16 Ways To Respond To A Narcissist Who Tries To Hoover You Back In

So, you’ve finally broken free from a narcissist’s clutches, only to find them trying to pull you back in. This is a classic move called “hoovering,” and it’s their way of trying to regain control. Before you freak out, take a deep breath. There are ways to handle this situation and keep your distance — here are a few of them.

1. Remember why you left.

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When a narcissist is hoovering, they’ll likely be on their best behavior. They might shower you with compliments, apologize for their past mistakes, or promise to change. However, it’s important to remember why you left in the first place. Were you constantly feeling belittled? Were your needs being ignored? Did they manipulate and control you? Recalling these painful memories can help you resist their charm and stay strong.

2. Set firm boundaries.

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Narcissists often have a way of pushing your boundaries. They might try to guilt you into giving them another chance or manipulate you with emotional blackmail. It’s crucial to set firm boundaries and stick to them. This might mean blocking their number, unfriending them on social media, or even avoiding places where you might run into them. Remember, your well-being is more important than their feelings.

3. Don’t engage in their games.

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Narcissists love to play mind games. They might try to provoke you, start arguments, or even try to make you jealous. Don’t fall for their tricks. Engaging with them will only give them the attention they crave and make it harder for you to move on. Instead, ignore their attempts to bait you and focus on your own healing.

4. Don’t respond to their messages or calls.

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If a narcissist is trying to hoover you back in, they might bombard you with messages, calls, or emails. The best way to handle this is to simply ignore them. Don’t respond, don’t engage, and don’t give them the satisfaction of a reaction. Over time, they’ll likely get the message and move on.

5. Surround yourself with a supportive network.

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Lean on your friends, family, or a therapist for support during this time. Talk to them about what you’re going through, vent your frustrations, and seek their advice. Having a strong support system can help you stay grounded and resist the narcissist’s attempts to pull you back in.

6. Focus on your own healing.

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Breaking free from a narcissist can leave emotional scars, Charlie Health explains. Take time to heal and process your emotions. This might involve therapy, journaling, or simply spending time doing things you enjoy. Focus on your own well-being and don’t let the narcissist’s hoovering derail your progress.

7. Don’t fall for their apologies.

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Narcissists are notorious for their insincere apologies. They might say they’re sorry, but their actions often don’t match their words. Don’t fall for their empty promises or believe that they’ve changed. Chances are, they’re simply trying to manipulate you back into the relationship so they can continue to control you.

8. Remember, you deserve better.

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You deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and love. Don’t settle for anything less. If a narcissist is trying to hoover you back in, it’s a sign that they haven’t changed and they’re not capable of giving you the healthy relationship you deserve. Remind yourself of your worth and focus on finding someone who will truly value and appreciate you.

9. Document everything.

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If a narcissist is harassing you or making threats, document every interaction. Save text messages, emails, voicemails, or any other form of communication. This can be useful if you need to take legal action or simply want to have a record of their behavior.

10. Don’t feel obligated to explain yourself.

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You don’t owe the narcissist any explanation for your decisions. You have the right to end a relationship with them, and you don’t need to justify your reasons. Don’t feel pressured to engage in conversations or debates with them. Simply state your boundaries and stick to them.

11. Forgive yourself for any mistakes.

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It’s common for people who have been in relationships with narcissists to blame themselves. You might wonder if you did something wrong or if you could have done something differently. Remember, the narcissist’s behavior is not your fault. Forgive yourself for any mistakes you made and focus on moving forward.

12. Don’t doubt yourself.

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Narcissists are experts at gaslighting, which is a manipulation tactic that makes you question your own sanity and reality. They might try to convince you that you’re overreacting, being too sensitive, or imagining things. Trust your instincts and don’t doubt yourself. If something feels wrong, it probably is.

13. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

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Recovering from a relationship with a narcissist can be a difficult journey. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. A therapist can provide support, guidance, and tools to help you heal and move on.

14. Celebrate your freedom.

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Breaking free from a narcissist is a major accomplishment. Take time to celebrate your freedom and the new chapter in your life. Surround yourself with positive people, pursue your passions, and enjoy the things that bring you joy. You deserve happiness and a healthy, loving relationship.

15. Be prepared for future hoover attempts.

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Hoovering can happen multiple times, even years after you’ve ended the relationship, the Cleveland Clinic warns. Be prepared for the possibility of future attempts and have a plan in place for how you’ll handle them. Remember, you have the power to say no and protect yourself.

16. Focus on your future.

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Don’t let the narcissist’s hoovering attempts consume your thoughts or hold you back. Focus on your own goals, dreams, and aspirations. You have a bright future ahead of you, and you deserve to live it to the fullest.

Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.