Hoovering Tactics in Narcissistic Relationships & Tools To Deal With Them.

Hoovering Tactics in Narcissistic Relationships

Article Created:

Article Last Updated:

Have you ever found yourself questioning whether someone is employing hoovering tactics with you? If so, you’ve come to the right place to unravel this mystery and gain a better understanding of their behavior.

Hoovering is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists to draw their victims back into a toxic relationship. It’s named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner because it’s all about sucking the victim back in.

In this article, we’ll discuss the various faces of hoovering and why understanding these tactics is crucial for anyone involved in a narcissistic relationship.

What is narcissistic Hoovering โฐ

Narcissistic hoovering is a tactic used by narcissists to manipulate and lure their victims back into a toxic relationship.

It is called hoovering because it resembles the action of a vacuum cleaner, sucking the victim back into the narcissistic abuse cycle.

Hoovering can take various forms, including emotional manipulation, false promises of change, or even threats to pull at your heartstrings and coerce you back into the relationship.

Importance of Understanding Hoovering ๐Ÿง 

Recognizing hoovering tactics can help victims break free from the cycle of abuse and regain control over their lives. It’s essential to understand the different ways narcissists use hoovering so that you can resist their manipulation and maintain healthy boundaries.

Narcissist Hoovering Examples ๐Ÿคฏ

The “My Life is Awful Without You” Hoover

This type of hoovering is dangerous because it plays on the victim’s emotions and sympathy for the narcissist.

The abuser might claim that they can’t live without the victim or that their life has become unbearable since the separation. This tactic can lure victims back into the cycle of abuse, believing they can help the narcissist.

The “Please Help Me” Hoover

This hoover exploits the victim’s empathy by requesting money, emotional support, or assistance in a crisis. The narcissist may play the victim and make the target feel guilty for not helping. This tactic is manipulative and can draw the victim back into the toxic relationship.

The “I Have Changed” Hoover

Narcissists rarely change, but they may try to convince their victims that they have. They might claim to have sought therapy or made significant personal growth. Unfortunately, this is usually a false assumption and should be avoided to prevent getting caught up in the cycle of abuse again.

The “You Think You Are Healed and Can Manage Them This Time” Hoover

This type of hoover can be tempting for victims who believe they have healed and can now handle the narcissist. However, even if the victim thinks they can manage the relationship, this hoover can still lead to getting sucked back into the cycle of abuse.

The “You Are Happy and I’m Going to Mess It Up” Hoover

This hoover is a bigger topic that will be discussed separately, but it’s worth mentioning briefly. Narcissists may try to sabotage the victim’s happiness or newfound stability, proving that they still have power over them.

The “Self Hoover”

This tactic involves the victim reaching out to the narcissist themselves, which can lead to getting caught back up in the cycle of abuse. It’s crucial for victims to resist the urge to reach out to the narcissist, as doing so can undo the progress they have made in healing.

How to Recognize Hoovering Tactics ๐Ÿง

Being aware of the various hoovering tactics used by narcissists can help victims identify when they’re being manipulated. Look for patterns in the narcissist’s behavior, such as false promises of change, playing the victim, or attempting to sabotage the victim’s happiness.

The Effects of Hoovering on Victims ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Hoovering can cause emotional turmoil, confusion, and self-doubt for victims. It can also make it difficult for them to maintain healthy boundaries and move on from the relationship. Understanding and recognizing hoovering tactics is key to breaking free from the cycle of abuse.

Strategies for Dealing with Hoovering ๐Ÿงญ

To effectively deal with hoovering, victims should maintain no contact with the narcissist, establish firm boundaries, and seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. It’s also essential to focus on self-care and personal growth to build resilience against future hoovering attempts.

The Importance of No Contact

No contact means cutting off all communication with the narcissist, including phone calls, text messages, emails, and social media. This is crucial in preventing hoovering attempts and allowing the victim to heal from the relationship.

