topic has remained blatantly obvious to me. Even if it’s not outright stated clearly, it is apparent that talking about the concept as one either believing it actually occurs or curiously exploring the possibility of if it may occur for some therians–this is sought to be silenced, particularly in a quick, and often group mannered, way. A lot of times, people are seemingly “corrected” on it near immediately.
The further problem of this lies in the reality that we don’t have the means (at least not even remotely at this time) to honestly and objectively find out that a therian, any therian, is factually born as such before or when they exit the human womb. How many therians can truthfully trace their therianthropy back to birth, specifically? However, I understand what the hypothesis is meant to denote: that many therians (whether the majority active at some point online or not) have described seemingly therianthropic experiences, behaviors, instincts, and so forth from so early of an age (such as 2 to 4 years old) that non-innate factors are rather unlikely to have caused the person to ‘become’ a therian starting then, rather than it being part of him/her from at or before birth. Yet, what of the numerous other therians who cannot find those such experiences and personal evidence that early back (or even within years more after those points) in their memories and accounts explained by other people in their lives then, as observers? I being one of those myself.
As documented in my “Upbringing, Imprintation, and Self-Development” essay, every time I look to my childhood to find evidence of my therianthropy then, prior to about 10-11 years old, I find nothing other than a pretty much typical childhood interest in animals (especially certain types), roleplaying as whatever type of animal (playing pretend), and such things. How would that be indicative of therianthropy for me? Simply put, it’s not. I hold the belief that my therianthropy is primarily, though maybe not necessarily entirely, caused by post-birth factors of a wide range. Thus I don’t rule out the possibility that I could completely be wrong about that, or more particularly, that there was some pre-birth factor that may have contributed to the increased potential for me becoming a therian nearly a decade after my birth. But, to me, potential for having therianthropy does not equal the actual state of therianthropy, dormant or otherwise.
Another alternative take on the concept of being “born” a therian is that for some it may not be from literal physical birth, but instead through the ‘birth’, per se, of one’s identity, self, and core personality. And this form of ‘birth’ generally occurs within the first few years or so of a person’s life. Such a core of self usually stays fairly the same throughout an individual’s life. However, it’s difficult to say exactly what is and is not part of that early “core self”, and there’s also the matter that people tend to change as individuals in personality, behaviors, etc. over the course of key parts of their development, and these changes may or may not influence one’s therianthropy. Life-changing experiences, whether traumatic or not, could possibly have some affect on whatever parts of oneself in which his/her therianthropy resides, or for some therians those areas may remain untouchable by those major experiences.
But can therianthropy actually develop later in childhood or some other time in one’s life besides early childhood, even after the ‘core self’ has been “born”? Personally, I believe it can, though the specific factors, experiences, and array of influences that would lead to such appear to place these situations in the minority amongst therians, however not limiting them to only being outside of the realm of therianthropy. One thing that should be kept in mind when dealing with the concept of people becoming therians is that the mind and self are more malleable in early life, even near or in adolescence, than we often like to think. Various factors, environmental (physical surroundings), social, totemic, interests, media (of numerous forms), and so forth could potentially play into affecting a person’s self and identity, particularly during key stages of mental, social, and body development, and therianthropy maybe something that in some cases results from these complex interactions of influences. This is, though, not to come as any type of refuting of spiritual, reincarnation, soul-based, or similar such explanations of therianthropy, which I believe have validity to them and maybe the cause for some people’s therianthropy.
On a somewhat similar note, I will briefly mention that the affects within a person’s life could also possibly lead to loss of his/her theriotype(s), either through losing his/her therianthropy entirely (which would likely result in or result from a notable change in his/her personality and self in some ways), or through the changing of a theriotype into a different animal, or in losing one or more theriotypes for someone who has multiple ones. This thus ties into the matter of the mind and self not being completely solid, unchanging things from the time of physical birth or even necessarily after early childhood.
