Have you ever heard the term “echoism”? Well, this quality can leave you with the lack of a real-life of your own. Let’s learn about this term.

Most people know the myths about narcissus, and there are a few different versions – there are Greek and Roman versions of this tale.

One version of this tale portrays a nymph name Echo. Once, when Narcissus was gazing at his beauty in a stream, Echo called out to him because she had fallen in love. Eventually, she appeared and embraced Narcissisus, but he rejected her. For rejecting her, his punishment was to look at himself in the stream until a lack of the ability to fully love what he saw caused him to commit suicide.

Now, that’s the tale I heard. As I said, there are different versions.

What does this have to do with echoism?

Well, you can imagine the word Echoism must have come from Echo in some way. Echoism is on the opposite end of the spectrum from severe narcissism. An echoist is quiet, selfless and takes responsibility easily for things they’ve done. And where the narcissist wants all the attention, the echoist wants nothing to do with the compliments.

There can be just as many problems in life when dealing with this personality. Here are a few signs that suggest you might be an echoist yourself.

Signs you have echoist qualities

1. You’re the exact opposite of the narcissist

Just as narcissists strive for the spotlight and all the attention, the echoist tries to stay away from the spotlight as much as possible. Almost every trait of the narcissist is absent with echoism. If you notice that you give more than you take, a trait not present in narcissism, then you may be an echoist.

2. One of both of your parents were narcissists

If you shy away from attention and try to keep a low profile, then there’s a high probability that one or more of your parents was a narcissist. If so, there were almost impossible expectations imposed upon you on a daily basis. You learned quickly to stay out of sight and out of trouble.

3. You truly hate attention

Getting attention is just not your thing. In fact, as an echoist, you will run from attention when someone tries to give you the spotlight. Echoists don’t like compliments and even go as far as to deny any compliments and point out their failings. They just aren’t used to accepting good things said about them.

4. You’re never selfish

An echoist would give their last penny to anyone who needed it. That’s because they are selfless, kind, but reserved. Some echoists are introverts as well who usually do things for themselves when needs arise. In these cases, they will not accept help from others. They are independent to the point of even learning new skills to do everything on their own.

5. Introverted

As I mentioned above, some echoists are introverts. They rather are alone than in a room full of people. Sometimes they’re okay being alone for days on end. When it comes to events or social gatherings, they will find excuses not to attend. Of course, they try to people down in the nicest way possible.

6. Self-blaming

If something happens, the echoist is usually the one who takes the blame. Even if it’s obvious that the blame should fall on someone else or some other situation, the echoist stands in the gap and accepts responsibility. They are actually self-sacrificing.

7. You’re living in someone’s shadow

An echoist tends to live in the shadow of another, usually a narcissistic personality. While the narcissist wallows in the attention of the public, the echoist, which is many times the intimate partner of the narcissist, will live in the background and help praise the narcissist.

Being an echoist can ruin your life

Although echoists are quiet, reserved, and nice people, they cause their own suffering much of the time. Aside from the abuse experienced by any narcissistic relations, their self-defeating behavior prevents them from advancing in life. The echoist’s life can surely be ruined by these other characteristics.

  • Insulting themselves
  • Refusing special treatment
  • Struggling with anxiety and depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Relationships with narcissists

Moving from Echoism to Normalcy

Although it’s wonderful to be a selfless person, you can go too far sometimes. You can end up feeling exactly as low as you try to keep yourself.  It’s important to remember you’re true feelings and let them show sometimes, lifting you up.

It’s okay to be introverted, but why not swallow your pride and ask for help sometimes. And even though you might not prefer the spotlight, it’s good to appreciate just a few compliments every now and then.

If you’re an echoist or know someone who is, remember that it’s not necessary to stay at the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the narcissist. In fact, balancing your pride and selflessness is the best way to go. It might take time to learn this, but when you do, life will seem much happier. You will even start reaching for goals and attaining dreams with your new good self-confidence.


  1. https://inews.co.uk
  2. https://www.psychologicalscience.org

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This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. D

    Nice article. I probably have some echoism in me from a closet narcissist parent. Good to know!

    1. Sherrie Hurd

      I have some of those traits from my parents, my ex-husband, probably other people in my life. Me too!

  2. Anita Marie West

    Most certainly have been that person or had some of those traits. Better place now.

    1. Sherrie Hurd

      I’m glad you are in a better place than before. I am so happy for you. You are an encouragement for others. You should tell your story to help them.

  3. Sindi

    How is this person different from an Empath?

    1. Sherrie Hurd

      An empath, while they can be manipulated, will eventually realize, unfortunately, that they cannot help certain people. I believe an echoist will try beyond degrading themselves. I care about people and I could feel things they were feeling, but I grew bitter over time and had to change my environment. I believe an empath would do that. But yet, that’s just my opinion on that subject. You have ones who will be abused and escape, then you have ones who never do. You can use these titles or just leave it at that.

  4. Christopher D Hill

    Thanks…anything you or others can add about sources and treatments…and where the lines are between constructive/destructive traits and psychological disorder? I’m thinking some of the sources are shame, pain avoidance and codependency, and the most common treatments are cognitive, behavioral and psychotherapy. As for the lines, I’d say constructive attracts/keeps constructive people, destructive attracts/keeps destructive people, and the disorder causes an inability to effectively function in life.

    1. Sherrie Hurd

      To me, one of the most important things I ever did in life is to appreciate who I am, and know that I can make it no matter who leaves or who stays. Things hurt, but being an echo to another or dependent is not an option anymore.

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