Mind games the narcissist plays with you (and exactly how to play back!)

Mind games the narcissist plays with you (and exactly how to play back!)

Do you feel like you’re never able to win over your narcissist husband, wife, or partner? Or maybe it’s your narcissistic parent, friend, or neighbor? Do you find that they always seem to be a step ahead of you?

Somehow, narcissists have this intrinsic ability to “know” what buttons to push that will hurt you the most. This is because narcissists are expert mind game players. The narcissist is a master of manipulation. They can get you to do things that you don’t want to do and think thoughts that you don’t want to think…all under the guise of “love.”

What are narcissist mind games?

There are so many different kinds of narcissist mind games, but in this case, we’re talking about different types of emotional manipulation. The manipulation of emotions can be so subtle, so smooth, so insidious that you hardly notice it’s happening. Sometimes the narcissist’s words and actions are so contradictory that you might even doubt your own judgment. Each game has a purpose, whether it’s to keep us hooked in the cycle of abuse, to use us for supply, or to manipulate us into giving them what they want. These games are designed to make you feel insecure, relatively inferior to them, and encourage you to compete with them or put your energy into earning their approval.

The good news is that once we know what the games are, we can work through them and learn to break free.

Why do narcissists play mind games with you?

To be able to play mind games, the narcissist has to ignore the feelings of others completely.   They have no empathy and can’t see their pain or feel it.  They have no ability to connect with others on any other level than a superficial one.   They have no interest in others as people other than how they can use them, and they lie for no reason other than to avoid being honest.

In other words, narcissists play head games to control others and be in power. The main goal is to confuse, deceive and manipulate. They enjoy the ‘chase’ and the ‘hunt’ more than the actual ‘kill,’ so they want you to stay hooked at all times so they can keep playing this game. Whether consciously or otherwise, the narcissist’s goal is to keep you confused about and focused on figuring out how to navigate their behavior.

That way, they’ll have more control over you because you’ll be so focused on trying to figure them out that you might not recognize what’s happening. Plus, in most cases, the mind games involve tearing you down and making you feel worthless – so you won’t believe you can do any better than them. It may be hard to believe that a person who loves you would knowingly try to hurt you, but if they are a narcissist, that’s exactly what they do. But you’ve got to understand that a narcissist cannot love you in the same way you could love them.

What are the most common mind games played by the narcissist?

There are many narcissist mind games but these are the most common. They’re used often to play with your emotions, your intelligence, your sanity and they’re used often to confuse you. They don’t mean anything; it’s nothing personal (usually) It’s just for one reason or another they use these mind games to make you feel like you aren’t good enough… like you need to change something about yourself…

This video describes some of the most common mind games that narcissists play on the people around them and offers you step by step, highly effective ways to stop the narcissist’s mind games in their tracks. In other words? You’ll learn exactly what to do to play back – and beat the narcissist at their own game.

Want to better understand why narcissists are what they are and what you can expect from them? Learn more about the narcissist’s cycle of abuse.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Are you dealing with a narcissist who is playing mind games with you? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

What Happens When You Abandon The Narcissist?

What Happens When You Abandon The Narcissist?

If you’ve decided that the narcissist in your life is not healthy for you, there will come the moment when you realize that it’s time to walk away. But, unfortunately, no matter how much you try, nothing changes, and the abuse continues.

Are you planning to abandon a narcissist?

If you plan to abandon the narcissist in your life, you should know first that you’re most certainly not alone. Unfortunately, the unfortunate truth is that thousands of men and women experience emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of a malignant narcissist. While this is terrible news for humanity, it’s good news for you today because our research and experience allow you a glimpse into the psychology of the narcissist and a play-by-play guide for exactly what to expect when you leave a narcissist.

It’s a painful realization to reach that point of giving up, but this is what is necessary if things aren’t going to change. This is when you have the greatest risk of narcissist retaliation if the narcissist thinks you’re planning on leaving them. Once you decide that it’s time, the final stage of implementing this can take place. Deciding to abandon a narcissist is scary, especially since a part of you misses the person you signed up for and how they used to be so kind and caring before everything changed.

Discovering That You’re Dealing With a Narcissist

Maybe there was a specific incident (or several) that you feel caused them to become disillusioned with you, and so you spent months or years trying to make up for whatever damage they claimed you caused.

And you might have found yourself Googling about how you could become more like what the narcissist in your life really seemed to want, right? But then you ran across something that blew your mind – you found out about narcissism, or more specifically, narcissistic personality disorder.

As you read through the checklist or article you found or watched the video you clicked on, and a lightbulb went on in your head. Your brain almost hurt from the heavy realization you had at that moment: after all the months or years you’ve been blaming yourself, it turned out that it wasn’t you after all.