Our lives, selves, and minds are not completely stagnant things over the course of decades of life, and as I mention in my essay noted earlier, why must therianthropy be excluded from that changing and development? Why is it that any person can never ‘become’ a therian? Even if what they experience correlates to therianthropy extensively but just lacks the “existent from birth” aspect (which is not a matter of proof itself any more than therianthropy is, but is personal opinion and perspective). Maybe in some ways the concept has the potential of opening up those horrible doors of “well, if a person can become a therian, then…” with the possibility of people jumping on it as an excuse to claim they are a therian without real reason behind the statement. People claim such anyway, yet I wonder if there is an implied atmosphere sometimes about what kind of bad issues could be released by “fluffies” and “roleplayers” if therianthropy was accepted as being valid sometimes through people becoming therians notably after birth (years and years later).
With it being each person’s decision as to whether they are a therian and what their theriotype(s) is/are, I believe it’s also up to individuals to figure out what explanations seem to ‘fit’ for them regarding the cause(s) of their therianthropy. It’s not right for people to say “you aren’t a therian because you weren’t born one” any more then it’s okay for people to say in general that a person certainly isn’t a therian, especially based off of information that correlates to therianthropy in many ways except some differences from ‘community standards’ about therianthropy (in this case, the initial time of therianthropic occurrence). Our understanding of therianthropy in a more generalized sense comes from individuals sharing their experiences, and without people saying things like “I wasn’t always a therian from physical birth” then the overall community’s understanding of therianthropy will tend toward being exclusive from such experiences and beliefs. The typical trend has been “I have always felt this way from as far back as I can remember” which became accepted widely as more than just a trend but as people trying to define it as a necessity of therianthropy. And if someone did not fit that aspect then they were often considered and encouraged to view themselves as not a therian, or for the person to change his/her opinion about not being born a therian. A person can sit here and say “yes, I have been a therian since birth” without evidence or reasoning for it with him/her feeling s/he didn’t manifest therianthropy during childhood, and yet they don’t have any more evidence for such then a person with similar feelings of his/her childhood who says “I believe I developed therianthropy later in my life”.
Other people have the right to believe someone’s therianthropy was there since or before birth if the individual believes it developed later, like others have the right to believe it’s a spiritual or a psychological thing even if the individual believes it has a different cause(s) than the other person/people. Yet I would like to see people being respectful to each other and not stating disagreements in opinions over the cause or time of occurrence of therianthropy as being factual without enough factual evidence. We don’t know for sure who is right and who is wrong, though we can speculate and debate about it, or believe someone else’s view isn’t correct. But until there is actually enough viable and substantial proof regarding the origins of therianthropy, we can’t claim much of that as factual, let alone to the point of excluding people of a different line of thought or opinion who have reason to believe they are also therians. And even if we did have such an extensive level of proof, that does not mean that exceptions to the ‘rule’ or trend couldn’t occur regarding the born vs. becoming a therian matter.
Also, in relation to those who would fret over what supposed damage could be done to the online therian community by opening up the doors of acceptance and respect regarding people who sincerely believe they ‘became’ a therian, just because of “roleplayers”, I have a response to that as well. Just because it may make separating ‘sincere’ therians from ‘roleplayer’ or ‘misled’ therians somewhat more difficult, that doesn’t mean that someone who does sound sincere and serious about their therianthropy but just lacks the “I was always [or born] one” belief should be thrown in with the people who are either outright lying about being a therian or are otherwise notably misled. In the community’s attempts to “keep out the fluffs and RPers” I’d prefer that we also not lose sight of sincere and serious experiences that would result in building up walls to keep out the liars and end up keeping out some other real and serious therians along with them (even if the latter aren’t but few being kept out). And the roleplayer types are usually pretty obvious anyway without it coming down to a single saying of “I became a therian” or “I wasn’t always a therian”–surely, at least I can hope, there would be much more reason to call someone on being a roleplayer than just that one aspect or type of statement, otherwise people probably shouldn’t be calling roleplayer on them.
Thus people should separate the serious ‘I became a therian’s from the roleplayer types in a similar way it should be done for people saying they have always been a therian–like I mentioned, if that’s all a person really needed to say in order to be “accepted as a real/serious therian” we’d have a rather difficult time separating RPers from serious ones (because all they’d have to do is throw in that line that they were born one). Yet that’s obviously not how we, in general, approach such matters and people. We should be taking the whole concept of “sincere therian or not?” on a case-by-case basis anyway, not relying on some “textbook example” of what a therian is or is not.
