A Narcissist Always Returns (The Hoovering)

why-narcissists-returnA narcissist will always return to an ex-lover to ensure that his narcissistic supply still pines for him and that she never moves on from the pain he has caused her. Referred to as the hoover (or, as I like to call it, The Hoovering, because, to me, it smacks of a scary movie!), this return is very deliberate and typically won’t occur until the narcissist has been gone just slightly longer than the time before. By timing these reappearances perfectly, the narcissist conditions his victim to not only expect him to come back but also to expect him to come back at a much later date, thus giving him more play time in the interim. All of this is part of the narcissist’s control/validate tactic which, in turn, is all a part of the process of managing down our expectations of the relationship so that we expect less and less and he gets away with more. It’s such a subtle conditioning that victims often don’t even know it’s happening…like a horror show coming soon whether you like it or not.

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As you know, a hoover usually follows a silent treatment (which is really a break-up in disguise, by the way) and comes long after the victim has been completely devastated by the silence. The narcissist may hoover in several different ways and for various reasons, with each hoovering event staged according to that pathological relationship agenda that all narcissists live by.

For example, a narcissist may 1) come back full-on by simply showing up and expecting to pick up right where he left off without a single repercussion, OR 2) not quite ready to return but still wanting you to prepare for the possibility, he’ll begin hoovering with a sporadic text or an email or he’ll ring your phone (hanging up before you answer) from either his number or one he knows you’ll recognize and associate with him. With the second type of hoover, any attempts on your part to return the text, call, or email will likely go unanswered because the intention here is not to actually communicate with you but rather to warm you up to the situation…to get you feeling anxious, confused, and maybe even quietly excited about his possible return.

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Whichever tactic he uses, the narcissist’s intention is to keep your mind spinning with “what-if’s” so that you never even get a chance to move on. Again, as part of his agenda, this manipulative behavior lays the groundwork for the next discard which, of course, will come faster (after his return) and with far more crippling intensity than all the discards before it. This agenda – which all victims of narcissist abuse are familiar with – is described in great detail in my book When Love Is a Lie. Nothing a narcissist ever does is random and that’s a fact.

For my narcissist ex, changing cell numbers before a return (and arming himself with a ridiculous excuse as to why he did it) became his preferred tactic for erasing his tracks. This tactic caused me a great deal of anxiety and sleepless nights and I even created a name it – The Cell Phone Game. It took many years to figure it out but I finally concluded that the timing of each number change and subsequent hoover was directly related to the condition of his relationships and the direction that he felt he had to run.  Of course he never admitted to this,  but I am confident to this day that my theory was spot-on. For 13-years, if he wanted to return, new numbers were not only part of the hoover with me but also a way to disappear from someone else. Like any good narcissist, he knew exactly how to do it and I’m sure you’ll find that it sounds familiar.

READ  Is the Narcissist Happy Now? (A Reality Check)

Anywhere from 2-weeks to 3-months after a deafening silence, the hoovering would begin. If my ex intended to return full-on, he’d simply text out-of-the-blue from his new cell number, asking to meet me for a drink (and, sadly, those were the only times he’d ever take me out). If he was just testing the waters and not quite ready for me to have his new number, he’d hoover by giving my phone just a single ring from odd numbers around town belonging to businesses and payphones – numbers that no one in the world except me would ever recognize on a Caller ID. In essence, he’d be counting on me to recall those numbers as the random numbers he used to call me from when we were together and he had no phone at all! And he was right… I always recognized them and felt instant anxiety. Again, nothing a narcissist does is ever random. Everything is a strategy. With my ex, I’m sure that the odd locations from where he’d call me when he had no phone (while we were together) became a way to set the the stage for future hoovering when he didn’t want me to know his new number. And I’m sure that his nonchalant disinterest in taking me out during the good times had much to do with his planning for future hoovers where just a single text (out-of-the-blue) requesting a “date” was all that was needed to grab my attention. Sound far-fetched...or does it sound familiar?


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If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: a narcissist only hoovers and/or returns to ensure that you never move on from the pain he has caused you. No matter what he tells you, this is the only reason. A narcissist’s intention, after all, is to always keep you in the queue, ready and waiting alongside all the others (and there are always others). Hoovers are stuffed with lies and future-fakery and downright bullshit. It’s a sick game of cat and mouse that will steal years from your life if you allow it. At some point we have to simply say “That’s enough” and refuse to be there when the narcissist returns.

