This post contains the echoist quiz as well as helpful tips to overcome echoism.
Are you an echoist? Answer the following questions to find out:
#1. Do you often feel uncomfortable being the centre of attention?
#2. Do you usually prioritize other people’s needs over your own?
#3. Do you often avoid saying anything that contradicts your partner?
#4. Do you often resent your partner’s behavior but never say so.
#5. Do you often feel like you don’t know what to do with your free time because you have no sense of who you are, what you like, what you want, etc.
#6. Do you often blame yourself when things go wrong even when it’s not your fault?
#7. Do you usually find it difficult to accept compliments or praise because you don’t think they’re genuine or that you deserve them?
#8. Do you always listen to other people’s problems, but never talk about your own?
The questions above represent common signs of echoism. If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you might be an echoist and it might be time to seek help.
Who Is The Echoist?
Echoism is the fear of seeming narcissistic.
Echoists fear being the center of attention or a burden to others. They tend to, instead, be overly modest and overgiving.
Echoists prefer to stay in the shadow. It’s not necessarily because they feel ashamed or defective, though some might.
As the Japanese saying goes, “The nail that stands out gets pounded down.”
Echoists tend to be vulnerable to abuse from dark personality types like narcissists and psychopaths.
Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Narcissists Target Empaths – & How to Starve The Narcissist of Supply
The story of Narcissus and Echo
Echo was a “talkative nymph” that was cursed. She could only repeat the last words of a sentence and is unable to say anything on her own.
Sometime later, Echo spied a young man, Narcissus, while he was out hunting deer with his companions.
She immediately fell in love with him and, infatuated, followed quietly.
During the hunt, Narcissus became separated from his companions and called out, ‘is anyone there,’ and Echo repeated his words.
Startled, Narcissus answered the voice, ‘come here,’ only to be told the same.
When Echo rushed to Narcissus ready to throw her arms around her beloved. She was cruelly rejected.
Despite the harshness of his rejection, Echo’s love for Narcissus only grew.
When Narcissus died, wasting away before his own reflection, Echo mourned over his body and she too began to waste away.
Today, all that remains of Echo is the sound of her voice.
Traits Of An Echoist
1. Lack Of Sense Of Self
Echoists worry so much about seeming needy or selfish that it’s often difficult for them to recognize they have any needs at all.
Although they might feel depleted, what they need to replenish themselves is buried so deep they don’t even know how to ask for it.
Related: Top +100 Journal Prompts For Mental Health [+Free PDF Printable!]
2. Fear of Becoming Narcissistic
Echoists are constantly on guard for any signs of selfishness or arrogance in themselves, so much so that they can’t even allow others to praise them or express their appreciation.
This can make relationships feel one-sided and push people away.
3. Fear of Taking Up Space
Even subtly expressing their needs can make them feel selfish, guilty, or undeserving.
In the mind of an echoist, the less room they take up with their own needs and problems, the more likable or lovable they become.
4. Avoiding Attention
Echoists fear being in the spotlight.
But echoists aren’t allergic to all attention, especially when they’re subtle, covert echoists.
It is fine for an echoist to be noticed for what they do for others—being a supportive partner, or good friend.
The only sign of echoism wound be the one-sided nature of their support.
Related: Self-Abandonment: What Is It & How To Get Back In Touch With Yourself
5. Low Self-Esteem
Echoists struggle with feelings of low self-esteem and sense of self-worth.
They feel undeserving of having needs or expressing them.
Echoists tend to overgive and undertake, even at the cost of their well-being.
They focus completely on other people and their problems and needs and tend to have no sense of self.
Some echoists would ask for little things, such as gifts or more attention from their partner, but they keep very close tabs on how much they ask for fear of seeming selfish.
Related: Caregiving vs Caretaking (The Savior Complex)
7. Poor Boundaries
Echoists don’t believe they deserve setting boundaries.
They’re overly concerned with pleasing other people and they fear setting boundaries would cause the other person to get upset or feel rejected.
How to Overcome Echoism?
You don’t have to either be a narcissist of an echoist. There is something in between.
A healthy sense of self and healthy, interdependent relationships.
#1. Become Aware Of How Echoism Is Hurting You
Becoming aware of the dangers of echoism can be a motivation for an echoist to open up to connecting with themselves.
But feeling undeserving, awareness of how echoism is hurting an echoist, might not be motivating enough.
Echoism doesn’t just affect the echoist and their emotional well-being (low self-esteem, lack of sense of self, burnout, anxiety, etc.), it also hurts their relationships with other people.
Not being able to accept and receive help, a relationship with an echoist feels one-sided.
This either leads to unhealthy patterns of caretaking or cause their partner to feel frustrated.
#2. Challenge Your Negative Beliefs
The problem is almost never the behavior, but what drives the behavior – the underlying beliefs.
Echoists believe that having needs and taking up space is selfish and narcissistic.
It’s important here to clarify what narcissism means.
Narcissism isn’t having needs or taking up space.
Narcissism is having an inflated sense of your own importance, a deep need for attention and admiration, and a lack of empathy.
A narcissist is never worried about being too needy or taking up too much space. So, if you’re worried you might be a narcissist, then you probably are not one.
Download Negative Thoughts Worksheets PDF
#3. Open Up To Receiving Praise
As an echoist, you might find it difficult to ask for support and allow yourself to receive it, yet.
Opening up to receiving praise and attention for your accomplishment can be a first, less challenging step to help you feel more comfortable receiving from others.
Related: Best 9 Tips On How To Receive More In Life And Relationships?
#4. Cultivate Healthy Sense of Entitlement
Healthy entitlement can help us seek support when we need it or protect ourselves from abuse by saying “no” to unreasonable demands and assert ourselves when we’re feeling mistreated.
Use the following Personal bill of rights to help you feel more deserving.
Download Personal Bill of Rights PDF
- Portions of this article were adapted from the book Rethinking Narcissism, © 2017 by Craig Malkin. All rights reserved.
- Narcissism – Wikipedia
- Echoism: Defintion, Signs, Causes, and More (healthline.com)
- Echoism – the silent condition in narcissistic relationships – Counselling Directory (counselling-directory.org.uk)