You suddenly understood that this person matched up to the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. And that even if they weren’t diagnosed, they clearly demonstrated the trademark behaviors. You didn’t know if you were happy or super angry that you’d been unfairly beating yourself up for all this time. You weren’t sure whether to be upset that you had bent over backward to prove yourself to someone who would never see you. You struggled with the idea that you wasted so much of your life trying to make them happy when it would turn out that even if you were literally perfect, they would never be satisfied.

In other words, you recognized that this person who you now know as the narcissist in your life has actually done nothing but abuse and devalue you as they see fit and at any given moment for almost as long as you can remember. Are you worried you might be wrong, and this person isn’t a narcissist? If so, take our free toxic relationship test or look at this video, which offers signs that you’re in love with a narcissist. 

Making the Decision to Leave the Narcissist

Maybe you thought something was wrong with you at first. You couldn’t understand how someone could treat you the way this person has treated you, so you assumed you must be the problem. Maybe you thought that if only you could somehow “fix” whatever the narcissist claimed was wrong with you, and things would finally change.

But now, you’re over it, and you want out. You crave (and deserve) freedom, and you have taken the time to create your escape plan to go no contact or low contact.

You would love to abandon the narcissist completely. But you want to know what to expect. And if you’re honest, you are understandably concerned about what consequences you could face if you take off and leave the narcissist.

Why is it so difficult to abandon the narcissist? 

Let’s face it – the reasons you might be hesitant to leave the narcissist are many. Not only are you highly likely to be trauma bonded to them, thanks to years or even decades of abuse, but you might be dealing with a fear of abandonment and some attachment issues of your own.

And, quite honestly, you’re at least a little bit afraid of them.

You have seen the narcissist fly into an unreasonable narcissistic rage for the smallest of reasons. And anytime the rage didn’t give them the results they wanted, you’ve witnessed them using narcissistic injury, also known as the “poor me” act, as a way to manipulate you into doing what they want. Unfortunately, this has been a problem in your life more often than you care to admit.

But now that you’re finally done and you’re ready to get the heck out of dodge, you are fully expecting all hell to break loose. You know that it won’t go easily, and you suspect that the narcissist will do anything literally in their power to stop you, especially because you leaving means them losing the one thing they cannot do without – narcissistic supply.

And, if you’re like most survivors, you’re worried about what they will do if you leave.

What can you expect when you abandon the narcissist?

The early part of the no contact journey is no picnic, so when you abandon the narcissist, you can expect to deal with various manipulation tactics, including the following.

The narcissist will beg you to stay.

The narcissist might beg you to stay – or even try to talk you out of leaving. You may even hear things like, “You’ll never find anyone who loves you as much as I do,” or “You’re going to regret this in the long run.” But, then, they will start love-bombing you again and suddenly become the “perfect partner,” and they’ll seem so sincere. Naturally, you will want to believe them, and you will find it nearly impossible to leave if you indulge in this little fantasy at all. Just remember that once they’ve got you firmly back in their grip, they’ll quickly return to their old ways.

The narcissist will guilt-trip you.

The narcissist will try to make you feel guilty for abandoning them. Then, they will suddenly forget that they ever treated you anything but like royalty. In general, narcissists are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions, and the narcissistic guilt trip takes things to a whole new level. Not only is the narcissist well-aware of your “buttons” (which they will happily push at any given moment to get what they want), but they have literally no limits to the levels to which they will stoop. This video offers insight into managing your guilt when you abandon the narcissist.

The narcissist will threaten you.

In many cases, the narcissist will (at least threaten to) stoop to any level to get revenge. You may even hear things like, “If you leave, I’ll tell everyone what a bad person you are” or “If you walk out that door, don’t ever expect me to let you back in!” Remember that even if you choose to stay, they’ll start a smear campaign about you if they haven’t already. So don’t try to reason with them, and don’t make excuses. If you’re afraid they will physically hurt you or your kids, be really intentional in your planning and do your best to avoid confrontation as you exit. If possible, leave and don’t say anything to the narcissist until you’re safely away. This video offers insight into what to do if the narcissist snaps on you. 

The narcissist will stalk and harass you. 

Expect to be stalked and harassed by the narcissist after you abandon them, especially if they have no other sources of narcissistic supply. If they have other sources of supply, they may still stalk you, but it might be less intense or not at all, depending on the situation. Still, it’s important to remember that for the narcissist, this supply can literally feel like a requirement for them – like air or water. So, whether it’s immediately or later down the line, you should be aware that abandoning a narcissist can lead to stalking. If you’re concerned about an existing stalker or you already know that the narcissist in your own life will become a stalker, be sure to grab my free stalker safety kit, right here, so you can take precautions and keep yourself safe. This video also offers insight into how to keep yourself safe from a stalker. 

The narcissist will hoover you.

If the narcissist in your life is not already engaging with a replacement for you, then you can expect to be hoovered. Named after the famous vacuum cleaner company, “hoovering” happens when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after the discard. This can be drama-related or an attempt to reconcile the relationship – or, in some cases, an attempt to get you to break no contact once you do get away.

