What Is Hoovering? 10 Signs Your Narcissistic Ex Is Using This Technique On You

Last updated by Katie M.

You're no doubt wondering what the term hoovering refers to, right? Well, let's clear things up straight away, it has nothing to do with vacuuming or housework, and is in fact much more somber... Hoovering is indeed a form of emotional abuse and a dangerous manipulation technique that narcissists use in a twisted attempt to suck their victims; who by this point, have escaped from their evil clutches, back into the cycle of abuse. These grade A abusers use the hoovering tactic whenever their narcissistic supply is running low. Now, narcissistic abuse isn't always easy to detect, simply because it is hidden under layers of manipulation and lies, although, here are 10 blatant signs that your ex is using this tactic against you.


When a relationship with a narcissist comes to an end, victims don't just automatically get their lives back. In fact, victims can only ever truly move on when their abusers give them the permission to, that's to say, when they decide to cut contact and truly stay away. However, narcissists constantly need someone to take advantage of and hate letting people they know they can sink their claws into escape. 

10 Examples of the hoovering manipulation tactic

Do you recognize any of these signs?

1) Your ex love bombs you

The bottom line is that folks with narcissistic personality disorders have a hard time moving on where their toxic relationships come to an end. Plus, their otherworldly egos mean that they are convinced they can buy their victims' forgiveness by lavishing them with expensive and unsolicited gifts. Even though you've tried to set boundaries with them, these abusers will totally ignore them in a sick attempt to win you back.

>>> Read all about love bombing

2) He contacts you totally out of the blue

From time to time, he'll contact you on social media, he'll text you, he'll call you on your home phone, and he'd even send a messenger pigeon if he could. His spontaneous and sporadic attempts at communication are ways for him to remind his victims that he is always there, and isn't planning on going anywhere. It's all quite sinister, really, isn't it?!

3) He claims to be sorry and begs for forgiveness

Now, narcissists aren't totally oblivious to their bad behavior, but that's not to say that they ever regret their actions. However, because they are expert liars and manipulators, they'll attempt to convince their exes into believing that they are horrified by what they've done and that they can do better. Although we all know the truth, despite what they say, narcissists never change.

4) He openly says he wants you back

With a full-fledged narcissist, no lies or claims are too grotesque for him, meaning he'll have no trouble making huge love declarations to his ex. He'll claim that he's still in love and that the only thing he cares about is trying again and winning his prey back.

5) He likes all of your social media content

They say that flattery is the highest form of praise, and that couldn't be truer for a narcissist, especially when their ex-partner has recently walked away from their abusive relationship. These emotional manipulators will leave over the top comments on photos claiming how beautiful their exes are. For them, any means of communication is a good way of reaching out and sucking vulnerable people back in.

>>> Find out if narcissists always come back?

6) He reaches out to your friends and family

Once the victim has left the relationship, a narcissist will contact her entourage as a way of following her every move and keeping tabs on her. Here, the emotional offender will do everything possible to make their ex feel like they are still omnipresent in their life.

7) He pretends to be the victim

People with narcissistic personalities may even try and convince their victim's friends and family that they are in fact the downtrodden one. After all, changing the narrative is one of their biggest talents.

8) He'll guilt-trip you

He'll tell you that he can't live without you and that he needs you to be able to go on. In the most serious cases, he may even allude to self-harm or suicide...

9) He'll turn up at your house unannounced

Any excuse is a good one for him to show up at your door, and surprise, when you open the door, you'll never be able to get rid of him. He'll take the stalker role to a whole different level after a while.

10) The gaslighting will resume

Here, the cycle of abuse will take a more devious turn, with the narcissists attempting to convince their ex that they were too sensitive and exaggerated the events. By gaslighting their ex victims, they downplay the situation and dodge accountability. Plus, they'll play mind games to confuse you as to what really went on.

Editor's opinion - Don't be duped!

No matter what your ex promises you, or what they claim they'll do differently, don't be sucked into the cycle of abuse. Remember to trust your gut instinct, you know, the one that convinced you to leave your abusive, narcissistic partner in the first place. At the end of the day, promises are just words and don't mean or commit the person to anything.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde