A Narcissist Hoovering Q & A

narcissist-returns-hooveringNarcissistic hoovering so often becomes our epic downfall after a break-up with an N simply because we allow it so easily to lure us back to the abyss. It is this hoovering – this  preferred narcissistic tactic of our toxic insignificant other – that invariably sucks us in for another no-win round of cat and mouse time after time after time.  It is the hoovering that gets the best of us – more often than not – and makes it nearly impossible for us to put an end to the narcissistic nonsense.

Why do narcissist’s hoover and why does it appear to have such a hypnotic effect on the broken-hearted? I mean, how can this be considering that he who hoovers is, without a doubt, the perpetrator of the original crime? Why do the victims of a narcissist not only expect to be hoovered but will even wait for it, hope for it, and even beg for it at some point in the relationship? Because there are always a slew of questions about the hoovering maneuver in the wonderful emails I receive from website visitors and from readers of my book,  I thought the time was right to create the following Hoovering Q & A:

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What exactly is hoovering?

Hoovering is an “action” that describes how a narcissist tries to weasel his way back into your life after a break-up or after he’s vanished for a period of time (i.e. a silent treatment). A “hoover” is the tactic he uses to do it.

What are hoovering tactics?

Hoovering tactics, which come in many forms (text message, email, letter or card, by proxy via someone else, phone call/voice mail, etc.), are always deliberately subtle at first in order to hide the deception behind it. How the hoovers continue is based upon your response to the first few. Also, because each relationship is unique and your narcissist has created a mental list of all the special things he can use to tug at your heart strings or pull on your conscience, he or she will combine/include what he knows about you with his hoovering methods.

So, for example, text message hoovering tactics out-of-the-blue after a silent treatment could involve:

  • text messages pretending to be oh-so-sweet: “Hi. How are u? Are u ok?” or “R u there?” or “Hey, it’s me:(“
  • text messages on special occasions: “Its my b’day. Really miss u being here” or “Happy b’day. Wish I was there”
  • text messages about the kids (especially if they’re not his): “Hi. I was thinking about Joey today. Is he ok?” or “I know u hate me but wanna wish Suzie a Happy 8th b’day”
  • text messages about a convenient upcoming event: “Foo Fighters r coming. Wanna go? Couldn’t go w/o u”” or “R u going to Maggie’s wedding?”
  • text messages about things you like to do that he’s never been interested in doing with you before (one of my ex’s favorites): “Hey, I was thinking, wanna go bowl a few strings?” or “Hey wud u like to go for a drink?”
  • text messages about bogus family illnesses (including his own) (another of my ex’s favorites): “My mom had a stroke. need to talk to u” or “I don’t no, think I might have cancer. Can I c u?”
  • text messages about sex: “Don’t u miss us being together?”
  • text messages that attempt to flip the hoover back on you: “Did u just text me?” or “Did you just call me?” or “Did u just drive by?”
  • text messages, when all else fails, making bogus accusations to get some type of emotional response (my ex’s all time favorite and it usually worked): “I know what u did” or “U better tell ur boyfriend to stop calling me” or “I know u hacked into my fone” or ” or “I’ve moved on. Why r u bugging me?”

All of the above can be swapped for use in emails, letters, notes taped to cars, voice mails…you get the idea. The point is..it’s all a crock of shit to get a response from you so that communication is initiated and he can worm his way back into your life.

Why does a narcissist begin to hoover?

A narcissist hoovers for a few different reasons (none of them good, by the way) but the main one is to keep you from ever moving on from the pain that he caused you.  Successful hoovering (i.e. you responding) keeps you in the queue with all of the narcissist’s other victims (and there are always others) and this, in turn, ensures that he will never run out of narcissistic supply.

What has happened to the narcissist for him to start the hoovering?

A narcissist only hoovers because things aren’t going his way wherever he’s at – and that’s the only reason. So, if the narcissist in your life starts hoovering suddenly after a long (or brief) absence, it’s because 1) he’s had enough fun with whoever he left you for, 2) his current fling did something he didn’t like and he’s getting ready to blow her off, 3) his current fling is getting too close to finding out about you or others and he knows the end is near anyway, or 4) he’s in need of something you’ve got (i.e. money, transportation, sex, etc.)

