Caught In A Toxic Trap: 8 Signs You Are Being Targeted By A Hoovering Narcissist


Toxic Hoovering Narcissist Examples To Look Out For

Being a victim of a hoovering narcissist can be an emotional rollercoaster making you question your reality. Take a look at the signs of being hoovered into a toxic trap!

Your heart sinks as you read the text, “I’m not in a great place right now. I need you. Please help.”

It’s been over a year now. You’ve cut off all ties and contact with your ex, and you’ve finally gained some semblance of mental health. But this … this random text throws you completely off.

As you quickly type the message with shaking fingers “What do you need help with?” and click send, your stomach drops. There is a dark feeling in the pit of your chest. It’s the ominous and foreboding feeling you sometimes get before thunderstorms and tragic news. Deep down, you know that you’ve made the wrong choice.

Related: 5 Things Sociopaths and Narcissists Say to Make You Feel Crazy

You’ve just been hoovered.

If you can relate to what I’ve just written, you’re likely experiencing a dangerously abusive manipulation technique known as hoovering.

Hoovering is a technique that drags you into cycles of abuse, disrupting your entire life and those around you. In this article, you’ll learn how to prevent this abusive manipulation from fooling you.

What is hoovering narcissist?

Hoovering is an abuse tactic frequently used by people who struggle with narcissistic, borderline, antisocial, and histrionic personality disorders.

Named after the Hoover vacuum cleaner, hoovering is basically a way of “sucking” a person back into an abusive relationship. Hoovering is typically done after a long period of no contact between the victim and the abuser.

8 signs you’re a victim of a hoovering narcissist

In an attempt to regain control over their victims, the hoovering narcissist will use manipulation tactics that target their victim’s soft spots and emotional vulnerabilities. If they are successful, the hoovering abuser will use their victim until they are bored with them and discard them once again.

3 covert narcissist hoover examples

Let’s take a look at what hoovering narcissist examples look and feels like:

Scenario 1:

Amanda broke up with Steven six months ago and has severed all contact. But one day, out of the blue, she receives a contact request on Facebook from Steven apologizing for all of his abusive behavior and that he wants to be given a second chance because he’s still “in love” with her. Amanda’s heart beats quickly as she writes a response, truly believing that Steven has “changed.”

Related: The Secret Language of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths: How Abusers

Scenario 2:

Ben managed to escape an emotionally abusive relationship with his partner Robert almost two years ago. When he arrived home, he finds a lavish array of flowers on his doorstep with a note that says “Happy Valentine’s Day!” and a phone number from Robert.

Ben starts remembering how much affection Robert used to show him at the start of their relationship. Feeling lonely, Ben convinces himself that Robert must have matured past his paranoid and hateful behavior, and gives him a call.

Scenario 3:

Ingrid has just left Scott out of a desperate attempt to regain control of her life. After managing to find solace for a few days from his gaslighting, infidelity, and outbursts of rage, he begins appearing on her doorstep.

“You’re the only one I ever loved Ingrid,” Scott whines, “I want to marry you, I only ever wanted to be with you. You’re the love of my life, my soulmate.” After experiencing this behavior for a couple of weeks, Ingrid finally snaps, and rips open the door, “Get out of my fucking life!” she screams and starts to cry. Scott pulls her into a hug and she sobs on his shoulder.

Why do narcissists hoover?

What’s the point of hoovering? To regain a sense of control over you. Narcissists begin hoovering when they want something from you such as attention, validation, money or sex. But the deepest reason why narcissists hoover is because they are completely internally empty.

They have a pathological fear of feeling insignificant, unlovable, alone or worthless, so they do whatever they can to fill this empty void and sustain their false self-image.

Narcissists are fundamentally addicted to the attention of others. Without attention and control, they starve. When their reservoirs of a narcissistic supply run out, they seek to prey off the old “meat” they managed to catch in the past – and that means you.

This also means that they usually have many “backups” (e.g. other exes) to feed off when they begin to feel hungry again.

Related: The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

Like predators, a narcissist knows how to manipulate the weaknesses of those they have preyed on before. They will try to entice you through random texts, apologies, declarations of undying love, and “repentant” gestures which try to convince you how much they have “changed” and “care” for you.

The truth is that narcissists couldn’t care less about you, and their attempts to win your trust are all fabrications that are part of their sick game. Because of their severe soul loss and inability to show any form of empathy, a narcissist will say any lie and go to any extent to get you back under their control.

8 signs you are the victim of a hoovering narcissist

Let’s take a look at some of the creepiest and most common forms of hoovering below. Please note that many of these signs are common among relationships that have just ended.

So if you’re still being pursued by your ex, this might not necessarily mean that you’re being hoovered or that they have dark intentions. Hoovering is a pathological and manipulative form of behavior that is intended to suck you back into another cycle of abuse. When reading these signs, please be honest about your relationship and ex-partner.

1. Pretending That Your Relationship Isn’t Over

They will ignore your requests to cut off contact, continue sending you the same messages, will show up at your house, job, etc. They’ll continue harassing you as if nothing has changed at all.

Related: Signs You’re Arguing With A Psychopath

2. Sending Unsolicited Gifts

In an attempt to get you back, they will send you lavish and unexpected gifts such as flowers, cards, tickets to movies and concerts, cakes, you name it.

3. “Apologizing” For Their Behavior

To try and engage you, the narcissist will appear to “own up” to their mistakes and will feign humility and remorse in an attempt to pull at your heartstrings. Their messages or words will sound very convincing, so be careful.

4. Indirect Manipulation

If they can’t get through to you directly, they will go a different route: your friends, children or other family members. For example, they might try to send you messages through your friends or say something slanderous about you to your family which you’ll then feel the need to correct. When you’ve been hooked, you’ll be lured into confronting them about their lies.

The narcissist may even try to use your children against you. For instance, if your ex has custody of your children, he/she might put the child on the phone asking you to come back home or get them to write letters to you. This is a powerful and highly manipulative hoovering narcissist technique.

5. Declaring Love

Declaring undying love is perhaps the most common hoovering technique out there. Because love is such a powerful emotion, narcissists will not hesitate to use it to lure you back into their clutches.

They will say things such as, “You’re my soulmate,” “We were made for each other,” “You’re the only person I’ve ever loved,” to tempt you into contact again. Do NOT fall for these tricks.

6. Sending Random Messages To You And “Ghost” Phone Calls

If you’re being hoovered, you’ll likely receive random messages from the narcissist asking for and commenting on different things. Expect text messages such as “Please wish (so-and-so) a happy anniversary from me,” “Did you take my (personal item)?” “Are you going to (so-and-so’s) dinner tonight?” “I’m standing in the place we first met. Thinking of you,” and so forth.

The narcissist may even send you “accidental” messages with the intention of putting a knife in your heart such as, “I love you, honey, I’ll be home at 6” to their new partnership with the intention of inciting a response from you.

Another creepy tactic is receiving ghost phone calls. For example, you might receive frequent phone calls from private numbers and receive long silences or soft breathing on the other end. This tactic is used to freak you out and get you to engage.

7. Faking Vulnerability And The Need For “HELP”

The narcissist will go to any extent to get your attention and sympathy. Faking the need for help is such a powerful hoovering narcissist technique because it preys on our natural tendency to show compassion to others.

The narcissist might send you messages and leave you voicemails telling you that they’re sick, they need your help, they’re desperately in trouble and need you to call them back, or even that they’re going to kill themselves.

I’ve heard of narcissists that have gone as far as faking serious illnesses like cancer and heart attacks, just to prey on others and reel them into abusive cycles again. (Note: if you think someone is going to kill themselves, please call your local police services.)

8. Baiting You With Drama

If all other hoovering techniques fail, the narcissist will try baiting you with drama. They will send you melodramatic messages, create havoc in your social life through spreading rumors, use your children as an excuse to express rage and hissy fits, and put on scenes with the intention of provoking reactions from you.

Related: Hoovering: Ways A Narcissist Reels You Back In

How To Stop Being A Victim Of Hoovering Narcissist

Firstly, it’s important to understand that hoovering is designed to trick you by playing on your emotional vulnerabilities. A narcissist knows very well how to manipulate you, and they will disguise their contact as an attempt to seek reconciliation, forgiveness, friendship, and even love.

Because hoovering is essentially about emotional survival for the narcissist, they will often go to extreme extents to get your engagement.

They will lie, pretend, and coerce you in any way they can so that they can get what they’re truly craving: power, control, and validation. If you feel that you’re being stalked, don’t hesitate to contact the police. Narcissistic abuse is a very real issue.

Here are some of the best ways to end the cycle of narcissistic abuse:

  • Change your phone number, email, and social media accounts (or block his/her number)
  • Pay attention to the signs that you’re being hoovered and know these hoovering manipulation tactics inside out so that you can identify them when they occur
  • Set a firm rule that you will NOT contact, acknowledge or respond to the narcissist in any way, shape or form
  • Learn to love and take care of yourself (read this self-love article for tips)
    Join a narcissist support group
  • Develop mindfulness so that you can become aware of your emotional triggers
    Try the gray rock method if you’ve been lured back into a relationship.

I truly hope these actions can help you regain a sense of personal clarity, confidence, and empowerment once again as you recover from the mind games of an abusive hoovering narcissist.

Related video:

8 signs you’re a victim of a hoovering narcissist

Originally appeared on
Written by Aletheia Luna
 "Hoovering" Narcissist
8 signs you’re a victim of a hoovering narcissist
Signs You Are The Victim of an Abusive Hoovering Narcissist Pin
8 signs you’re a victim of a hoovering narcissist
forms of hoovering
8 signs you’re a victim of a hoovering narcissist
hoovering narcissist technique
Being Hoovered: Hoovering Narcissist Examples
hoovering narcissist technique

— Share —

— About the Author —

Up Next

4 Warning Signs Of A Toxic Leader

Warning Signs Of A Toxic Leader

Have you ever worked with a toxic boss or toxic leader? If you have, then you know how horrible and malicious they really are, and if you haven’t, then read on to know the signs of a toxic leader so that it’s easier for you to understand what you are dealing with.


