What are Narcissistic Hoovering Tactics?


This term may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but it's a very real and often harmful strategy employed by individuals with narcissistic tendencies.

These tactics are designed to suck you back into their sphere of influence, much like a Hoover vacuum.

They're subtle, manipulative, and often go unnoticed until it's too late.

Through this article, we aspire to illuminate these tactics, providing you with the insight needed to discern and effectively tackle them.

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Recognizing Narcissistic Hoovering Tactics

Love Bombing

One of the most common tactics is "Love Bombing." This is a manipulative strategy often used at the beginning of a relationship, or after a breakup or argument as a way to regain control.

A narcissist will shower their target with excessive affection, attention, compliments, and even gifts.

Their goal is to make you feel special and desired.

However, the intention behind love bombing is not genuine. A sudden overflow of affection is often too good to be true and can be a red flag indicating narcissistic behavior.

Playing the Victim

Another common narcissistic hoovering tactic is "Playing the Victim."

This strategy involves the narcissist portraying themselves as the innocent party or the one who has been wronged, regardless of the reality of the situation.

They may spin stories, exaggerate incidents, or outright lie to make it seem like they are the ones being treated unfairly.

The aim is to evoke sympathy and guilt, thereby manipulating you into siding with them or giving in to their demands.

They tend to twist the narrative so they appear as the victim rather than the offender.


"Triangulation" involves the narcissist using a third person to create tension, competition, or jealousy to manipulate a situation or relationship in their favor.

For example, they may bring another person into the scenario (the 'triangle') either as a threat, a way to validate their position, or to create confusion.

They might make comparisons between you and the third party, or they may communicate through the third party instead of directly with you.

Triangulation aims to destabilize you, make you feel insecure, and shift the balance of power in their favor.

It's a divisive technique that allows the narcissist to maintain control and keep the focus on themselves.


This form of psychological manipulation involves the narcissist denying or twisting reality to confuse or disorient their target.

They may make you question your memory, perception, or sanity by denying things that have happened or insisting that events occurred differently than you remember.

Over time, this can make you doubt your own experiences and trust the narcissist's version of reality instead.

By making you question your reality, the narcissist makes you more dependent on them for what's "true."

You might start to rely on them to define your thoughts, feelings, and experiences, thereby granting them significant control over you.

It's important to trust your own experiences and seek support from trusted friends, family, or a mental health professional.

Smear Campaigns

In these instances, the narcissist spreads false or exaggerated information about you to others, attempting to damage your reputation and discredit your character.

They might share personal details about you, twist the truth, or make outright lies to paint you in a negative light.

This could be done subtly, such as through insinuations or backhanded comments, or more overtly, like blatant character assassination.

By damaging your reputation, the narcissist makes it harder for you to find support and validation from others.

This can leave you feeling alone and defenseless, making it easier for the narcissist to manipulate and control you.

If you find yourself in this situation, it's crucial to remember your self-worth and not allow the narcissist's actions to define you.

Silent Treatment

The silent treatment can be incredibly damaging, as it invalidates your feelings, makes you feel invisible, and can create a deep sense of anxiety and uncertainty.

Narcissists deliberately ignore or refuse to communicate with you, often as a form of punishment.

The purpose of the silent treatment is to exert control and inflict emotional pain.

By withholding communication, the narcissist is essentially saying that you are not worthy of their time or attention.

This can lead to a desperate need for resolution, which gives the narcissist power and control over the situation.

How to Respond to Narcissistic Hoovering

Responding to narcissistic hoovering requires emotional preparation and a deep understanding of your feelings.

It's of utmost importance to identify the manipulative strategies being employed and understand your feelings in response to them.

This includes recognizing the inherent toxicity in the narcissist's actions and affirming your self-worth.

Understanding that you are not responsible for the narcissist's behavior can help you develop a more objective perspective and minimize the emotional impact of their actions.

Setting boundaries is another vital step in responding to narcissistic hoovering.

You must establish clear limits on what behaviors you will tolerate.

This could include deciding not to respond to certain types of communication, limiting the time you spend interacting with the narcissist, or even cutting off contact entirely if possible.

Maintaining these boundaries may be challenging, especially if the narcissist attempts to violate them, but standing firm is essential for your mental and emotional health.

Maintaining no contact is often the most effective way to respond to narcissistic hoovering.

By refusing to engage with the narcissist, you deny them the attention and control they seek.

However, going no contact can be difficult, especially if you have shared responsibilities or connections.

In such cases, it's important to minimize contact as much as possible and avoid getting drawn into the narcissist's manipulations.

Finally, seeking professional help can be invaluable when dealing with narcissistic hoovering.

Therapists, support groups, and other resources can provide guidance, validation, and coping strategies.

They can help you understand the dynamics of narcissistic abuse, reinforce your boundaries, and support your healing process.

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Acknowledging and addressing narcissistic hoovering is of critical significance.

This manipulative tactic can be detrimental to your emotional health, making it essential to understand your feelings, establish firm boundaries, and seek professional help when necessary.

If you're presently grappling with narcissistic hoovering, bear in mind that you're not isolated in this struggle. Various resources and support networks exist to guide you through this difficult circumstance.

Always remember, that your self-worth is not defined by the actions of a narcissist.

Stay strong, affirm your worth, and don't hesitate to reach out for help when you need it. 

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July 14th, 2024

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