Echoism is the opposite of narcissism. While a narcissistic person is very self-centered and always acts in their best interests, an echoist is someone who may often put others’ needs before their own. In extreme cases, these personality traits can be harmful to yourself and others. Mental health struggles, such as a personality disorder, can result in addiction and require specialized treatment. Our team at Northern Illinois Recovery Center in Crystal Lake, Illinois provides personalized therapy and addiction services.
Learning more about narcissim and echoism can help you identify if you or a loved one have a problem.
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What is the Opposite of a Narcissist?
The opposite of a narcissist is someone who has a healthy level of self-esteem, empathy for others, and humility. This type of person may be called an empath, altruist, or echoist. Unlike narcissism, echoism isn’t a personality disorder.
Myth of Narcissus and Echo
There’s a Greek myth that helps differentiate between narcissism and echoism about a man named Narcissus and a nymph named Echo. Echo was cursed by the gods to only be able to repeat the words of others. She falls in love with Narcissus who is extremely handsome but also caught up in his own love for himself that he barely notices others.
When Echo tries to profess her love to him she is unable to express herself and he rejects her. She wanders away into the woods, staying there until she is only a voice. Sometime later, Narcissus sees his reflection in a pool of water in the woods where Echo lives. He becomes mesmerized and can’t pull himself away from his reflection even to eat or drink which leads to his death.
This is a cautionary tale for both echoists and narcissists, not to become obsessed with themselves or others.
What is Echoism?
Echoism is the opposite of narcissism. This personality trait involves a fear of seeming narcissistic causing a person to be withdrawn. Echoism is also characterized by being very generous and receiving less in return from others. People who align more with echoism than narcissism may generally put other people before themselves. For example, an echoist may sacrifice their needs to prioritize another’s desires.
What is Narcissism?
Narcissism is a personality disorder. A person with this disorder has a very high and unusual sense of their importance. They’re self-centered and often excessively interested in their physical appearance and personality.
Narcissism also leads to a dangerous pattern of behavior that involves arrogance and a lack of empathy for others. A person who is narcissistic may also need others to admire them. This can lead to harmful behavior.
How To Tell if You’re a Narcissist or an Echoist
You can determine where you may be on the spectrum of narcissism and echoism by identifying characteristics that correspond to each personality trait. Read more to learn about the signs and traits to look for.
Characteristics of a Narcissist
Here are the traits of a narcissistic personality:
- Grandiosity: A narcissist has an exaggerated sense of self and believes that they’re superior to others.
- Need for admiration: They admire themselves greatly and expect others to admire them too. They may go to great lengths to gain approval and admiration from others.
- Lack of empathy: Narcissist has difficulty recognizing the feelings of others and caring about them. They may have trouble relating to others.
- Entitlement: They may expect special treatment and attention from others everywhere they go.
- Arrogance: A narcissist’s sense of entitlement may lead them to believe they’re always right. They also often ignore others’ opinions or are dismissive.
- Exploitation: With narcissistic personality disorder, it’s common for a person to take advantage and manipulate others to get what they want.
- Envy: Feeling jealous of others’ success and the attention they receive is a behavior a narcissist may show. They may be overly critical of others.
- Lack of boundaries: A narcissist has little to no respect for boundaries and may try to control others. They also frequently impose on others or intrude into their personal space.
- Intimacy issues: It can be difficult for narcissistic people to form deep connections with other people because they care so much about themselves and so little about others. Sometimes they view others as objects to use for their own gain.
While many may display narcissistic personality traits, a narcissistic personality disorder is rare. According to the DSM IV-TR, only 0.5% to 1% of the world’s population is diagnosed with this disorder. The majority of those diagnosed are men.
Characteristics of an Echoist
There are many who are on the echoist spectrum. It’s not recognized as a personality disorder but an echoist may still need help. Here are signs you may be an echoist:
- Difficulty asserting yourself: It’s difficult to express your needs and wants as and echoist because you never want to burden others.
- Shyness: People with this personality trait rarely, if ever, want to be in the spotlight. They’re often quiet and withdrawn.
- Choosing supportive roles: Because of their shyness and difficulty with being assertive, echoists often choose supportive roles in groups. They rarely want to be in leadership positions.
- Overly empathetic: They feel empathy very deeply for others and sometimes take on other peoples’ feelings.
- Fear of being a burden: An echoist may neglect to share their needs because they don’t want to inconvenience anyone.
- Difficulty accepting compliments: They have low self-esteem and don’t accept compliments. They may deflect praise and be overly critical of themselves.
How To Heal from Echoism
It isn’t all bad to be an echoist but habitual prioritizing of others can result in neglecting your own needs. These steps can help you heal from echoism:
Take time to reflect on your own desires and learn what you need to make yourself feel fulfilled and happy. Make sure you’re not neglecting basic needs such as sleep, eating well, and social interaction. After identifying your needs, it’s important to acknowledge them daily. You may need to reference your boundaries to ensure others aren’t exploiting your kindness.
Setting boundaries with people and obligations helps you mend from echoism. In previous cases where you’d always say “yes”, you might start saying “no”, to protect your well-being. This can include setting boundaries with friends, family, and work. For example, you can set a clear boundary of only working designated hours. With family, you may need to set a boundary for your personal business.
When creating a boundary, consider your needs and the actions that align with them. This will help you begin to prioritize yourself sometimes too.
Low self-esteem is common for an echoist. This is also a factor in why you may ignore your own needs or fail to stand up for yourself. You can build self-esteem by acknowledging your accomplishments, big and small. You should also take an inventory of your strengths to build confidence in your talents. Another good way to build self-esteem is to engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself.
Improving your communication skills is useful when healing from echoism. Better communication can help you stand up for yourself. An echoist often struggles with expressing themselves, but learning communication skills can help you share your thoughts and feelings more.
How To Deal With Narcissism
It’s important to remember that narcissism is a personality disorder and people who seem narcissistic may need to seek professional help. Here are a few steps you can take to deal with a narcissist:
- Set boundaries with them.
- Practice self-care by taking time for yourself and respecting boundaries.
- Avoid conflicts and power struggles with them.
- Find a therapist to talk to.
- Be realistic about how much they can change.
If you struggle with narcissism, here are ways you can cope with the disorder and make positive changes:
- Seek profesional help
- Practice empathy
- Take responsibility
- Challenge your beliefs
- Be Humble
Dual Diagnosis with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Dual diagnosis refers to the co-occurrence of a mental health disorder and substance abuse or addiction. When it comes to Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Echoism, it’s possible for individuals with these personality traits to struggle with addiction or other mental health issues. Dual diagnosis treatment can be an effective way to address both the underlying mental health disorder and substance abuse or addiction.
Northern Illinois Recovery Center offers dual diagnosis treatment for addiction and mental health disorders. We can help treat both Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Echoism. Our dual-diagnosis treatment plans are personalized and include individual, group, and family therapy to give you the best chance at recovery. It’s important to find a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis and has the ability to support your mental and physical health. Treating both issues at once often helps cope with the symptoms of each.
Find Help Through Northern Illinois Recovery
Overall, Northern Illinois Recovery Center can provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Echoism who are struggling with addiction or other mental health issues. Through dual diagnosis treatment, individuals can learn to manage their symptoms and develop healthier coping strategies for the future. Call us today to learn how we can help you.