No Contact is the key to escaping The Hoovering and the narcissist’s life-long plan for you. It’s also the only opportunity you’ll ever have for breaking the codependency to hope that the narcissist counts on you to cling to while he’s gone. Remember, the narcissist is never worried about what you’re doing while he’s gone or that you’ve found a better love because he’s conditioned you to wait for him…to wait for the hoover.

It’s time to ignore the subtle signs of hoovering  and get on with your life. No one has a right to manipulate our emotions and it should never be acceptable to any of us. By enabling the narcissist’s behaviors, we set ourselves up to fail each and every time and we deserve better. Say “no more” and mean it! Remain committed to No Contact and to creating your happiness.  I, for one, know you can do it!

Stay strong and I’m here to support you….






Share your thoughts! Only first post is held for moderation. Zari does her best to reply to all:)

  1. Hi Steph,
    Thank you for reaching out to me. You’re lucky to have developed at least a friendship… my narc ex is doing that classic ignoring me and blaming me for everything that went wrong and has rejected all my attempts at reconciliation of any kind. That’s the most damaging aspect as far as I’m concerned, because what a normal person would do, would be to own up to their shit and take some responsibility for their bad behavior, ask for forgiveness, validate the other for sticking with them through that, and at the very least, acknowledge the love that was seemingly real.. such a mind f…k and it’s been very painful. Basically, I’m the one being rejected for loving her and sticking it out with her, despite all the lies and betrayal, but then again I’m the one that knows all those dirty little secrets and it would probably be way too hard on her ego to continue functioning in her narc space, even as a friend. I know too much. I can’t get her out of my head and heart.. it’s been so difficult. I even gave her a beautiful ring w 10 diamonds which she accepted at the beach we had our first date on. I asked for it back if course, but the year of flattery and promise and I can’t wait to be you wife one day… has literally destroyed my heart. I’ll never understand how people can be so cruel and convincing and deceptive at the expense of someone they loved. I do believe she loved me.. I saw a few of those really vulnerable places in her, which most narcs won’t show.. which were fleeting and random. I have a narc ex wife of 9 years ago as well, who after our break up betrayed me and fought me in Family Court trying to get full custody of the 2 children we planned for and brought into the world. She didn’t win, but that year was so damaging and the betrayal so fierce, that i literally ended up w some PTSD issues, which, not surprisingly, have resurfaced with this recent narc year long fiasco and breakup. Guess I know how to pick em’. Ugggh. I have a fantastic therapist I’ve been seeing for over a year now.. she recently, in on one of our therapy sessions asked if she could see my phone. I handed it to her and she proceeded to delete the contact and texts – everything from this recent ex. I f’ing bawled and was crying so hard, that all those words, memories, etc.. were gone. My therapist said, Skye, I’ve been doing this work for 20 years, and I have literally taken drugs from my clients and have flushed them down the toilet… and Skye, I just flushed your drug down the toilet. I’m truly trying to recover from this year long love affair, but it’s been really hard and challenging. I’m really hurt. My heart feels destroyed and everything in this little beach town reminds me of her… I feel used, emotionally raped, conned, and basically left for dead. 🙁