Therian elitism is something which I have noticed going on in the therian community for years. I use this term loosely, and don’t claim it to be a set term for the concept. However, I feel that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed, and it’s something which really bothers me.
How many of us have walked into a therian chat and regardless of whether or not we’ve been in the therian community for years – have been immediately shot down by people who treat us like we don’t fit into their “club,” or who degrade us for saying that we’re a therian in the first place? How many of us have been to a forum or website only to be shot down for our ideas? How many people who actually are new to therianthropy are pushed away from the community because they appear to be noobish?
Ladies and gentlemen, this needs to stop. We need to start being a bit more careful how we treat others, and we need to stop acting as if therianthropy is a clique or high-school club that people have to fit into and follow the trends to be a part of.
I completely understand that there are a certain number of people who misunderstand that therians are real, and think that it’s just one big roleplaying game. To all of us, that kind of thing can be very frustrating, especially if we run into it a lot. But what I’ve found in general is that people like that are quite obvious, and that they make it quite clear right away that they aren’t serious about the topic of therianthropy. So, why the suspicion upon meeting members we perceive to be new to the therianthropy community? Ignorance speaks for itself.
Honestly, no one should feel they have to “prove” anything to anyone. Beyond the stereotypical roleplayer who doesn’t take therianthropy seriously, why do the rest of us have to “prove” that we’re therian? The last time I checked, therianthropy was something which could not be proven. You cannot prove that you’re an animal spirit, that you were a certain creature in a past life, or that you have a connection to a certain animal. That is something that comes from self-exploration, from looking into yourself. What person can look into yourself but yourself? No one can. Therefore, it’s not possible to prove yourself to anyone, and the people who seem to think it is necessary are highly mistaken, for they don’t seem to realize that no one can prove that they are or aren’t therian. Likewise, without divulging personal information, how can you “prove” something over the internet, anyway? Should you give out your name, age and personal information to prove something? No, you should not give any information that you don’t feel comfortable giving. That is your right.
While noobish talk and bad grammar and spelling are things which drive me completely bonkers, we often treat possible new therians or those who are exploring themselves or interested in the topic, as if they are dumb. Yes, we’ve seen some of these things over and over. Yes, rules are often in place to ensure that people at least do their best and try to write legibly. But why are a new person’s questions often treated with disrespect? Regardless of whether we have answered the same questions time and time again, we should continue to answer them. How many people are we driving away and confusing because we refuse to take them seriously? Though those questions might seem a little beginner-ish to a seasoned therian, that is one reason why we seasoned therians are in the community – to help others in knowing themselves by sharing what we know or have found out through experience.
Now, I will address assumptions. Just because you may not have met someone yet – that does not automatically mean that the new person you are meeting is new to therianthropy, or that you should walk all over them. They are not there to be talked down to or disrespected. They are not to be treated as if they don’t fit into your “club.” They are simply someone you don’t know, and quite frankly, you learn far more if you keep your mind open and don’t assume things about this person of whom you have never met up until now. Likewise, you should never expect such a person to try to fit into your “pack,” or treat them disrespectfully until they prove themselves to you. You are not some all-powerful being that we all need to prove ourselves to.
Therianthropy is not a clique. It is not a club. It is not something you should have to “fit into.” The opinions on the definitions of therianthropy are quite varied, but I’m pretty sure that “the club that the cool people who feel they are animals fit into” is not one of the accepted definitions. Generally, a therian is described as someone who feels they are somehow a non-human animal on the inside, or that a part of them is a non-human animal – in addition to being human.
It is not our place to tell people that they are or are not therian. It’s not our place to treat someone poorly until they prove they are cool enough for our club. It’s not our place to tell people who they have to be to fit in. It’s our place to educate people, to help possible therians discover themselves. Of course, you do not have to do this – no one does – but if you can’t say something productive or helpful, then please, you are free to not say anything.
