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Questioning if I am otherkin or just other-hearted?


I'm curious if anyone has advice on how to "figure out" if one is otherkin, or just other-hearted.

I have been quietly debating on if I identify "as" or "with" certain animals/families of animals for awhile (honestly maybe since I was a preteen). Sometimes I feel like I "identify as" these things but am reluctant to do that, for whatever reason, and so I am forcing myself to just consider it "identifying with" them, if that makes any sense.

I also think being autistic makes this difficult for me, because I can often easily doubt if I'm just pondering these things because of my autism and my inability to relate with other people, though that could also just be a subconscious excuse to not dig into it further.

I don't really know what I can do to properly "question" myself because whenever I try to do that I seem to just go in circles. I also don't have anyone I can talk to about this and who can question me in my personal life since they don't believe in this stuff, though my friend does know I'm on here to "learn more about it".


Machairodont Felid
+Primal Member
Golden Shield
This is a wonderful question and the process of thought is well established here, @Koa. It is superb that it has been brought up.

To answer the question itself, there are three major concepts at work here, two of which are what one is, one of which one is with. In the case of the most obvious, the "otherkin" experience is best thought of as an internalized, individual expression of self that is wholly and completed derived from an internal perspective. It is a knowing experience wherein one expresses not just that they feel they are that thing, rather that thing and they are one in the same; that they are identical and uniform, that the sensation of humanity is foreign, distant, removed, estranged, secondary. This, unlike a "coping link", which I will address next, is a powerful sense of certainty that is part of the core identity, the true self. If one sincerely, and I do mean sincerely, questions themselves to the core, would one actually believe they are that thing? Is it believed because it is known? Believed because it is?

One does not really "identify as" otherkin, allow me to emphasize, because that implies a sense of choice. One cannot choose what they are and this form of "otherness" would be as intrinsic to the individual as say, eye color. There is not "fronting" being this thing, it simply is part of the being themselves.

A "coping link" is virtually identical to what is found in otherkin except that it has an incredibly important distinction; it is an external draw, an attraction, an affinity for and with, which is established with something else and bonded to. It is an identity and aspiration held up, it is something desired and chased after, not internally, rather externally then transformed into an internal ideal. A "coping link" could be seen as the idol one wishes to reshape themselves into and aspire to be.

Why this matters in the case of "other-heart" or "heartedness" is because this is a further step removed. It is an external affiliation and admiration, a sense of unity with, that is external. It is not internal and it is not internalized, as each prior is established to be, otherkin and coping links respectively, rather the determining factor is a sense of unity and oneness on the outside of the psyche. A sense of together, whole familiarity, is what distinguishes this type from the others; one is not only not them, they are not aspiring to be them, rather they appreciate them on the deepest level possible.

It should also be said a "heart-type" should be understood as the former word implies, very strongly at that. The deepest, most sincere of heartfelt connections and affinities for something, a relationship and cycle that is as close to being together with another as possible. It is not just a passion and a love for that thing, rather it is something which is so deeply moving but is outside the self.

I hope this serves as a start to answer those questions and evoke more sense of orientation with relation to what one really feels and knows.


Thank you two for your responses, they were very helpful!

I should clarify that I certainly am not "choosing" to "identify as" any of those things. I think I got that wording from the article Jeb_CC mentioned and that I found it useful to explain my situation, but I am very aware that you can't choose to just "identify as" a kintype.

To explain my situation a bit more, I have always felt very "drawn" to (non-human) great apes and canines since I was a child. I've considered just being "other-hearted" with them or having a vested interest in them, but my so-called "interest" has always felt like it's actually much more than just "admiration", fascination, and feeling connected "with" them. More specifically I noticed in my late adolescence that I am drawn more to other great apes (specifically to bonobos and/or orangutans) than to other humans, and that I felt as if I had ended up "being" a bonobo/orangutan that would have been more "right" to me. I've also had the feeling that I don't feel "entirely human" since my childhood, but like I said before having ASD makes deciphering that feeling difficult, as it could just be from me being very different compared to allistic people. I have noticed though that being around autistic people doesn't necessarily alleviate that feeling.

I've also considered these things could be "coping-links", but that doesn't really explain why I've been subconsciously drawn to them and had this issue since I was a small child. I've never consciously decided that I "want" to consider the idea of "being" a bonobo or dog or anything, that feeling has just always been there for as long as I could remember. If anything I don't "want" to have to consider these things at all, but after a lifetime of it I can't really ignore it now.