The discard has happened, the narcissist has erased you from their lives just like that. You are shocked, wondering what happened or how it came to be so fast. You are wondering whether to call them or text them, begging for an explanation. But no matter what you do, nothing works. They seem unable to get over what they believe you’ve done, or even what they have done to you – and you become convinced that the only way to get back into their favor is by making the narcissist miss you after the discard.
How do you make the narcissist miss you after the discard?
What should you expect when your relationship with a narcissist is over?
Going no contact with a narcissist is never easy, and that’s true whether you’re the one who left or you’re the one who got discarded. I remember when I finally got the nerve to leave my ex-husband, there was part of me that sort of wished I could make him realize exactly what he’d lost. I wanted him to regret what he’d done to me and how he’d affected my life. It was a little different when I went no contact with my mother. I wanted her to know I was doing better without her in my life if that makes any sense. In either case, while I knew for sure that I didn’t want them in my life any longer, I guess a part of me kind of wanted them to miss me, or at least to regret losing me.
Can you relate? Maybe you finally found yourself free of a narcissist in your life who gaslit you, manipulated you like there was no tomorrow, and who seemed to live to bring you grief. And now that they are gone, you kind of hate to admit it, but there might be a tiny little part of you that misses them despite the fact that they took you for granted, minimized you, and made you feel like you were worthless.
Does this sound like you?
You’ve done your research, and you recognize that you probably miss the narcissist because of the trauma bond which was the result of the ongoing cycles of a toxic relationship.
You might even already know that going through these cycles of intermittent reinforcement – ongoing punishment and reward, sprinkled with tiny crumbs of affection here to keep you hooked – will cause that trauma bond to make you feel like an addict who has gone cold-turkey on their drug of choice when the narcissist is no longer part of your daily life.
Do you want the narcissist to regret losing you?
Have you ever found yourself wishing the narcissist would regret losing you? Or wanting them to miss you once you’re gone? If so, you’re going to want to stick around, because that’s exactly what we’re talking about today: how to make the narcissist regret losing you and/or miss you after the discard – what you can expect from the narcissist, how they think about you once you’re gone and exactly what you can do to make them realize exactly what they’ve lost when they lost you.
Listen, I totally get how you feel here – and who could blame you for feeling like you want them to suffer a little? After all, they were awful to you and you did everything in your power to make you happy. In many cases, you feel like they’ve ruined your life – and maybe even affected it in so many ways that you can’t undo. If nothing else, you spent far too long trying to fix the unfixable. And you’re rightfully angry.
What Will Narcissist Miss About You?
The first thing we need to recognize when it comes to narcissists is that what they miss isn’t so much you as an individual, but what you did for them. They miss you as a source of narcissistic supply, which, in case you’re new around here, means that you offered them attention, validation, and maybe even admiration – all the “supply” they needed to feed their ego. Plus, they might miss the things you did to help them take care of themselves and their lives: cooking, cleaning, taking care of their bills and business – stuff like that.
But is it even possible for them to miss you as an individual?
Will a narcissist miss you for who you are?
Sadly, the answer is no – at least not in the same way that a normal person might miss you. I mean, don’t get me wrong. They’ll definitely notice your absence because you’re not giving them all the things you did before. They will miss having you as their own personal emotional garbage dumpster. They will miss your money or your attention or your lovemaking. They will miss the status or social standing you offered them. They will miss the supply your family and friends may have given them, if they haven’t completely pushed them all away from you by now. But as much as at least a part of you wants the narcissist to miss you for you, it cannot happen.
How Do Narcissists ‘Love’ You?
Rather than longing for you, they long for your services or for the benefits they get out of the relationship. Look at it like this:
For the average toxic narcissist, the discard leads to the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. They don’t see you as a whole person but as an extension of themselves. Their perception of relationships isn’t the same as yours or mine – they see previous relationships sort of like normal people see their smartphones.
The Smart Phone Comparison
Sure, when we first get our smartphones, they are amazingly new and shiny and fast. They have new features. They do all this cool stuff. But over time, they get overloaded and they start glitching here and there. We notice some new apps that we are DYING to try won’t work on our phones. Before long, we hear about a newer, faster, better model that recently came out. Before we can say boo, we’re at the Verizon store, casually joking with the cute salesperson as we sign the dotted line. We’re getting that new phone, by golly and we aren’t sad about the fact that we’re no longer going to use the old one. I mean, sure we might miss the sparkly case we bought for it, or we might miss the little clip-on stylus we paid extra for, but in general, we don’t sit around crying about our old phones. We just replace them without a second thought.