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What will happen if I fall for his hoovering tactics?

He will expect the relationship to pick up where it left off with no repercussions from you and the next time he leaves (and he will leave again) he’ll make sure it’s more painful for you than the time before. Nothing good ever comes from falling for a hoover.

And it only takes one (1) response from you for the hoover to be successful. If you notice, a narcissist will often hoover with a text or email or phone call that gives you hope and then, as soon as you respond in kind, he disappears. That’s his way of just checking on your status in his queue of victims – and then he goes back to whatever or whoever he was doing.

Is it ever possible that the narcissist really misses me and feels bad about what he did?

No. A narcissist has no conscience and, although he knows the difference between right and wrong, he doesn’t care about that. He doesn’t miss you or love you or miss the kids or have nostalgic thoughts (not like we do anyway) or feel sorry for what he did or for hurting you. Nope, it’s none of that. He might be missing the sex but that will only be temporary because after you’ve let him back in, he will eventually leave again to go back to wherever he was because he now misses that sex.

Well, I hope the above clarifies the hoovering method of the narcissist a little. As always, no contact is the only way to rid yourself of the narcissist. The more we understand the reasoning behind each and every hoover and that it’s all a big crock of shit, the better our chances of recognizing and ignoring future hoovers.


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  1. Wow! I’m SO glad you understand Zari.. while all this was happening I was like “huh? this can’t be right it must all be in my head..” but I just couldn’t get past that feeling in my gut that something was very wrong, and it kept getting worse with every contact. I did google the book you mentioned and might read it later but right now I’m feeling like I don’t want to know any more.. if you know what I mean? I have this feeling there is something REALLY dark in her past and I just don’t want to think about what it could be anymore. I will definitely read your book though and keep it handy. Thanks so much again Zari and keep up the good counsel on this site. I have been on other forums and you are the most understanding I have spoken to and have unique insights as well. Blessings to you and to all out there reading, be strong together and we can grow from this experience xx

    • You wrote… I did google the book you mentioned and might read it later but right now I’m feeling like I don’t want to know any more.. if you know what I mean?

      Yes, I absolutely know what you mean and enuf said about that darkness! You are moving way beyond all of that, girl. And thank you for the kind words….I’m thankful/grateful/empowered by you and all who come here as well!! There is definitely power in numbers and we surely have that!


    • I actually don’t understand. My exN is the most confusing person ever. He did the silent treatment again for the 4th time. He was constantly screaming and yelling. Trying to control my money when I had no access to his money. Told me I couldn’t be friends with my best friend bc she could she thru his bull. And when my grandfather was dying and I was at the hospital everyday, he screamed at me everyday. I have never felt more alone. When he did the Silent Treatment thing agsin, I was frantic for the 1st hour and them I realized I was damn tired. I just picked up and moved forward. It hurt. Then one day it didn’t. And I was fine. Then 2 months later, (3 days ago) he calls me and asks me if I called him. I didn’t. He apologized bc he stated that he had no idea I was still blocked. We agreed to talk later. Which I was fine with and we had a pleasant conversation. Towards the end of the conversation he stated he had ‘fun’ talking to me even though I didn’t talk about what was ‘really’ on my mind. I told him that nothing was on my mind to which he replied ‘oh ok’. We ended the conversation. He text me the next day and asked if I would call him when I wasn’t busy. I did. But I was blocked. He then called me and apologized again. We had a short pleasant convo but honestly I’m starting to feel like this is just a game to him. Almost like repeatedly pulling the wings off a fly. I’m fine. I’m not hurt. I healed already. But I’m starting to wonder if talking is a good idea. I’m beginning to feel confused and I thought I had perfect clarity…

      • Hi Veronica,

        Unfortunately, he’s messing with you….trying to feel things out to see if you’re still in the queue. YOU should block HIM. It’s the only way that you will ever be able to move on and resume a normal life. I remember having gone 4 months of a silent treatment and feeling awesome – finally! Then, out of the blue, he saw me somewhere and came pulling in to “say hi” as if nothing happened. In fact, he commented that he “wasn’t even sure what happened”. Yeah, right. Of course, I was pleasant and secretly happy to see him but I had been doing sooooo good. So, as he’s pulling away he makes the “call me” hand sign and what do I do? I call him a few hours later – AND HIS PHONE WAS DISCONNECTED. I freaked out because of it – the audacity of asking me to call knowing that he had no phone. So I started harassing his friends until he finally called me from that same phone number. And on we went for another 5 years. Sickening.