You can expect the narcissist to hoover since you are one of their primary sources of narcissistic supply – and sometimes, the only one. When you unexpectedly cut off that source of supply, the narcissist will be like a vampire who goes without blood for too long. They’ll do anything to get a little taste of it – if they’re in need anyway. They will send you texts such as “Can we please talk?” or “I miss you, please come back.”

Now listen – this next part is hard and will take a ton of willpower, but you’ve got to hold your ground here. Don’t answer their texts. Please don’t respond to their repeated efforts to contact you on social media. Block them and their usual flying monkeys – and if they show up at your door? You don’t answer it. If they won’t leave and are causing a scene? Call the police and have them removed. 

This video offers insight into why narcissists hoover and how to prevent yourself from falling back into that toxic, abusive mess they claim is a relationship.

And speaking of flying monkeys, this brings me to my next point.

The narcissist will engage their flying monkeys in triangulation.

Here’s where the narcissist will employ these so-called flying monkeys. Flying monkeys are just people who willingly or otherwise do the narcissist’s bidding and support their agenda. In other words, they enable the narcissist’s games and manipulation, whether they do it willingly or the narcissist manipulates them into helping.  If the hoover doesn’t work, and sometimes even before they try the hoover, the narcissist will pull out the triangulation card.

Triangulation is, unfortunately, a prevalent manipulation tactic often employed by narcissists; this is when the narcissist communicates as a third party between two people but prevents the two from communicating directly through either manipulating or controlling at least one of them.

So, in this case, because the narcissist may be desperate to get in touch with you for a bit of supply or to cause you more stress and pain (which, if we are honest, is also supply), they’re going to start reaching out to people who will help them by telling you “how worried they are” or “how sad the narcissist seems” since you left, or whatever. This video offers insight into dealing with flying monkeys and the smear campaign. 

The narcissist will flaunt their new source of supply in your face.

Alternatively, the narcissist may quickly scoop up a new person to be their source of narcissistic supply. And, once they’ve got that poor unsuspecting soul in place, you know what they’ll do, right? They will try to use this to hurt you. So, they will try to contact you to fill you in on their “good fortune.” They’ll want you to know how much better they get along with the new supply – and how that person “gets them” in ways you never could.

Of course, they’ll take all the supply they can get, right? So you know they’ll be posting all over their social accounts, telling the world about this new and amazing person they have finally found. They’ll proclaim that this person is their new soulmate and even insult you indirectly in the process by either not acknowledging that you ever existed or by directly pointing out how much better they are with the new person. They will conveniently forget how a similar thing happened when they met you – that they once thought you were their amazing soulmate who could do no wrong and who just “got them” in ways their ex never could. Ahem. Yep, it’s a typical narcissistic cycle of abuse. Anyhoo…

They will try to call you or send you messages to brag about them, hoping that they will get a rise out of you. Of course, the best thing to do is ignore the messages and block their number and social media profiles. If you get any strange friend requests or follows from new accounts that look suspicious, then you will want to block those as well. This video offers insight into how to deal with the narcissist getting a new supply.

The narcissist will run smear campaigns.

Remember how I mentioned smear campaigns before? Well, not only is the narcissist is worried that you will expose who they are, but they’re also going to need a replacement supply and fast! So, they’re going to tell everyone a big sob story, and they’re going to try to tell everyone what a terrible person you are.  They will attempt to ruin your reputation among your family and friends, and if possible, they’ll even try to get you fired from your job. The narcissist can also threaten you by leaking your personal and private information in public. Be careful to avoid engaging with their rumors and lies. Instead, if someone you feel deserves an explanation asks you, then you can explain yourself just one time. If the person appears not to believe you or continues to act as a flying monkey on the narcissist’s behalf, you can step away emotionally until you’re feeling more healed – and at that time, you can decide whether you’d like to keep that person in your life. This video offers insight into dealing with the narcissist’s smear campaign.

Should you abandon the narcissist? 

Given all of the information shared here, you might feel a little doubtful about your decision to leave the narcissist. Worse, you might find that things are still not resolved, and more damage is done by separating from the narcissist. But while it won’t necessarily be easy, it will certainly be worth your time and trouble. And now that you know what to expect when you abandon a narcissist, you can be prepared and protect yourself along the way. This video offers insight into creating your exit plan safely.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

The Narcissist’s Idealize, Devalue and Discard Cycle

The Narcissist’s Idealize, Devalue and Discard Cycle

If you’ve been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, then you’re well aware of how invalidating and toxic the relationship cycle can be. But, you might also be hearing from people who seem to think it seems impossible that a narcissist could trick an intelligent person into staying in such an abusive relationship. It would be easy to worry if this has happened to you, but don’t doubt yourself. You aren’t stupid, and you’re not weak. Unfortunately, many people simply don’t understand the tremendous amount of manipulation involved in narcissistic abuse – not to mention that it doesn’t just start happening but is a sneaky, pervasive process.