  2. I met a woman just over a year and 2 months ago. We met at a work meeting.. she was an outside contractor. I am also a woman, and have been gay since I was a kid. I’m on the butchy side and this woman I met, very feminine, beautiful and charming. There was an instant attraction – and I would later find out that it was very mutual. After a couple of weeks of emailing each other about work stuff, I casually suggested we get a break from our work demands and go have a drink – after all, she did not have a wedding ring on. She replied and said, yes, how about this Friday. Our first “friend date” was at a bar near the beach where we live. During that evening, she dropped the boyfriend bomb on me and I was crushed. Later, after walking out to leave I mentioned that it was too bad she had a boyfriend and didn’t like women. She said, “you don’t know that” and we said goodbye. I should have kept walking and never looked back, but I texted her, “Damn, I wish you didn’t have a boyfriend, because I really wanted to kiss you just now.” She replied, “me too.. and I wish you had.” Within the next week she was over my house every evening. She told me that her 13 year relationship with her boyfriend was really over and that they hadn’t had sex in over 4 months and that they were really like housemates. Baited, hooked and lined…. I was in. The sex and intimacy was amazing, but what that year long, secret relationship did to me, was nothing short of devastating, to my heart, my self esteem, my integrity and my mental state of being. She promised after several weeks of our love affair, that she would leave him soon. We fell in love and I really believed her. I waiting one year and she never did. I was so mistrustful during this time that I did things that were so outside my own sense of integrity and self respect. I tapped into her cell phone one night while she was passed out in my bed and I read weeks and weeks full of mutual texts between her and her boyfriend, complete with, I love you’s, I’ll be home soon so we can be together, Can I bring you lunch today, Can’t wait to walk the beach with you later, Can’t wait for Easter with your family (she told me she stayed home sick that day) She had told me they were housemates…and I believed her.. I was crushed. When she woke up I told her what I did and told her to leave my house and never come back. Of course, she lured me back in, she suckered me in to believing she only said those things because she didn’t want to get kicked out of her house… but my distrust never left and she was a MASTER at manipulating me back into her vortex of affection, love, sex, admiration, etc.. until I couldn’t even think straight about what I was doing anymore. For an entire year, I went through literal hell catching her in continuous lies, but I was so manipulated by her charming and convincing nature, and because I was lacking any self respect, I stayed. I felt sorry for her (she had lost 2 family members recently) I didn’t want to hurt her. Narcissists are masters of manipulation. They are charming, beautiful, and very very dangerous. One of my first red flags was seeing how heartless she was regarding certain situations that would make a normal person cry, upset or emotional.. (like me). They choose people like us because we are so caring, giving, understanding.. etc.. A couple of months ago, after we spent the day at the beach, laughing, making out, her telling me how much she loves me, can’t lose me, and wants to be my wife one day… I dropped her off at their house.. I had this intense intuition that I should park my car down the street, walk back and listen at their door. What I heard, destroyed me. He was arguing with her about how she spends all her time with me and that he knows there’s something going on between us.. He said he was done and she says, please babe, I don’t want to be done, we can work this out.. if she meant anything to me, then I would be with her.. she doesn’t mean anything to me and actually, I was just coming home today to ask if I could be with you in our bed tonight. I lost my mind and pounded the door and confronted them both. He left her a few weeks later. She had to move in with her parents and was angry at me for her losing her place to live. Another thing Narc’s do.. never taking responsibility for the damage they create. We actually worked through this one as well.. but things were tense. I took her in for a month.. and at one point I had a heart to heart talk with her about how I felt we were just too different to have a long term relationship. We both cried, she sat at the table and wrote me a beautiful love letter about how much she loved me, I was her everything, she couldn’t lose me… and for me to please don’t leave her.. just say the word and she’ll be back in my arms forever. She handed me the letter and walked outside in the night to her car. I read the letter, and felt that, OMG she was finally fighting for me, like I did for her for an entire year.. I walked up to her driver’s side in the dark, she didn’t see me, but I saw her and saw her texting some guy (name she never mentioned to me) about wanting to go out and have a drink. I couldn’t believe it. I asked her who the hell he was… she got angry that I was “spying over her shoulder” said he was just a friend.. I argued with her.. and told her that did not seem like a friend text, especially since I never heard her talk about him before.. She sped off. I chased after her and found her at her parents house sitting in her car… We argued, fought, she told me to leave.. I did and we ending up breaking up the next day. This relationship has left me feeling so emotionally raped, I can’t even begin to express. I fell for a year of lies, manipulation, deceit, and a woman who ended our relationship the same way she started it. I feel like such a fool. I had friends and family telling me to leave after the first month.. but I refused to give up on her, because I kept making up excuses for her behavior and she knew EXACTLY how to keep me drawn in to her – nothing short of sheer, masterful manipulation. It hurts. I’m only into my first month of recovery from Narc Abuse and am battling depression. I’m slowly coming out of it. I know I’ll make it out, but it’s still so problematic that I still feel a sense of honor to her and have even tried recently to repair things.. She’s not interested in getting back together, saying that I betrayed her that night, looking over her shoulder, driving out to her parents house and arguing with her in the street that night.. and that it reminded her of an abusive relationship. Really? I think this is one of those most damaging qualities of the Narc.. they are gas lighters and make you feel bad and/or guilty for their horrible behavior.. When they get caught in their own lies.. it can be like World War III, but sometimes… they can be just the opposite and they can sucker you back in through major apologetic, sweet and manipulative ways.. All I know is that I feel totally damaged emotionally and mentally by this relationship. We all need to give ourselves credit for getting out of these relationships though, as much as they’ve really hurt all of us, we are F’ing SUPER HEROES for enduring through what we did and now we can finally love the people that are worthy of us and deserve us. If you’re depressed, I know what it’s like. You’re going to get through this, I promise. Cut off all contact, and occupy your time with lots of self love. Don’t try and kill the monster without the risk of becoming one yourself. Pray, breathe, know your self worth and this next time around… listen to your inner voice and your intuition about people.. it’s always right. xoxo Skye

