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Ten Signs You’re Being Hoovered By A Narcissist.

The hoovering stage of the narcissistic abuse cycle.

By writemindmattersPublished 2 months ago 5 min read
Ten Signs You’re Being Hoovered By A Narcissist.
Photo by Gil Ribeiro on Unsplash

Hoovering is the narcissistic abuse tactic used on prior victims to suck them back into the narcissist's drama. To be hoovered, you must have been idealised, devalued, and discarded previously.

“A narcissist only returns again and again to ensure that you never move on from the pain he (or she) has caused you. And that is the ONLY reason” — Zari Ballard.

Depending on your situation, hoovering can be obvious (direct) or more subtle (indirect). On the one hand, if you are in my situation and have a protection order, trying to hoover will end in a call from the police because I put up with hundreds of hoover attempts beforehand and refuse to do it again, particularly for the safety of my children.

On the other hand, if you’re still in the position I was in before the protection order, you will get very obvious hoovering because there is less risk contacting you, that is, until you can get serious about protection.

1. Sudden unexpected contact.

Narcissists can ghost for years and still attempt contact with prior victims. I don’t have any social media accounts. I’ve made sure every door the narcissist could enter is closed. Before I got serious about protection, I would get texts or messages out of the blue; narcissists have no remorse for the pain they cause and will continue to harass you as long as you let them. You may also find yourself more vigilant around the holidays or birthdays; narcissists love to use special occasions to harass you.

2. Turning up to places they know you frequent.

Where ever you go, narcissists will find you. If you have escaped a narcissist, it may be necessary to change any places you frequent. You may have to change any gyms, clubs, or shops you frequent and even your job, assuming they haven’t already ruined your relationships with work colleagues or your employer. The devaluation and discard phases can often lead to strained relationships. More on devaluation here:

3. Hoovering your friends and family.

Any friends or family you have that are worth keeping will inform you right away that the narcissist has tried to contact them. I’m fortunate to have a small but tight group of friends and family, and I do not go out of my way to add to them. If a narcissist has abused you, you will struggle to trust anyone, trust your gut and keep away from people that you suspect may be in contact with the narcissist.

4. Unexpected contact from their peers.

Fortunately, the narcissist I dealt with had family members aware of his behaviour and chose to keep away from him. The few family members that still enable him wouldn’t make the same mistakes again after their behaviour through Family Court. If you are still in contact with the narcissist's peers, you should reduce this contact as much as possible to avoid the narcissist using their peers to hoover you.

5. They need or love you.

Narcissists do this to all their victims. Families are most susceptible, and being family, you are expected to be there for them. Narcissists will always come back professing their love for you, begging to be your friend, or creating some drama that suggests they need you. They may actually have some crises in their lives; either way, the narcissist will use it to hoover you back into the abuse cycle. If you do not fall for the drama, they may threaten self-harm.

6. They need to help you.

Narcissists love to play the victim or the hero. Often when people try to go no contact with the narcissist, they will use statements like, “I don’t know what happened, I was only trying to help”. Narcissists are only out for themselves, and any help they offer will be used against you or bragged about to anyone that will believe them.

7. Stalking.

In my case, this typically includes ripping open my mail or stealing my dog. You may see the narcissist's car parked on your street, your neighbours may mention they’ve seen the narcissist hanging around, or things around your yard may go missing or moved to remind you that they can still find ways to disrupt your life.

8. Re-idealized.

The narcissist may try to repeat the idealisation stage. Re-idealization can include the same moves they used the first time, such as gifting, praising, and future faking. The narcissist may bring up what few good memories you had together and claim that they’ve changed. The following story goes over some of the idealisation tactics.

9. Re-mirroring.

Mirroring is typically used in the idealisation stage, though narcissists will repeat mirroring during hoovering. Narcissists copy their victims partly because people are drawn to those with similar traits and because narcissists choose victims with traits they wish they had. When the narcissist can’t mirror you directly, they will use social media to post stories that reflect your own beliefs or values.

10. Gossiping/Re-activating the smear campaign.

The smear campaign carries on throughout the narcissist's life; the narcissist will accuse everybody they’ve victimised of victimising them; anything they did to you, they will claim you did to them. When you start hearing new stories about you or old stories brought back to life, they’re hoovering to provoke you. The smear campaign does not seem to align with a hoover because you’re not likely to let them back in your life while they’re still gossiping and ignoring the truth. However, when hoovering is failing, the smear campaign sucks other people into the narcissist's drama, so the cycle begins.

By Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash

The hoovering stage throws you right back in the abuse cycle, and the abuse gets worse with each cycle. If you’ve already been through a difficult discard phase and still suffering or healing from CPTSD and other symptoms of narcissistic abuse, it can be challenging to fight the hoover. See more on the discard phase in the following story:

Actions speak louder than words is a relevant phrase for narcissism; their words never match their actions. Suppose you suspect you're dealing with someone who has narcissistic traits or with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). In that case, ignoring the hoover will protect you from slipping back into the abuse cycle.

Best of luck, and thanks for reading.❤


About the Creator


Writing about all matters of the mind, narcissism, personality disorders, parenting, writing, naturopathy, nutrition, and hopefully chapters from fantasy books I'll one day write.

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