Inside the Narcissist’s Idealize, Devalue, and Discard Cycle  

From idealization (focusing on your strengths) to devaluation (zeroing in on your weaknesses and perceived threats) to discarding (the discovery that they are no longer needed or wanted), you may endure years of abuse from a single narcissist. That cycle of abuse is a perfect storm of intermittent reinforcement and psychological manipulation, the likes of which can affect almost anyone.

This video offers insight into the narcissist’s idealize, devalue, and discard cycle of abuse in toxic relationships. 

What is the cycle of narcissistic abuse?

The cycle of narcissistic abuse is a pattern used by a narcissistic personality disorder, psychopathic, or sociopathic person to entrap their victims. For the most part, victims will experience four main phases, including the idealization phase, also known as love bombing, followed by the devaluation and discard degrees. Thus, this cycle of abuse is a pervasive pattern of alternating idealization and devaluation.

Phase 1: Love bombing and idealization

The narcissist uses switching tactics to “hook” you into falling in love with them, or at least into really liking them and wanting their approval. As a result, you’ll be idealized and put on a pedestal. You’ll be compared (positively) to former sources of narcissistic supply, and you’ll think you’ve found your true soulmate.

Phase 2: Devaluation

You’ll experience a period of “devaluation,” during which the narcissist will actively seek out and pick on any perceived flaws you have. They will be heartlessly vicious during this phase. You’ll spend a lot of time trying to figure out what you did wrong and desperately searching for a single glimpse of the person you thought was your soulmate. You might even blame yourself if the narcissist is effective in their gaslighting and manipulation.

Phase 3: Discard

Whether they choose to discard you permanently, or they choose to give you the silent treatment for a while, or even if they’re threatening you often that they’re going to leave, the discard phase is devastating. By this point, you’ve become fully enmeshed with the narcissist and formed a trauma bond.

Trauma bonding affects the same part of your brain as drug addiction. In other words, you are addicted to the narcissist just like you could be addicted to alcohol, drugs, or even gambling or sex. That’s why it’s difficult to leave the narcissist on your own.

Phase 4: Hoovering

After that, the narcissist will often try to bring you back into the relationship, or at least into their “circle of supply,” through a tactic we call the hoover maneuver. The hoover maneuver can involve several different manipulative behaviors designed to get your attention. This cycle will repeat throughout the relationship, whether or not it’s ever officially ended. In many cases, the “final discard” only happens when you choose to end it yourself. This is because the narcissist will continue to use you for narcissistic supply as long as you allow it in most cases. Otherwise, the cycle will inevitably continue, in one way or another.

Learn more about the narcissist’s cycle of abuse.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

The Narcissist’s Final Discard: How do you know it’s REALLY over?

The Narcissist’s Final Discard: How do you know it’s REALLY over?

Narcissists are notorious for “recycling” their relationships. So, how can you tell when a relationship with a narcissist is really over? WHEN do you know for sure that you’re experiencing the “final discard” at the hands of a narcissist?

What is it like to be in a relationship with a narcissist? 

If you’ve been in a relationship with a pathological narcissist, you know what it feels like to feel crazy. You’ve found yourself riddled with anxiety, emotionally destroyed. While you might not like to admit it, you’ve probably doubted your sanity as you attempted to figure out what was going on. Maybe you even felt like the relationship was doomed but didn’t know why or what the narcissist would do next.

Unfortunately, the most confusing part of becoming enmeshed in a toxic relationship like this is that not only can narcissists seem to be exciting and delightful, but they are also highly confusing, incredibly superficial, and they can be outrageously deceptive. Worse, regardless of its nature, nearly any long-term relationship with a narcissist can lead to long-term traumatic effects.

What is the narcissistic abuse cycle?

Most malignant narcissists have a particular cycle of abuse that they repeat throughout their lives with every relationship they experience, regardless of the type of relationship. The cycle includes an initial period of idealization, or love bombing, followed by a process of devaluing and emotionally destroying you. After that, you’ll experience a discard phase, which could be the actual end of the relationship, or just a temporary breakup or even a period of passive-aggression, emotional abuse, and/or silent treatment within the relationship. After that, there’s a common thing that happens – and it’s the very reason it’s so difficult to know for sure when the narcissist is done with you and your relationship.

Why is it so hard to tell when it’s over with a narcissist? 

The problem for most survivors of narcissistic abuse is the fourth phase of a narcissist’s abuse cycle – the part where they try to suck you back into the relationship. We call that the “hoover maneuver,” which can involve repeating the love-bombing phase, but not always. Sometimes, the narcissist will create drama or feign illness or injury to get your attention. Other times, the hoover can begin with a simple “butt-dial” or “accidental text.” Anything it takes to get your attention back. And since this is such a common occurrence in toxic relationships, you often feel like you can never be entirely free of the narcissist – even when you don’t want them to come back.