    • Hi Skye,

      Girl, thank you for sharing your story. I was hanging on every word! Over the last couple years, I’ve concluded, just by speaking with women in your situation, that the girl/girl relationship where one of the girls is a narc is far worse than any girl/guy with the guy being a narc thing! In my mind, I see the dynamic as different because even with girls who are just friends with each other, there is a connection. It’s always been this way with women…throughout the centuries. We are naturally close with one another and the friendship – especially one considered to be a “best” friendship – is expected to last a lifetime. NOW, toss a beautiful narc and intimacy into the mix and it can so easily – and WILL – go awry. I am so sorry that you are hurting. I can feel the pain in your words.

      You have the right frame of mind and know what to do. Everything is a process and takes time. Yes, we are fucking super heroes for going through it but even super heroes need a helping hand. And – oh yes – our intuition is NEVER wrong – ever. Imagine how we’d breeze through life if we used our intuition as the Universe intended. It would be amazing.

      We are all here to support you, my sister, so let your heart not be troubled. If you ever need to talk, consider booking some talk time with me. I’d be happy to guide you through. In the meantime, write anytime….and always remember that YOU DESERVE TO BE HAPPY:)

      Zari xo

      • Thank you so much, Zari! Your insight really resonated with me so much, especially regarding the girl/girl connection and the propensity for a deeper, more damaged sense of betrayal. It has been so painful for me, because she told me I was her best friend, soul mate… and I believed her.. and I felt the same.
        Yesterday was an extremely monumental day for me and I’m so damn proud of myself and would like to share. Yesterday was the 465th day since my first date with her (yes, I calculated it) and it was also the very first time in all those 465 days that I didn’t email, text, phone, or speak to her in person. Yesterday, I passed her several times along the ocean cliffs between 3:30 and 5:30 pm while I was on my routine cycling workout.. she was out walking/jogging on hers. The first time I passed her I saw her look over at me and 1/2 smile. I did not make eye contact, didn’t say hello, smile back, snarl, anything.. I just raced past her just like I would any stranger.. I take that back, because I always smile and connect with the sweet people from my beach community. Prior to yesterday, I was reaching out to her every single day since our break up of several weeks ago; sending her love poems, emails about how hurt and betrayed I’ve felt and telling her I still loved her and how I can’t just unlove or erase her. And, in these last several weeks if I’ve seen her on my bike rides, I’ve stopped to say hello, have told her I miss her, love her and would eventually ride away crying because of her coldness, detachment, her lack of any validation for me, for us, and her unwillingness to offer me any apology, well wishes or love for my own closure. But, not yesterday! Yesterday, I saw her along the cliffs and just pedaled fast right past her, offering her none of myself. There’s still a lot of residual sadness inside me, but last night I felt so empowered and in control of myself. I caught a glimpse of my old self again.. that strong woman who is independent, capable, knows her self worth and doesn’t take shit from anybody. The one who was never afraid to leave a dysfunctional or toxic relationship in the past. By the time I had passed her for the 5th time on the cliffs, without any eye contact, or that past, familiar desperation to connect, I cycled home.. I finally met myself at the gate to my house. I was home. I WAS FINALLY HOME. It still hurts like fucking hell, and it probably will for a long time, but I’m proud of myself for yesterday – for the first time in 465 days, I completely disengaged. It was my first day of liberation. Of course, I think it’s only natural for me to wonder about what effect this will have on her. Some Narcissists hate to be ignored, and will attempt at pulling you back in, other Narc’s realize you’re no longer feeding their ego, so they’ll completely drop you for good. I’m expecting the latter, but preparing myself for the first, just in case. If it happens, it’s going to be difficult for sure, but at this point, I highly doubt she will try and reconnect with me. After all, I’m the one who is aware of all her numerous lies & deceptions. I’m probably just as dangerous for her, as she has been for me.
        Today is my second day of freedom, where I know now, that I have the power to resist her. I will no longer fight for someone who never deserved me. I am finally free to have what I do deserve… even if, for now, that’s just me, here alone, sitting with my bad ass self, and refusing to
        ever give up on the most important person… Me. Wish me luck, if she ever comes back around. I know in my heart that the longer I disengage and stay in my power, the sooner I’ll be able to truly heal. Thank you for letting me vent. xoxo Skye

