When the Narcissist Promises to Change

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Jan 24

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.

Reclaim your worth.  Close the door on abuse.  

If you’ve suffered the pain of narcissistic abuse, I’d love to give you tools to let go of the hurt – and develop new ways of thinking, and even dating.  You can find out everything you need to know in my book, How to Do No Contact Like a Boss! 
You owe it to yourself to pursue the freedom, love, and happiness you deserve.  Don’t forget to download your Beginner’s Healing Toolkit below!  Works great when used in conjunction with the book!

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(52) comments

Anonymous September 10, 2017

Wow, all what I have been reading about narcissistic is so very true. TO THE T this is the man I was with. I couldn’t figure it out for the longest time, what in the world is wrong with him. Then one day this word NARCISSISTIC popped up on my Pinterest. I was wondering what is this word. Ahhh then as I was reading and reading all about what is a NARCISSISTIC. Then I told myself, OMG this is him all the way. Right there I got myself out of this crazy abusive relationship with no problem.

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[…] do they adamantly try to convince you to give them another chance, only to revert to their cruel ways after you’ve forgiven them, and worse…it’s not the first […]

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Tammy May 10, 2017

Hi
My husband is either a Narcissist or Emotionally Immature. When we met it was a whirl wind of love and attention. We married within a year. And then it all just stopped so he could focus on a race he was competing in. He’s never shown verbal abuse to me, I am in control of the finances, but he does talk about his superior knowledge at work, could never say sorry, apologise for his behaviours or actions, didn’t take responsibility for the hurt, used the silent treatment, lied, ect…I use to call him on it, talked about how this was affecting me, we went to a counsellor which didn’t really do anything and we fell back into our usual bad relationship which was quite a child parent type relationship. Affection and love was rare. Earlier this year I realised this things weren’t going to get better and started lining up my ducks to leave. Ensuring I would be financially secure, and that neither of us would be left with a lot of debt. But the stresses of our relationship along with the constant stress we had in our lives in general (renovation, moving, kids ect) affected my performance at work and now that was on the line. I had to make a choice of him or my work and I chose my work. I calmly sat him down and discussed that I was emotionally detached from our relationship and life in general and that my job was on the line. I told him I was done with him. The next day while he is trying to woo me back I gave him an absolute roasting about his behaviours and the affect it had on me and my job. The arsenal I gave him, the U.S would be jealous of. I didn’t lose my cool, just let him know why I was done. He just sat there and took it. I went away for a few days and when I came home he had done a lot of self reflection and thought a lot about what I had said.
This is where I am confused. for the last month he has been reading a lot the issues he has, admitted repeatedly that he has most of the change to improve our relationship, organised a psychologist and has been attending on his own and together, keeping his word. We sleep in separate rooms, there is no physical contact between us, I do not talk about our future together, but I am hopeful. Am I being fooled. I do not trust what is infront of me as yet and have told him so. I feel very detached from emotion in all parts of my life still. I have organised my psychologist to help and after the first visit says hes a Narcissist and therefore cant change. I have no idea what to trust or do. Do I sit around and see what happens or can he just wade it out as part of the game? In the meantime our debts are being paid off, so continually living together could be a positive. I just don’t know if all of this change is part of the chase and the real him will return when open the door (so to speak). We have very open and honest conversations and he continues to take responsibility for his mistakes, even when I snap at him for something he responds in a manner that you would expect a typical partner would. So hard to know if all of this is just an act. He has cried on occasion, which I acknowledge but don’t pander to. It kind of looks fake at the time, and again I don’t feel at the moment so its like looking at the situation from a distance, and just observing.

any insights or suggestions would be great.

Tam
Ps I have been with my partner for 4 years

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javad May 7, 2017

thank you for all your insights..it helps..thank you

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Jon April 2, 2017

Hey guys my name is Jon im going through a similar situation with my undecided ex of two years we had a big fight but she has used every manipulative motion to distance everyone from me she emailed me pictures of my family then when i said move on she snapped out called me and my family miserable then emails me about how happy she is for me and how her prayers are uplifting for me then goes on to say she is scarred of my words right now but yet sees a future down the line and she needs space but yet on social media still talking about how she has left me even lying to a mutual friend that she told me we were done she has rode by my house once i have been in NC for about 11 days now and i really feel she is going to try and return i love her but she needs to seek help and im focusing on my personal self and keeping my peace