        Don’t be confused. He’s acting just like a narcissist is supposed to act. Read my book When Love Is a Lie. You will think you wrote it and everything will become amazingly clear! I guarantee it, girl. Merry Xmas to you….

        Zari xo

  2. You are amazing Zari… what you said about the universe intervenes really resonates with my story. Are you actually psychic? I asked for guidance when I found out I was pregnant and did feel guidance come through that the right thing to do was relinquish her. I have been told recently that she is with her soul family (which is not me). I guess my job was to give her life and this journey with all its positive and negative emotions is just what we need to work on this time around to evolve. I have heard of making a list of deal-breakers and strong boundaries in romantic relationships so thanks for the affirmation again.

    I also have learnt a good lesson that it is not what people say or how charming they are but in their actions and how they treat you and others CONSISTENTLY – is who they are. It really takes time to get to know someone and it needs to be face to face contact. If I had only known about the signs then, it makes my hair stand on end now. This is additional things I have found out about her over time: In her carefully written charming letters she had a persona of being a caring person i.e. websites she made to give me the impression that she was a talented person. Her profile on one cited a photographer/writer who is an entrepreneur for social change – although she actually has a casual manual labour type job. She even did a volunteer stint with children overseas, had a website for donations of cameras so she could teach them photography, raved about the experience and the people – then when she got a chance to go again dismissively said “anyone can play with the street kids”. By that time she wanted to be a writer so she volunteered with a publishing house instead. Her websites have since disappeared, expired. She was always very busy doing very important projects or courses which seemed to come to nothing. She also has a cool online profile describing herself as a “nomad” living in various places. One place is her mother’s that she goes to when not working regularly, another is free accommodation with friends. One is even where her birth father lives overseas – I doubt he knows that. From what I have now read of NPD or BPD this is the perfect profile. I just thought I would post this description of her personas in case anyone reading is dealing with someone like this – if so, I would be interested to hear your story too.

    • OMG….I was reading your description of her and it INSTANTLY reminded me of a Kindle book I read last year called “My Name is Amelia, and I’m a Sociopath” about a girl who changed her personas hundreds of times in order to fool those close to her. She writes the book herself so the reader gets a clear picture of exactly how and why she did what she did and said what she said. Unbelievable and quite shocking. I have this book in my Kindle library and would be happy to “loan” it to you via my Amazon account if you think you’d want to read it. From what you describe, right down to the websites and changing careers, hobbies, interests….the online profile describing herself as a “nomad”….I kid you not. The fact that she would go to her mother’s house to hide out…and friend’s for free….friends who would know her as one person and other friends would know her as another person…and the whole time she had a young husband who thought she was someone else!

      If you want to read it, send me your amazon email via the Contact Us form and put “Hi – it’s me!” in the subject line. You don’t need to have a Kindle to read it. And I also understand if you don’t care to read it because it IS horrifying and I have no doubt that this is what you have been dealing with. I couldn’t put it down once I started.

      And, no, I don’t consider myself psychic at all…but I trust the Universe and do know that it conspires to teach us as well as to save us from ourselves! The problem is that most of us do not listen. You did way back when – Thank God! Let that be a lesson to all of us, sister!

  3. Thanks again Zari, it is good to talk about it openly because I was feeling guilty thinking that somehow it was my fault because she was relinquished and grew up in a less than happy family situation, which probably shaped the person she has become. I followed the bread crumb trail of interactions with her and did a lot of research. When I came across NPD and BPD it all seemed to fit. My blood ran cold. I would have offered my help if she had come to me openly and said she had problems.

    I have been doing an interesting exercise I would like to share. When I get upset thinking about all this, rather than try to block it out I let myself feel it and take a deep breath, then say “it hurts” and expel my breath strongly.. saying “let it all go”. I feel much calmer then as I’ve been struggling to “keep it all in” since she was born. I needed to recognise and release the grief. Yes you are right… I have escaped from both of them once again and my life would have been hell if I had brought her up – trapped between the two of them being used then dismissed over and over again.

