Playing with echoes can be fun if the call and the repeat are significantly separate from each other.  You know, you say a thing and then there’s a beat before the repeat comes back.  In fact cartoons use this all the time, having the character say something and expect it to be repeated but the return is something completely different and sarcastic or ironic.  Greek spirituality even made a myth about Echo and added her to the pantheon.  She fell in love with Narcissus.  He could only love himself, becoming so obsessed with his own reflection that he eventually drowned trying to get to his beloved.  Hence our understanding of narcissism.  Echo loved Narcissus, but was unable to do anything other than repeat what was said to her.  Luckily she didn’t need to repeat it verbatim, she could pick and choose parts of it so could get some of her message across with inflection, but still.  In the end she became just another reflection of Narcissus, doomed to mourn him when he didn’t even care that she existed.

While playing with echoes is a fun game, cartoons versions make us laugh, and we all nod our heads about narcissism and not being codependent, there are many people in this world who are mired in a life of echoes.  We’ve all seen this in action, the person who is constantly “dealing” with people who are broken, dysfunctional, struggling, but can’t see that they themselves are exactly like those people. In fact they should be “dealing” with their own brokenness, dysfunction, and should be struggling to heal, but don’t. Instead they repeatedly draw in echoes of themselves, external versions that repeat over and over what the issue is.  Like a ground hog’s day of validation, they point to the echo and say, “Here it is again!  This problem.”  And the echoes point back and say “Here it is again! This problem.”  But the person doesn’t listen to the echo any more than Narcissus listened and so the play goes on, never ending.

Common wisdom says that we should look at the mirrors that are being held up to us so we can see ourselves more clearly.  For those dealing with echoes this is something that won’t work.  The echoes, the mirrors, have become a distraction.  They have become the means for avoiding what they do not want to see and don’t want to acknowledge, that they have their own work to do.  A mirror held up to them just makes them focus on the person holding up the mirror.  Instead, a person dealing with echoes should back away from making noises.  They should step away from the wall or canyon or cave where the echoes are formed.  They should goto a place where nothing talks back to them, where they can’t  be distracted, where there is nothing to be fixed or done or accomplished.  Being in a place that doesn’t need them to do, where being is all there is, that’s where they will be unable to avoid their own self any longer.  That’s where the healing can start.  Unfortunately telling them that just makes you another echo.  So what to do?  Get quiet, back away and let the silence speak its volumes.