Narcissist Hoovering Signs And Examples

Being forced to live without someone to blame for their troubles is one of the most terrifying possibilities for a narcissist. They are also afraid of not having someone to adore them and look to for whatever they require. They will go to virtually any length to avoid being in this situation. Let’s talk about narcissist hoovering signs and examples.

Narcissists are skilled at attempting to dominate people in order to obtain what they want in life. They feel no guilt for their actions and have little empathy for others. This enables individuals to engage in a variety of extremely manipulative and emotionally abusive ways without feeling guilty, embarrassed, or ashamed.

Narcissists are manipulative by nature, often utilizing toxic and deceptive tactics to control their victims. One such tactic is called ‘hoovering’, used to emotionally drain their victims into returning back to them. The Narcissist hoovering technique is employed to reclaim control over the relationship after their victim has tried to take back power by attempting to leave the toxic situation.

Learn to recognize the signs of Hoovering

Learning to recognize the signs and examples of narcissist hoovering is essential in order to protect yourself from its damaging effects. Narcissists will do almost anything to prove their superiority and maintain control over the one they perceive to be their property. They will resort to manipulation and deception, as well as displaying an air of faux love and false promises in order to tug at their victim’s heartstrings. Being aware of the signs and examples of narcissist hoovering can help you identify when a narcissist is pulling at your strings and to take steps to protect yourself and avoid becoming their latest victim.

The narcissist hoovering technique is a deceptive strategy employed by narcissists to reclaim control over their victims after they have sought to leave the relationship.

Hoovering occurs when a narcissist attempts to draw their victim back into the relationship using numerous strategies such as love-bombing, persuasion, guilt trips, intimidation, and threats.

Hoovering is the final stage of narcissistic abuse, following the Idealization, Devaluation, and Discard phases.

In this blog post, we will discuss alarming narcissist hoovering signs and examples you should watch out for. We will take a close look at what makes up a narcissist hoovering session and the manipulative tactics used to reclaim power and control. Recognizing a narcissist’s attempts to hoover you will allow you to protect yourself and escape their grip.

You will learn the following in this article:

  • What does hoovering someone mean?
  • Narcissist Hoovering signs and examples
  • What is hoovering in psychology?
  • Types of hoovering and many more

What is Hoovering?

What does hoovering mean? Hoovering is a form of emotional abuse or blackmail. A “narcissistic individual” hovers when they believe the victim or the person they abuse or control is attempting to flee.

This is an effort to test whether a previous victim of abuse can be duped into another cycle of abuse so that the narcist may retake power and control by bringing emotional and sometimes physical suffering to a target.

The term “Hoover maneuver” was named after a popular vacuum cleaner and refers to abusers’ attempts to “suck up” other people’s enjoyment in order to fuel their narcissistic desires.

Who does the “Hoovering?”

Anyone can hoover, especially if they are anxious, afraid, or unsure about their relationship status. Chronic hoovering, on the other hand, is a symptom of personality disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), antisocial personality disorder (ASPD), and histrionic personality disorder (HPD). These personality disorders are classified as ‘Cluster B,’ which is defined by emotional, unpredictable, and erratic conduct. 

People with certain personality disorders struggle with emotional management and frequently have relationship troubles. They frequently suffer mood fluctuations, feelings of emptiness, and an increased desire for attention since their self-image is unstable.

What is Hoovering in Psychology?

Do you know what is hoovering someone? Hoovering is a deception technique used to “suck” people back into unhealthy relationship patterns. Someone who hoovers is concerned that their target will “get away” from them, therefore they may engage in love bombing, fabricating crises, stalking, or smear campaigns to absorb all of their target’s time, energy, and attention. Hoovering is all about pushing interaction with someone who would prefer to disconnect by whatever means necessary. Hoovering is a kind of emotional abuse widely utilized by people with personality disorders, particularly those with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissistic Hoovering

Narcissism is associated with a strong craving for attention and approval. People with NPD frequently rely on others to sustain this source of acceptance, which is also referred to as a narcissistic supply. They typically employ hoovering techniques to maintain power and control in their relationships. The narcissistic abuse cycle is frequently characterized by recurring patterns of idealization and devaluation. However, during the conclusion of a narcissistic relationship, a person with NPD typically feels frightened and afraid of losing power over another person, which causes them to hoover.

The following are some hoovering narcissist examples:

  • They project their fears and prejudices onto others in order to continually play the victim.
  • Spread stories and gossip about people behind their backs.
  • Blank out while other people are talking yet take offense when people don’t recall what they say. 
  • Twist other people’s comments around to depict themselves as the victim.
  • See everyone else’s flaws but not their own 
  • Encourage victims’ self-doubt

It’s a form of emotional abuse; narcissists usually utilize hoovering methods when they believe someone is slipping away from them.

