Hoovering usually occurs when a narcissist and his or her victims have ended the discard phase of the relationship. The discard phase is usually the relationships quasi-ending- meaning, it does not usually ever end for either people (at least without proper strategy). Hoovering is when the narcissist tries to love-bomb his or her way back into someone’s life following the relationship’s “ending.” It may have been a week, month, year, or even a decade since you’ve heard from them yet out of the blue they start reaching back out. When they do this, it may look like an attempt at reconciliation or as if they actually value you once again (even though they never truly valued you- only valued you for what kind of narcissistic supply you could give them). It may look like they are finally seeing you and loving you and appreciating you for who you really are. Although it may look like all of these things on the surface, it’s important to remember that narcissists do not change. This is really just another manipulation tactic that they will utilize to gain more supply from you. So as to avoid getting manipulated and returning to the toxicity of the relationship, look out for these signs to ensure you aren’t, yet again, a victim of a narcissist’s hoovering method.
They reach out in a time of “crisis”
Narcissists will often use a crisis or a fake “crisis” as a way of manipulating their victims back into their lives. One might reach out because of a medical emergency, a financial emergency, or even a mental health emergency. They play the victim so that the people that they are attempting to hoover (most of whom are empaths) will jump to give them the supply that they so desperately need. They may know that you care for their family and so they will come up with some health crisis that a family member is dealing with. They may know that you have been financially generous in the past and so they will come up with a financial situation that they need your help with. They may threaten their own livelihood, saying they want to end their lives, so that you try and save them. They expect you to drop everything to be there for them and to excuse all of the harm they have caused you. Although these “crises” can seem scary, it is important for you to remember to set boundaries and not get manipulated back into the toxic relationship you were once in. These real or imagined crises are a clear sign that you are the target of a narcissist’s hoovering tactic.
They declare their undying love for you and apologize emphatically
Although quite obvious, sometimes it is hard to not get caught up in the true meaning behind a narcissist’s words. You may have been wanting to hear all of the apologies and all of the professions of love that they are giving you for quite some time; however, it is important to remember that this is solely because they have lost supply and might be unable to find it elsewhere. This is a clear attempt at getting you back into their lives so that they can get the supply that they need. Narcissists never feel genuine remorse for their behaviors. They may feel remorse for a behavior that resulted in an undesirable outcome; but, they will not feel actual remorse for causing you harm or for not meeting your needs. Narcissists only care about getting what they want so that they can find a reason to survive in the world with a sense of fulfillment. Their apologies should be taken with a grain of salt as well as any profession of love. Narcissists only really love what you can give them – they do not love you for who you are and what you bring to the world. This is probably the most obvious sign of a narcissist utilizing their hoovering technique.
Random texts, calls, and gifts
A narcissist will test the waters with you following the discard phase by sending random texts, calls, and gifts to see how you respond. This is often the very beginning of their hoovering method. Out of the blue you may get a text message from the narcissist regarding a shared memory or something that reminded them of you. You may get a call from them just letting you know that they are thinking about you. You may even start receiving random yet thoughtful gifts. These are all tactics narcissists use to see how you will respond. If you respond at all, they will continue to work their way back into your life. Even if you respond with “please do not contact me,” you will be giving them supply because they know they have gotten under your skin. The best way to engage with this sort of thing is by not responding at all. If you haven’t already, block them on all social media platforms and most definitely their phone number.
Running into the narcissist in a way that seems random is another sign that a narcissist may be trying to hoover you. It’s important to remember that although these instances might seem like coincidences or totally random, it most certainly is not. The narcissist is probably intentionally going to the places that he or she knows you go to so as to bump or run into you. If you have blocked this person’s phone number and on social media devices, this is definitely going to be a common form of a narcissist’s attempt at hoovering you. They will do everything they can to get in contact with you even if it means going out of their way to shop at the grocery store you shop at, work out at the gym you work out at, or going to the bank that they know you go to. If dealing with a malignant narcissist, it may be wise to change up the places that you go to on a regular basis as to avoid “coincidentally” running into them. If they get face-time with you, they will go to great lengths to manipulate you back into their life.
Especially if dealing with a malignant narcissist, you are definitely going to need to beware of stalking. If “running into you” does not seem to work, narcissists may go to even scarier lengths to try and get you back. They may start showing up at your house, work, and following you as an attempt at hoovering you. If this is the case, you are definitely going to want to ensure your safety. Even covert narcissists may stalk you but they will usually do so in a less obvious way. You may not even know that they are doing this. Be sure to take every precaution you can to ensure your privacy and safety if you think the narcissist you were dealing with is capable of this.