That’s how narcissists see relationships. And we all know that narcissists are infamous for revisiting old flames, for sure. But you’ve got to know that, for a narcissist, it is never about how amazing you might be – it is about what they can get from you in the form of narcissistic supply.
What is narcissistic supply?
Narcissistic supply is most often gained through attention-seeking from an individual, but it can also be gained from a pet or group of people. In the narcissistic abuse recovery community, we often refer to ourselves or other people who are being used for narcissistic supply as “the supply.” In general, the narcissistic supply is used by the narcissist to get attention, validation, admiration – all the “supply” they need to feed their ego. The narcissist often has a circle of supply or “narcissistic harem.”
Understanding Narcissistic Supply
Don’t confuse that with the idea that they miss you or that they feel something real. The truth is that the narcissist just wants someone – a body – to fill the space that you previously occupied in your life. Let me explain.
The Ice Cream Truck Illustration for Narcissistic Supply
Think of it like this: let’s say you’re a little bit addicted to ice cream. You’ve been trying to quit eating it, but one day you find yourself really needing a little ice cream fix. Just then, you hear the ice cream truck coming down the street.
“What luck,” you think. “I was just craving ice cream!”
You go outside and you stand there with your money. Your excitement rises as you hear the trademark ice cream truck music getting closer and closer. As the ice cream truck approaches, you notice it’s not the same truck that usually comes through your neighborhood. Do you turn away and go back inside if it isn’t the truck you expected to see? Of course not! You get your ice cream! That’s because you are not thinking of that specific ice cream truck at all. You’re only thinking of the delicious ice cream you’re about to indulge in – so it’s what it can provide, not the truck itself. You can and would get your ice cream fix from any ice cream truck.
So, in this example, you’re the truck and the ice cream is the narcissistic supply.
They won’t miss you for you. What they do miss is your narcissistic supply. That is if they don’t end up getting it from somewhere else. If they are able to move on to get their narcissistic supply from elsewhere, then they most definitely will appear to forget you exist. I mean, they will certainly use you as a weapon against the new supply – so, if the new supply folds their laundry wrong in their opinion, for example, and you did it “right” – well, they will throw that in the new supply’s face. But again, that’s about what you were doing for them, not who you are.
How to Make the Narcissist Miss You After the Discard
So, how can you make the narcissist miss you? How can you make them regret losing you?
We’ve established that the only thing narcissists miss about you is the supply you gave them. And there is one thing that the narcissist regrets about losing you, and it is that they didn’t take even more from you before they did. They don’t regret the way they treated you. They don’t regret the way they discarded you, and even if you discarded them, they don’t regret what they did to cause you to do that.
But there is one way that you can cause a narcissist to think they’re missing out on you, after all. It’s just five steps and probably simpler than you might think.
1. Remove Yourself
First, you have to reduce or eliminate any contact you have with them following the discard. So just stop engaging with them on any level that isn’t absolutely necessary. If possible, go completely no contact and remove them from your life. If not, just deal with them as much as you need to – so, if you have kids together, only communicate with them about the kids and the business of raising them. No emotions, no kindness. Just black and white facts and information that is necessary to do your pickups and drop-offs, any medical information you’re required to share, and stuff like that.
2. Focus on You
Now, once you’ve started to do the low or no contact thing, you’re going to want to start focusing on taking care of yourself. During your relationship with the narcissist, chances are that you kind of lost yourself – if you ever fully understood yourself before you started. And now is a perfect time to start getting to know yourself, finally. Figure out what you like and what makes you happy. Find out what your passions are, if you don’t already know, and indulge in them. Throw yourself into a fun project or something that makes you want to get up out of bed in the morning. Imagine what your ideal life would look like, and start taking steps to create it now.
3. Fix What’s Broken
If there is something you don’t like about yourself that you are capable of changing, now is an ideal time to do this. Maybe you want to lose a few pounds or maybe you want to increase your self-esteem. Or, you want to get better at keeping up on your housework, or you want to start working out or reading or going to church more often. Whatever you’ve been meaning to do that will make you feel more complete and happy – start working on it, one tiny baby step at a time. Even just researching your desired result can be a great way to start moving in the right direction.
