Hoovering is a narcissistic term for sucking you back into the relationship. The party is over, and you have had enough, but the narcissist or individual will try to suck you back into the relationship by trying different approaches or tactics. Some of these tactics can appear harmless and kind of sweet. Be warned. Let me give you an example of what I mean.
Today I was talking with a friend who divorced his wife, and there was no contact for six months. They spent 35 years together. Even after they divorced, the wife came around and wanted to try dating again. It was a disaster. He was entirely in the dark that she was a narcissist. He is still struggling with how he spent 35 years in a relationship filled with gaslighting, manipulation, triangulation, deflecting, and stonewalling. If you do not know these narcissistic terms, here is a good reference link. Since she was a significant part of his life and his family’s life just recently, he still feels “obligated” to contact her regarding certain subjects. One family member is battling with cancer, and another family member just passed away. He shared the text message conversations with me, and I had to warn him.
Even though the text messages seem genuine and caring, they still can appear to be a welcome sign or door opening to the narcissistic person or someone who wants to re-establish the relationship when the hurt feelings dissipate. You can start to exchange kind jesters as, “good morning, hope you have a good day, I hope Mary is recovering, if you need a friend, I am here to talk, and hope you had a good visit with family.” It appears to be kind and harmless, but it can be a form of manipulation. Your anger has diminished, and you are still recovering from years of abuse. Do not be fooled. It is challenging to just be friends with someone narcissistic without setting healthy boundaries and without knowing all the games they play with you. Knowledge is power. Therefore, our conversation starts to steer towards manipulation.
I told my friend that everyone learns to manipulate. Just watch children playing with one another. As parents, we want to teach our children to share their toys. Most kids do not like to share; it has to be taught. The same goes for manipulation. I shared with my friend that maybe his ex-wife was taught how to manipulate men by watching her mom manipulate her father. His ex-wife had to learn manipulation; at times, we have to learn how to manipulate another person to survive and meet our needs. Therefore, manipulation is realized by human interaction to get what we want from another person. Manipulation can be slight and, other times, hidden if you do not know the signs. Here is an excellent example of slight and hidden.
My son has a disability support person, and he loves my cooking. When we first met, he had only five spices. After teaching him how to cook and season foods, he has over 40 different spices. In the past, he would ask me to show him how to cook something. For Thanksgiving one year, he wanted to make his family an upside-down pineapple cake. When I asked him how he made it, I frowned. When I was in college, I cooked for several families professionally and made that cake often. So, in the process of showing him, I realized that I was not showing him but preparing and cooking the cake myself. I had to step back and look at all the other times he asked me to show him how to cook something. I quickly realized that when he would say, “I want you to show me how….” he was really saying, “I want you to cook…”. This was a significant insight for me. I then put this insight to the test. He recently asked me to show him how to make a teriyaki burger with a pineapple slice on top. He wanted to make several of them for his family gathering. I looked at him and smiled. I said, “Let’s be completely transparent here. What you are really saying is you would like me to teach you how to make a teriyaki burger, but you are going to prepare it and cook it, not me. Am I correct?” His face was priceless. I said, “I realize that when you say WE are going to cook something today, you are really saying that you want me to cook it.” He laughed and felt embarrassed. I was correct. It was harmless but still manipulation.
Back to my friend. I told him that I was concerned about the communication between him and his ex wife. I was concerned because he is still stuck in the confusion, anger, disappointment, and shock learning how his wife is a narcissist. It has only been six months that he was able to step out of the dark and into the light. I stressed that he is still vulnerable. His ex wife had 35 years of learning how to manipulate and suck you back into the marriage. Six months is not enough time to be strong enough to see all the games clearly. He looked at me and agreed. I told him that he needs to learn how to set healthy boundaries with her. These would be the warning signs:
- I am in town, would you like to get lunch together and catch up
- (Daughter still lives with him and the two grand kids) Mom is coming over this afternoon to watch the grand kids for a few hours. Do you feel comfortable being alone with her?
- I was at Home Depot and saw your favorite plant. I heard from our daughter that your old plant died from the frost freeze. Can I bring it over?
- I really miss our conversations
- I miss your family. Did they ask about me? I wish we could all get together and have lunch again.
All these comments seem harmless, but they can be boundary-pushing. The second bullet point did happen. He warned me and said he was not ready to speak to her again. He agreed it felt like a trap because the grandkids could have gone to her house instead of staying at his house. Therefore, I just had him come over and hang out with me. I felt it was a trap to suck him back into the relationship because he left her. All the times they broke up in the past, she left him. A narcissist does not like to be rejected. So, she might think they are still together but not talking. If you remember the term gaslighting – a person can gaslight you by assuming the breakup never happened. She could start a fight to save face and declare that she was finally leaving him. Then the idea of no contact would be her approach, not his. I hope this makes sense. It is a mind game.
I have created a FREE energy clearing recording. We can pick up on other people’s negativity, words, and beliefs. It can cause you to stew or worry about junk that really needs to be dumped.