What is hoovering?
Hoovering is often a part of the narcissistic abuse cycle, it’s when the narcissist tries to “suck you back in” after the discard. This can be drama-related or it can be an attempt to reconcile the relationship or to get you to break no contact.
What are some narcissistic hoovering tactics?
1) Causing drama
“He’d create trouble in my life that he thought I’d go to him for help (i.e., put my number and name on sex site, continuous food orders past midnight, sent threats to my uni, etc.)”
2) Projective identification
“When I confronted him, he said I’d lost my spark, I was spiteful and am no longer this ‘kind little thing’ he knew, and that my toxicity was at another level. I feel that he was trying to belittle me because he felt belittled by my confrontations. That got me every time because I felt that I had to defend myself and argue with him.”
3) Using the kids against you
“The Nex has used his sons and my daughter to pass along messages that were supposed to get me to bite at “papers to be returned” to me. Unsuccessful, as I am full of no contact. I “gray rocked” the “kids,” and they don’t tell me much anymore about the Nex. Their communication with him is their business. I prefer to talk to them about what’s going on in their lives. Liking my 17 months of no contact. Not going back. I don’t need any more projects.”
4) Selectively Ignoring You
“She would ignore me after blocking me from social media but comment on my YouTube videos.”
5) Gift-giving and family manipulation.
“Showing up to family get-togethers like nothing’s going on and being nice & buying me gifts.”
6) Asking for your help.
“He texted/called asking for my recipes!”
7) The straight-up love-bomb message.
“He sends me texts, messages, and snaps professing how much he loves me and telling me that I’m all he wants, begging me to come back home…after he’s discarded me and told me he’d done multiple times.”
Additional SPANily member experiences with hoovering
8) The latest hoover was ridiculous. This happened over a four-hour period. First, I got a text message asking for our real estate name; I didn’t respond. Then another call, I didn’t answer. This pattern continued for about 30 mins I finally messaged just the name of real estate. Then more msgs he wanted pics of us as he missed me, calls over and over again. I never replied or answered again. The longer it went on, the msgs got worse. Calling me a sl*t, junkie, wh**e, attacking my parenting and saying no wonder my kids are f***ed. Then he was trying to scare me, saying he was on his way to my house and in the driveway. (boo) the idiot had no idea that I had actually gone away for the weekend. Overall in four hours, I received 59 text msgs and 11 phone calls. On returning home, I reported him to the police.
9) Group post forwarded a girl saying to another girl, “hey didn’t we go to school together?” He states, “That’s how the best part of my life began.” It was his first line to me. Just happened. Smh
10) The first time was a constant calling/texting begging to see me. Finally, let him come over because he swore he had been in the hospital, and that was why he hadn’t been in his right mind. He read me the “letter” he wrote to me about his undying love and blah blah blah. The second one he begged to see me because he had to get his things. When he came in, he said, “I just wanted to see you one last time, so I could tell you that I want nothing to do with you to your face.” Then he turned around to walk out and then turned back around, came at me, grabbed me and passionately kissed me, and told me he couldn’t live without me. Always so dramatic.
11) Recently, after over a year of no contact, he has made an Instagram that is both of our names and posts pictures of us. I can’t see it because it’s private, but it’s us asleep for the cover photo and creepy.
12) She actually made another IG page ( because she is blocked on all my and my kids’ social media) and contacted my daughter ( who is mine from a previous relationship and who was her Golden child ) to tell her how much she “loved them” She has to text me asking about the kids ( I block every # she texts me from ), she had one of her friends call me to see how I was doing ( from an unknown number, the number actually came up on my phone as unknown ).
13) Mine thought after harassing me for months, sending people to harass me, lying about me, causing me to develop anxiety-related tachycardia, that a simple “unblock me and let’s talk” said in a nice and flirtatious tone would convince me to go back to him. He tried this several times when he was around me, and I ignored him while my friends called him out for discarding me and the harassment. He attempted this after his old/new supply (the “crazy” ex before me) didn’t work out again.
14) breaking into my house and taking my dog’s ransom.
15) Saying he was sorry. He just wanted to have lunch so that we could talk.
16) We are divorcing; he already moved out. We need to get the house ready to sell, declutter, etc. He ordered a dumpster delivered, said he would be over for 2 nights to help. No show, instead he took our son to his parents’ lake house for the remainder of the week. So I asked him Saturday when the dumpster is supposed to be picked up. No contact otherwise. He texts back asking me how much money I’ll be making this month and that everything should be in the dumpster. I just said it was our responsibility, and he started insinuating that the mess, etc., is all my fault. Back to no contact, whatever, I did my part!
