Beware of narcissists trying to lure you back with hoovering. Breakups with narcissists don’t always end the relationship. Many won’t let you go, even when it’s they who left the relationship, and even when they’re with a new partner. They won’t accept “no.”
They hoover in an attempt to rekindle the relationship or stay friends after a breakup or divorce. A research showed that narcissists and psychopaths tend to stay friends with their ex for selfish reasons. They try to stay in your life or seduce and convince you to return. They’ll do whatever it takes to lure you back.
This behavior is called hoovering after the famous Hoover vacuum, because when you’re finally free of the abusive relationship, they suck you back in.
Be prepared for a bait-and-switch maneuver. Being expert manipulators, narcissists know your vulnerabilities.
They appeal to your emotions with cries for help, romantic gestures, messages, or cards or gifts on significant dates or anniversaries. They attempt to seduce you with financial support, feigned compassion, pleading, jealousy, sex, loving words, or promises to reform. They may send veiled messages via social media posts, arrange “fortuitous” encounters at your local haunts, or employ “flying monkeys”-friends and family-to do bidding on their behalf. When that doesn’t work, they use threats, guilt and shame to wear you down.
If you still love or have affection for your ex and are hopeful the relationship could improve, you’re vulnerable to being sucked back in. Victims of violence return frequently, only to be abused again. Don’t be fooled. If you remain strong, they may show their true colors and go on the attack.
Why Narcissists Hoover
Narcissists who are motivated by power are game players, and this is just another power-play. Thus, hoovering is entirely predictable, because to narcissists relationships are transactional. They lack empathy and the ability to see you as a separate human being. Rather than wanting a relationship for sentimental reasons, they’re out for themselves, looking for access to resources, such as sex, money, information, status, or love. Their impetus is pragmatic and their own dependency.
They need their narcissistic supply. Their fragile ego needs constant reassurance and attention to avoid feeling their inner emptiness – like a vampire that sucks its victims’ blood, and they need many. Male narcissists in particular may flit from one woman to another for validation and/or sex.
Additionally, if it wasn’t their decision to leave, cannot tolerate rejection. Due to their underlying shame and insecurity, they find it humiliating. Rather than accept you “quit,” they go on the offense and “fire” you. Similarly, they often spread lies assassinating your character and turning family and friends against you to elevate themselves in others’ eyes
Once they’re left, in order to regain their self-esteem and power, they may attempt to win you back. Just knowing you think about them or will talk to them soothes their wounded ego. If you go back, as soon as they feel secure, they’ll put you down or breakup to reverse the narrative.
What to Do
Hoovering can be very damaging. Narcissists confuse you with lies and distortions to gaslight you for their own ends. It perpetuates the narcissistic abuse that you’ve endured. Because of the prior relationship dynamic, you may easily be persuaded by false promises, gestures, fear, or threats if you don’t go along, or you may succumb to shame and blame because you’ve been made to feel so unworthy and lucky to have your ex back in your life. Your vulnerability is enhanced through trauma-bonding, which makes it very hard to leave an abuser.
Remember that narcissism is a personality disorder. A narcissist will not change for you and certainly not without years of focused therapy. You need to put yourself first and Raise Your Self-esteem.
© DarleneLancer 2021