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Why the opposite of narcissism is unhealthy, too

What is ‘echoism’: Why the opposite of narcissism is unhealthy, too

  • Everyone knows about narcissism. But do you know about echoism?
  • Echoism involves the fear of seeming narcissistic and includes people-pleasing and over-apologizing.
  • A healthy amount of narcissism is required for anyone to self-enhance and grow, experts say.

Narcissism is the topic du jour. We’re programmed to beware of gaslighting and avoid the red flags of extreme selfishness and a craving for attention. But the reverse – having no narcissism – isn’t any healthier, experts warn. In fact, it can be be equally as damaging.

This trauma response is called echoism, a term popularized by psychologist Craig Malkin, to describe many victims of narcissistic abuse who fear being the center of attention. Those familiar with Greek mythology may recognize the name from the story of Narcissus, a hunter in love with his own reflection, and his romantic admirer Echo, a nymph cursed to repeat back the last few words she hears.

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