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Rachel November 4, 2016

I needed this article. I am going through a similar situation myself right now and man is it exhausting. We have broken up countless times because how hes treated me and never wanted change. Now all of a sudden he as an epiphany on life and wants things to be different and wants to change and make me a priority. It is now my fault because I do not want to give him another chance because I have given him so many in the past. He knows the right phrases and things to say. I just cannot allow myself to go through this emotional torment anymore. I so badly want to believe that he is going to change but I knew it was best that I just don’t even consider going back. Too look at someone you love and feel like the person looking back at you isnt what you pictured in a partner is heart wrenching. I am coming to terms with this and trying to find my inner peace because for so long I was an anxiety ridden, mess that was always questioning myself, what I did wrong, what I could have done better, etc. When all along it wasn’t me. IT is mentally exhausting and I can relate to each and everyone of you.

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Tj September 7, 2016

My girlfriend of 7 years is a narcissist. I would say a covert narcissist. I’ve become someone I no longer recognize, and it’s happened ever so slowly. I’ve been in therapy learning about boundaries. I recently communicated to her one boundary I had, just one. She did everything but accept any responsibility. As usual, she tired to blame me; I’m too sensitive, my thinking is distorted, I have no right to judge her, etc etc.

So I broke it off a few days ago. Blocked all forms of communication that is possible. I know it’s the right thing because I feel strong. Sometimes, though, the anger takes over and I have thoughts of trying to get validation from her once again. I know she will never own anything she’s done. I’m hoping time will help. I dread the day she tries to contact me. It might be weeks or months, but I think it will happen.

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Carrie November 13, 2015

Hi Kim!

I have been joyously inn complete no contact with my ex. I changed my phone number and email after being bombarded with emails. I had a typed letter in an envelope this morning on my car which I opened cause it was a typed document. I didn’t even think about it being from him. I am at a loss, I have repeatedly told him that it is over and to not contact me. His letter today states how could I be so cold and callous as to ignore him pouring his heart out to me in emails and letter. After ignoring his emails he has shown up at my house ringing my bell. Whether I was mean or nasty to him telling him to respect my wishes, he does not get it. Every letter says please respond to me so I know you received the letter. I see his tactics. I will not respond but I want him to leave me alone. This is a person that doesn’t get why I could possibly not want to be with him. I am getting the “don’t you believe in soulmates anymore” speeches after lying, being on dating sites (of course, he didn’t cheat, didn’t talk to anyone, lol), drugs/alcohol addiction, verbal abuse, not working. I just want him to leave me alone. The wacky part is that his letter was so convincing, I fell for it for a split second even though I know he is a manipulator. It’s really tough to deal with.

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    Kim Saeed November 13, 2015

    Hi Carrie! Thank you for reaching out and sharing your experience. Kudos on changing your phone number and email as those are two things that most people have a very hard time doing.

    I can relate to your struggles and I went through a similar situation with my Ex. I finally had to tell him if he didn’t leave me alone that I’d get the police involved. I, of course, ended up having to do that….all the way to having to file a restraining order. These little pests can be quite bothersome, huh? It’s truly tough to deal with and I wish you all the very best in winning your freedom <3

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      Carrie November 13, 2015

      Thank you for responding Kim! I should have told him that the last time we spoke. However, I do not want to break contact. If he shows up again at my house, I will have to contact police. I have printed all his emails showing the bombardment before I deleted the emails. No contact has been a lifesaver for me! I really have emerged stronger than I ever have been in my life. They say there is a gift from a relationship with a narc. This is true! The gift is I am an improved person, I have more empathy and love, I am more connected to everyone and everything. Thanks for your help.

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Mary July 11, 2015

Kim, how do you battle that little thought in your mind of temptation for the narc? I often dream of the narc with his new supply, and also dreaming of having intimacy with him.. Also why do they care so much to have material things (brand clothes,expensive cars, the best of everything) I keep on thinking in the thoughts of the new supply ex: (she’ll love that new car, he bought)(she’s enjoing him and his money)
How do you co-parent with a narc? Bc the last time i had lil communication with him, he’s always trying to find out if i have a bf, and always turing the subject to “our relationship” It’s really hard to realize that he actually didnt love me after 7yrs and 2 kids together. And it pisses me off that he “found happiness” with another woman 1 month after I Kicked him to the curve and Im here stuck starting my life from ZERO and trying to pick up my broken pieces. It’s really painful?