    The thing is now how do I make sure I’m not a magnate for this kind of relationship again? I’d like to find a partner but I am not confident in my judgement now. I haven’t had a love interest for about 10 years because it seemed too hard to go through any drama again. I just can’t let myself be vulnerable again.

    • No, not a stitch of this is your fault…not one bit of it. I am so serious when I say that and I’m sure everyone reading and commenting here would agree. And how do you even really know for sure how unhappy the home front was for her and how much of what she told you was just a narcissistic fabrication? And you know what? Who cares because you are free of it as you deserve to be. I’m sorry…I feel no sympathy whatsoever for borderlines who feed on the goodness of others and she – as part of the father/daughter “N-Team” – has done exactly that towards you who only had good intentions from the very beginning. I truly believe that the Universe conspires and intervenes when it must on our behalf sometimes and there is a reason that you were spared from, as you say, a life of hell trapped between the both of them. Bottom line….have no worries and no guilt ever on that, my friend. Just breathe, release, and let it go.

      As for a new relationship, I don’t have many answers for that. I see a narcissist in every man I meet UNLESS he proves otherwise….isn’t that awful? Guilty until proven innocent…and even then, it’s doubtful I’ll believe. I hate to be so hardened but it is what it is. We have to keep our eyes open and our hearts guarded. It doesn’t mean we can’t love again…because I want that for myself as well. But we have to be clear about and committed to our deal-breakers and boundaries. In my books, I suggest making a list of deal-breakers and boundaries and then guarding them with your life. Our boundaries protect both our strengths and our weaknesses and, in the end, are our only protection against narcissists and other vampires. Many of us – I know I didn’t until not that long ago (meaning when I sat down to write the book!) – don’t even know what our boundaries are anymore. But the narcissist in our life sure as hell did though, didn’t he?? He knew our boundaries inside and out and he stomped over each and every one of them. A narcissist, if he’s nothing else, is a Boundary Crosser. If a narcissist understands that he absolutely can’t cross a boundary in his quest to cause pain to another, he will leave the situation and move on and we won’t have to worry about it. That is how we weed them out as we move through life. We make a deal with our boundaries and we never break it. Eventually, we’ll find someone who realizes and respects our boundaries without having to be told and all will be peaceful and normal. That is the plan and all we can hope for. Perhaps, the Universe will conspire on our behalf once again.

  4. Hi Zari, Hi Zari,
    This is my first post on your site. I have just recently realised that I was involved with a Narcissist years ago and I have been struggling with the effects. It is good to be able to talk about it now and get some insight. He had a job where he went away for months at a time. When we first met and while he was away he would write very romantic letters with hints of marriage in the future. I was a vulnerable 20 year old who lost my father as a young child and had a difficult stepfather so I fell in love with the idea. When he returned and we became a couple something was missing – the romantic, caring him was gone.

    Unfortunately I became pregnant and because we had not known each other very long he stated that he couldn’t commit to being a family. He started putting me down even before that about my appearance as if he felt he should be with a model and the abuse continued through my pregnancy. He would also tell me unkind things his mother had said about me at his weekly family dinners, although she had never met me. His family had quite a bit of money and thought I was a gold digger etc. My family were not supportive of me keeping my child and I wanted her to have a family so I relinquished her and he agreed. We stayed together for awhile after that until I started to grow up a bit and stand up for myself, then he would announce he had met someone else. This happened a few times and he always came back.. even years later he found my new work place and arrived wanting to hook up. Two years after that he followed me home and was in my driveway expecting to be invited in. I was seeing someone else I was in love with and told him not to drop at this time of night. He turned on his heel, said take care of yourself then and stalked away. I did see him again in the street years later and he ignored me.

    Fast forward to the present and my birth daughter found me and we had a warm reunion. She contacted him and he passed on his regards to me, hoped life turned out okay for me said he held no grudges etc.. I felt uncomfortable and didn’t respond because why would he be even thinking about holding a grudge when he was the one who caused me pain? Once my birth daughter met him she turned against me and we are no longer in contact. Her behaviour became passive aggressive and included sending hoovering emails months apart, then when I answered her she was silent.. when I called her on it she became very nasty. It felt like I was in a relationship with him again. He once said to her that he doesn’t need to go on social media blah, blah.. however, I have just seen his brand new profile on facebook with a smiling face and hard eyes. Can he be sending regards to me and putting up a profile subtle hoovering or am I paranoid? Is he gloating because he has turned her against me? I have blocked both of them from seeing me on facebook. I am very afraid of both of them really.

