FAQs & Myths

FAQs

Q: How do I make a tulpa?

A: As every brain is different, so too is the process. It is highly subjective, varying per person. However, the process essentially boils down to this: conversing with or otherwise acknowledging the (initially imagined) presence of another person in your brain, essentially growing that presence until it hits critical mass and gains awareness and autonomy. How that person’s presence is acknowledged is what varies per tulpamancer. That being said, there are plenty of resources available to help you get started both on our own Guides Page and Other Resources areas, as well as a discussion area devoted to creation in our forums.


Q: Why might I want (or not want) to create a tulpa?

A: You can find a pretty substantial list of pros and cons on our Pros & Cons page.


Q: What kinds of forms and personalities can a tulpa have?

A: No list is substantial enough to cover this question. Tulpas are extremely diverse, both in how they think and behave and in how they look. Some tulpas don’t have a form at all. As for personality, though a tulpa’s personality is influenced by the host in the early stages, their personality can ultimately take any form, just like a physical individual’s, and can and will keep changing over time.


Q: What can a tulpa do?

A: A tulpa has the potential to do anything a host can, though practice is often required to recognize the full scope of this potential. Hosts merely have a head start on many things, like controlling the body, due to experience. There are no fundamental limitations to a tulpa that aren’t also limitations of their host. Tulpas can control the body, dream, learn to do something or another whether the host knows how to do it or not, make friends, lose friends, make servitors or tulpas, fall in love with someone, take a walk, ride a bike, cook, read a book, impose/project another system member including their host, etc. In fact, the esteemed Fernando Pessoa, hailed as one of the “greatest poets in the Portuguese language”, had a whole host of what strongly appear to be tulpas, who edited each other’s work and wrote prolifically, including writing some of Pessoa’s most famous works.


Q: What if my tulpa doesn’t like me / judges me after seeing who I am inside?

A: The first note is this–it is rare for tulpas to judge their host in such a manner. Imagine growing up with a friend so that you know their history, all the troubles they’ve faced. Thus, you are able to understand them because you understand their history. So it is for tulpas and hosts.

That being said, all friendships take work. As with physical friendships, communication is key. Do not assume that simply because a tulpa understands your past and shares a brain with you that they will always know what’s going on–after all, sometimes singlets (those who are only a single consciousness in a body) and individual system members themselves don’t understand what they’re doing. No two people are going to spend long stretches time together without some kind of issue or gripe or worry popping up now and again, and tulpas are no different. They may find things about you that they aren’t all that fond of, and you might find the same of them, but not being perfect or even perfectly compatible isn’t the end of a friendship. In fact, just like with any other person, working these things out with each other can end up bringing you even closer. Considering how much time you’ll be spending with each other and how well you’ll know each other, you’ll be in a much better place to work through issues than with just about anyone else.

And it sometimes does happen that a tulpa and host don’t end up being close, or even liking each other. In such cases, peaceful co-existence and even cooperation is almost always possible. This is akin to family members who aren’t close or like each other.


Q: Will a tulpa eventually turn malicious and try to kill me?

A: No. This is a myth created by the creepypastas. A tulpa operates off the same logic as most physical people–that is, they have no reason to hurt a friend or someone who’s otherwise not harmed them, and lashing out at their host for no reason only hurts them as well in the end. The vast majority of tulpas are very friendly and even helpful to their hosts.


Q: Can a tulpa physically manifest?

A: There is no evidence beyond scattered, unverifiable anecdote that a tulpa can physically manifest. While imposition makes it possible to hallucinate a tulpa as if they were physically present, they are still not actually physically present and cannot be made visible to others, nor can they interact with the physical world except through possession, eclipsing, or switching, all of which require them to manipulate their host’s physical boy.


Q: Do you need a wonderland? Do you need to visualize?

A: Nope! Everyone’s approach to tulpamancy is different. Some prefer to create a tulpa without a wonderland at all, others have already made deeply immersive wonderlands they enjoy exploring. A wonderland can be helpful later on when it comes to switching or imposition, as it can help you practice with dissociation from the body and visualization, but it is by no means a requirement to be able do these things. Visualization is optional as well for the most part, but may be needed if imposition is a goal. It should be noted that a wonderland is only one way to practice visualization–you can even start trying to impose your tulpa right away if that is what works best for you.


Q: What is the best way to force?

A: There is no one best way to force, as everyone has a different approach to forcing–again, brains are highly variable. Some purely passive force, which means they talk to their tulpa during their daily routine, while others prefer to actively force, which involves directly spending time with their tulpa by setting aside some time in their day to interact with them.

However, there are two common threads in forcing. First, forcing often requires a sensation of speaking to another external presence. A tulpamancer who simply chatters out loud to themself will have greater difficulty manifesting a tulpa than one who directs conversation outwardly, towards an external or otherwise “not-me” presence (even if imagined). Secondly, forcing requires persistence. The process of forming a tulpa can be likened to forming a habit–and, indeed, one might say that forming a tulpa is a kind of habit, only with the habit hitting critical mass and, unlike most habits, becoming a sentient, independent person of their own in the end. In any case, a tulpamancer must force regularly in order to create the room necessary for their tulpa to form–once the tulpa forms and is able to communicate consistently, it becomes a shared effort, but no less of an effort regardless.


