The Opposite Of A Narcissist; Empaths and Echoists

Libby Shively McAvoy
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Understanding Empaths and Echoists

There are two answers to what the opposite of a narcissist is: an empath and an echoist. Narcissists lack empathy and are attracted to empaths because they thrive on their energy, attention, and compliments. Empaths live to please others which makes them easy prey for manipulation.

The opposite of a narcissist has also been dubbed an echosit. In Greek Mythology, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection, thus the term narcissist. Echo was a wood nymph deprived of a voice. She fell in love with Narcissus. Psychologist, Craig Malkin, developed the concept of echoism as someone who is voiceless and only exists to echo others.

An echoist has a fear of being the center of attention. They are warm-hearted, giving, and compassionate, which, like empaths, makes them an easy target for a narcissist and vulnerable to abuse.

Empaths struggle to stand up for themselves and, like echoists, lack boundaries. Both are emotional sponges. They give love and sympathy, trying to relieve the pain they know the narcissist is carrying.

Without realizing it, an empath can be emotionally manipulative, much like a narcissist.

Qualities of An Echoist

  • avoids the spotlight
  • low self-esteem
  • loves to “fix” others
  • has difficulty asking for help 
  • lacks boundaries
  • timid

Qualities of An Empath

  • highly intuitive
  • detail-oriented
  • absorbs the moods of others
  • needs time alone
  • is a target for energy vampires
  • finds solitude in nature
  • has a huge giving heart

You can see where both would be attractive targets for narcissists who need them to look good and mask the shame and fear they carry. Opposites attract, but not always for a good reason.

A narcissist strings their victim along with just enough breadcrumbs to keep them willing to supply their needs. They play on their victim’s willingness to forgive.

An echoist may be more extreme than an empath in that they also have a lot of empathy, but they reject attention and fear praise. Echosists and empaths are often confused with co-dependency. They are good listeners, but unlike co-dependents, they do not try to guide or fix the narcissist.

Echosists typically stem from being raised by a narcissist. This may, in fact, be why they are attracted to the familiarity of a narcissist. Unlike narcissistic personality disorder, echoism is not classified as a mental disorder, yet it is detrimental to their mental health.

Echoists are terrified of confrontation, primarily because they lack their own voice or opinion. They have a strong desire to avoid narcissists and yet are attracted to them. They balance each other because the echoist avoids attention while the narcissist thrives on it. Fear of seeming narcissistic in any way is the defining quality of an echoist. Echoists bury their own needs to gain acceptance.

Final Thoughts

Awareness is the key to change. Follow that awareness with therapy in order to avoid being caught in the narcissist’s trap. Empaths and echoists are very creative and should focus on their personal hobbies like painting, poetry, writing, acting, and cooking.

If one or both of your parents were narcissistic, you hate attention, and you often blame yourself when things go wrong, you may be an empath or echoist. Learn your own value and know that your opinions are relevant.

Practice self-acceptance and love, build your self-esteem, and trust your intuition. Narcissists and people with strong narcissistic traits will pounce on any opportunity they see as a supply of energy and deception they need. Remember, with a narcissist; it is not an equal partnership. Protect yourself.


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Libby is a Personal Development and Relationship coach specializing in emotional intelligence. By blending motivational speaking, leading yoga and wellness retreats, and writing, she has mastered the art of living her best life while helping others.

Cincinnati, OH

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