17) Calling me for the first time since the previous divorce to tell me that he’s moving out of state. Oh, and by the way, he’s also taking our youngest child, who he’s turned into a Flying Monkey, with him. And they are leaving in 4 days. We were married for 34 years. He was in such a hurry to get to his girlfriend that he couldn’t even be at this child’s high school graduation. (girlfriend only lasted 7 weeks.) He’s moved because of target #2. That was a Doozie! A Hoover, devaluation, and double discard all in one! You don’t see that just every day. Devaluation because the kids who knew lied to my face about it for weeks. Telling me that the youngest was going to be doing one thing when he planned all along with this. He convinces two of my kids that his news is “private” and only to be shared at his convenience, with his permission. No matter what I say, they don’t get that telling everyone, BUT no one is keeping the news “private.” It’s keeping secrets to manipulate, devalue and attempt to control me.
18) By asking his mother to call me and talk to me. She told me I was so good, and it was really nice of me to be his son’s friend since he’s such a solitary person and stuff.
19) In the past would call or text about something “important.” He’s not one to EVER apologize or fight FOR me, but he always got sentimental or telling me how much he loved me, but it just didn’t work between us. The last Hoover attempt was about my car( it’s still in both of our names). He wanted me to sign a paper to switch to me as primary on loan and tags ( would have ended up costing me double with the tags because I’m planning on refinancing in a month or 2 anyway. He didn’t get his way, so he said, “as always, your way”…. my reply was silence…. perfectly executed grey rock! Lol
20) Coming by unannounced at my office to return 6 plastic chairs I had lent to his office on a national kids holiday (he knew I missed his kids and thought this might reel me back in).
21) Bang on my front door window after my months-long solid no contact regime the day before Christmas. With a Christmas package from his company. “Because you’ve worked so hard this year.” 🙄
22) Silent phone calls and no caller id calls. Some of the calls contained distant voices flattering about him, his new supply, and their happy future. 😖
23) Impersonating as his youngest daughter on her phone and sending me messages, supposedly from her. It was him, luring me to reach out, so he could rub his new supply in my face. I didn’t take the bait. His new supply was already on vacation with him and the kids after the first month of dating.
24) I was applying to be a speaker at a big seminar about my expertise, so I couldn’t go there and wait for my reaction.
25) Hoover by proxy: flying monkey/lieutenant had “mentionitis,” kept informing me on the goings-on of the narc, despite my requests not to mention him.
26) Letting other people inform him about my whereabouts, and then ‘casually’ sitting exactly where I have to walk by.
27) More No Caller ID calls (he still does this. It’s 13 months after the breakup!).
29) First time: We had been one another’s first loves as teenagers; I ended the relationship hating her and never wanting to see her again. I successfully cut her from my life. Fast forward 15 years. She messaged me on LinkedIn, and we met for a drink. Love bombing was intense; it was hard for me to distinguish because we already had a familiarity. I was at a point, a couple of years after my divorce, where I was ready to find a partner, probably the worst time to walk into a narcissist. It was “meant to be”… mask started talking about four months later. Second time: After two years of living together, I was done and moved out with the kids. About nine months after I had left, she had a partying summer with her friends and dated someone else… Then the Hoover started after she got it out of her system for the time being. She called and texted and asked to meet. I finally gave in. she said all the things to me… she knew what she had lost, wanted the kids and I back, started therapy, acted very remorseful, cried a ton, apologized for being awful, made promises and commitments… I believed her and went back. Love bombing happened for about a year; the cycle played out again. Here I am another two years later, regretting going back yet again.
30) After I left him, my ex-husband cut me off from all our finances, and the most he would do was take me grocery shopping. He basically just tried to get me to come back by making me unable to survive financially. He would call and text incessantly. His text messages would be full of emojis. And he would initiate the contact and answer me back right away. When he wasn’t spinning his web, I would be the one to text or call, and he would respond hours later.
31) Typical promises of change, counseling, an actual job other than dealing drugs, SUICIDE THREATS, etc. Later after successfully sucking me back in, he claimed to have meant none of it, that he was only “sucking ass” to get me to go back to him.. (side note: he beat the sh#t out of me a few months later, and I successfully got away 100% NC, and karma is getting him hard.. I don’t feel sorry for him at all anymore..)