What makes a Narcissist Hoover?

What is the aim of hoovering? To reclaim control over yourself. When narcissists want something from you, such as attention, validation, money, or sex, they start hovering. But the real reason narcissists hoover is that they are absolutely empty on the inside. They have a pathological fear of feeling insignificant, unlovable, alone, or worthless, therefore they will do everything to fill the vacuum and maintain their false self-image.

Narcissists are essentially hooked to other people’s attention. They will starve if they are not paid attention to and controlled. When their narcissistic supply runs low, they turn to the old “prey” they managed to capture in the past – and that includes you. This also implies that they generally have a lot of “backups” (e.g., other exes) to feed off when they are hungry again.

A narcissist, like a predator, understands how to exploit the flaws of individuals they have previously preyed on. They will attempt to attract you with odd texts, apologies, claims of everlasting love, and “repentant” actions to show how much they have “changed” and “care” for you.

They can’t view themselves as anything other than flawless, and real apologies are alien to them. Why do narcissists begin to hoovering:

  • They believe you are preparing to abandon them.
  • You’ve ended your relationship with them.
  • They realize you’re discovering the “true” them, which is horrifying.
  • Underneath all the arrogance, they’re cripplingly insecure, and they lash out.
  • They seek to keep control of a situation.

Narcissistic hoovering may be deceiving since the abuser lavishes affection and attention on their victim and appears persuasive.

Borderline Hoovering

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) patients have a strong fear of abandonment, which they may transfer onto others. This isn’t always planned activity; it’s typically a reaction to trauma or a history of unhealthy relationships. Furthermore, BPD relationship cycles include high degrees of romanization and idolization, as well as devaluation and abandonment. Someone with BPD may feel frantic and desperate to keep their spouse around towards the end of a relationship.

The following are BPD hoovering examples:

  • Self-harming and informing the other person
  • Suicide threats or other risky behavioral responses
  • Attempting to love-bomb in order to reclaim the relationship
  • Creating a crisis to attract attention

Narcissist Hoovering Signs And Examples

How do you know if you’re being hoovered? You should be aware of the warning signs and different types of hoovering. Hoovering can be sneaky at times. You might not be able to tell what’s going on until things become worse. Even if you believe anything is amiss, the other person may try to persuade you that you are overreacting.

Signs of Narcissist Hoovering

Here are several frequent signs that you are hoovering:

Apology Apparent

Hoovering may appear to be excessive, over-the-top apologizing. A few phrases are usually enough to identify an inauthentic apology from a genuine one. An inauthentic apology can sound like this: I’m sorry you feel that way; I’m sorry, but; or I’m sorry if. Insincere apologies might sometimes appear extravagant and crowded.

Contact Randomly

People who hoover may come and go in and out of your life on a weekly basis. They may appear to acknowledge that the relationship is finished in one moment. But, just when you think things are getting better, they pop back into your life. They might use nostalgia as a weapon, saying things like, “I was driving and heard this music on the radio.” It reminded me of you. I hope you are well!


A typical hoovering strategy is gaslighting. I just wanted to check in on you- I know you’re having a hard time (even when you aren’t), or I know things went out of hand for both of us (even when they didn’t). Gaslighting could cause you to question your reality over time, straining your relationship even further. Unfortunately, when your feelings appear to be invalid, you may be more vulnerable to emotional abuse.

Smear your Reputation

Spreading falsehoods or making false claims about a person’s actions can be considered smearing. Someone who is hoovering does so in order to attract attention and elicit empathy from others. Unfortunately, it can appear to be a no-win situation. If you disregard these attempts, they may deteriorate. Similarly, if you interact, the other person will frequently increase their efforts.

False Love Proclamation

Hoovering frequently includes excessive declarations of love. You’re their perfect match! You are the only person who actually comprehends them! They can’t bear the thought of being with anybody else! These love-bombing remarks, although enjoyable, are also incredibly manipulative. If you haven’t moved on from the other person, they might easily entice you back in.

Contact only when essential

Hoovering can be deceptive. The individual may contact you on special occasions, such as your birthday or anniversary. They may also be following you, which means they will be able to contact you if you change jobs or relocate. This form of contact may lead you to believe that they are still concerned about your well-being.

Communicate through others

Some individuals hoover indirectly. For example, they might go on and on about how much they miss you to a common friend, hoping that this friend would convey those sentiments to you. Or, they might post on social media about how badly they messed up or lost their “true love,” hoping you’ll notice and realize it’s about you.

Create a crisis

One of the most difficult hoovering techniques is simulating a catastrophe. Some people may exaggerate or entirely fabricate emergencies in order to gain attention. Medical emergencies, family deaths, and mental health challenges are all examples of crises. They’re hoping that their problems would tug at your heartstrings and entice you to return.

