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.
After they had lived together for a while, William got bored and lost interest in Betty. There was no more talk of marriage. William started devaluing her and picking fights. After one particularly vicious fight in which he blamed Betty’s supposed selfishness for the death of their relationship, William packed his things, moved out, and left Betty heartbroken in a strange town with a new expensive apartment that she could not afford to keep.
Betty was stunned, deeply depressed, and had no idea what had happened to their once wonderful relationship. She cried on and off for a year, tried to contact William to get closure, but he never answered her texts, phone calls or emails. Eventually, Betty asked her family for help and went into therapy.
A year goes by.
All of a sudden Betty gets a sweet text on her birthday from William, “Thinking of you. I hope you are having a lovely day.” Betty is stunned to hear from him but decides that her best course of action is to ignore him completely.
William is determined to hoover Betty back into a relationship with him. In addition to sending her cute flirty texts every day, he has a beautiful bouquet of her favorite flowers delivered to her house. When Betty still refuses to speak to him, William’s next move is a classic hoover technique: he sends her a letter apologizing for all he has put her through:
I love you madly. I know you must hate me. I deserve every bad thing that you think about me. I was crazy to treat you the way I did. I realize now that I made the biggest mistake of my life when I let you go. (Notice how he just re-characterized his running out on her as “letting her go”). You are the only woman that I have ever loved. Please give me one more chance to prove that I have changed. I will do anything you ask to prove how much I love you. You won’t regret it. I promise.
6. Narcissistic Supplies
Source: According to Wikipedia.org, the term narcissistic supply is a concept that was introduced in 1938 by the psychoanalyst Otto Fenichel to describe the various ways that we use other people to prop up our self-esteem.
The term narcissistic supplies, or supply for short, describes anything and anyone that narcissists use to regulate their self-esteem. The purpose of narcissistic supplies is to enhance the narcissist’s sense of being special.
Example: Edward the Philanthropist.
Edward is what I call a “pro-social” exhibitionist narcissist. Edward is extremely wealthy and chooses to use his wealth to support his public image as someone who cares deeply about other people. This is particularly ironic because Edward totally lacks emotional empathy. There is a huge difference between the face Edward shows the public and how he behaves towards those close to him. He is known for publicly humiliating anyone he dislikes. At home, he is a tyrant and his wife and children fear him, as do the people who work for him.
Edward’s main source of narcissistic supplies is to give millions of dollars to high profile charitable causes that display his name and face. He endowed a pediatric wing of a local hospital that is now named after him and he also supports a local library. His favorite charity is public television. He loves knowing that every time someone watches one of the television shows that he sponsors, his name and face are prominently displayed on the screen in recognition of the money that he has given the show.