        • Skye,
          Keep up the good work…I myself as a lesbian, got involved with a heterosexual woman, not to mention Narcissist. It has been absolute hell & pain..Call Zari, she will help you..I myself have lived the love bombing, devalue & discard, a couple of times. It’s sickening & painful…The silent treatment, blocking on her end, for what??? Zari, has been as patient with me as she can be, & she is still always there for me, to help guide me…My Narc, & I have been working on trying to remain friends…It has been a difficult battle, we have had “flying monkeys”, actually trying destroy that, its disgusting…But, the bottom line is, trying to remain friends with a Narc is a challenge…I have a great group of friends, that love me, no matter what…those r the ones I can depend on…The silent treatments, the blocking was killing me…Zari, would kick my ass about this, & never agree, but, she has supported me through this whole ordeal….I personally, could not do not contact anymore, I was dying…but, I truly believe, no contact is the only way to go…In my case, after 60 days of her blocking me, now, don’t get me wrong, i never tried contacting her…we have, begun to talk & be friends…Our relationship now, is so much different, I’m not expecting or planning on a life long, soul mate commitment with her….it’s just a fun, friendship & that’s all….when you r dealing with a Narc, don’t expect anything long term…We get along, have fun together & I’ve set my boundaries with her…don’t argue with her anymore, don’t blow & blast her with nasty texts anymore….Why? because, it’s a waste of time & energy….If she starts getting wiggy & nasty with me, I don’t engage as Zari has said, & just let it ride….we will meet & see each other, down the road, on better terms…I honestly, wouldn’t say, this is what you or any should do….as they say, “it is easier to walk away, than stay”..For me, this is it, giving it a last chance to be friends, & if the narcissists, devalue, discard traits, rear their ugly heads again, I’m done.

          I wish you the best, contact me, & I will try & hold your hand & guide you, just as Zari, has done for me. Call her, it’s so well worth it…She is the most, understanding, person you will ever meet. She is like family to me now & love her dearly.

          Stay Strong, it does get better,

          • Thank you for reaching out to Skye, Steph! When we’re in this, we have to stick together. I love you and appreciate you! We will talk this weekend. Text me if there are any available times for you:)….xo

  3. I of course don’t want to believe that I have been dating a narcissist for 5 years now but I think I have been. While there have been many tender thoughtful moments on his part, there are just as many hurtful and even sometimes terrifying ones. I did manage to get up the strength to move out. The problem now is that he has two small children age 11 and 4 that we have had living with us for 3 years and they are attached to me and I to them. He and I are going back and forth but this holoday weekend the girls are with their mom and he again ditched me for his friends and a party and wasted what I thought would be a good time for us to spend time alone. While we lived together I did everything including raise his girls. My children are grown and live away from home. He says he wants me to move home but I think this is because his house was always clean and he had meals on the table and a live in babysitter. I have once again gone no contact as I feel like I just can’t stand this hurt anymore! But what about the kids? I have basically been raising them alone as he seems to disregard them if I am there as he knows they are loved and safe. He has been having to be a full time dad since I left. But how do I have no contact with the girls? I have people say they are not my kids anyway but that doesn’t make it easier as their mothers are rarely in the picture and only sporadically at best. I feel scared that I will never be free of him now because of my love for the girls. I don’t want them to think I have abandoned them. I just don’t know what to do
    But I am tired tired tired of being played and hurt by him. Thank you for reading.

