The term hoover comes from the brand of vacuum cleaner, as narcissists often don’t want you back, they want to control back. Therefore they come with the hoover to suck you back into their games, treat you like dirt and discard you all over again.
Re-idealisation is a more appropriate term as narcissistic people are envious of others, so if they see someone doing well, they feel entitled to dupe people so they can take whatever that individual narcissist requires from any given person. They lack empathy to care for who they hurt, believing they are right, willing to act insensitively as they believe any pain they caused you is your fault.
Not all narcissists hoover, those where you’ve gone strict no contact, those where they fear exposure or consequences will avoid the hoover, those who are arrogant enough to believe that you’re holding a grudge, often because the narcissist themselves is holding a grudge, will believe you’ll give up and chase them, as the narcissist doesn’t realise you’re happy living life without them.
These are a few common examples of how a narcissist might hoover.
Hoover 1. This could be a Message; if you are in contact over the children, they might change how they message you if you don’t have children they might try and email you or use a friend via Facebook or other social media platforms if you’ve blocked them, some have been know to reach out via Netflix, depositing small amounts of cash into your bank with a message, through school meetings, etc.
Narcissists do this to test the waters and their chance of getting you back. You may be feeling lonely. You may want that apology. You might feel rude not responding, don’t do it no reaction, no contact, often if you react negatively, they will accept this as attention and use all they can to hit you with more messages to get those reactions from you.
Hoover 2. You haven’t been together for a while. Then they send you a nice gift which gets you thinking about how nice they could be, remembering how sweet they could be, you might feel rude not saying thank you.
So you message to thank them, and you’re drawn back in, as it’s just a trick, no reaction, no contact, their admiration face has come out to play, to hoover you back into their games as you have something they want, keep your boundaries up and keep them away from your territory. If you’re feeling weak which a lot do until recovered, write down all other times they played nice, you showered them back with attention then what happened? Did it cycle back to the end? Start journaling about each and every good thing you’ve achieved since you split up, no matter how big or small to remind yourself why you need to stay free.
Hoover 3. If you still see them in person, they might start telling you how much they have missed and love you, that you are their soulmate and they see this now. We can think things will be different this time.
It will not. No reaction, no contact. Just respond with. “That’s interesting,” or “I’m sorry you feel that way.” If face to face. Tell them “I don’t feel that way.” And leave it at that. You do not need to explain why to them, and you need to know your why? As to why you will not go back? If you can not remember in a moment of weakness and most have those moments have them written down to remind you, at the same time have positive things written down as to what you are going to do with your life now you are free. Take action to achieve your new goals and dreams.
Hoover 4. They may suddenly get in touch asking you about a good time you had together or somewhere you visited together, something you did with the kids, anything to bring up good memories.
You could then feel guilty for how things ended, and again it’s a trick, no reaction, no contact. If you’ve reached a better happier place, you are allowed to remember the good, you lived those moments, yet recognise the reality of the relationship in its entirety, not better than it was and not worse than it was, just as it was. How you truly feel when around them.
Hoover 5. The accidental contact, they may bump into you somewhere, or they may send you a message then pretend it was for someone else, you might then start to think about them again.
Stop no reaction, no contact. Just as you might have finally evicted them from running around your mind rent-free, and that, most likely took time and self-work to do so, then suddenly boom they are back, you are allowed to think about them, don’t question if they have changed, instead think they have a disorder, one that you did not cause, one that you can not change, and one you can not control, it’s how they are, however, you can take back control of your thoughts, give yourself ten minutes or however long you’d like, acknowledge to yourself. “I’m going to reminisce, I know they are toxic then I’m going to do????.” And go do something that takes your mind elsewhere, watch something funny, call a friend, read a book, clean, run, yoga, whatever you enjoy doing for you, and bring all your mind and attention onto that present moment.
Hoover 6. They may apologise, the false apology, if they say they’ll change, remember you’ve heard it all before, it’s all lies. You might want to clear the air with them.
No reaction, no contact. You don’t need to clear the air with them, only yourself, Observe the false apology words for what they indeed are, manipulation to use you again, don’t Absorb, as you’re a right, kind, caring person, most want to believe their apology, look for times you have in the past only for them to hurt you again. An apology without changed behaviour is just further manipulation.
Hoover 7. There’s a crisis, the victim pity play, they will use fake illness for themselves or for family members, as they know the empathy you have will mean you want to help. You want to rescue you might feel bad not helping them.
No reaction, no contact. They are no longer your problem, ask yourself, would they come to help you if it was the other way around? If you really need to help them, call and inform their family or friends, and leave them to deal with them, it’s ok to be selfish towards those who are never there for you.
Hoover 8. They might ask a friend or family member to contact you for them. You might be curious. You might want to not look rude by not replying to their family or friends.
Again tricks, lies and manipulation, no reaction, no contact. Best is no response if you do respond, keep it simple. “O.k.” Or “thanks.” Don’t tell them anything about you as that information shall be fed straight back to the narcissist.
Hoover 9. Calling you up to say they’re moving away, would like to see you one last time before they leave, so you meet for a coffee. You’d like closure, and it’s another trick.
No Reaction, no contact. If they have you on the phone, just say “thank you but no.” Do not arrange to meet them.
Hoover 10. They will beg, make grand promises for the future, tell you they will change, cry, yell, shame, threats, try to guilt trip, blame shift, make false accusations.
No reaction, no contact, If you left them, and they win you back. It will be worse as they’ll try to punish you for abandoning them.
They will try being sweet at first, or vulnerable, or add the pity play, and they might act like they are sorry. It’s a lie to hook you in, no reaction, no contact.
If your boundaries are solid and that doesn’t work.
They may tell you that you’re a horrible person.
They may then shift onto how amazing their new partner is, and they don’t need you anyway. Or that they just want the best for you.
Your standing firm and your boundaries are strong. They will go after what matters to you the most and go all out to destroy it, they’ll tell you what a rubbish parent you are, or the no one like you.
They may leave you alone for a while even years, and then they’ll start all over again.
The narcissist knows how to suck people in, so remember they are only in it for themselves. They only come back and try the hoover if they believe they can gain something from you. Not because they love or care for you.
Do not fall for their tricks, keep moving forward, no contact, grey rock, stay strong, enjoy your freedom, narcissists know they can pull ex’s back in, that trauma bond lasts and it completely normal to want to go back, but you need to remember how bad they made you feel. No reaction, no contact, grey rock.
The narcissist Hoover.
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