How do you know when you’ve experienced the narcissist’s final discard? 

How can you tell it’s over with a narcissist? There is no way to hide the fact that a narcissist discards people in their life. The warning signs are unmistakable. What is so difficult is that the final discard often happens after a period during which you think everything will be okay. It might even appear to be a reconciliation between the two of you. This is why, so often, when a narcissist has discarded you, you’re left confused and reeling.

So what are the criteria for a relationship with a narcissist to end? How do you know it’s really over?

Consider your position in the ‘circle of narcissistic supply.’

You aren’t the primary source of narcissistic supply.

While this is not always a sign that the narcissist won’t come back, there’s a greater chance that the narcissist will permanently move on if you aren’t the “primary” source of narcissistic supply. In other words, you’re someone they’re not married to or someone with whom they do not have a public relationship. If you’ve had an affair with the narcissist, they’re more likely, though not entirely guaranteed, to walk away permanently.

You are the primary source of narcissistic supply, but another supply has stepped into your place. 

Remember: once the novelty of the relationship has passed, the narcissist only cares about what you can do for them. So, if another person has started taking care of the things that you used to do for the narcissist, there is a far greater chance that they will stay away, at least for a while.

Consider the narcissist’s behavior and patterns.

While there does seem to be a playbook for narcissistic abuse, every narcissist is still an individual who may have their own patterns and behaviors separate from their personality disorder. Still, certain signs of the final discard are common among narcissists and people with narcissistic personality disorder (as well as other abusers with narcissistic traits who haven’t been diagnosed) – and they are likely to stand out if you’re looking for them.

Typically, the discard is part of the cycle of abuse, and it follows the devaluation period. The narcissist will start picking you apart, and if this is the first time it happens, it can feel devastating and confusing. On the other hand, if you’ve been in the relationship long enough to know the cycle, you might be prepared to hunker down and get through it as you wait for the next “good” part.

  • The narcissist will stop being nice to you altogether before the final discard. While they will repeatedly abandon you throughout the relationship with little discards, the final discard will feel slightly different. The narcissist might cross a line they never have before. For example, they might become physically aggressive when they haven’t before. As always, they will blame you for their behavior – but please note: no matter how “terrible” they claim you’ve been, there is never an excuse for physical abuse or aggression in any relationship.
  • When the narcissist realizes and accepts that they cannot own you, that they can no longer dominate you, and that you will not allow them to drain you any longer, they will walk away and stay away. But truthfully, that kind of awareness is quite rare for someone who has NPD.

The bottom line? A narcissist is finished with a relationship when they no longer need you. Still, while the final discard is a reality in many situations, there’s never a guarantee the narcissist won’t return to hoover you back into the relationship on some level or to secure you as a backup form of narcissistic supply at the very least.

With all of that being said, there’s only really one way to ensure that you’re done with the narcissist for good.

How can I be sure that the narcissist will leave me alone?

If you want to end it once and for all, you’ve got to take your power back and fast! The truth is that the discard is final when you decide that you are done with the toxic relationship and done with the narcissist.

If you want the narcissist out and want it to be over, you have to be the one to put an end to it. You can go no contact with them and never consider going back. Of course, you’ll need to go low contact and use the gray rock method when you must communicate with them. This is only applicable if you have children or other legal reasons, you must remain in contact. Otherwise, don’t bother! Now, you can block them on social media and block their calls to safeguard yourself from feeling triggered to return to the abusive relationship.

And, remember that no matter what they say, you cannot be friends with a narcissistic ex. They will continue to use you as a source of narcissistic supply, and you’ll find yourself feeling even more miserable than you did when you were with them.

But when you take control, you won’t need to worry about what happens if the narcissist wants you back. If the narcissist discards you, my suggestion is to do whatever grieving you need to do (and you WILL need to grieve the relationship, regardless of how toxic it has been), and then consider the discard a blessing in disguise.  Then, when you can discover or rediscover your power and value, you can heal yourself and begin to choose what comes next in your life.

Are you dealing with being discarded by a narcissist?

If you feel you need additional help and support in your narcissistic abuse recovery, look for a trauma-informed professional trained in helping people who are dealing with overcoming narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. Depending on your particular situation, you might benefit from Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching, or you might do better with a therapist. But, first, you have to decide what to do from here – if you’re unsure, start with my free Narcissistic Abuse Recovery quiz. With your results will come recommended resources for your situation. It’s totally free.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

When the Narcissist Wants to Stay Friends After the Discard

When the Narcissist Wants to Stay Friends After the Discard

Have you ever wondered why some narcissists always want to seem to stay friends with their exes? Have you personally dealt with a narcissistic ex who insisted on being friends? It makes any sane person wonder why someone who clearly did not care about you during your relationship would be interested in maintaining your friendship, right?