Another thing – you, as a therian, are not superior to any non-therian out there. Being an animal spirit or whatever you consider therianthropy to be does not mean that you are better than anyone else. Insulting another person, whether therian or not, by acting like they aren’t therian and therefore aren’t someone worth treating with respect is wrong. In life, I have met good and bad non-therians. Some are complete jerks, but some are really great people that are worth knowing. Likewise, I have known therians who are great people, as well as therians who act like jerks. Generally, in most walks of life and in most groupings of people, there are those who are good people as well as those who aren’t. Therianthropy is no exception, and being therian does not give anyone license to act as if they are superior to anyone else. Do something productive with what you know. Don’t just use it as an excuse to think you’re better than anyone. Chances are that if you think you’re better than people, you’re not.[Top]
Table of ContentsI. Introduction
II. Physical Solutions
b. Pet Toys
c. Specialized Therianthropic Activity
III. Mental Solutions
IV. Emotional Solutions
b. Emotion Management
V. When things go wrong…
a. Back-up Plans
Many therianthropes experience problems, whether these start early on or begin to surface during the awakening. Newly awakened therianthropes may find that they are overwhelmed with new challenges and ordinarily, you would not be taught what you need to know to get the situation under control. You may be told off, punished, and even make some enemies before you learn the hard way.
Here, you will be presented with many options as to how to contain and conceal your therianthropy. You will also be counseled in emotional matters, as these can tend to exacerbate things.
I. Physical Solutions
An excess of energy can contribute to behavioural issues, but a lack thereof can have the same effect. This is one example of why therianthropy can be such a difficult condition to manage; it is different for everyone, and any advice given may or may not work depending on the individual.
It is not certain who will need more energy and who will need less, but it is possible a therianthrope’s theriotype plays into it. If your theriotype is a border collie, you are far more likely to need rigorous daily exercise, and especially an activity similar to herding, if your are having difficulties trying to control your herding instinct.
Take a good look at your daily regime, and how it affects your theriotypical behaviour. Are you more likely to ‘act out’ when you have more energy, or less?
Exercise is not just a must for therianthropes, as I’m sure you’ve heard. It is an important means of maintaining your all-around well-being. The recommendations for weekly exercise vary depending on who’s giving the advice; you’ll hear 30 minutes of brisk activity every day, an hour for five days a week, and a set amount of time each week, regardless of how you allocate it. You’ll need to do your own research and decide what best fits you. Provided you heed the necessary safety precautions and guidelines, any form of regular exercise is better than none at all.
It can be difficult to keep up any routine, and you’ll likely find yourself getting lazy about it after even as many as a few days. Before you decide that you just need to keep trying at it, first consider whether or not the routine is even working for you. If you’ve got social anxiety issues, for example, you shouldn’t set yourself up for failure by committing to work out at the gym every day. Work out a plan you’re comfortable with. Aim to make it enjoyable, but at the very least, it should not put a bad taste in your mouth.
b. Pet Toys
Not everyone lives out in the country. Some may not even have access to a safe place to, as they say, ‘unleash the beast within’. This can be very worrisome, as any therianthrope will be quick to inform you that suppression of your theriotype will only make matters worse. However, there are alternatives to these retreats.
If you are like most therianthropes, your theriotype is of either the canine or feline variety. This opens you up to what is called ‘environment enrichment’. Even as a member of the genus panthera, you might find that you enjoy playing with cat toys. In the smaller felines, these toys are meant to simulate real hunting activities and get rid of excess energy. After a kill, a domestic cat will often play with it’s food before eating it or bringing it home to present as a gift.
This indoor exercise has health benefits as well. Playing with pet toys can help relieve anxiety, frustration, stress, and boredom. Playing with the right toy for you on a routine basis will induce the shifts necessary to help eliminate inappropriate behaviour.
How do you know if a toy is right for you? You will need to experiment a bit. A good bet when buying your first toy is to consider your natural prey or your predatorial instincts. If you are triggered by movement, any toy which will make enough of this is a good choice, such as a ball or a mouse toy with a long tail. It is also important to have a variety of toys available; you will inevitably get bored of the same few toys.
