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There's a term for people who are the direct opposite of a narcissist

There's a term for people who are the direct opposite of a narcissist

Just as there are narcissists, there are people who are the exact opposite

While you've almost certainly heard of a narcissism, there's also a term for someone who is the direct opposite of that.

Just as there are people who put themselves ahead of others to an absurd degree, so too are there people who always put others ahead of themselves when they really need to look after numero uno for a little while.

What is a narcissist?

A narcissist is someone who has an incredibly high opinion of themselves to the point that it's a detriment to themselves and everyone around them.

Someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) may need attention and desire admiration, but very often beneath the self-loving surface is someone unsure of themselves and easily upset by criticism.

According to the Mayo clinic, a narcissist is someone who will 'have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance'.

NPD has been designated a mental health condition

Narcissists often end up unhappy in life as they have an unreasonably high sense of their own importance.
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Signs someone is a narcissist

While many people display narcissistic behaviours, an actual narcissist is going to be incredibly rare.

Only a tiny fraction of the population - around 1.2 percent of people in the US, according to one study - will have narcissistic personality disorder, so someone displaying narcissistic traits doesn't mean they're a narcissist.

A diagnosed narcissist said that people with NPD were often faking emotions when it came to reacting to other people, thought hierarchically and believed themselves to be better than everybody else.

Psychologists have come up with some signs to be on the lookout for when attempting to spot someone is a narcissist, including phrases they might say and behaviours they might exhibit.

A healthy self-esteem and ability to assert oneself at the right time in social situations are positive qualities, which brings us to the opposite.

Everyone's a bit narcissistic from time to time, but only a small handful are fully fledged narcissists.
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What’s the opposite of a narcissist?

The term for someone who is the direct opposite of a narcissist is an echoist, and it comes from a Roman story featuring the character Narcissus from Greek mythology.

As the story goes, the nymph Echo was cursed to only be able to repeat words others spoke and she fell in love with the drop-dead gorgeous man Narcissus.

However, Narcissus being so in love with himself meant he hardly noticed others and when she tried to profess her love she couldn't find the words and was rejected.

She then faded away and Narcissus did what everyone knows him for, dying because he couldn't tear himself away from his own reflection in a pool of water.

So just as there's nobody a narcissist cares about more than themselves, an echoist can care for others so much that it may be to their own detriment.

The direct opposite of a narcissist is an echoist, someone who puts others before themselves to a self-destructive degree.
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How to tell if you’re an echoist

According to Dr Beth Dunlap, an echoist will often be shy, afraid of being a burden and often struggle to assert themselves in social situations as they don't want to worry others.

Instead an echoist will attempt to be supportive, and may be empathetic to the point of taking on other's burdens as though they were their own in an effort to share their feelings.

If you don't share what you want or need in social situations for fear of inconveniencing others or have trouble accepting compliments and would rather deflect praise, then you may be an echoist.

You may also be afraid of receiving praise or being thought of as a narcissist in any way, while you are likely to spend a lot of time on other people and not enough on yourself.

As the term suggests, an echoist will echo the needs and feelings of others instead of their own.

If Echo could have spoken about her own needs instead of being cursed, then she'd have been able to tell Narcissus how she felt rather than being condemned to spout whatever inane, self-loving crap he deigned to utter when she was around.

While many people have a great capacity for empathy and will dedicate effort to help other people, an echoist is one who really cannot ever put themselves over others which is often to their detriment.

Echo the nymph loved Narcissus but couldn't say it, while he was too self-absorbed to notice.
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How to deal with echoism

There's nothing wrong with being an empathetic person who puts the needs of others over your own at times, but an echoist will do this to their own detriment.

At the end of the day, you are the most important person in your life and it's only fair for your needs to come first at some point.

Figure out what your wants and needs are independent of the desires and demands of others, so when it comes time to go for what you want, you know what that is.

At the most basic level, be sure you're not neglecting to look after yourself, getting enough to eat and enough time to sleep is crucial.

Setting boundaries is vitally important, working out what situations you ought to say 'no' to somebody in is crucial for recognising when putting yourself out there for others may be blocking your own needs.

Building up your self-esteem also matters, because you matter and you deserve credit for the things you achieve.

Making sure everybody gets their fair share of praise is important, but that means you get your well-deserved slice too.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Mental Health, Health