    • Hello friend,

      I’m sorry for what you have been through but I’m happy that you have found your way here and shared your story. I’m sorry for what you have been through. Yes, I agree that both father and daughter are “dangerous” and you have done the right thing by blocking them both. Its very disturbing that the daughter is showing the traits of her father – the hoovering emails and then the silence and then the anger when you called her out. I don’t blame you one bit for feeling like you were back in the relationship with her dad. I would have too! Those types of traits, from what I see (and this is only my opinion), are very telling of a person’s mindset and intention when it comes to relationships of any kind. And it is very narcissistic in its passive-aggressive and manipulative nature and, not to mention, its just plain mean. You are her birth mother, after all, and she should be coming to you with a show of respect considering it was she who sought you out. The fact that her father would attempt to turn her “against you” is, of course, typical of a narcissist but the fact that she could be so easily swayed is even more disturbing….unless, of course, it is already in her nature to be that way which I tend to think it is. That being true, let them go…they deserve each other and you deserve better. Block them both and keep it that way. Your life is worth so much more than the pain that they obviously intend to cause you.

      As for the N, you wrote “I felt uncomfortable and didn’t respond because why would he be even thinking about holding a grudge when he was the one who caused me pain?”. He’s thinking about holding a grudge because that is exactly what narcissists do. I don’t know if you’ve read either of my books, but I discuss this in detail. A narcissist will never hold himself accountable for damage inflicted upon another or for any type of dysfunction in a relationship. Never. He will always have a false sense of entitlement about everything and anything – and that includes you. So, always know this to be true: a narcissist only returns again and again to ensure that you never move on from the pain he has caused you. To this guy, you will always be supply and he will continue to press the relationship reset button every few years or so just to make sure he still has you in the queue.

      And Facebook is a narcissist’s playground, by the way. I hear it day in and day out. I would consider the “regards” sent possible hoovering but the Facebook profile is just a narcissist being a narcissist. In fact, now that I think about it, the Facebook profile is more likely passive-aggressive punishment for your indifference to his “regards”. If there is one thing a narcissist hates, its indifference.

      Either way you look at it, you know in your heart of hearts what needs to be done. And please…do not have one ounce of guilt over that girl, do you understand? She may hoover again and again and, perhaps, even at her father’s insistence. Do whatever you can do to avoid them at all costs and continue on with your life. I am sorry for your pain and I hope that writing it out has helped.

      Keep writing and sharing and updating. We’ve all walked the same path and our support for you will be un-ending!

      Zari xo

      • Thank you SO much Zair for your powerful validation and support! I felt a burden lift from my shoulders. It was incredibly difficult to break contact with my daughter. However, I had to stand in my truth with her in the hope that will be benefit to both of us. I was subjected to “crazy making” behaviour from her including twisting the situation around so that our relationship problems were deemed to be my fault. I was accused of doing things to her that she herself was doing including bullying, manipulation, attacking her (when I asked why she was acting strangely with me) and then told I was massively insecure and had unrealistic expectations of her. It was a shock because we had written warmly to each other for almost 2 years. Although there were often long silences between letters – usually in a spiral of 3 months apart, then she would re-appear saying she had some emotional ups and downs but wouldn’t share with me what they were. When I started to be more casual myself she suddenly wanted to meet me. The interrogating questions started on the first day although I had written everything in detail to her prior. When she met bio-dad she started cross questioning me with what he had said. Before they met she would call me to talk about him and their interactions, and I did give her advice to help her and bond. I didn’t realise at the time that her focus had probably always been on him and I was supplying an ear and information paving the way to their meeting.

        She looks very like him as well which was confronting seeing those old nasty expressions again. When angry her face would swell and go dark red with slanting eyes. Such horrible eyes like black pits of cruelty. When in a surly mood with me she would sneer and one side of her face would completely contort. Then change in an instant and be demure, sweet and eloquent to someone else. I also heard her speak dismissively of others in her life she had previously told me she was close to. Very critical of people and negative in a superior way, everything was a drama where she was either the victim or rescuer.

