Just when you thought you’d escaped the toxic clutches of the Narcopath, something odd happens. They’re back, nice as pie. Beware – you’re being hoovered
What is Hoovering?
After the discard, it is very common for a narcopath to try and suck you back into their web of abuse, manipulation, triangulation and drama. Typically this will happen in the weeks and months after the split, but can equally happen a number of years later. Often, normal-range discarded loves will believe that the hoover happens because the narc has had second thoughts, that they realise they have made a mistake, that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, that the narc has learned the error of their ways and they now wish to restart the relationship a reformed character. Sadly this is a very long way from the truth…
So why do Narcs Hoover?
It’s all about supply. If they’ve found another source of supply that is bountiful, then they may not hoover. If their new sources of supply falter, then the chances that they will be back for more are increased. Regardless of new supplies, just bear in mind that often they want to know that you are destroyed by your experience with them. Knowing that you are down and hurting gives them a psychological boost. So if the coast is clear, and they need an uplift, expect them to help themselves to the opportunity to throw you some hope only to subsequently give you yet another psychological kicking.
What are the Chances of the Ex trying to Hoover?
It’s all about risk and reward. You should now understand the rewards they seek – further narcissistic supply, either as their primary or secondary sources. But also factor into the equation risk factors. Has their discarded ex become enlightened, and if so could they blow their cover and risk exposure by meddling with the ex again? Is there discarded still a viable supply or have the shutters firmly come down? Their fears play an important role too.
Do they miss you?
No, sadly not. What is clear is that there is no element of missing the love of their life. They can’t love anyone, least of all themselves, and they certainly don’t feel love toward their partner in the way a normal-range person does. So don’t expect any pining for love lost. So you see, there are a number of different variables at play so it’s hard to give a definitive answer. But the theories that guide them and make them predictable hold pretty constant.
Protecting Yourself Against Hoovering
If, as is highly recommended, your intention is to dissuade a narcissist from contacting you ever again, impose and maintain very strict boundaries. Go No Contact, or at least Grey Rock. Do not give them the slightest nibble of narcissistic supply (positive or negative). If you can, try and engineer your situation such that their ongoing attempts to contact you risks exposing themselves as narcissists – without actually letting on that you know about NPD and you suspect them of having it. Scratching your head at that suggestion? Hardly surprising – it’s not easy. But having a deep understanding of NPD, particularly the role that narcissistic supply plays, will help solve that conundrum.
Your ultimate resistance against hoovering lies in self-confidence and knowledge. Understanding NPD in detail, what makes them tick, their reliance on narcissistic supply, and their tactics for deriving it will all help you spot the attempts in good time. Loving yourself, putting yourself number one and respecting the person you are without them with greatly enhance your resilience against attack.
What does Hoovering Look Like?
For the sake of brevity, I have used the word “text” here (it’s the shortest word, and by and large a common for of communication), but in practice the narcopath will use any form of communication to get in touch with you – face-to-face chats, phone calls, email, direct message etc. Hoovering can even extend to posts on their social media (if they know that you are following, which you shouldn’t be!) as well as messages passed through third parties such as family members and friends in common.
Whichever way it comes, look out for the following:
- They text you with news of a serious illness or disaster, trying to appeal to your sense of care and concern.
- They text you trying to appear concerned about you, those dear to you, or about something happening in your life.
- They text some seemingly random question out of the blue.
- They text you on the pretext of trying to work something out, preying on your sense of guilt or obligation, whilst they have no intention of resolving anything.
- They text as if nothing has happened – even a discard or two!
- They text you with a text feigned for someone else, including their new romantic partner. They text on special occasions – birthdays, Christmas etc, trying to be nice.
- They text some hollow message of congratulations or praise.
- They text about an upcoming event that you might be interested in.
- They text about something intimate, such as sex or other deep connection.
- They text about the kids about which you would feel uncomfortable about not replying.
- They text feigning curiosity in something you’ve always been interested in, and they probably haven’t.
- They text you with the intention of flipping a hoover onto you, such as “Did you just try to call me?’
- They text you with some bogus accusation that you feel obliged to defend.
See Also Types of Narcissistic Abuse