Hoovering is a common tactic employed by narcissists to suck their victims back into their web of manipulation and control. Named after the vacuum cleaner brand Hoover, this term aptly captures the narcissist’s relentless pursuit of their targets, only to discard them once their selfish needs have been fulfilled. Whether it’s been days, weeks, months, or even years since the breakup, most narcissists will eventually attempt to hoover their exes back into their lives. In this article, we will explore the various ways narcissists hoover their victims, the emotions that arise during these encounters, and how to break free from their toxic grip.
One of the first emotions victims might experience when faced with a hoover attempt is confusion. They may question if the narcissist has truly changed or if their own perception of the narcissist’s behaviour was mistaken. This self-doubt can be incredibly damaging and make it difficult to resist the hoover. However, it’s crucial to remember that narcissists do not respect boundaries or rules, they believe they are entitled to have whatever they want, and they will go to great lengths to regain control and power over their victims.
One effective way to resist the hoover is to remind yourself of all the ways the narcissist has hurt you in the past, whether narcissistic or not. By acknowledging their toxic behaviour and the misery they caused, you can reinforce your commitment to moving on and living a happier life. Engaging in activities that bring you joy and occupy your mind can also help you stay focused on your own healing and growth.
There are several common hoovering techniques employed by narcissists, and recognising these tactics is essential in resisting their attempts to draw you back in. One common tactic is sending a message, especially if you have children together. They may change the way they communicate with you, testing the waters to see if they can elicit a reaction. It’s important to remain strong and not engage in any form of contact. Reacting negatively will only fuel their desire to manipulate and control you further.
Another common hoovering method is sending a gift that triggers memories of happier times. This can make you question whether the narcissist’s behaviour has truly changed. However, it’s crucial to recognise this gesture as a manipulation tactic and resist the urge to respond or express gratitude. Remember all the times they hurt you in the past and the cycle of abuse that followed any acts of kindness on their part.
In some instances, the narcissist may try to convince you that they have changed and that you are their soulmate. They may even express regret for past actions. However, it’s essential to see through these false promises and remember that actions speak louder than words. If you feel tempted to believe their lies, remind yourself of the countless times they broke their promises in the past.
The accidental contact is another tactic narcissists employ to draw you back in. They may bump into you somewhere or send a message pretending it was meant for someone else. This can trigger thoughts of the past and make you consider rekindling the relationship. When faced with such situations, it’s vital to resist the urge to reminisce. Focus on the reality of the relationship and how you truly felt when you were with the narcissist.
Narcissists may also attempt to apologise, giving the impression that they have changed. However, it’s crucial to recognise these apologies as false and manipulative. An apology without behavioural change is meaningless and will only lead to further exploitation.
The victim pity play is yet another tactic narcissists use to hoover their victims. They may feign illness, either for themselves or their family members, knowing that your empathy will compel you to help. However, it’s important to understand that they are no longer your responsibility. If you feel compelled to assist, reach out to their family or friends instead and let them handle the situation.
Narcissists may also enlist the help of friends or family members to contact you on their behalf. This is a tactic intended to evoke curiosity and manipulate your sense of politeness. It’s essential to recognise these messages as lies and manipulation attempts and avoid responding or divulging personal information.
Other hoovering tactics include claiming to be moving away and wanting to see you one last time or resorting to grand promises of change and a better future together. It’s important to stay firm and not allow these false promises to lure you back in. Recognise that any interaction with the narcissist will only result in further pain and suffering.
In some cases, the narcissist may resort to insults, threats, or blame-shifting when their hoover attempts fail to evoke the desired response. It’s vital to remain strong and maintain your boundaries, even in the face of their vicious attacks. Remember that their words carry no weight, and their attempts to undermine your self-worth are merely desperate attempts to regain control.
Ultimately, breaking free from the pull of the narcissist’s hoover requires resilience, strength, and a commitment to self-care. It’s essential to prioritise your own well-being and surround yourself with supportive friends and family. Seek therapy and engage in self-reflection to heal from the trauma and regain your sense of self-worth.
While it may take multiple attempts to fully break free from a narcissistic relationship, it is possible to escape their toxic grip and lead a life free from their manipulation and control. Stay strong, trust in yourself, and remember that you deserve happiness and freedom from abuse.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.