32) She Hoovers me by saying to pray for her when something bad happens like this time after being rejected by 10 guys she hurt herself and said to pray for her. This is what dragged me to see her… and tend her cut. The second time, her sister was not getting better from being sick and praying for her. It’s always praying for this girl that got me out of the no-contact phase.
33) Called and sent texts saying that she was starving and accused me of leaving her in the house to die alone… said that leaving her was borderline illegal
34) Constant phoning
35) Sent texts asking how I am
36) Usually love bombing on Facebook, that sort of thing, wins to hats usually how he contacted me, also creating some crisis that may or not been real like him getting fired, or wanting me to help him with his resume, but never wanted to look for another job.
37) Sends pictures of the “good times,” tells me I can’t survive on my own, bribes with money, try to keep the kids from me or take the car, pretends like he’s worried about me, blah, blah, blah. I’m NEVER GOING BACK AGAIN!!!
38) Personality flips.
39) Stalking me through FB, dating sites, email
40) After the big discard, he came to my place 3 days later at 6 am. He said he drove past the night before & saw that my car wasn’t there & couldn’t believe that I could go out after our breakup. Said he was so depressed about it. I wouldn’t let him in. I told him he needed therapy. He said he’d only go if it were as a couple. He refused to leave till I threatened to call his mother. A week later, I was worried about him & called to check on him. We tried to be friends for a few weeks & it didn’t work. He started giving me the silent treatment, so I backed off. I got back on the dating app we met on & he was there. I swiped right just to see if he had done the same & he had. I sent a message saying how I hoped he was OK & that I still cared for his wellbeing. He replied, “I know,” then blocked me! Months later, he sent me pics of stuff he grew in his garden. I didn’t reply & have been NC since. The other one uses our child, saying we should be a family.
41) The very last Hoover attempt was a text from a random number that said, “a guy is standing next to me, and he wants me to tell you this: I am sorry for the last hurtful thing I said to you. The very last thing (he said you would know what that is). And I forgive you for all the horrible, hurtful things you have done to me.” I wrote back, “cool story, bro.” And blocked the number. I knew he was home with his wife when he sent that text
42) Right now, he knows I have this RV that I bought after the divorce that is a fixer-upper. I need help; he’s offering his services regularly. I told him it’s too painful to be around him this early after the divorce; he said he understood but would text me in the morning to see if I wanted his help.
43) Sending me untrue or nasty text messages to get me to defend myself so I respond.
44) I’ve had some weird ones…the offer of a trip to Bali with her, happy birthday wishes that are a few days late, emails and messages to sort out stuff that doesn’t need anything done. The last year or so its been joining meetup groups I’m in. Lately, it’s been rsvp to meetups I’m attending—no sign of the simplest way…a simple offer to talk.
45). Mine never gifted me anything but once, after a ‘disappearing’ episode of 5 days, he returned and simply handed me a large block of warm, semi-melted Cadbury’s chocolate, opened with a chunk taken from it. Awesome.
46) He uses my address for his junk mail.
47) STILL stalking me after 13 years. He and his current wife of 11 years know every move I make; they have people watching me, they use excuses to try to be in touch with my boss, I’ve blocked them & their families on FB, and they will “casually” ask my FB “friends” to strike a conversation to gain information. I have NOTHING to hide, and I have NOTHING to share with them… I’ve learned to accept their behavior, and there’s NOTHING I can do to prevent or stop it. The community has come to realize what they are, and as I said, I have nothing to hide, and the TRUTH ALWAYS PREVAILS, and their day of reckoning will come… KARMA WILL meet them head-on. SOMEDAY SOMEWAY, they deserve NONE of my attention!
48) Dinner and sex, or a trip to the museum and Sex, and cuddling, always when hoovering asks how Jeannie is (her Name for my Va**ina)
49) Love bombing till it didn’t work, then he would get mad and threaten me. He then showed up at my parents’ house high as a kite. And called the cops on me! After that, he would send me money or sweet messages, and then he would flip out when he didn’t get the reaction he wanted.
