One of the most common questions people ask me early in their narcissistic abuse recovery is “Will the narcissist come back to me?” And sadly, I can often tell them yes, it’s highly likely. (See video here)
See, there are some narcissists who are infamous for their recycling habits – but not the good kind of recycling that helps save the earth. Instead of recycling garbage, these narcissists recycle people – specifically, people with whom they have relationships.
You might say that narcissists have their own personal harem dedicated to being dedicated sources of narcissistic supply.
In fact, when we are talking about a “narcissistic harem,” we are talking abt a group or “collection” of friends/admirers (AKA sources of narcissistic supply) that a narcissist gathers up to keep them topped up on their daily supply of love and admiration.
Since no single individual person could ever fill the void that is the hole inside a narcissist’s soul, they seek to fill it with whomever they can – and often these relationships are interchangeable.
So how does “narcissistic recycling” happen?
The narcissist has their group of “options” – AKA their little harem – and while there may be an occasional new addition or temporary member of the group, there are a few who remain in place for years or even decades.
As the narcissist cycles through the idealization, devalue, discard and hoover phase with one, they’re often in a different part of the cycle with another.
But in any case, the “re-idealization” part is often facilitated by the hoover maneuver.
You might think that it’s over – but very often, the narcissist has other ideas. in fact, more often than not, the narcissist will do something to suck you back into their drama – or even fully back into the relationship – using a technique called hoovering.
What is hoovering?
Hoovering, named after the famous vacuum cleaner company, is what we call it when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after you’ve left them or ended the relationship, or after they have discarded you. They may use some kind of personal problem or dramatic issue to pull you back in, or they may use love-bombing. Hoovering is always an attempt to obtain more narcissistic supply from you, and in many cases, it can be an attempt to reconcile the relationship. It can also just be a manipulation tactic used to get you to break no contact.
What are the signs of a hoovering narcissist?
The first thing you need to remember here is that there is no level to which a narcissist won’t stoop – nothing is off-limits for them. Here are a few ways narcissists might engage in hoovering you. (Details on each are included in this video)
- Finally saying that one thing you’ve been dying to hear.
- Future faking you.
- Getting you involved in their drama.
- Accidentally “butt-dialing” you or sending you a text “meant for someone else.”
- Swearing that they can’t live without you.
- Engaging flying monkeys to do their dirty work.
- Suddenly recognizing the error of their ways.
- Using fear and intimidation to bully you.
How can you deal with hoovering?
The next question on the mind of every narcissistic abuse survivor is usually, “How can I avoid the hoover?” Here are a few of the most important things you can do.
- Remember that knowledge is power.
- Use the gray rock method.
- If possible, eliminate their ability to contact you.
- Focus on YOU for once!
- Reconnect with old friends, and make new ones.
Question of the day – have you been recycled by a narcissist? Are you worried you might be? Click here to share your thoughts, share your ideas, share your experiences in the comments section below this video and let’s talk about it.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.