So much attention has been given to Narcissism and its traits and almost no one knows of the opposite Echoism. Echoism and narcissism originate from the Greek myth of Narcissus and Echo. Echo was cursed by the gods and her voice was taken away. She was banished to a dark forest and cursed to repeat the last word of every sentence she hears. One day, Narcissus enters the forest where Echo was, she fell in love with his self-confidence and started following him everywhere. Admiring him and repeating his last words soon got tiring and Narcissus left her. Out of pain, she slowly wasted away with sadness and pain. This myth might just explain why echoism is centred on the fear of seeming narcissistic. People who are echoists fear being in the limelight or being a burden to others. Sadly, this obsession with not being self-absorbed is in its own very self absorbed. This article deals with the signs of echoism and how to handle it.
It is important to look out for the signs of echoism and handle it early. This is because echoists are more vulnerable to abuse from dark personality types like narcissists.
Signs of Echoism
These signs are characteristic of an echoist. They may vary in strength, but these are the basic characteristics of an echoist.
1. Fear of Taking Space
Echoists try their utmost best to avoid any spotlight (real or imaginary). Even subtle acknowledgement of their accomplishments or needs makes them feel undeserving, guilty or selfish. They are constantly checking themselves in case they appear narcissistic.
2. Extreme Selflessness
Selflessness is usually a very healthy trait. But in this case, it isn’t as an echoist always puts everybody else first. They are awesome problem solvers when it concerns others and this is usually their identity. They do this even at the cost of their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
3. Very Poor Boundaries
The importance of boundaries cannot be overstated. But to uphold these boundaries, you need to be willing to offend a lot of people. An echoist cannot do this, hence, they have weak boundaries or none at all. In some cases, some are not aware they are supposed to have boundaries, to begin with.
4. Low Self-Esteem
Just like the narcissist has way too much self-esteem, the echoist has almost none. This often results in feelings of anxiety, exhaustion and depression.
5. Double standards
Echoists do not set out to have double standards. However, their need to please and put everyone first makes it almost impossible to stand up for their beliefs. In the same vein, they believe that it is OK for people to receive care and attention but see it as a weakness in themselves.
6. Deliberately Self-Effacing
We all have that one friend, college or family member that tries very hard to show how humble they are. They would downplay their importance to the point of nothingness and would rather not receive the credit for a job well done. During communication, their language is filled with excessive qualifiers. These include “kind of”, “could be” and “Um” that reduces their communication or presence.
7. Overly Self Reliant
Noone is an island, except an echoist. They would rather fail at something than ask for help. This is described as “subtle echoism”. This unconscious strategy allows for attention only when they are offering or rendering help to others. They believe that being in the limelight by helping others is less offensive. As a result, they avoid asking for help afraid that it would be perceived as selfishness.
However, as mentioned earlier mo man is an island so when they do need help, subtle echoists start to have emotional breakdowns and distress.
How to Handle Echoism
Everyone needs a dose of healthy narcissism to function properly. However, echoists are scared of crossing the line between healthy narcissism and full-blown narcissism. This is the core of the problem and here are some ways to handle and heal echoism:
- Make a list of everything that makes you great, include every awesome thing you have done, improvements and breakthroughs. This list would help you focus on why you are deserving of as much love, care and attention as the next guy.
- Practice looking out for number one. Try putting yourself first at least once a day. Take a few minutes for self-care, treat yourself to small gifts like a bar of chocolate or a bottle of cologne. These small wins would add up in the long run.
- Set boundaries and assert them. You are allowed to have healthy boundaries and sticking to them would be more rewarding. If you need help establishing these boundaries, write a list of all your absolute No-no’s. Then practice saying no to the items o your list daily. Again, the little wins would build up and soon, they’d become a habit.
- Get professional help – sometimes echoism is a result of past trauma or abuse, getting professional help would help you on your way to healing. Also, professionals are professionals for a reason and it is always advisable to seek professional help when dealing with these kinds of issues.
Echoism as a character trait might not seem harmful to others around you, but it can be. It is detrimental to your mental, emotional and physical health as well as that of your family and loved ones. So lookout for the signs of echoism and learn how to handle echoism to prevent these from happening.