Poor, toxic leaders demand unquestioning loyalty and service to the leader.

Bad leaders rule by a sense of fear, both of outsiders and of the leader’s wrath.

Good leadership empowers followers, shows concern for them, and benefits the collective.

All too often, people fall prey to self-serving

Up Next

Eggshell Parenting Meaning: 5 Signs You’re Making These Mistakes!

Eggshell Parenting: Signs You're Making These Mistakes!

Parenting is one of the most sincere tasks in every individual’s life that should be done with utmost care and coherence. However, the relationship between parents and their children is often tampered by the mental, and behavioral issues of the parents.

Thus, mood disorders and the violent nature of parents can affect the child’s life. Eggshell parenting is one such consequence. In this blog, we will guide you to understand eggshell parenting and show you the risky spots you should avoid.

What is Eggshell Parenting?  

Up Next

Top 6 Most Notorious Serial Killers In History and Their Psychology Unleashed

Top Most Notorious Serial Killers In History

Some of the most horrifying and notorious murder cases in criminal history are those in which the most notorious serial killers caused irreversible harm to society by their horrific deeds. Motivated by an intricate network of psychological, social, and frequently pathological elements, these infamous persons have perpetrated atrocities that persistently enthral and appal the public.

Every instance sheds light on the dark psychology of serial killers, from Ed Gein’s horrific acts to Ted Bundy’s deliberate and planned killings. Investigating these sinister tales reveals not only the specifics of their heinous deeds but also the patterns and reasons behind them, providing insights into one of the most ghastly aspects of human nature.

6 Most Notorious Serial Killers In History

Up Next

The Role of Childhood Trauma in Serial Killers: A Deep Dive Into 5 Serial Killers and Their Upbringing

Role of Childhood Trauma in Serial Killers: Case Examples

The public’s fascination with the mystery surrounding serial killers has long sparked conjecture regarding the motivations behind people’s horrific behavior. The role of childhood trauma in serial killers has received a lot of attention, despite the fact that the reasons underlying their actions are complex.

In this blog, we explore the childhood experiences in serial killers to gain insight into their terrifying world. We aim to uncover the intricate relationship between pathology and upbringing by delving into the trauma in serial killers and unfavorable conditions that shaped these individuals’ early years.

This will illuminate the shadowy pasts of some of the most infamous murderers in history. Come along with us as we venture into the darkest recesses of the human brain, where the roots of violence are planted.

Up Next

Man vs Bear Debate: What is the Right Choice for Women?

Man vs Bear Debate: Is It Safe To Choose a Bear Over Man?

Even though Leonardo Di Caprio has proven that men can beat a bear in strength and intelligence, let’s not get carried away and remember that a bear can be more powerful than men. You can guess that we are here to discuss why women chose bear in the man vs bear debate.

The real question is, what threatens women more? Getting mauled by a bear and meeting a horrific death or getting violated by a man??

Women are inclined to the second option in the viral Man vs Bear debate.

Up Next

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? 8 Ways Narcissists Can Muddle Your Brain

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? Reasons Why It Happens

Have you ever heard of the term “brain fog”? Brain fog is like a maddening haze that seems to muddle your thoughts, makes you forget what you were saying, and has you searching for your clothes in the trash bin? Well, today we are going to talk about a specific sort of brain fog – brain fog after narcissistic abuse.

Imagine that you have just escaped from a toxic and abusive relationship with a narcissist. You are slowly picking up the pieces and trying to get your life back in order, but somehow you feel like your head is not in the right place. Everything still feels very odd and you still feel very lost.

Even though you are free from the clutches of your narcissistic ex, this bizarre mental fog just won’t lift. Let’s explore how narcissists cause brain fog, and the link between brain fog and narcissistic abuse.

Up Next

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: 20 Warning Signs to Watch For

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: Warning Signs to Watch For

Having a toxic boss can really take a toll on you mentally, and toxic bosses are seriously so horrible. This article is going to help you understand the traits of a toxic boss so that you know which behaviors are not normal and ethical. Read on to know more about the signs of a toxic boss or toxic bosses.

We hear about toxic bosses all the time, but how do you know when a boss is “toxic”? “Toxic” is, of course, a vague descriptor. Are bosses toxic when they throw fits and scream, or only when they break the law?

Or are they toxic when they are immoral or unethical? Are they toxic if they’re nice one day and nasty the next, or just when they make you uncomfortable, nervous, or sick? These are valid questions because these individuals are easy to identify when their behaviors are outrageous; but perhaps less so when their behavior