4. Get Clear on What You Deserve
You spent a long time feeling worthless, thanks to the narcissist and their abuse. Now, you need to really take a good, hard look at this whole situation. Be honest with yourself. Did you really deserve the way they treated you? Was any of it your fault? I can tell you with all certainty that you didn’t deserve that. How do I know? Well, because no one deserves to be treated the way a narcissist treas the people close to them. And chances are that you’re a kind, compassionate and giving person who loves hard – which the narcissist knew when they met you, and that’s part of the reason they have managed to keep you around as long as they did. Let me remind you that you deserve to be loved, to feel safe, and to not be scared in your own home, at the very least. You deserve to be loved in the same way that you’d love. What you don’t deserve is to be taken advantage of, abused, and treated like you don’t matter. Because my friend, you do matter. You are important and your thoughts and your feelings and your ideas are real and they are worth hearing. Please always remember that.
5. Live Like No One’s Watching
While you might be tempted to show off your newfound awesomeness once you get there or to send the narcissist a little message letting them know how much better you’re doing, don’t bother. Their response, if any, will only annoy or frustrate you. Worse, they may try to hoover you – as in, suck you back in – so they can get more supply from you now that they can see you’re sort of “recharging” yourself. So rather than sitting around wondering if they’re missing you, try living like they don’t matter. Live as if they never existed at all. Find ways to make yourself happy and ways to make yourself feel amazing, and embrace them. Now is the time you can truly begin to create the life you’ve always wanted – or maybe the life you couldn’t have imagined before. Baby-step your way there and you can’t lose. Meanwhile, the narcissist will be fully aware of the fact that you no longer want or need them, because you’ll be too busy living. And the cherry on that little ice cream sundae will be the fact that you’ll be so busy living the sweet life that you might even forget you ever missed them, eventually.
Question of the day: Have you ever wished you could make a narcissist miss you after the discard? If so, how did it work out for you? Share your thoughts, share your ideas and share your experiences in the comments section below this video, and let’s talk about it.
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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.
How does “narcissistic recycling” work?
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.
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.
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.
Finally saying that one thing you’ve been dying to hear. Narcissists are infamous for holding things over your head and for feeling justified in not giving you what you want and need in a relationship. For example, if you were dating a narcissist for 10 years and you just wanted them to pop the question, they might hoover you with a diamond ring and a proposal. Or if you were married to the narcissist and always wanted a baby, they might hoover you with an offer to try to get pregnant.
Future faking you.
Narcissists are known for their future-faking ways – where they promise you an amazing life together and never follow through. Many narcissists will use future-faking as a way to suck you back in. They will promise you the world – maybe they promise to buy you a house, or to finally go to couples counseling, or to really stop cheating on you this time. Most often, they fail to deliver, but use this future-faking in order to get you back into their clutches – and into the relationship.
Getting you involved in their drama.
As someone who has struggled with codependency, you’re especially susceptible to helping someone in need. The couldn’t be more true for someone you love or have loved. So, a narcissist might come to you with some big problem or issue in their lives that they need your help with. This could be something as serious as the death of a loved one that they just can’t make it through without your support, or something as simple as an argument with a friend or a coworker. One of my clients told me that her ex tried to hoover her by bringing his sick dog to her house and asking her to help take care of it. Like I said, they have no limits.
Accidentally ‘butt-dialing’ you or sending you a text ‘meant for someone else.’
This is a sneaky one. Narcissists will often “accidentally” call your phone or text you something random and mysterious so that you’re enticed to call or text back and ask what they need, what they meant by that text or why they called. Then, they’ll pretend that it was an accident or that they meant to call or text someone else – and before you know it, you’re in a full-on conversation during which the narcissist will try to pull you back into the “circle of supply.”
Swearing that they can’t live without you.
When they realize that you’ve truly moved on, a lot of narcissists will use a resounding declaration of love and claim they cannot live without you. They’ll say you’re their soulmate and they’ll even pretend to admit their own flaws and faults in order to get you to fall for it. This will effectively begin a whole new period of love-bombing, designed to suck you back into the relationship.