Accompanying the health benefits of pet toys are numerous health hazards. That rawhide chew may smell enticing, but it is drenched in chemicals, including ash-lye, bleach, and lime. This is just one example of what’s out there; it is a fact that there are currently no safety regulations on pet toys. Do your research before buying any pet toy or treat.
c. Specialized Therianthropic Activity
Along with getting regular exercise, it is important that you find an outlet for your natural behaviours. If you cannot get to a park or trail nearby and shift with any privacy, you might consider looking for an activity that closely mirrors one of your theriotype’s own.
For instance, a casual game of Frisbee can be had amongst friends whilst at the same time working out that urge to chase and retrieve. For therianthropes of the feline persuasion, rock climbing will almost surely satisfy any lateral appetite. These types of hobbies can also reward the committed therianthrope with new friends and improved fitness.
There is one hidden danger, however. It can be all too easy for a hobby to become a shift trigger. If you are unsure of your control, it may be best to refrain from these public activities for the time being, or to participate with trusted friends or family who know of your condition.
III. Mental Solutions
This is a technique designed to snap you out of your animal mindset with an activity or object that is distinctly human. What you choose is up to you; in order for it to work, it must be something personal. Following are a few examples to demonstrate my point.
Let’s say you enjoy doing something, a hobby… and that hobby makes you feel very human. Perhaps that’s because it activates a part of the brain that is human, or that humans are more dependent on. You could carry with you an object that reminds you of that hobby. If it’s drawing, a pencil; if’s reading, a bookmark, or possibly even something to read. Ideally, you would bring that hobby with you so you could fully engage in it when problems come up, but that may not be possible.
If your capacity for language is not typically compromised during a shift, you might create a mantra for yourself. A mantra is, at its most basic, simply a set of words. It might be used in meditation as something to direct the focus, or it can be something of an affirmation. The former definition applies more to our situation, in this case.
But how could a mantra ‘unshift’ a person in this way? You’ll need to prepare the mantra ahead of time. Choose words that make you feel especially human, and then practice them in a safe environment.
You may find that simply giving yourself a difficult problem to solve is distracting enough, and this is a very portable solution. You can choose any sort of problem, from math to philosophy… whatever gets the gears in your brain turning so that you are completely absorbed in finding the answer.
If you plan to go this route, write down a few problems on some slips of paper, and carry them with you at all times. Don’t rely on yourself to figure something out when you’re in the middle of an intense mental shift. When you start to feel yourself shift, just excuse yourself…manners matter, after all… and take out a problem to work on.
One of the most obvious solutions to our problems is simply to not put ourselves in a vulnerable position to begin with.
First off, if you feel an untimely shift coming on, consider your options. Can you get to a less public place until the shift subsides? If you are en route to a friend’s house, do you have some time you can kill before arriving? Depending on the intensity of the shift, you may even want to cancel that trip to the grocery store. Letting slip some animalistic behaviour around strangers can be even more awkward than if done around friends.
Some therianthropes experience ‘triggers’. Examine your own shifts closely… is there any close correlation between them and a certain object or event? If this is the case, then you will want to try to avoid that in public settings, and eliminate it altogether where possible. Your work environment is one place where you wouldn’t want a shift to be triggered, for example.
One of the most important things you can do to get control over your actions is to truly want to make a change. Newly awakened therianthropes can tend to glamorize their condition due to what they see on TV. They believe that they are now special and mysterious, and for a while, it may take over their lives. They want everyone to know how interesting they are, so they do little to control their slip-ups, being genuinely under the impression that these slip-ups will make them seem ‘cool’.
Here is the reality of the situation. When you bark, hiss, or growl at someone, you look ridiculous. No one is going to be intrigued or impressed by your outbursts. What they will think is that you are a freak, are mentally unstable, and need to be avoided.
When you growl at a family member, how do you think they feel? Did you ever stop to consider this? It’s vital that you do. Knowing why you’re putting so much effort into these techniques will be key in getting things under control. The truth is that when you growl at someone close to you, it upsets them.
