The narcissist will never let go. Time for one of the more educational type of posts, about one of the forms of narc abuse that you may have encountered. Quite important to explain, since I just published a personal story in a blog post, about myself being hoovered (You can read it Here).
What is hoovering?
Hoovering comes from the British word for vacuuming. It is used to describe how the narcissist will try to “suck you back in”, into all the madness that you (hopefully) have escaped. This has nothing to do with love. It’s simply about the fact that narcissists need to feel power, and be in control. They also need narcissistic supply, that is, attention in any form.
This means it becomes a game for them, reaching out and getting you to respond, after the relationship has ended. They prefer an emotional response. It doesn’t matter if you say you love them, or yell that you hate them. Either way, it becomes supply. It’s also a way of hindering you from moving on from the pain they caused you. They want to make sure you keep the twisted “dance” going, with them.
Even a normal reply, without emotions, can be a victory to the narc. It means they still “matter” to you, since you responded.
A classic sign (in my opinion) that you’re dealing with a narcissist, is “The peek-a-boo” as I call it. They contact you (perhaps seeming “desperate” to get in touch) but when you reply, they disappear and can’t be reached! This is a very cruel “cat and mouse game”, which is bewildering and heartbreaking.
But if they do this multiple times, you will probably become more and more certain, that the person is an emotional abuser. This is the only “positive” thing you can take away from this cruel behavior; that it helps your own insight into what your ex truly is.
I’ve lost count of the times that Hero (my narcissistic ex) has pulled the peek-a-boo on me. It certainly is well into a hundred times. Perhaps more. And yes, I let it happen, that is how brainwashed I had become!
How does it play out? Isn’t it possible that my ex is really remorseful about all the things he did to me, and wants to make a mends?
I’d say, 99 times out of a hundred, (if your partner is in fact a narcissist or other emotional abuser), that his stated wish to ‘make a mends’, is not genuine. Look for actions, not words. What is he actually doing, to make you feel safe again? If you explain that you have been severely hurt by his actions, and that you have some demands, before you can even consider forgiving and taking him back…And if he then doesn’t comply with your demands, I’d say the odds are not in your favor.
It could be as simple (and heart-crushing) as this: he was a “normal” person and he “didn’t love you enough”. But, if you’ve seen many warning signs/abusive behaviors, there is a strong possibility that he is a narcissist, and therefore incapable of changing his ways!
In this case, these hoovers can go on for months and years. For his satisfaction alone. Knowing that you can not refuse to reply to him, will simply give him a “high”. However, for you, these attempts at contact hold a different meaning, such as “it seems like he really loves me after all”.
This is the hardest thing to deal with, for ex-partners of narcissists. And the fact that narcs are very “creative”, doesn’t make it easier. They can claim that they have changed and wanna give you their all. They can claim that they have developed a serious disease. Or try to provoke you. Anything to get your attention.
When you have fallen for this type of charade a few times, you notice that they disappear/don’t make good on the new promises. This is when you need to reinforce new and strong boundaries through No Contact. (Separate posts in future, on that subject).
You will never heal, as long as you stay in contact with the narcissist.
This is my firm belief. If you still have your own personal doubts, that is fine. Don’t just believe whatever you read. But I beg of you; if you suspect your partner/ex is a narcissist/psychopath/sociopath, keep on educating yourself on the subject, until you feel confident in your own truth.
And hey, if someone is treating you like something the cat dragged in, does it really matter if they’re a narcissist, or simply an idiot? Let us make a vow to ourselves to never let anyone treat us with anything less than respect and caring. Let us move forward on the path of healing!
We can do it! We can better our lives through No Contact. That is the only way to get the joy, love, and the life that we deserve!