The eco-personality and its relationship with narcissism

The eco-personality and its relationship with narcissism

We have all known or heard of the narcissistic personality, that behavior focused exclusively on oneself and that leads people to show a lack of empathy with others before their own needs. But there is a type of personality that is in the opposite pole to the narcissism, a personality that, on the contrary, flees completely of the egocentrism sometimes even forgetting the own interests to please the others. To this type of personality and its characteristics, of which so little was talked about so far, we dedicate the following paragraphs: eco-personality.


  • 1 What is the eco-personality?
  • 2 A bit of Greek mythology
  • 3 Traits of ecoist people
  • 4 What problems can ecoists present?

What is the eco-personality?

Until now, the psychological community has been very clear about the definition and measurement of the “narcissism” trait, but has been the psychologist and professor of Harvard Craig Malkin who has defined the feature that is on the opposite side, a term that does not stop generating articles and discussions following his book Rethinking Narcissism in which he speaks for the first time of this type of personality.

The ecoism It is, according to Malkin, a feature that we can all possess to a greater or lesser degree and whose greatest characteristic is the fear of looking narcissistic before others. Ecoists do not like to be the center of attention and beyond, they fear being seen as a burden to others, avoiding giving a selfish appearance for fear of rejection and criticism from others. Unlike narcissistic people, ecoists avoid flattery and feel uncomfortable when others make them see that they are special.

A bit of Greek mythology

The popular Greek legend of the myth of Daffodil He tells how an extremely beautiful and selfish young man was condemned by the goddess Nemesis to fall in love with his own image reflected in a fountain, ending this by throwing the water totally obsessed with the reflection. Where his body fell, a beautiful flower called Narcissus emerged and his name was popularly associated with self-centeredness and self-love, to this day.

But in this story, there is also another important character, the nymph Eco. Eco was a young woman who loved to talk and had a great gift for it. Eco was condemned by Goddess Hera, due to her jealousy, snatching her voice and forcing her to repeat the last word that the people around her would say. So, apart from society, Hera found Narcissus and fell madly in love with him. This, as usual, rejected her laughing at her and Eco moved away to a cave forever.

From the name of this character, the term ecoism arises, people who try to go unnoticed and please others so as not to be seen as selfish, the character opposite Narcissus and now begins to become increasingly popular.

Traits of ecoist people

People with a high degree of ecoism usually have the following features:

  • Greater emotional sensitivity: Ecoist people tend to have greater emotional sensitivity than other people. Social punishments such as reprimands of guardians or parents in childhood are often perceived with too much emotional involvement and they feel easily ashamed.
  • Difficulty in expressing needs and desires: In addition, they often have great problems when expressing their needs or desires as they fear disappointing others or being annoying.
  • They usually approach narcissistic people: Sometimes this trait can happen because they have been influenced by people with a demanding nature and they are likely to get close to narcissistic people since this makes them careless of themselves and the attention of others. Narcissistic people in turn tend to be attracted to eco-friendly people since they, when living for others, are perfect companions to meet their needs. Ecoist people can sometimes blame themselves when narcissistic people don't have good behavior.
  • They usually have difficulties to share emotions or intimacies: This does not mean that ecoistic people are passive, but they can be more introverted when it comes to explaining intimate things, despite being kind to listen.

What problems can ecoists present?

It must be clarified in principle that ecoism is not a disorder or a psychological problem but, according to Malkin, a personality trait which can be measured and perceived as extroversion, neuroticism or narcissism.

However, when a person has this trait to a large extent, he may experience certain problems, as would occur with different traits. Specifically, eco-people can forget about themselves and this is something important to be able to lead a balanced emotional life. Ecoists avoid feeling special, however it has been proven that the fact of feeling special to some extent is good for proper psychological health because it gets people to become stronger in the face of difficulties.

According to Malkin, more and more people feel identified with this personality trait and studies are beginning to be carried out as well as support groups for those who have always fled from the foreground and felt misunderstood.

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Links of interest

9 Things Everyone Should Know About Echoists. Craig Malkin Ph.D. //

What is an echoist? Exploring the disturbing fallout of narcissistic abuse //

Codependence and literature: codependence in classical antiquity. Jauregui, Immaculate. //