The Narcissistic Dictionary: Terms That Describe Narcissistic Behaviors

The Narcissistic Dictionary: Terms That Describe Narcissistic Behaviors

Anna turned to her best friend Christine for advice. Christine had gone through something similar in her divorce. Christine said that Anna was giving Richard too much satisfaction by reacting to his jibes and attempts to upset her. She needed to go gray rock. From now on, whenever she was in Richard’s presence, she should say as little as possible, ignore his insults, and be neutral, unemotional, and boring. She would literally bore him into leaving her alone.


4. Love Bombing

Source: According to, the term love bombing was coined by members of Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church of the United States in the 1970s. New members of the group were showered with displays of warmth and attention. The church members say that love bombing was intended to be an expression of genuine friendship and concern. Critics of the practice saw it as a form of psychological manipulation used by cults in order to solidify the new member’s devotion to the group.

NPD Meaning:

The term love bombing is now used to describe narcissists’ over-the-top courtship tactics when they are chasing someone that they are trying to seduce or make fall in love with them. It is wildly romantic behavior that includes constant praise, promises of undying love, thoughtful little gifts, late-night texts, and anything and everything that the narcissist thinks will secure the love of the person he or she has chosen. This intense positive attention is often accompanied by pressure for a quick commitment. Unfortunately, once the narcissist actually secures the person’s love, the love-bombing generally stops and is eventually replaced by devaluation or indifference.


Patrick and Chad. Patrick, an exhibitionist narcissist, met Chad at a friend’s party. He invited Chad to join him for brunch the next day. Chad turned him down with some vague excuse that made it obvious that he was not really interested in pursuing a relationship with Patrick.

Instead of giving up, Patrick started love-bombing Chad. He started sending Chad little late-night texts saying how much he had enjoyed Chad’s company at the party and how special Chad was. When Chad sent him a brief polite text back, Patrick redoubled his efforts. His texts became increasingly flirty and sexual. He also started forwarding Chad emails about topics that he thought would interest him. Finally, after a couple of weeks of texting, Chad agreed to meet Patrick for a drink.

Over drinks, Patrick showered Chad with attention and asked to be given a chance to prove that they would make a great couple. Chad was not won over and decided to avoid Patrick in the future. When Patrick realized that Chad was backing off, he increased his love bombing.

He knew Chad loved the theater, but that his budget did not allow him to go very often. Patrick splurged and bought great seats to a show that he knew Chad wanted to see. Patrick then called Chad and said: “I know you are not really interested in me, but we both love the theater and I was just given two great tickets to that show you mentioned. How about if we just go as friends? No expectations.” (Notice the lies).

This continued. Patrick showered Chad with praise and presents and made lots of promises about their future together: “I can’t wait to take you to the beach house I rent every summer. I know you will love it there.”

Eventually, Chad weakened and started spending more and more time with Patrick. Chad reasoned, “Maybe I should really give this relationship a chance. Nobody has ever treated me this well or wanted me this much.” Unfortunately, once Patrick realized that he had hooked Chad, he started to lose interest in him. For Patrick, love was about the chase, not the person.

Related: Love Bombing as a Narcissistic Attachment Style


5. Hoovering

Source: The term hoovering is derived from the name of the Hoover vacuum cleaner. In Ireland and the UK, “to hoover” became synonymous with using a vacuum cleaner to suck up dirt.

NPD Meaning:

The term hoovering has now been extended to refer to a narcissist’s attempts to suck a discarded mate back into a relationship by saying and doing things that the ex would find irresistible.

Example: William and Betty.

When narcissistic William first met Betty, he saw her as the special woman that he had been looking for his entire adult life. Betty was beautiful, educated, and from a higher social class than William. When their relationship started, he treated her like a queen. William moved fast, asked Betty to give up her job, marry him, and move with him to another state where she knew no one.

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