The reaction to subculture's in the sight of Kübler-Ross model

An essay that attempts to explain the social reaction to subculture's community using Kübler-Ross model (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance: DABDA).


The definition found in Wikipedia [1, 2] of the Kübler-Ross model is "a series of emotional stages experienced by survivors of an intimate's death, wherein the five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance."

Using that definition, we'll try explaining what and how expect social reaction to the info that you identified yourself with the otherkin, therianthrope, vampire, or animal hearted communities.

Stage -1: You don't exist.

This comes from the hypothesis of a "closed world" [3] (which is pretty egocentric): I know everything of this world, so, if I don't have knowledge that something exist, it doesn't exist and is automatically false - for that person you don't exist.

Stage 0: You're alive

This stage starts since the person knows you and creates an image of you into their mind. For that person, you're, now, alive.

Stage 0.99999999...: You die

Now you reveal something about you that changes significantly the image that they had of you into their mind. At this point you can compare your image with an ancient and rigid iron bar: will it bend or will it break? If you're a really lucky person, it'll "bend" and you'll jump to stage 5; but reading personal stories online, we conclude that the majority "breaks" (in other words, that image that they had of you into their mind just dies).

Stage 1: Denial of the changing

Usually followed by small laughs and a lost sight, they will try confirming with some sentence like: "You're just kidding with me, aren't you?". This is the sign that the image they had of you - and they do give some emotional value to it - is being destroyed. Everything they want to hear is you weren't talking seriously and the image can continue to exist. It's reversible at this point, but your image will have marks of that "prank" that you made him believe. If you insist in the idea that it's not a prank, your image will be destroyed in your listener's mind and it'll give space to the next stage.

Stage 2: Anger

This is when the person stops talking with you, looks mad at you, defames you with other people and attacks you. You becomes a target that should be eliminated. This is the point that many people just loses some ties of friendship. However, for some reason, the attacker sees that his anger won't make a huge change in your life that should bring you back the way you was; then the next stage begins.

Stage 3: Bargaining

In this stage, the person you are near to will try to bargain your old self back, will try making easier for him changing fewer aspects of you to match easier with the destroyed image that they had in their mind because they do still have some emotional value for them. This "fewer aspects" usually includes your self-identification with a subculture community (otherkin, therianthrope, vampire, and/or animal hearted communities) and the reasons that you have to self-identify better there than with the general "mainstream" society. After resisting to the "anger" stage, this may be easier to deal with. After concluding that you won't change back, comes the next stage.

Stage 4: Depression

They will feel partially responsible for not changing your head back where they thought it was. Maybe this comes to your friend's head: "My friend became nuts and I couldn't help him...". They accepted that you changed, but they don't accept in what you "became". This is the right moment to talk about things that they consider that "normal" talks about, but denying that you're member of the subculture you said may throw you back to the stage 1 (denial). With some time, they may accept the idea and go to the next, and last, stage.

Stage 5: Acceptance

At this point they accepted completely the idea that you're otherkin, therianthrope, vampire, and/or animal hearted. If they will continue your friends, or they will have a deeper friendship with you, or if the friendship will be ceased, nobody knows; but if you let your door open for them, they may return when they want - but this time, they will understand why you did some things in the past and why you were reluctant to give the answer.


Telling someone that you identify with a subculture can be a long and thorny pathway, but understanding what happens in the others' mind might help you while preparing yourself for their reaction within all their stages and correlated actions; and with these information, now, you might be prepared to opening yourself without having big traumas.

Bibliographic references:

  1. Kübler-Ross model - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  2. Modelo de Kübler-Ross – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre
  3. Prolog – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre