When the Narcissist Promises to Change

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There comes a point in the relationship with a Narcissist when your soul cries out for your help and you intend to honor it.  You make an effort to implement No Contact, and you’re serious about it this time.  You realize that if you don’t leave your abuser, you will never recover from the long-term emotional abuse and your soul will be lost forever.

It’s precisely at this time that The Abuser disappears.  Instead, you find before you the charming, romantic man you once knew, intent on courting you – bringing you flowers, gifts, and promises of a new future together.  It’s like being in an alternate reality; one where you wonder if you imagined the whole nightmare.  How could this man be capable of torture?  Look at his smile.  It must be genuine.  Look into his eyes.  No one smiles like that unless they mean it.

This is the one of the main reasons people break No Contact, and open the door to months, even years of continued emotional violence at the hand of their abuser.

You’ve Been Hoovered!

Most Narcissists execute the devalue and discard phases before their victim knows what hit them.  However, there are other cases where the victim decides to leave first.  This causes great anxiety within the Narcissist because he’s all about power and control.  If the relationship is going to end, it will be on his terms, not yours.  In order to regain the upper hand in the relationship, he will commence to hoover.

Another alternative is that he’s discovered the new supply/victim isn’t all he’d hoped for and he’s come back to re-stake his claim over you.

Hoovering is basically another tactic used by the Narcissist to re-claim control when you’ve tried to break away from the relationship.  Contrary to what it may seem, the Narcissist has not had an epiphany, he hasn’t suddenly discovered his undying love for you, and he CAN imagine his life without you.  These phrases are all cards in his deck of lies that he pulls out as needed.  He knows you well and he knows exactly what to say and how to behave to pull you back in.  Sadly, it’s all just an illusion.

Following are popular comments and tactics of the hoovering Narcissist:

  • Out of the blue, you receive an email or text message that he’s worried about you or the children.  He’s just checking in to see how you are doing.
  • He heard about an accident on the interstate, and he just wants to make sure it wasn’t you.
  • You receive a message from him that he’s bought you a gift.  One that you’re going to love.  (As though nothing ever happened).
  • Receiving a message such as “Happy Anniversary” or “Happy Birthday” along with the sentiment that he misses you.  (As if he ever cared about these special occasions before).
  • “Did you just drive by?”; “I saw your missed call”; “Where’s that email you sent me? …you get the idea.  What makes these comments ludicrous is that you probably didn’t do any of these things.  He’s baiting you to suck you back in.
  • Having a friend or family member contact you, asking you to have some mercy because the Narc or someone in his family has had a medical emergency.  Alternately, they’re going around telling your friends and family how they lost “the love of their life”.
  • Suddenly having some urgent information they need to share with you.
  • “Coincidentally” appearing at your favorite hangout(s).
  • Love-Bombing you like when you first met.

Why Hoovering Works

The hoovering tactic is much easier for the Narcissist than love-bombing.  They’ve developed certain advantages along the way, such as knowing what tugs at your heart-strings, and they will use those buttons unashamedly.  Further, if this isn’t the first time they’ve hoovered, they know what worked last time and will use it to their benefit.

If you’re reading this article, you probably already know from experience that your Narcissist has become very skilled at hoovering.  Maybe you just didn’t have a name for it.  It goes like this:  the two of you fight (over something he most likely staged), he leaves (toting an overnight bag), he stays gone and you get the almighty Silent Treatment.  You start thinking “This time it’s for real”, and then…BAM!  He pops back onto the scene as though nothing ever happened.  If he’s conditioned you properly, he knows you’ve secretly been waiting for his return…and that you’ll allow it.

Sadly, in the same way that all Narcissists operate the same, so do their victims.

How To Stop It

When it comes to being in a relationship with a Narcissist, it’s extremely difficult to leave, even when you know it’s dysfunctional.  The reasons are:

  • Trauma-bonding
  • Victim peptides
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Systematic  brainwashing by the Narcissist
  • Repetition compulsion
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of not being good enough for someone else
  • The fact that when the Narcissist isn’t being nasty, he can be extremely charming

the Eye of a Crying Soul

And the list goes on.  In spite of these concepts, the bottom line is that if you really, truly want things to be different, it’s critical that you be the one to change by implementing No Contact and sticking to it.  Why?  Because the Narcissist only wants you to think he loves you.  He keeps you in the loop because 1) he wants to keep control over you, and 2) he knows he will screw things up with his other partner(s) and you’ve always been the reliable back-up.

What He Doesn’t Want You to Know

An important truth to realize is that while your Narcissist is hoovering and laying it on thick that he’s in love, he is still waging a vicious character attack a.k.a. smear campaign against you.  He’s telling his side supply (or new supply, or both) that you’re a crazy, psycho lunatic.  That way, if she catches the two of you together or communicating, he can blame it all on you.


Other people that he might bother to fool are your close family members so that there will be a small chance he can manipulate them into triangulating so he’ll have more influence in winning you over, again.

The Facts

While you are thinking “the two of us”, he is thinking “me vs. you”.  And that’s the way it will always be with a Narcissist.

There will never be that “magical one time” when he finally changes.  He won’t suddenly discover his profound love for you.  You need to love yourself and make the break.  Then, you need to work on all the reasons you kept the Narcissist in your life to begin with.  That will lessen the potential for attracting another partner just like him.

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