        She said her adoptive mother was traumatised about our contact. I now think because she was cruel to her about it. She had a very intimidating manner even over the phone and I learnt to fear those phone calls. She never mentioned her facebook site to me but I did mention I contact friends on it. Her profile up until then was totally secured – then she suddenly started putting up public posts. Co-incidence? I think she was hoping I would post her so she could ignore or chastise me about it. Do you think she may have NPD or BPD? The 3 month spirals of no contact always bothered me. Perhaps she was feeding off others during that time? Sorry this post is so long but I would like your opinion.

        I am quite spiritual and this experience has been an opportunity for me to deepen my connection and I am now meditating regularly and developing an interest in different styles of yoga which is relaxing. This year is for me to grow and finally heal the past so I guess in a strange way this experience will have a positive outcome for me. I will definitely read your book and keep it on hand as a reference guide. Thanks again for your site :)

        • Wow….that is amazing about your daughter…it only confirms for me that narcissism can be highly genetic when it wants to be (like father, like daughter is an UNDERSTATEMENT in your situation). Fascinating food for thought relative to my topic-of-choice. You are absolutely correct in fearing that relationship as it is. It gave me the chills reading your description of the 3-month silences, the Facebook game (yes, you are correct about that), her nasty expressions so much like his, her hot/cold behavior depending upon who she was talking to, the dismissive attitude, and the fact that your casualness prompted her to want closer contact….my goodness, girl, close that chapter and run. I shouldn’t be offering a diagnosis but – damn – that sure sounds like a borderline to me. I mean, what else could it be considering who the father is? Just bad behavior? I think not. For you to feel fearful about a phone call from this girl tells me that something is very, very “off” about her and that we probably know what that something is. Again, let them enjoy their narcissism together and far, far away from you! One narcissist is bad enough – but TWO? No way! The fact that you see it for what it is and have connected those evil dots is admirable and I mean that.

          Stay spiritual, stay in the moment, live in the here-and-now, and detach, detach, detach. You’re going to do just fine…Keep me updated… xo

  5. I’m beginning to think I’ll never hear from my narc. ever again. I truly believe he has moved on and wont contact me ever again

  6. Hi Zari,

    Is a hoover always to be expected? I am going through my 2nd d&d. Last time it was approx 3 months of nc before he emailed me and “extended the olive branch and wanted to tell me in person how sorry he was.” I met him for sushi (before i knew of his npd condition) and fell right back into the trap and we were together for a year. We eventually parted ways and I have been nc for 4 days without any sort of hoover. This time seems different. His last words to me were, “leave me alone. you are starting to get on my nerves.” (after I pathetically bombarded him with texts asking for forgiveness and another shot.) I am pretty sure he is gone for good and that i will never hear from him again. If they come back once, do they usually come back twice?

    • Yes, unfortunately, he will be back. You have to decide if that’s how you want to live your life, though….if him coming in and out, in and out, is enough because it will never ever change. I, too, thought each discard was the last one but he always returned…sometimes 3 days…sometimes 3 weeks…sometimes 3 months…but he did. And there were 100’s of discards. And this was after telling me things like “Get lost. Leave me alone. You’re annoying me.” and so forth and even changing his number a thousand times. Then, he’d hoover back for a drink and I’d comply and it would start all over again. Use this silence to think about what you really want because this is it. It will never change.


      • Zari, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I swear, these people use the same phrases…. i was called “annoying” more times than i can even remember (along with a bunch of other choice phrases). Plus, it’s weird – i feel like the number 3 is of significance. 3 days (of silent treatment and ignoring me) 3 months after d&d i hear from him, he has never had a relationship longer than 3 months (except me), so strange. I do NOT want to live my life in constant chaos and i am choosing to say no to a life of spinning and unrequited love. The fear of staying the same has become greater than the fear of changing and I am ready to put a stop to this madness. I am hoping he does not come around again, but if he does, i will choose to ignore him and not give in, no matter how tempted i am,

        • The fear of staying the same has become greater than the fear of changing” What a great line and, if I may, I think I’m going to sit down tonight and write a post around it (so look for it). Yes, that is so true. Our fear of change is such a big part of it and has much to do with our overwhelming codependency to the very drama that we profess to hate. When we finally “shift”, then and only then do things begin to change for the better. Thank you for sharing!