It seems a little ridiculous. Whether it’s a full-on hoover maneuver or it’s just a misguided attempt to secure you as a backup source of narcissistic supply, you’re probably feeling a little confused on whether it’s even safe to be friendly with someone like this – that is, if the idea doesn’t make you feel absolutely disgusted.

What is the hoover maneuver?

The hoover maneuver, also known as hoovering is what we call it when the narcissist tries to sort of gain your attention again, or to “suck you back in” after the discard. The hoover maneuver isn’t always just about getting back together, but it can be drama-related or it can be an attempt to reconcile the relationship. In many cases, the hoover is used when you go no contact as an attempt to reconnect with you. (Side note: Yes, the “hoover” is named after the famous vacuum cleaner company).

What is narcissistic supply?

Narcissistic supply is basically your energy and attention and the narcissist requires it to feel like a whole person.  You and anyone else in the narcissist’s life will be used as a source of narcissistic supply to get attention, validation, admiration. Sometimes, narcissistic supply includes sex, but not always. The narcissist uses this “supply” to feed their ever-fragile ego and to maintain their false self. The narcissist may also have a circle of supply or “narcissistic harem,” which can include intimate partners, children, parents, other family members, friends, employees and coworkers, and even acquaintances.

How can you tell a narcissist is hoovering you?

When the narcissist has discarded you (or even if you’ve discarded them), they will sometimes tell you they’d like to stay friends, or they’ll say they’d like to continue your intimate relationship.

Any situation like this is a narcissist who is hoovering. But here’s the thing. Hoovering is not wanting to sincerely rekindle a relationship that went bad. It is a manipulative tactic that the narcissist uses to get you back into their control, whether or not they want to continue the actual relationship. As always, narcissists seem to have a playbook, and there are some common behaviors that narcissists might demonstrate when they’re using this particular manipulation tactic.

1. The Sentimental Out-of-Nowhere Call

You may not have heard from your narcissistic ex for six months and then all of a sudden they call you to say they saw a movie or heard a song that reminded them of you. They do this on purpose. In their minds, they’ve given you time to get over their abuse, so they’re hoping you’ve forgotten who they really are (and that you’ll allow yourself to be reeled back in by your own sentimental feelings). Don’t fall for it.

2. The Fake Apology

Narcissists only apologize for anything if they believe it will benefit them to do so. They don’t feel remorse for things they’ve done unless they’re being punished for their behavior – and even then, they are only sorry they got caught. But when the fake apology comes, it’s all about getting what they want from you. So, they will pretend to believe that they were wrong in the relationship and will pretend to take responsibility for it. Just remember that they don’t believe they did anything wrong, and they’re only saying this because they know that is what you want to hear.

3. The Special Day Call

A lot of narcissists will call you on your birthday or your anniversary with them, or during the holidays. They do this because they want you to believe that they actually care – but the truth is that as always, this is all an act and they’re really just looking to get a little narcissistic supply from you. They may also be feeling lonely. You’d do best to block them and go no contact – or at the very least, to ignore the “special day call.”

4. The Soulmate Claim

Narcissists are well-known for their little soulmate scams. One of the most effective ways they can hoover you is through reintroducing idealization, or love bombing, into their arsenal. That means they might get a little sappy with you. They’ll claim you were their “one” and that you’ve ALWAYS been the one. The ONLY one, they swear!  They’ll claim to be sad that your relationship ended because you are their soulmate. They’ll say they can’t live without you and claim that no one else makes them feel the way you make them feel. They will shower you with sweet words, begging you to get back together. But whatever you do, don’t fall for this one, no matter how difficult it is to resist. They’re only playing this game so they can get you back into their control and continue their abuse. The narcissist will not change, no matter how hard they claim otherwise.

5. The Unsolicited Gift

If you find yourself holding a beautiful bouquet or a delicious box of chocolates sent to you by your narcissistic ex, with a love note attached, you’ve got yourself an unsolicited gift, and its only purpose is to get your attention so they can start the conversation with you again. This is yet another hoover, and your best bet is to get rid of it (or keep it, but do not respond to the gesture).

This video offers additional insight into the narcissist’s motivations for wanting to stay friends with their exes after the discard.

Other Useful Videos for Narcissistic Abuse Survivors

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Did you know? Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

How To Make The Narcissist Respect You (The Only Way)

How To Make The Narcissist Respect You (The Only Way)


(Prefer to listen/watch? See video on YouTube)

There was probably a time when you believed that the narcissist in your life actually respected you, right?  I mean, why else would they have treated you so well? During the love-bombing (idealization) phase, the narcissist is head-over-heels, without a doubt absolutely infatuated with you! So, of course, they’re on their best behavior. They treat you like you’re really important and special – even put you on a pedestal. You don’t treat someone this way unless you respect them. Right?

But then, the devalue phase hit for the first time. And it all fell down around you. You were left spinning, wondering what the heck just happened. If you’re anything like me, you needed to figure it out. That probably led you to research the situation, which led you here, eventually.

Recognizing the Narcissist’s Cycle of Abuse

If that sounds familiar, then I would guess that, since then, you’ve learned the unfortunate truth about this toxic person in the most difficult way possible. If that’s the case, then the following should resonate with you, at least on some level.

As it turns out, the narcissist does not respect you, and that incredible connection you felt at the beginning of the relationship wasn’t genuine at all. In fact, the narcissist was love bombing you, and this was part of a definable, repeatable pattern of narcissists in toxic relationships.

In other words, if the narcissist was not a family member, when you met them,  they were in acquisition mode and you were the target. Once they were sure they had you in their clutches, they started treating you…well, a little different. And if the narcissist was a part of your family, they’d be running a similar cycle with you for your whole life.

But in either case, there was a time when you found yourself in the devalue phase, and this is where you first started to realize what was going on. You immediately became aware of the fact that the narcissist didn’t respect you even a little bit. In fact, with every word that came out of their mouth and with every passing moment, they became increasingly abusive, dragging your self-worth into the dirt, making you feel like you didn’t matter at all.

As devastating as this realization was, part of you felt some relief when you realized it wasn’t you – that you weren’t, in fact, the problem in the relationship, as you’d been led to believe.

As your relationship progressed, you may have even forgotten what it felt like to be respected at all. Speaking of respect, does the narcissist really respect anyone at all? Like, ever? Well, yes, and no. It’s complicated. See, we know that your average narcissist seems to think that they are the only ones in the world who are important and everyone else is beneath them. In other words, they feel special and entitled to special privileges and gifts that not everyone gets.

I have literally heard more than one narcissist say they believe that on some level, the world revolves around them. And since that is the case, how can the narcissist ever respect you? Let’s talk about it.

Can you make a narcissist respect you?

First, we should agree on what we mean by ‘respect,’ exactly.

Respect can be defined as someone feeling positively toward you as a person. It might also mean being considered important by someone else, and it means that the person respecting you clearly sees and admires your good qualities. It means that they hold you in high regard and are obviously aware of your individual value as a person and a unique, separate entity from themselves (as opposed to an extension of self). It means they treat you in a way that makes you feel good, or at least comfortable.

Is it possible for a narcissist to respect anyone, based on that definition of respect? Maybe. But they generally don’t. Instead, they’ll see you as an object or an extension of themselves. Or, if you’re an authority figure, they’ll be kinder to you and may even appear to respect you, but secretly, they’ll be calculating how they can benefit from knowing you – or worse, depending on the relationship you have, how quickly they can take your place. The truth is that your average narcissist really respects no one at all, with the exception of MAYBE themselves – but even then, their understanding of the concept of respect is skewed and twisted, thanks to their incredibly low EQ.

Some people will advise you that learning to respect yourself is the key to making a narcissist respect you. And listen – I want that to be true, too. But it just isn’t – at least not when you’re talking about functional respect. What I mean is that when you combine the narcissist’s lack of compassion and emotional empathy with their inability to see you as a whole person, you get someone who doesn’t care how you feel and who thinks you don’t matter. Those ingredients do not add up to respect in any form.

What if you leave the narcissist? Won’t they respect you then?

A lot of people think and will advise that leaving the narcissist will make them respect you. While it might be true on some level and in some cases, it won’t cause them to change and become better people. Sadly, leaving a narcissist will only make them angry, sad, desperate, and/or apathetic, depending on whether they have secured alternate narcissistic supply beforehand. In any case, though, they will still not respect you. They will instead start a smear campaign by first lying about you and often projecting their own sins onto you during their ongoing sob story which helps them to secure more narcissistic supply (because people feel sorry for them, as you might have early in your own relationship, and are compelled to support them).

How to Get the Respect You Deserve

You might not like what I’m about to say, but if you know me, then you know I tell it like it is. Here’s the deal. No one is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself. Okay, maybe some people will. I will. Still, there’s something about a person who lacks self-respect that sometimes causes even the least toxic people to take advantage of them. And there’s just no reason to vibrate this way. When you learn to respect yourself, you teach others how to treat you almost without even trying, because your standards go up and you naturally enforce your personal boundaries.

But am I saying that the narcissist will be among those who respect you when you learn to respect yourself, after all? No, not exactly. Let’s talk about it,

See, while learning to love and respect yourself will help you to stop accepting the abuse the narcissist dishes out so often, it will certainly not cause them to respect you – at least not in any functional way. BUT…all is not lost!

The good news is that if you do manage to develop your self-image to the point that you are okay with – and maybe even love – who you are, you’ll show them that you will no longer tolerate their BS. Then, be sure to take good care of yourself, inside and out. And as you beam with genuine confidence and you move away from your codependency with the narcissist, something crazy might happen. You might find a way to leave.

And then, my friend, you might find a way to create a life that you love, for real.

