Traits Of An Echoist
If you are wondering whether you or someone you know is an echoist, then here are some common characteristics that can help you identify echoism:
- They are afraid of being seen as narcissists and hence avoid the spotlight. They hate taking up space as it makes them feel undeserving, selfish and guilty.
- People with eschoistic traits tend to suffer from anxiety, low self-esteem and depression.
- They find it hard to ask for help and express their genuine thoughts, opinions and feelings, which can cause emotional distress.
- They tend to attract relationships and friendships with narcissists in their adulthood.
- They always put others’ needs first at the cost of their own happiness. They can go to great lengths to help and support others.
- Echoists have trouble establishing healthy personal boundaries and are mostly unable to say ‘no’.
- They believe their own needs and desires are a sign of selfishness and weakness but it’s natural for others to have needs.
- They find it difficult to accept compliments, praise, love, admiration and care.
- They have a strong need for seeking validation and approval from others due to low self-esteem.
- They can feel intense shame and guilt for expressing anger or speaking their mind aloud.
- People with echoism tend to feel comfort and familiarity when abused and mistreated by their narcissist partners or friends
- They are highly prone to repeated self-criticism, self-persecution and feeling ignored or overlooked.
- They prioritize relationships more than themselves and love to make compromises and sacrifices to maintain relationships.
- They tend to be highly empathic and sensitive and can understand others’ needs easily, but fail to identify their own needs.
Read also: How Narcissistic Abuse Changes You
How Narcissism And Echoism Are Related
Although echoism and narcissism are distinct personality traits, both are related to each other. People with narcissistic personalities need someone to build their feeble ego and self-esteem. This is where echoists come in. They are attracted to narcissists and feel happy by making the narcissistic individual feel superior to them. Echoists thrive by serving their narcissistic parents, partners and others, while the narcissist needs the echoist to feed their ego. This is a match made in a distorted “bizarro” heaven that leads to the creation of an unhealthy relationship riddled with abuse, blame and manipulation. Narcissists love blaming echoists for their flaws which affects their self-esteem further. Craig Malkin Ph.D. explains “echoists are often drawn to narcissists precisely because they’re so afraid of burdening others or seeming ‘needy’ that to have someone who relishes taking up all the room, as narcissists often do, comes as something of a relief; but it’s a high price to pay for a respite from their anxieties.”
Echoists are more vulnerable to narcissistic abuse and are prone to blaming themselves for any toxic behavior they receive from the narcissist. They may feel that they are being too needy or overly sensitive or have unrealistic expectations from the relationship. Despite their false beliefs, a person with echoism, or any one for that matter, doesn’t deserve to be abused. It is never their fault. However, “echoists can mire themselves in abusive relationships, because they feel responsible for their mistreatment,” adds Dr. Malkin.
How Does Echoism Affect You?
There are more drawbacks to being an echoist than benefits. As most people with echoism tend to utilize this trait as a survival mechanism to avoid anxiety, it may lead to some degree of relief in them. By avoiding the spotlight and attention they may feel they are not being a burden on anyone. However, this makes them susceptible to narcissistic abuse from parents and partners. Not only it makes them unable to take charge of their own life and feel independent, it can also make them a puppet at the hands of the narcissist. Moreover, echoists are unable to feel special or accept praise. Studies show that feeling special and understood is associated with “greater life satisfaction” and “daily well-being.” As echoists are unable to experience such positive emotions, they are more prone to anxiety and depression. It also affects their ability to overcome obstacles, pursue dreams and their longevity. Moreover, echoists are also prone to deliberately being an underachiever in life, whether in education, career or relationships. Author Peg Streep believes that the “the extreme echoist doesn’t want to be noticed; she’s much more comfortable hiding in the shadows where it’s safe, and what better way to do that than to underachieve?”