          • Of course you can use it! What a great idea for a post. I cannot take credit for it though. I read it in an article somewhere and it has resonated with me ever since. It helps me reflect and realize that i do not want to be this way, or in this situation forever. So, the only other option is to make a change for a better life and give myself a chance at true happiness.

          • And I think it resonates with everyone and we all needed to hear it! I credit you with sharing it, to be sure…Thanks!:)

  7. About 2 weeks ago, I came across an article about NPD abuse, while trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Nothing else was really describing how I felt, then there it was, the perfect description of what I have been experiencing for so long. Since then, I have read a lot about NPD and it perfectly describes my husband. Our history- we have been together 9 years with 2 children and I already had 1 child before he entered my life that was only one year at that time. The first big “silent treatment” was after our first child together was born and only 2 weeks old, this lasted about 6 weeks. The next “silent treatment” happened a year later and it last 17 months. And as of a few days ago, another one has begun. This time, I have been a stay at home mom for the past 5 years, and my youngest who has just turned 2 also a few days ago has literally been with me 24/7 since she was born. Absolutely no breaks (I’m
    Exhausted). I have been abused in every possible way, led to believe I was the one going crazy, made into an emotional wreck with high anxiety always wondering when it will happen again, realized I was in a no win situation and the only way I would ever escape would be death, although I don’t want to die. My kids mean the world to me which is the only reason I have tolerated it for so long. The worst part about now is he is doing it to them 2 weeks before Christmas and even though I take care of my 3 children basically alone bc he is never around, and do everything I’m supposed to, taking no time for myself or asking for anything, because I’m not at a paying job, he considers nothing to be mine. He told me I have 10 days to get out, emptied our bank account, everything is in his name, car, phone, home, and he is taking it all, while I am still here taking care of 3 children who are about to have the worst Christmas ever. His family thinks he is right, I don’t see how. For appearance only, he will request to have our kids half the time which hurts me and them. The last time, with only one child, for his half she was watching by a nanny or his parents, rarely him. He doesn’t care about them, only acts like he does in public. How do they get away with this and how does it not bother him that his own flesh and blood are hurting too?? I’m relieved to know that I’m not really going crazy, just crazy for staying with him so long. Thank you for writing all these articles, makes me feel a little better knowing I’m not alone!

    • Dear Leann,

      Your story made me cry. These monsters are hardwired only to use and abuse and never “to love” – and this includes their own children. I hear so many stories such as yours. An N will up and leave his children as quickly – if not quicker – than they will leave you and I. Your N is despicable and I hope someday he gets what he deserves – and actually feels it. First of all, I don’t know any state where the father can kick the mother out of where she lives with the children. You said he was giving you the silent treatment but is he still living there? Going on the assumption that he is NOT living with you, I would (and this is just my opinion based on what you’ve told me and without me knowing what state you live in) file for a restraining order ASAP which should automatically “ban” him from your place of residence for awhile (at least it does in AZ). Then, I would go directly to your state “Legal Aid” or department of economic security and explain to someone what is happening and ask to be guided in the right direction. Get on food and cash assistance while he is gone so that the state agencies know that he has abandoned all of you. I know this all seems overwhelming but you must NOT let him get away with it. And don’t worry about dragging the children to all of these appointments because, unfortunately, there will be a hundred other mothers there in the same situation. You and your children are in crisis as far as I’m concerned and you will win this if you step up to the challenge. He can not put you out on the streets!! Refuse to go under any circumstances. Get a Temporary Retraining Order at the nearest courthouse (be sure to ask for a waiver of fees for financial hardship) to ensure your place of residence until you decide down the road what to do. See a lawyer at “Legal Aid” (every state has a legal aid program…check with DES or any women’s shelter or at the courthouse where they usually are set up). Ignore his family – do not talk to them because they will always side with him (I know from experience – it will never be different) and whatever you do, do not tell them your plans. I know that in my state (AZ), anyone can get a restraining order whether you are in fear for your safety or not and you certainly are. If your husband walked out on his wife and his children, there isn’t a state agency or court in this land that will let him win but you have to fight for it. He will try to instill fear and intimidate you but the courts will see through it and you need to believe that!