Even something seemingly benign could put your friends and family in a lot of discomfort. If you haven’t explained therianthropy to them, then they are going to be confused and alienated by your actions. It might feel better to you to just let the animal out at any time, but you have to consider the impact this has on those around you.
To treat the symptom of any issue, it is ideal to treat the root cause. Many problems associated with control are reflexive. They originate from our own human reflexes, but become influenced by our theriotype. For example, a rattlesnake therianthrope would easily find themselves hissing when startled. A therianthrope cannot simply choose not to respond to frightening stimuli; they, like any other human being, are subject to some basic instincts that have been perfected over the course of human history. However, with work, the repertoire of human reflexes can be improved upon.
Martial arts are one instance of an activity in which reflexes are honed in tandem with various moves. However, there are other practices which include re-wiring functions and mastery of the self. Of particular use to therianthropes are those which are both highly physical and require fast response times. Through long-term training in these areas, it is possible to gradually improve the amount of control had over therianthropic reflexes.
IV. Emotional Solutions
There is a subtle distinction between species dysphoria and species dysmorphia which is worth noting for our purposes. Species dysphoria is depression and discontent associated with having been assigned the wrong species. Species dysmorphia has specifically to do with possessing the wrong body. There are many ways to deal with both.
For starters, if you have not done so already, becoming a regular on one of many online therianthropy support forums can be an immense help. Here, you will find countless others who share in your struggles and can even offer solutions and advice. Many other therianthropes experience species dysphoria to varying degrees and will be able to tell you how they have learned to cope with it.
Activities such as those listed in chapter I can be effective, if temporary, cures for species dysphoria. The closer you can match your lifestyle with that of your theriotype… in a safe and healthy manner, of course… the better it will be for your feelings of misplaced identity. Career, home, diet… all these aspects of lifestyle and more will be factors in this change.
For instance, as a hawk, you may find you have an appreciation for park management, particularly watching for forest fires from up high in a ranger tower. As a squirrel, you may want to find a way of collecting and preserving foods, as your species would do in the wild in preparation for winter.
As for species dysmorphia, keep in mind that the human body is capable of a great many things. It may not be able to grow or shrink in size, sprout fur, or fly, but with the proper training, tools and mindset, there is little else it can’t do.
If your theriotype is an acrobat, why not look into Parkour? At the least, you will learn how to land properly; at the most, you will scale tall walls, vault over large obstacles, and so much more. Parkour teaches you how to use your body; master it, and you will win a much greater sense of physical freedom.
But there are other less extreme ways to ease dysmorphia. If you feel vulnerable with your lack of claws and fangs, taking up self-defense is a wise course of action. Theriotypes fleet of foot can train athletically to sprint; wolves and other such animals that wear down their prey over long distances will want to know more about long-distance running.
These are just a few of the ways with which to treat species dysphoria and dysmorphia. The only limit is your own creativity.
b. Emotion Management
It is not uncommon to hear of triggers involving emotions. Sometimes, it’s easier to communicate our feelings in the way that feels natural to us, especially those involving fear and anger. This is particularly the case where such feelings are put to the wayside, neglected, and regarded as ‘bad’. Your emotions will always struggle to find an outlet, whether that be your dreams or your shifts.
This is why it is important to find an emotion management plan that works for you. If you are suffering from depression, this is especially important. Pharmaceutical drugs are not a permanent solution. You will need to learn to work with you emotions, instead of against them, as you have likely been conditioned to do.
Maybe the answer is to find a more appropriate outlet for your emotions. Both exercise and video games, whilst they are nearly opposites, have proven to be suitable, but you will need to find the outlet that works best for you.
On the other hand, there’s little that works better than confronting your emotions directly and working through them to get at the root of the problem. Always remember that there is no such thing as a bad emotion, only a bad action. If you are experiencing an emotion, then it is there for a reason. Why else would we have evolved with them?
A common trigger for sudden therianthropic outbursts, and indeed, any outburst in general, is stress. The word itself means applying pressure to an object, testing its breaking point. For the ordinary human, sudden outbursts related to stress will appear normal, for the most part, unless the build up results in an emotional breakdown, which can cause a scene. But these, too, differ from our own reactions.