Pretending everything is fine

Another frequent hoovering habit is pretending nothing has changed. The individual will act as if nothing transpired between you. They might simply come up at your residence or work as though you two are still close. Despite the fact that you have split up, they may continue to refer to you as their partner. This conduct compels you to call them out and start the next conversation.

Narcissist Hoovering Examples

What are examples of hoovering? There are several instances of narcissistic hoovering. We’ll go through some of the most prevalent cases of narcissistic hoovering.


Love-bombing is a typical type of hoovering. They could try to love-bomb you like they most likely did at the beginning of the relationship. It’s an attempt to sway your opinion with love, care, and affection. It’s a type of conditional love that occurs throughout a relationship’s idealization stage. Examples include the narcissist attempting to offer you (luxurious) things with ‘no strings attached,’ sending flowers or cards, treating you to a trip or vacation, praising you for standing up for yourself or declaring their newly discovered love for you.

Provoking You

A narcissist can try to provoke you in order to elicit an angry response from you. This is another example of leveraging emotional triggers to elicit an emotional response. This style is more vocally hostile, as they might level various allegations, belittle you, or attack your reputation. There might also be smearing. A narcissist is truly engaging in a game of manipulation in order to elicit a reaction.

Waiting For A Long Time

A type of random hoovering is just waiting a long time before attempting to reconnect with you. If they decide to hoover you and contact you again, it could appear quite random. Most of the time, they have a purpose or need to re-engage at a given moment, such as splitting up with their partner at the time. When they are lacking in emotional nourishment, a narcissist may utilize this strategy with numerous exes to see who baits.

What Is Hoovering In A Relationship?

What is hoover’s meaning in a relationship? In a relationship, hoovering can entail creating a crisis to push someone to respond — which could include threats to oneself or their spouse. Suicide attempts, self-harm, and risky or impulsive conduct meant to entice someone back into dialogue are all examples. ‘Call me back or I’ll take these pills,’ ‘I’m coming to your house if you don’t answer my text,’ and ‘I’m so angry, I truly need you,’ are all examples of narc hoovering in a relationship, especially when the other person has made it clear they’re attempting to withdraw from further interaction.

How To Respond To the Hoovering Narcissist?

The best reaction is none at all. A narcissist will prefer you to lash out or threaten them over nothing if you’ve broken up (and want to continue that way). Narcissists thrive on attention and do not differentiate between positive and negative attention. Hoovering, once again, is all about “sucking you back in.” These strategies are intended to elicit a response from you, even if you have no desire to converse with them.

Don’t pick up the phone. Don’t answer the texts. On social media, block them. Ignore the narcissist hoover and any attempts to get you back into their lives. Most narcissists will cease if you keep perfect consistency with your approach. Their biggest fear is the commitment to continually rejecting a narcissist hoover.

However, it’s vital to understand that certain narcissists may use harmful strategies to get your attention, such as stalking or assaulting others. If you ever feel physically uncomfortable, contact law authorities and consider contacting an attorney. You may require extra-legal and practical protection. This is especially critical if the narcissist has physically or sexually harmed you in the past.

Tips to Deal with Narcissist Hoovering

Here are some tips for dealing with a narcissist’s hoovering:

  • Set boundaries: If you allow them, they will walk all over you. Setting boundaries is essential when dealing with a narcissist hoovering. Be strong and don’t give in to their pressure.
  • Make it personal: The narcissist’s whole character revolves around “I, Me, Myself.” They are incapable of even contemplating someone else’s interests, wishes, and well-being, let alone prioritizing them first. So, a clever method to counteract their hoovering strategies is to make it appear as though backing off will benefit them. If you make it about them, they will be more willing to listen to you.
  • Communicate smartly: Once you have a narcissist’s attention, you must talk diplomatically to establish a middle ground, and then present your terms and conditions clearly and plainly. It’s critical to show them that you’re not going to cower in order to make them give up on the goal of having you under their control.
  • Build a physical and emotional distance: You must create a physical and emotional distance from them. Cut all emotional links with the narcissistic hoover. This is the most crucial step; else, you will be caught off guard. Block the narcissist on the phone, email, and social media, and stay away from them in person.
  • Seek help: Being aware of the signs of hoovering might help you in several ways. However, being subjected to constant and unrelenting emotional abuse and manipulation in such a relationship may frequently weaken your objectivity, making you more susceptible to falling for a narcissist’s hoovering practices. In such cases, going to therapy can be incredibly beneficial in breaking the trauma attachments, healing, and moving on.