Q: Can I create a tulpa with a specific purpose?

A: You can, but it is important to really examine the motives behind why you want to do this first. A tulpa can stay with you for life, and there is no guarantee they will agree to what you want them to do upon attaining sentience. It is important to keep an open mind and refrain from forcing them into a role or purpose they do not want to be in, and to respect their wishes if they do not want to serve the purpose you originally intended for them.


Q: Can my tulpa take over me?

A: There are methods of developing a connection between a tulpa and the body such as switching, possession, co-fronting, and eclipsing, but these are skills that often require long practice and trust between everyone involved. If there’s any worry or fear about something like this, the best option is to communicate with each other. As for forcible takeovers, they are exceedingly rare and occur mostly when the host has given permission beforehand, if the system is already wired for such takeovers (e.g. tulpas made by DID systems), or a tulpa has had a lot of experience controlling the body. This can and has been used for positive applications, as in a tulpa taking control to prevent a host from self-harming.


Q: I’m a skeptical person. How do you convince me you’re all not roleplaying?

A: It is just as impossible for plurals (tulpamancers included) to prove that they are truly plural as it is for non-plurals to prove they are truly not plural. It should be noted that research exists that shows plurality is possible, or, at the very least, not impossible–while DID research, the most prolific field, cannot be used to prove the existence of tulpamancy specifically, there are numerous instances of tulpamancy-like experiences in fiction writers especially. Some professional therapeutic approaches like Internal Family Systems Therapy, classical Analytical Psychology, and Developmental Needs Meeting Strategy even take approaches that treat their clients in ways that can look rather plural. On a smaller scale, many skeptics who tried tulpamancy out of curiosity are now happily living with their tulpas.

That being said, beyond that, no one can really “prove” anyone else’s subjective experiences–not even one’s own to oneself.


Q: I already talk to someone else in my mind, are they a tulpa?

A: You might find that you’ve done things similar to tulpamancy techniques without ever coming across them before, or maybe you did nothing of the sort and this other person has simply been around for a very long time, or “walked in” without any effort on your part. The tulpamancy community sometimes calls these “accidental tulpas”–however, these system members are not always actual accidental tulpas, but originate from multiplicity (unchosen plurality) instead. (See “Is This A Tulpa?” on the forums.)


Q: Can I model my tulpa off a fictional character/real-world person?

A: While one should not make a tulpa to replace a real person (living or dead) or to be “[fictional character] in real life” and force them to be that person or character, simply having the form of a real person or a fictional character does not actually mean the tulpa is being forced to be that person or character. Some tulpamancers simply find a pre-existing form and personality a useful starting point that the tulpa then never abandons, or the tulpa may choose it themselves for a variety of reasons.

There is of course a whole ethical argument about whether giving such an initial form is OK or not, but this discussion is beyond the scope of this FAQ.

Myths

Myth: Only lonely people would make a tulpa.

Fact: The community strongly discourages using tulpas as a substitute for social interaction. Tulpamancy is practiced by a diverse range of people for a variety of different reasons and while loneliness can be a reason to start for some–which in and of itself isn’t a problem–you won’t find this community encouraging anyone to replace all other human contact with tulpas.


Myth: What you’re doing is dangerous – it’s self-induced schizophrenia/DID!

Fact: This idea seems to come from a fundamental misunderstanding of what exactly is involved in conditions like these.

A diagnosis of schizophrenia, for example, does not require auditory hallucinations, or in fact any kind of hallucination at all, and the condition itself has nothing to do with so-called “split” personalities, despite popular confusion. [1]

Dissociative identity disorder is a more complicated issue, but according to the DSM-V, a patient is ineligible for this diagnosis unless they experience both “Recurrent gaps in the recall of everyday events, important personal information, and/or traumatic events that are inconsistent with ordinary forgetting.” and “The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.” [2] DID also overwhelmingly originates from trauma, while tulpamancy does not and is often chosen–these origins make a world of difference in how members of each group experience their plurality, and, out of respect for both sides, should not be conflated any more than the Chinese and the Japanese should be conflated because they “look alike”.

To the uninformed armchair psychologist, tulpas may bear a bit of superficial similarity to certain clinically recognized conditions, but the reality is that professional literature does not endorse this comparison.


Myth: Most of the people who do this are furries, bronies, etc.

Fact: Tulpamancers are actually pretty diverse in interests. A lot of tulpamancers (maybe even most) are not part of these fandoms. However, it is true that a disproportionate fraction of tulpamancers are members of those fandoms. One major reason is that members of these fandoms have a higher chance upon coming across tulpamancy due to being on the Internet more frequently. The large fraction of MLP:FiM fans is also a product of the community’s history: when the community was pushed off of /x/, it was taken up by /mlp/ after a chance mention in a lucid dreaming thread. More on the community’s history can be found on the History of Tulpas page.

However, to target the prejudices beneath this myth–there is nothing wrong with furries or bronies making tulpas unless one assigns an inherently negative value to being a furry or brony. These negative values themselves also do not originate so much in fact and actual experiences in the community as they do in sensationalized rumors and irrational bias–stereotypes about furries (defined simply as “people who enjoy anthropomorphic art”) and bronies (defined simply as “people who enjoy My Little Pony”) are no more true than stereotypes about Muslims or Chinese people.