In cats, there is something called ‘redirected aggression’. The cat may see a trespassing tomcat out the window, but be unable to do anything about it, trapped inside. He then violently turns on his owner.
What did she do? Nothing. But all that aggression had to go somewhere. It is the same with stress-induced shifts. Stress causes a person to tense up physically, mentally, and emotionally. They are stiff and taut, ready for the fight they would have encountered in days long past where the fight, flight or freeze response developed. Their brain is in overdrive, possibly overworked, but going a mile a minute and ready for the next challenge. Emotionally, they’re a wreck. A state of prolonged stress isn’t what nature had in mind.
So naturally, a fairly stressed-out therianthrope is easy to set off, just as it would be with anyone. The difference is, of course, that a therianthrope with undeveloped control over their behaviours will likely react to the perceived aggressor in an animal fashion.
Luckily, in this fast-paced world of ours, there is no shortage of books out there on stress management. Plenty are available at the library, but if you find one that is especially helpful, a purchase could be a wise investment not only for the sake of self-control, but for lifelong health and emotional wellness.
V. When things go wrong…
a. Back-up Plans
Some tracks cannot be covered once they’ve been made. If you have ever made any strange vocalizations, sprayed a section of carpet, or otherwise exhibited behaviour that was unmistakably animalistic, then you know that it cannot simply be brushed off.
However, there are less obvious mistakes that can be made to look more appropriate. For example, you might take up photography if you are especially prone to running after the local wildlife. Carrying your camera with you wherever you go, you will henceforth be known as ‘the guy with the camera’ to the general public. Your behaviour may be a little odd to others still, but they will now have a suitable explanation for it.
Therianthropes inevitably ponder the question of ‘coming out’ to friends and family members at one time or another. This group comprises some of the most important people in your life, and there is bound to be some pain and confusion if there is no explanation for your strange behaviour.
But the necessity of a confession must be weighed carefully against the consequences. There is a good chance that your friends and family will not accept what you have to say. They may even find cause for concern in your words.
It is not recommended that you tell anyone of your therianthropy until they know you and are very comfortable around you. This will provide some basis for understanding, should you decide that an explanation is in order.
Our friends can be essential supports in our lives, or shadows that come and go. One man’s friend is another’s acquaintance. It is not unreasonable to expect some level of acceptance from your friends, but this is a two-way street. You must also accept that they may be very uncomfortable at first, and may even be hostile. There is no ‘right’ way to tell another that you are a therianthrope. Whether you say you have the soul of an animal, you feel like you are an animal, or simply that you are an animal, each sounds equally ridiculous, when you take the time to think about it.
The standard rules for any sort of ‘coming out’ confession also apply here. Practice what you are going to say, and give your friends and family time to adjust. Make certain you are effectively communicating what you want to say and give them plenty of time to ask questions, as they will inevitably have many for you. Be ready to answer these questions as well.
After a long hiatus, server, and DNS problems, we live. We’re currently in a functional if disorganized state.
There are some changes and important notices to be made aware of. First, the most obvious is that the current layout is not what it used to be. This will change in the near future, to make things more easily navigable.
In the meantime, our three categories remain the same:
The second most obvious change is that every article I have posted was written or added no later than 2013 (the last capture taken by the Internet Archive’s wayback machine). If something is missing (or if you’d like to add something new) please email me (Aethyriek) at werelibrary[at]gmail.com. (Currently known to be missing.)
Finally, probably the most important thing at the present moment is that our URL has been changed from .org to .net. So we’re now Project-Shift.net.
The old URL did (and might still have) pornography parked on it. I did get an email asking if I’d like to buy it back for a very large sum of money.
I’d also like to move our ‘development community’ resource from Livejournal to elsewhere. Perhaps even on site so that things can be discussed, but without building a true forum. If you have ideas about that or what might be most comfortable, let me know. We’re using WordPress as our content management system.
Thanks everyone. If you have any questions shoot them off to Werelibrary’s email, since I’ll be checking that more frequently than others. This is a community project, after all.[Top]