Examples of Hoovering Texts

Following the victim’s leaving, some prevalent sorts of hoovering texts include

  • Text messages that pretend they are concerned about you: “How are you?” “Hey, I’m thinking about you,” “I know things didn’t work out, but you really do mean a lot to me,” and so on. I just wanted you to know.”
  • Text messages that pretend nothing has happened: “Hey stranger, long time no chat” or “Hey, what’s up?”
  • Messages concerning the children: “I went to the park today and spotted a gorgeous kid who looked exactly like Jason.” “I just wanted to convey how much I miss you all.” or “I know you despise me, but please tell Ava that I wish her a happy birthday and say sorry for being unable to attend.”
  • Texts about an upcoming event: “Hey, I know you said you never wanted to talk to me again, but Disney on Ice is this weekend, and I was thinking about taking the kids.” or “Aerosmith is performing next weekend, and I have a spare ticket—do you want to go?”
  • Texts concerning phony family diseases or crises (including his own): “I think I could have cancer, can you talk?” “OMG, my mum just suffered a stroke,”. “My left arm is terribly hurting,” or “I can’t take it any longer, I’m going to kill myself.”
  • Guilty or pity-inducing text messages: “Can’t we figure this out?” Please give us a second opportunity.” “What about the children?” You know how difficult it is to have divorced parents; why would you do that to them?” “I have a lot of problems.” That makes sense now. I’m going to see a therapist. I swear.”
  • Texts message about your deep connection: “I miss cuddling with you. “You will always be my life’s love.” “You are my soul mate, and I apologize for disappointing you.”
  • Messages that try to turn the hoover back on you: “Did you just text me?” Alternatively, “Did you just call me?” or “Did I simply happen to notice you drive by?”

The Ending Note 

Hoovering is a narcissist’s manipulative technique for sucking people back into their web of instability. However, if you can learn to recognize the warning signals and create healthy boundaries, you will be able to protect yourself from getting drawn back in. Keep in mind that you are not alone. Many people have gone through similar experiences and understand what you’re going through. So, seek out them for assistance.

Hoovering is another manipulative technique narcissists use to maintain their narcissistic supply. They will use this method if they believe their victim has achieved personal empowerment or has decided to move on. Understanding what hoovering is and what narcissist hoovering signs and examples are available will help you respond to narcissist abuse and separate yourself from an unhealthy relationship.


How do you respond to hoovering?

So you’re concerned about how you’ll react to a narc hoover? You can respond to the hoovering by using the following suggestions.

  • Avoid playing to their reality.
  • Don’t be sucked in.
  • Take note of how they make you feel.
  • Discuss their actions with them.
  • Prioritize yourself.
  • Offer compassion without attempting to change them.
  • Say no and walk away 
  • Remember that you are not always at fault.

What are narcissists most afraid of?

Although narcissists appear superior, arrogant, and boastful, their biggest fear lies behind their larger-than-life persona: that they are extraordinary. Attention is like oxygen to narcissists. Only unique individuals, according to narcissists, receive attention. They are unique, and everyone around them is average.

Narcissists also require a sense of superiority over others. Being ordinary is the polar opposite of being unique to a narcissist. People with narcissism are fearful, vulnerable individuals. Aging, defeat, disease, or rejection may all rock people to their core.

What triggers narcissist Hoover?

Here are some examples of narc hoovering of how their attempts might be triggered.

  • Your faith in someone’s ability to change, or your confidence that this person can change or be helped. Obviously, you want the person you care about to be helped and maybe rescued. A narcissist will try to take advantage of this hope.
  • Another example is your rejection of what is truly happening. It’s natural to want to reject what happened since admitting it seems terrible and final. You may feel as if you are losing time or wonderful times during the love-bombing phase. Accepting that this was conditional love, and thus a type of manipulation can be harsh.
  • You want to be loved, your loneliness, or your fear of abandoning. You may confuse conditional love with unconditional love.
  • Your shame, guilt, fear, worry, or lack of self-love. You may have doubts or fears about your ability to care for yourself and hence believe you require their assistance.

What makes a narcissist stop hoovering?

There are three reasons why a narcissist will cease hoovering.

  • First, the victim established and maintained hard boundaries that removed any narcissistic supply.
  • Second, the narcissist discovered a new supply source.
  • Third, narcissists seek to manipulate the victim by making them feel insufficient, lonely, and alone.

What happens when you ignore a narcissist hoovering?

How does a narcissist feel when you ignore their hoover attempts? It all depends on the person and your relationship. Some will flee injured at the first sign of opposition. Some will depart and return with a new strong strategy. They can hit you hard and quickly, or they can attack you slowly and subtly.

What you must remember is that the power is now in your hands. You have been given the wonderful chance to make decisions that are in ‘YOUR’ best interests. Make good use of this gift. We frequently daydream or want vengeance on our horrible narcissistic ex. So, here it is. Take advantage of the situation. Don’t allow him/her in again. Ignore their efforts. They will not, and they have not changed. They show who they truly are, so believe them.

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