Just…stop for a second, and breathe. Imagine with me for a moment that you no longer have to put up with the drama and misery that goes along with the narcissist and that you’ve created the life you really want. What does it look like? Who is involved? Where do you live?  What do you do? How does your ideal life look? Take a few minutes and journal on it!

The narcissist helped to create your codependency.

Your codependency was at least in part sort of co-created by the narcissist in your life. They taught you to be afraid of them, their moods, and their general presence. They taught you that you didn’t matter without them and that if you didn’t go along with what they wanted, that you were bad and/or invisible. In either case, you’d be punished in various ways and this along with all of the emotional and psychological abuse you deal with throughout your relationship with the narcissist will become the basis for your damage – your trauma. It will become the reason you’ll recognize you might be dealing with C-PTSD symptoms and the reason you literally doubt yourself, your reality, and your ability to function like a normal human in the world.

You have to remember something. Narcissists prey on you by leaning into the trauma they’ve created in you. They’ve caused you to lose your self-confidence, thanks to years of ongoing abuse, and this has caused you to give in to their manipulative ways. They prey on you because they think they can, and because, until now, you may have tolerated it. But, guess what? You don’t have to take it anymore. You deserve to be happy, to feel peaceful, and to feel SAFE in your home. The narcissist takes all of that away from you – and my friend, you deserve better.

How to Deal with the Lack of Respect

If you have struggled with narcissistic abuse, you will want to focus on what you can do to first heal, and then you’ll want to work on becoming the person you truly want to be. This will help you along the path of learning to first accept and then to love and respect yourself. It might feel like letting yourself feel empowered in the narcissist’s presence more difficult at least at first – and that is usually true. So, if you need to, practice with people who you trust and even strangers out in the world.

And remember: Going no contact is a form of self-care. If you were the sort of person who really wanted revenge on the narcissist, remember that the narcissist needs narcissistic supply like a vampire needs blood – and going no contact will remove you (and therefore their source of narcissistic supply, or at least one of them).

So, while the narcissist isn’t capable of functional respect (as in the kind of respect that causes them to treat you compassionately, civilly, and as an equal), leaving them in the dust while you go and have an intentionally created life that you actually love? Well, that’ll make them realize that not only did they lose the best thing that ever happened to them, but also that they’ve underestimated you and maybe even that you’re too good for them. But either way, you’ll be the one winning the relationship, much to their chagrin.

You Have to Respect Yourself First

This part is really important. When we are enmeshed in relationships with toxic people, we often put our own self-respect on the back burner – and that’s IF we’ve ever had any to begin with. See, when we are raised by toxic people or when we experience significant trauma in childhood, we learn that our own self-respect is a problem for other people. We learn that in order to get love and validation, we need to become what others want us to be. And when we can’t become something we’re not, we lose respect for ourselves – but even if we CAN become what others want us to be, we end up putting our own desires, strengths, passions, and talents aside in order to keep those people happy. This leads to a feeling of something being “just not right,” or we feel like something is “missing” from our lives. Even if we’re self-aware enough to know exactly what is missing, we don’t see a way to actually make it happen without upsetting someone – so we just…don’t.

All of that rolled up in a big ugly ball leads us to not respect ourselves. And when we don’t respect ourselves, we are inadvertently accepting unacceptable treatment from people who do not even deserve our time. So when we start respecting ourselves, we STOP accepting that behavior.

How do you learn to respect yourself?

It all starts with learning to first accept yourself, completely, without condition, as you are in any given moment. This is a tough one for someone who has been abused by a narcissist because it feels almost unnatural to say to yourself: “I am okay with myself right now, in this moment, flaws and all.” 

But push past that and give it a shot. Make sure you listen carefully to that little “inner voice” that is always taking in your head – your inner dialogue. And correct it when it is wrong. Correct it when it sounds less like you and more like the toxic people in your life.  Journal often, and honestly. Speak about yourself kindly or at least without negativity – to yourself and to others.

Don’t assume that someone else’s opinion of yourself is the truth. If you’re worried about what someone else says, look closely and be honest with yourself – is there something you want to change? If not, be okay with who you are and accept that no one is perfect. It is normal and human to have flaws.

Don’t do things to gain the approval of anyone else unless it benefits you to do so. For example, you wouldn’t want to go against your morals and ethics to make a narcissist happy, but let’s say you were given the opportunity to audition for a part in a movie, and that was something you wanted to do. In that case, you might make an effort to gain the approval of the casting director, and that is okay. See the difference?

Ultimately, self-respect begins with how you treat yourself and how you expect others to treat you. When you treat yourself lie you matter, others will begin to do the same. And those who won’t? They’ll see themselves out of your life post-haste. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing!

Question of the Day: Have you ever been able to make a narcissist actually respect you? Have you tried? Share your thoughts, share your experiences, share your ideas in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it!

 

 

 

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