The Role of Support Systems ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ

Having a strong support system can help victims resist hoovering attempts and maintain their boundaries. Support can come from friends, family, therapy, or support groups. Sharing experiences with others who have been through similar situations can provide valuable insight and encouragement.

Healing from Narcissistic Relationships ๐Ÿฅ

Recovery from a narcissistic relationship takes time, patience, and self-compassion. Focusing on personal growth, self-care, and building a support system can help victims regain control over their lives and move forward.

What are some common examples of hoovering tactics? ๐Ÿ“‹

Some common hoovering examples include:

  1. The narcissist may send messages expressing remorse and undying love, hoping to pull at your heartstrings.
  2. They might use mutual friends to relay messages, playing on your empathy to lure you back.
  3. They could engage in love bombing, showering you with affection and attention to make you feel wanted.
  4. The narcissist may use covert tactics, such as feigning self-harm or threatening to hurt themselves if you don’t return to the relationship.
  5. They might accuse you of dating someone else or blame you for the breakup, attempting to manipulate your emotions and make you feel guilty.

How can one recognize narcissist hoovering tactics? ๐Ÿ‘€

Recognizing narcissist hoovering tactics requires awareness of the manipulative behaviors they may use to suck you back into their toxic relationship. Some signs of hoovering include the narcissist:

  • Trying to contact you after months of no contact.
  • Expressing remorse or making false promises of change.
  • Engaging in love bombing or playing the victim.
  • Using other people to get information about you or relay messages.
  • Threatening to hurt themselves or others if you don’t return to the relationship.

How can one deal with narcissistic hoovering and protect themselves from being sucked back into the toxic relationship? ๐ŸŒฌ๏ธ

To deal with narcissistic hoovering and prevent being lured back into a toxic relationship, it’s essential to:

  • Maintain firm boundaries and avoid responding to any attempts at communication from the narcissist.
  • Practice self-care and focus on personal growth to build resilience against future hoovering attempts.
  • Seek support from friends, family, or therapy to share experiences and receive guidance.
  • Stay strong and trust your intuition, especially if you feel something isn’t right or feel that familiar pit in your stomach when the narcissist tries to contact you.
  • Remind yourself of the past behavior and the reasons you left the relationship to keep yourself grounded and resist the urge to return.

What role does narcissistic abuse recovery play in dealing with hoovering attempts?

Narcissistic abuse recovery is a crucial aspect of dealing with hoovering attempts. It involves healing from the emotional and psychological effects of the toxic relationship, rebuilding self-esteem, and learning to set healthy boundaries. As you progress through recovery, you’ll develop the skills and resilience needed to resist hoovering tactics and maintain no contact with the narcissist. This will ultimately help you break free from the cycle of abuse and regain control over your life.

How can one recognize the difference between genuine remorse and a narcissist’s hoovering attempt? ๐Ÿ™‡๐Ÿพโ€โ™€๏ธ

Recognizing the difference between genuine remorse and a narcissist’s hoovering attempt can be challenging. However, there are some key indicators to look for:


Genuine remorse is typically accompanied by consistent and long-term changes in behavior, while a narcissist’s hoovering attempt may involve temporary changes that quickly revert to their old patterns.


Someone who is genuinely remorseful will take responsibility for their actions and not shift the blame onto others. Narcissists, on the other hand, often avoid accountability and may even manipulate the situation to make you feel guilty.

No ulterior motives

Genuine remorse is focused on making amends without expecting anything in return, whereas a narcissist’s hoovering attempt may have ulterior motives, such as regaining control or power over you.

Respect for boundaries

A person expressing genuine remorse will respect your boundaries and give you space if needed. In contrast, a narcissist may disregard your boundaries and continue to attempt contact despite your wishes.

What is a covert narcissist, and how do their hoovering tactics differ from those of a more overt narcissist?

A covert narcissist is a type of narcissist who exhibits more subtle and hidden behaviors compared to an overt narcissist. They may appear shy, introverted, or sensitive, making it more challenging to recognize their narcissistic traits. Covert narcissists often use passive-aggressive or manipulative tactics to maintain control and power in relationships.

When it comes to hoovering, covert narcissists may use tactics that are less direct and more difficult to detect. Some examples of covert hoovering tactics include:

  • Playing the victim and eliciting sympathy from others.
  • Engaging in passive-aggressive behavior, such as giving you the silent treatment.
  • Manipulating others to convey messages or gather information about you.
  • Pretending like nothing happened and expecting you to resume the relationship as if the past issues never occurred.

How can you maintain no contact with a narcissist when they share children or have mutual friends?

Maintaining no contact with a narcissist when you share children or mutual friends can be challenging, but it is essential for your healing and well-being. Here are some strategies to help maintain no contact in these situations:

Parallel parenting

If you have children together, consider parallel parenting, which involves each parent taking care of the children separately and minimizing direct communication. Use a third-party communication tool or a neutral intermediary to exchange necessary information about the children.

Boundaries with mutual friends

Inform mutual friends of your desire to maintain no contact with the narcissist and ask them to respect your boundaries by not discussing the narcissist or relaying information between you.

Avoiding social events

If you know the narcissist will be attending a social event, consider skipping it or attending alternative events where you can maintain your distance.

Blocking on social media

Block the narcissist on all social media platforms and ask mutual friends to respect your privacy by not sharing your posts or personal information with the narcissist.

How long does it typically take to recover from narcissistic abuse, and what factors can influence the recovery process?

Recovery from narcissistic abuse varies from person to person, and there is no specific timeline. Factors that can influence the recovery process include the duration and intensity of the relationship, the victim’s support system, and the individual’s coping mechanisms and resilience.

Some people may recover in a matter of months, while others might take years to fully heal. The key to recovery is to be patient with yourself, seek support from friends, family, or professionals, and


focus on personal growth and self-care. Here are some steps to aid in the recovery process:

Seek professional help

A therapist or counselor experienced in narcissistic abuse can provide guidance, support, and coping strategies during your recovery journey.

Build a support network

Surround yourself with friends, family members, or support groups who understand your experience and can offer emotional support.

Educate yourself

Learn about narcissistic abuse, its effects, and how to recognize and avoid toxic relationships in the future.

Set boundaries

 Develop healthy boundaries and assertiveness skills to protect yourself from future manipulation or toxic relationships.

Practice self-care

 Prioritize your physical, emotional, and mental well-being through activities like exercise, meditation, or pursuing hobbies and interests that bring you joy.

Forgive yourself

 Recognize that you were not at fault for the abuse you experienced, and forgive yourself for any perceived mistakes or shortcomings.

By following these steps and giving yourself time and space to heal, you can gradually recover from narcissistic abuse and build a healthier, more fulfilling life.

How can one help a friend or loved one who is experiencing narcissistic abuse?

If you suspect a friend or loved one is experiencing narcissistic abuse, here are some ways to help:


Offer a supportive and non-judgmental ear, allowing them to share their experiences and feelings without fear of criticism or dismissal.

Validate their feelings

Acknowledge the pain and suffering they have experienced and validate their emotions. Let them know that their feelings are valid and that they deserve better.


Provide information about narcissistic abuse and its effects, helping them recognize the signs of manipulation and control in their relationship.

Encourage professional help

Encourage them to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor experienced in narcissistic abuse.

Offer resources

Share resources such as books, articles, support groups, or online forums that can provide further information and support.

Be patient

Remember that leaving a toxic relationship and recovering from narcissistic abuse can be a lengthy and challenging process. Be patient and offer your support without pushing them to make decisions before they are ready.

It’s important to remember that, ultimately, the decision to leave a toxic relationship and seek help lies with the individual experiencing the abuse. By offering support, understanding, and resources, you can help empower them to make the best decision for their well-being.


What are some strategies to avoid falling for a narcissist’s hoovering attempts?

To avoid falling for a narcissist’s hoovering attempts, it’s essential to develop strategies that help maintain distance and protect your emotional well-being. Here are some suggestions:

Recognize the tactics

Educate yourself on common hoovering tactics used by narcissists. Familiarizing yourself with these methods can help you recognize when a hoovering attempt is taking place.

Maintain no contact

Implement and maintain strict no-contact rules with the narcissist. This includes blocking their phone number, social media accounts, and email addresses. If you share children, utilize parallel parenting techniques and third-party communication tools.

Seek support

Build a support network of friends, family members, therapists, or support groups who understand narcissistic abuse and can offer encouragement and reinforcement when facing hoovering attempts.

Develop healthy boundaries

Strengthen your personal boundaries and practice asserting yourself when needed. Healthy boundaries can help protect you from manipulation and control.

Focus on your well-being

Prioritize self-care and personal growth. Engaging in activities that promote your physical, emotional, and mental well-being can help build resilience against hoovering attempts.

Remind yourself of the past

When faced with a hoovering attempt, remind yourself of the painful experiences from the relationship and the reasons you decided to end it. This can help reinforce your resolve to stay away from the narcissist.

Write a letter to yourself

Write a letter detailing your experiences, feelings, and reasons for ending the relationship with the narcissist. Read this letter when you feel tempted to respond to a hoovering attempt as a reminder of why you must maintain no contact.

By implementing these strategies and staying vigilant, you can protect yourself from falling for a narcissist’s hoovering attempts and focus on your own healing and growth.

How does one maintain healthy boundaries with a narcissist?

Maintaining healthy boundaries with a narcissist can be challenging due to their manipulative and controlling nature. However, setting and maintaining boundaries is crucial for your well-being and self-preservation. Here are some tips for establishing healthy boundaries:

Define your limits

Identify your emotional, mental, and physical boundaries, and be clear about what you are and aren’t willing to tolerate.

Be assertive

When communicating your boundaries, be firm and assertive without being aggressive or confrontational. Use clear and concise language to express your needs and limits.

Consistency is key

Enforce your boundaries consistently. Narcissists may test your limits or push your boundaries, so it’s essential to stand your ground and maintain consistency.

Minimize contact

If possible, limit your interactions with the narcissist to minimize opportunities for manipulation and boundary violations.

Seek support

Build a network of supportive friends, family members, or mental health professionals who can provide guidance and reinforcement when dealing with a narcissist.

Practice self-care

Prioritize your own well-being and engage in activities that promote self-care and personal growth. This can help build resilience and make it easier to maintain boundaries.

Remember that maintaining healthy boundaries is an ongoing process and may require adjustments over time. Be patient with yourself and remain committed to your own well-being and growth.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hoovering in the context of narcissistic relationships?

Hoovering is a manipulation tactic used by narcissists to draw their victims back into a toxic relationship.

Why is it important to recognize hoovering tactics?

Recognizing hoovering tactics can help victims break free from the cycle of abuse and regain control over their lives.

Can narcissists truly change?

While it’s not impossible, true change in narcissists is rare. Often, claims of change are simply another manipulation tactic.

What are some strategies for dealing with hoovering?

Maintain no contact, establish firm boundaries, seek support, and focus on self-care and personal growth.

How can victims heal from narcissistic relationships? Recovery takes time, patience, and self-compassion. Focusing on personal growth, self-care, and building a support system can help victims regain control over their lives and move forward.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the different faces of hoovering in narcissistic relationships is essential for victims to break free from the cycle of abuse. By recognizing hoovering tactics, maintaining no contact, and focusing on personal growth and self-care, victims can heal and reclaim their lives.

If you have found this article interesting you may like to read narcissist stalkers unveiling the truth behind them.

Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor Body Language Expert