      You are a great person and an even better mother! Live for your children right now and for the fact that you deserve a better life. I will be thinking of you…please let me know what happens!!!



  8. I had been with mine for 2 years and 3 months at the time of the last discard. During the first year, he was all about winning me over, as I was still trying to get over the loss of a prior relationship. I guess that’s what kept him on good behavior for so long. I did still see some bizarre behavior with kind of a mini break up that lasted about 24 hours one time – but I really saw very little bizarre behavior compared to what I saw later. The last few months of the relationship was continual chaos. The last breakup was brought on by my confronting him regarding online things I was discovering and was truly hoping he’d be sorry and get counseling with me, since he’d been talking about getting married again. Was I nuts! Instead he got angry, said he didn’t come to see me to argue, and next thing I know HE’S yelling at ME. For what, I’m unclear about. Anyway, it’s been 3 weeks now and only the past few days have I gotten some calls to my home phone. Interestingly enough I didn’t stop contacting him until a week ago. Until then, I got absolutely nothing from him at all. I guess he’s worried I’m disappearing now and is starting the “hoovering prep,” as I’m going to call it. Today is my birthday and we had enormous plans but they’re all a wash of course, but I’m spending the evening with my son and am grateful for that. I expect to hear nothing from the N today, because I assume he’ll think I may expect it and therefore, he’ll choose to do nothing of course.
    They’re crazy bastards; that’s for sure. And they’re very good and the con game they play.

    • Hi Paige,

      I hope you had a good birthday with just you and your son – that’s exactly how I spent the my last 13 birthdays (just me and my son! LOL). I can’t remember a single frigging birthday my ex was around for except maybe the first one and that was only because he had to be as part of the beginning con. When I read your comment, again I had to marvel at how similar all of our stories are. The way you describe the first year (I, too, was getting over someone so the N was extra wonderful) and then how different it started getting as soon as I called him on something I found…..my story exactly. And, yes, it is truly amazing how we call them out on something and then by the end of the conversation they’ve twisted it so far around that they’re yelling at us. Bastards they are and they’re good at the con because it’s all they know…it really is who they are.

      Thanks for writing!


  9. Very insightful! This article is very accurate. Whilst in the relationship, I couldn’t understand why the narc and I could enjoy Thanksgiving, X-mas, New Year’s, Valentines’ Day. Oddly, “something” came up, like he hurt his “knee”, or family issues, or a “trip”; what an a**! One time I called his bluff. He said that he was in the hospital emergency dept as he had a heart condition, he told me the hospital name. I called, the registrar in records said no name was ever listed. When I told him, he was furious at me saying he shouldn’t have told me anything.. Funny it would be mths later that I found out he was with the fall/winter woman because she just had a hysterectomy it was January 20th. Just 5 days earlier, I had an abortion of our child. He pressed me to keep it and that we’ll be married. I was getting nagging feelings about him even then, but denied them – wanting to believe the fairy tale. So , I aborted the child, made my peace, alone in the clinic…..he’d say that it always disturbed him that I chose to do this alone. In reality, he would not have come or even cared…being in spring/summer – he spent, ironically, Mother’s Day with me…what a SOB!

    • Hi Bea,

      Your story made me very sad but I understand it completely. That man is a motherfucker! As I explain, the N is very seasonal. Mine left for good last October which makes this holiday season the first holiday season in 13-years that I’m not going into it discarded and depressed. Now that’s not to say I don’t hope he chokes on a turkey leg wherever he’s at (because I do!) but at least he’s not going to be making me sad this time around. And I’m glad you made your peace over what happened because you deserve peace, Bea! I know I would have done the very same thing. You be happy!



      P.S. Mine once lied about being at the emergency room with his mother who he said had had a stroke. I called every hospital in the city as soon as we hung up and it was all a big fat lie, of course. He had just started coming around and was already blowing me off (no doubt because he hadn’t quite tied up the loose ends of discarding whoever it was that he discarded me for two months earlier!). When I confronted him about the lie, he threw a fit, accused me of never believing anything he said, and stormed off for another week. They are so ugly.