Narcissists always have a crew of flying monkeys on hand – people who are happy to “do their bidding” for them. This may include flying monkeys who are willing to help them manipulate you without remorse, and it may also include “unwilling” flying monkeys – well-meaning people who fall for the narcissist’s lies and who are really trying to help. In hoovering, narcissists send the flying monkeys your way with worries and concerns about your (or the narcissist’s) well-being, all designed to get you to communicate directly with the narcissist or to manipulate you with drama.
Suddenly recognizing the error of their ways.
In a last-ditch effort to get you back into the relationship, some narcissists will come to you in tears, telling you they’re a terrible person and admitting “everything they did wrong,” which is often done by parroting back exactly what you’ve been trying to tell them for the duration of the relationship. They’ll say things like “I know I don’t treat you right” and “You really do deserve better than me” in order to soften you up and pull you back in.
Using fear and intimidation to bully you.
Some narcissists will even go so far as to try to scare you back into the relationship. They may also use guilt or blame-shifting to force you back in. And bullying is a very common manipulation tactic for most narcissists.
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. Simply be aware of the fact that the narcissist may try to hoover you and become familiar with the signs of hoovering. That in itself can be enough to help you avoid falling for it.
Use the gray rock method. Don’t show any emotion and only talk to the narcissist if you must, about what you must. If you have no shared children or shared business, you can completely go no contact.
If possible, eliminate their ability to contact you. Change your phone number, block them on your social media and don’t answer the door if they come calling.
Focus on YOU for once! Take the time you need to do self-care, to do that redecorating project you’ve been meaning to do, or to just do more nice things for yourself. You deserve it, and it’ll help you to distract yourself from the narcissist’s hoovering attempts.
Reconnect with old friends, and make new ones. While you shouldn’t jump into any romantic relationships too soon after ending a relationship with a narcissist (because you need to heal first), it’s a great idea to dive into your friendships. Since you may have lost touch with old friends as a result of the narcissist isolating you during the relationship, what better way to celebrate the end of it? Reach out to your old friends and consider making new ones by getting involved in a group of like-minded people. Maybe that means taking a class, going to church or synagogue or joining a local club. You can also look at sites like Meetup.com to find groups of local people with similar interests. If that feels like too much, start with one of our online support groups for survivors of narcissistic abuse.
This video playlist goes into more detail and offers more coping techniques for how to avoid being hoovered by a narcissist.
Why haven’t the narcissist hoovered me yet?
This question is often asked by survivors of narcissistic abuse who aren’t quite ready to be done with the narcissist just yet. They actually want the hoover because they want another chance to try and fix the relationship. While this question is one that makes me a little sad, I totally get it. And there are a number of reasons the narcissist may not be hoovering you.
Bottom line: even if you do fall for hoovering and get back into the relationship with the narcissist, chances are that any change you see will only be temporary. Once the narcissist knows you’re back “in” officially, they will quickly return to their usual manipulative, abusive ways. Don’t fall for the hoover!
Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery, right now.
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Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups– We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
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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!).
28) Today via triangulation. Money. He’s being nice, apologizing. He came to my home, broke my window. He has people stalking my page.
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…
This is when a narcissist sort of “sucks” their victim back into the relationship, or some version of it. It often begins innocently enough, sort of subtly, but it always happens with one target – to regain control.
Hoovering usually begins after the devalue and discard phases, when the silent treatment has stopped giving the narcissist pleasure, and when they’re ready for more of the supply you’ve been feeding them all these months or years. Or, it’ll start when you’ve left the narcissist and they fear you won’t return.
The idea is that the narcissist needs to reestablish contact with you in order to get the narcissistic supply you’re so good at providing.
Art Imitates Life: How Charlie Brown and Lucy Demonstrate Narcissistic Hoovering
Here’s a pretty simple example of what hoovering looks like.
Remember in the Peanuts cartoons how Lucy would always hold the football for Charlie Brown, but every time he would try to kick it, she’d pull it away? And, when he’d fall, she’d smile like there was no tomorrow – actually enjoying that pain.
Charlie Brown did what any kid would – he’d stop trusting her to hold that ball. But inevitably, Lucy would promise each time that THIS TIME, she’d really let him kick the ball. And inevitably, she’d pull it away at the last second, and then she’d bust out that big smile just as he fell, yet again.
Hoovering is a dangerous tactic because once the narcissist gets a foot in the door, you’ll often find yourself being love-bombed and hearing promises of brighter days ahead – but just like poor Charlie Brown, you’re bound to fall again.
Have you experienced hoovering before? How did you deal with it?