    • Hi Kristine,

      Yes, that is difficult but the fact is that you’ve already moved out so the hardest part, relative to his kids, is already done. Does he have custody of the kids? When you say the mom isn’t around…why not? How often does she have them? How often does he have them…three days a week? Five days a week? I understand that you care for them but maybe it’s time for the parents to step up. Maybe, by being the obviously caring and compassionate girlfriend of this guy, you’ve been making it easy for both of them to be absentee parents.

      My thinking is given the fact that your kids are grown, it is time to think and care about YOU. Unfortunately, when it comes time to leave these creatures, we have to cut the ties that bind. ALL of them. I agree with you that his intention is to keep you in the queue as a house cleaner and babysitter and he no doubt will say whatever he thinks you need to here to make it happen. Don’t do it. Now that you’ve moved out, take some time. The kids will be fine. He will likely use them to tug at your heartstrings but this will be using them as pawns and this will be wrong. He may even have them call you, asking that you come back. To the older one, you can explain that you care but this is not working out. She likely knows what is going on anyway. The four year old will have less of a problem. They will be just fine, my sister, probably DUE to the time you have spent with them so your efforts, believe me, were not in vain.

      Let me know what is happening…I am interested to hear…

      Zari xo

      • He has them full time and the 4 year olds mom is in and out of rehab for drug use and the older daughter’s mother lives out of state. He is having to be full time daddy and while the house is not up to the standard I kept it the girls seem fine and well fed. He is also having to spend a lot more time with them and they are liking that, it is confusing to me that he can seem to love the girls so much but cant give me honesty. I am glad of that though because I was concerned for them. He has had them call me as you mentioned and it is usually then that I agree to a movie and dinner with them, then a great couple weeks goes by then he is right back to the MIA act. He is a pro at cell phone games and that has been the biggest issue in our relationship and your article about cell phones is spot on! He once broke down the bathroom door to get it from me once he realized I had it and it was unlocked. That is when I decided to leave and took steps to do so. As your article said I really did fantasize about having an uninterrupted hour with that phone! And I realize it is pointless, I don’t need to know specifics and that won’t even bring me closure. I wish I could speed up time and get that hard 30 first days under my belt faster so I could know if I will really feel better and free and not so sad.

      • And thank you so much for taking the time to respond, it is hard to talk to my family and friends about it. Thank you for your blog, it has been eye opening and life affirming!

  4. I just realized I been dealing with my baby’ s father in years 6 i wish I could know before but!! I’m glad that I don’t have to put myself to b under any controls plus nasty manipulation after finale discarded that he shuttled down my phone call while I was talking like nothing happen!! I actually knew he has changed so bad his behavior before the issued I confronted him,my case I never begging him to stay but I told him that it’s gonna be last time I will have this confused relationship with him ,my ex narcissist lied so bad for everything and gas light me that I’m such a drama queen,crazy etc.in 6 years we r not together he been working aboard that was an easy way to make him been bullshit and had the affair even during time that he had A holiday after I gone yo work!!! I stopped calling him in all case the hoovering started after 1 month breaking the silence until last week he called me But I didn’t ans.I just emailed and talking just about my daughter but…he been supporting custody never missed in 6 years
    But…time off ,game over I just through and through I wanted a better life then move on I’m sure if we keep our gray rock and be tough to cut this nasty circle we will have a better life then be ourselves again nothing to be confused not at all

  5. Hello, I love reading your article very informative. I to share one daughter with my ex something is bothering me. My ex is starting to Hoover my daughter he has never done this before.I do not know exactly what he is trying to do. If you could share some light on it I would appreciate it. Sharon!

    • Hi Sharon,

      It was a little hard to understand your comment/question but I think that your ex (that you share a daughter with) is starting to hoover your daughter? How long has it been that you or your daughter has seen or heard from him? And how old is your daughter? If you send a little more information about the situation, I’m sure I could better answer your question.