50) He promised me he was willing to come back to me after I caught him having an affair because he realized how important family was. He promised me he would stop calling her. He was sweet, pretended as he cared about our new backyard by putting the furniture together and making dinner on the new bbq. Agreed to go to therapy with me. All the while, he got a second phone to call his NS and was sleeping with her at some sleazy motel after work hours. He was just hovering over me to keep me from finding out more and from threatening to take him and her down from their careers. And he kept reminding me that if he came back to me, it would be all about him and his needs. He was so confused and out of sorts. Eventually, I asked him to leave after 4 months of that second round of torture. He was unfaithful and dishonest. I can’t accept his betrayal any longer.
51) I’ve been no contact one year tomorrow. A couple of weeks ago, I got a text from my soon-to-be-ex that said, ‘what happened?’ I haven’t answered one email all this time. Why would he think I would answer a random email now?
52) He keeps asking me out to dinner (I say no)- and today, he showed up at my work unannounced to have lunch with me, even though I wouldn’t tell him what time my lunch was.
53) They suck all the meaningful times and “fluff” out of conversations, memories and time spent together. Instead, they focus on the major points at hand. Mostly the negative. Their vacuums are pre-set to their own level of clean-up. My narcissist tells some of the truth, “sucking” out the important party. Like yes, you did go to the Mall, but you forgot that you were with another girl… Or yes, you do love me, but you enjoy hurting me more. They have the verbal hoover suck!!!!
54) Using emails – he knew I wasn’t reading them because I did not respond, so he would put his words in the subject line with an empty email when the judge during the restraining order court saw that he was outraged and saw his harassment in the email title.
55) My ex had me constantly ‘put’ in the relationship by suggesting now and then that we could spend the rest of our retired lives in his village- home, which he knew I always loved. (I am sure that’s hoovering). So in all the 27 years of our marriage, he lived in my house, off my status and earning. I showed him the door the day his Narc-mom declared she was selling off the property to give her son all the money. I knew that day that our children and I had never been a part of their family at all.
56) When narc’s mum was alive, she sent some money to me to try and buy me back. Then she posted stuff about a new Buddhist temple being built near home to attract me to see her! One ex narc male friend bought me a Tia Maria then wrote on a piece of paper at the table: ” When will I get in your knickers then?’!!
57) He’d take himself off somewhere for some “Distance and perspective on the situation. “ Aka, probably grooming an NS or ex with a pity play. Then he’d tell me how I was his perfect friend and lover and the love of his life. So back I’d go again. I think eventually this was a cut and paste job by him. I’ve got the last ( not responded to) hoover but, unfortunately, deleted all the others. Pretty sure they were all the same 🙂
58) I hadn’t talked to him for several months; he ignored me, then he messaged me on Facebook late one night asking me to come to his place asking for sexual favors! I said No, and after that, he discarded me!
59) My ex narc used to try and hack into my bank/PayPal accounts too
60) Quick hang-ups with “cloned” phone numbers.
61) When the ‘nice’ Hoovers didn’t work, he got nasty. When nasty didn’t work, he filed for legal separation (you can only do that after living apart for a year here which is why I hadn’t done it). This was supposed to make me realize the error of my ways and make me go running back…..nope, I just got the legal separation sooner than I would have hoped originally. 🙂
62) wanting me to accompany him on trips to exotic locales. No thanks, narc.
63) Ringing on unknown numbers, which I didn’t answer trying to facetime on an unrecognized number. I don’t answer unrecognized numbers if there was no message or voicemail. I blocked the numbers that went on for about 6 months I ignored like a boss ❤️
64) Hoovered 3 times successfully and 1 time unsuccessfully, so here are a few:
- Left me chocolate and a note at my desk at work.
- Contacted me through text, email, Google hangouts, work email, and work phone. So basically, every way to contact me is possible.
- Asked mutual acquaintances about me.
- Showed up at my home.
- He played the poor me card. “I’m in a bad place. I need you.”
- Drove by my house multiple times
- Drove by my bus stop when I’d be going to work multiple times.
- Showed up at my work. At my desk.
- Emailed me, basically “nagging” me. Telling me I’m so ugly, and no one wants me except him.
- Created fake FB profiles to try to communicate with me.
- Telling me I’m the only one for him, and he loves me so much, and he realizes it now, and he’ll be better, and he will never hurt me again if only I would give him another (3rd) chance. Bleh! So exhausting!!!
65) After 22 years of hearing the same hoovering Maneuvers over and over, it’s actually comical. “I will change. I will be the husband I was always supposed to be for you. I will be everything that you’ve always wanted and deserve; I will be…
66-127 In the video
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Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor 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 personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, 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.
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