Hoovering is when a narcissist does not want to accept the fact you have ended the relationship, and they try to lure you back. If you are not aware of hoovering tactics, it can be easy to be lured into a false sense of believing the narcissist has truly changed, and the relationship will be better this time. Later you will be sadly disappointed when finding out the narcissist really has not changed at all. To prevent this from happening, this article will address some hoovering tactics narcissists use.
Hoovering tactics are much the same whether the narcissist in question is a relative or love interest.
- Love bombing is very common. This is when the narcissist confesses their undying love, does nice things, showers you with gifts and/or attention and/or praise. It can be hard not to believe a narcissist really cares at this time. It also can be hard to resist. It is very important to remember that these acts are only designed to lure you back into the toxic relationship. They are not a sign that the narcissist loves you. Narcissists have no concept of what love really means.
- Narcissists also will try to use your family and friends as well as their flying monkeys, to “talk sense” into you. When someone you think highly of tells you that you should resume a relationship, it can make you doubt yourself. Seriously consider what this person is saying. Does the person know about the situation? Do they believe you when you say the narcissist has been abusive? Or, do they say they want to hear what you say, but then interrupt or tell you you are wrong? Your honest answers to these questions will determine if you should listen to what this person says. If someone has no interest in your side or encourages you to resume a relationship that is obviously abusive, DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS PERSON!
- Another hoovering tactic is using or faking illness or injury to reconnect with you. If this happens, remember – when you went no contact, it was for excellent reasons and it was permanent, not until the narcissist got sick or injured. Maybe that sounds cold, but it is not. It is someone reaping what they have sown. A person who abuses another cannot expect that victim to care for them indefinitely. Everyone has a breaking point.
- Narcissists also send gifts, cards, letters or call on special days like birthdays, anniversaries or holidays, sometimes even months or years after the relationship has ended. It is normal to have second thoughts when it happens. Being apart can dull the memory of just how bad the abuse was, plus the nice gesture can lead a person to rethink the situation. Even so, remember: all the narcissist is trying to do is hoover you back into the toxic relationship by using the special day in their favor. If this happens, remind yourself of why you ended the relationship.
- Smear campaigns are common. Narcissists can get really nasty to make victims respond or to discredit victims so people will not believe them. As hard as it can be, do NOT respond to the ridiculous accusations! Doing so only convinces people that you are the terrible person the narcissist says you are. And, if you confront the narcissist about the lies, it only gives that narcissist narcissistic supply, because the narcissist can look like the innocent victim of your abusive ways. Instead live your life as normal, letting your character shine and ignoring the smear campaign.
- Many narcissists will resort to stalking and harassment to try to force the victim back to the relationship. They will inundate victims with countless phone calls, emails, texts, and letters. They may show up at places the victim frequents or drive by the victim’s home often. Especially devious narcissists also send others to help them stalk and harass the victim, so if the victim says anything about this, they look paranoid or even crazy. The best things you can do are block all access the narcissist uses, and document EVERYTHING. If you decide to press charges, documentation will work in your favor, even if the narcissist did not break the law in all of the behaviors. Documentation of bad behavior, even when it is legal, can only help your case. The documentation also will remind you of why you went no contact in the first place.
Remember, never ever allow a narcissist to hoover you back into the relationship. It only ends badly! The behavior is usually much worse after hoovering than it was in the first place. This is because the narcissist has seen evidence that they can control you, and the consequences of their abuse of you are not so bad.