  6. Thank you for supporting someone you don’t even know when many “normal’ people are too selfish to actually care. My Ex Narc and I share children and he comes up with anything from trying to triangulate me with my son (who he to this point barely bother to see for 3&1/2 years and now whats to take him out every week end.) When I give him no attention for continuing to whore himself and live with the other woman. Who he started sleeping with behind my back saying he was working all the time & then after 23 years of marriage he moved out saying it was because I went on at him too much when he continuously gambled away all our money. Now he says I use to restrict his freedom too much and that is why he gambled all the time. However he still does this and I only contact him to find out when he is going to give me money for his payment towards the kid living expenses. Last time I saw him he offered to help drive me to the repair place so I could pick up my car. He gave me 2 Cds that he knew I would like because my car radio isnt working. But now when I listen to the music on the way to work, he fills my mind at night so I cant sleep and I am always tired at work. He uses giving me money and seeing my son as a way of setting off all my raw emotions. Help, do you think he actually means it when he says he wants to get back with me and if he does why wont he give up his gambling and leave the other woman so I can see he is making an effort to do the right thing. When I said that to him he said he needs to pay her back the money he owes her to have a clean slate and he emotionally could not live alone to show me that I could trust him. Because we share kids I find it very hard because I cant just go no contact.

    • Hi Hope,

      Look, when you share kids, “no contact” has to obviously be modified to suit the situation so don’t be stressed about following it to a ‘t’…that would be impossible. However, there ARE ways to conquer the situation. I’m actually starting to write a book about it because there doesn’t seem to be one out there that covers this particular co-parenting nightmare. A narcissist is so much more than just a “toxic” person, know what I mean?

      No, I don’t believe that he means anything that he says because they never do. Everything is about what they can get away with. Everything is about keeping a target or an ex-target (and especially the mother of his kids) in the queue so that they never really move on. THE NARCISSIST’S ACTIONS NEVER MATCH HIS WORDS yet we hang on his every word because they are so good at looking you right in the eye and telling you what you want to hear.

      Please read the articles that I have written here about co-parenting with a narcissist and you can start here. In fact, read all the articles because they will all pertain to him and his behaviors and how you should respond in order to keep your sanity. You can do this…you just have to step back so that you can understand (objectively) as to what (and who) you are dealing with.

      Stay Strong,

      Zari xo

  7. my narcissist showed up this morning after a 2 month disappearing act to return a book I wanted him to return over a month ago. he knew I was home, but opened the storm door, put the book inside then called me as he was pulling out of the driveway!! our “friendship” relationship lasted 3 years and of course, I was drawn in a fell in love with him. I gave him money, sex, the whole nine yards. I was good to him 100% . He fell through on most promises. Then one day I asked for a payment of what he owed me and you guessed it…he texted me horrible texts and then called off the friendship! I was so devastated and of course, begged and pleaded for forgiveness. Three weeks later, he texted and said I did nothing wrong and we texted back and forth for a while then…poof…he disappeared until today…stating he was always my friend and I worry too much, etc…! Now while he was “gone” I panicked thinking he was dead, in jail, lost his job…and I would text/call asking him to please let me know if he was ok….nothing until today. Well, after reading your articles I am done with this guy! He can hoover over someone else! here is the clincher…we are senior citizens!!

    • Wow, Barbara, he sounds just like my ex….leaving about money (that he owed!) and using something as benign as a book to hoover back in for the sole purpose of disappearing once again. Once, about ten years into the relationship and at a time when I was struggling financially, my narc was “staying” with me while he was working full time “saving” for an apartment. After about four months, I finally got up enough courage to ask for a little money towards the rent and after much arguing back and forth, he finally coughed up $300 which helped immensely. The damage, however, had been done and a day later, while I was out, he packed his bags and vanished. I was devastated and knew it was about the money. I didn’t hear from him until VALENTINE’S DAY three weeks later when I came home to find the word “THIEF” printed in big filled-in block letters USING OFFICE WHITE-OUT on the window beside my front door for all my apartment neighbors to see. In fact, it was my 15-year old son who stepped outside and found it and called me about it. It took me three days to scrape it off with a knife and it was so embarrassing. I figure it took him AT LEAST 45-minutes to stand there patiently painting that word on that window. He must have used a whole bottle of that white-out! I later found out that he was staying in a sleazy hotel where he was perfectly comfortable paying $40/night rather than live with us in a lovely apartment by the mountains where he might have to contribute every once in awhile. Mind-boggling!