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Echo Personality Disorder is a specific and highly
Echo personality disorder
differentiated form of dependency, marked by behaviours of compliance and a
need to 'mirror' significant others -parents, spouse, friends, employer. It
has been found that those with EPD are highly attracted to relationships
with individuals who show marked narcissistic tendencies.
This mirroring behaviour was the reason for choosing the name
Echo personality disorder,
which is based on the Greek myth of Narcissus and Echo. In
this story Echo, a forest nymph, falls completely in love with the
egocentric youth Narcissus, and when he shows clear signs of rejecting her,
she persists in her attatchement to him and will not be moved from her aim.
She finally satisfies him with the masochistic task of echoing back to him
all that he says. This too is the central feature of EPD behaviour in
relationships, where the individual will mirror, echo, and compliment
another at the expense of their own self-worth and dignity.
Self descriptions by EPD sufferers focus strongly on percieved
fears of abandonment, rejection, and loss, and these agonizing feelings are
the driving force behind the above-mentioned interpersonal coping style
(mirroring others). These individuals protect themselves from
abandonment/rejection by being so agreeable to others, via their mirroring
capacity, that chances of re-experiencing abandonment agony is brought to a
low minimum. Unfortunately this approach amounts to a false existence with
little or no true self expression, and eventually leads to poor
Characteristic experiential history for EPD often involves
individuals being parented by caretakers who are themselves self-absorbed
or narcissistic. In this environment the child learns that asserting ones
true self will be met with a form of (often serial) rejection, to which
they respond by substituting compliant behaviour in place of true selfhood.
This 'compliant' behaviour can then be witnessed as a stable feature
throughout the childs growing-up years, with other school children, and
within the family.
Depression, smoking, alcoholism, addictive behaviour all occur
with very high frequency in this disorder.
On a positive note, EPD people are excellent contributors to
society, and to family, as they are found to be very perceptive of the
needs of others. The highly respected religions of Christianity and
Buddhism are based on the principles of altruism and charity, and this is a
lifestyle at which the EPD individual can be said to be expert. Good traits
such as these cannot simply be written off with a simple catch-cry of
'pathology', and if the EPD sufferer could regain some healthy
sense-of-self whilst maintaining these good traits, they would become
paragons of society.