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bel February 19, 2015

My friend finally broke up with and moved out from the narcissistic after 15 years. I sent her this site and she implemented the no contact. So, within 3 days his hovering worked he’s apologised for his behavior (which is the first time ever), apologised to her family and going to enrol in how to be a better dad course (as his daughter refuses to be near him as she became his next ‘supply’ and wanted to take her out for a Valentines dinner (once again first time ever). I can not believe she has fallen for this. I feel very used as well, as she would be at my doorstop continually after they broke up and since this happened I haven’t heard boo from her.

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    Bronze October 8, 2015

    Hi, I don’t know if you’ll get this but, I just want to say please don’t feel used. I was in a terrible marriage and as soon as I kicked him out, he went to anger management, agreed to marriage counselling etc. My sense of duty and because I had been so brainwashed about keeping the family together and that nobody would else would ever love me because I’m not perfect and he doesn’t have any problems with anybody else, so it ‘must be me’ that brings out his anger and therefore I am a fatally flawed human, I let my ‘marriage’ go on for another 2.5 years after 18 years of hell. My friends then stood by the sidelines for the next 2.5 years as this man boomeranged in and out of my life and I became increasingly traumatised. I cried, I got drunk, I went back, I was on and off and all of them begged me to ditch him, but not one of them abandoned me. He is now gone and I am happy, however, without their unwavering and non-judgemental friendships, it would have taken a lot longer to pick myself up. I remember one night crying all night on my girlfriends bed as she tried to sleep and her mumbling ‘I don’t know’ to all my depressed, crazed and drunken ‘why doesn’t he love me’s”…. What a trooper!! If she ever needs me to stay awake and mumble all night for her, I’ll be there, unreservedly. They have stood and watched me grow and applauded my wins. What can I say? I probably drove them all mad but not once did they let on. Also, she probably feels embarassed by going back. I know I did and I would go quiet for quite long periods. Just be there. She is confused, embarassed and probably feels alone. In the end your presence no matter how small, even if you just listen, will be appreciated. (I hope!!)

    Reply

[…] no doubt bombarded with all manner of love gestures.  The Narcissist may have given you the “Epiphany Speech”, and you consequently began doubting your judgment of the relationship.  Maybe they haven’t […]

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[…] treatment, verbal assaults, and guilting/blaming, the Narcissist often comes back with a ramped up hoovering move that is almost always the death of No Contact.  Such tactics involve a plethora of […]

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anon January 13, 2015

Hi Kim, I sent you an e-mail to your yahoo site with my e-mail address, so that I can explain a little bit about my investigations regarding both narcissism, healing and teaching. Thank you so much for your kind comments.

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anon January 13, 2015

Hi Kim, Thank you very much. I am a writer actually, but at present all of my books are in the educational sector. I want to start writing more on the subject of healing though. I can send you an article if you want on the narcissism and language or on healing for healers. Thanks

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    Kim Saeed January 13, 2015

    I would absolutely love that, but more importantly, so would the people who come to my site!
    I am also more than eager to read your material on healing for healers. As an Empath, I tend to absorb my readers’ and clients’ energies, as you can imagine.
    I would love to be able to reciprocate in some way. Your comment, which I turned into a blog post, has now been shared over 3K times! It generated LOTS of interest…as I said, you really have a talent.
    What could I do to return your generosity in kind? Do you do any freelance work?

    Reply
anon January 12, 2015

Yes of course, please share it for anyone that it can help. I believe that once people can clearly see that they must not judge themselves by the opinions of people who cannot appreciate anything valuable in life, though very disapointing, it is easier to disconnect from them.

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    Kim Saeed January 12, 2015

    Good morning, Anon.

    I posted your comment anonymously under “Anatomy of Narcissism” on the evening of the 9th, and it’s already been shared on Facebook over 3k times! You have a real talent. People just loved your writing. Have you considered your own blog or becoming a freelancer?

    Reply
anon January 7, 2015

I am a linguist and I have study the language of narcissists for three years. Narcissists do not value anything; do not confuse this with you not having value. Narcissists do not love anyone, do not confuse this with you be unlovable. Narcissists cannot appreciate the worthiness and beauty of life, do not confuse this with you being unworthy or not being beautiful. It is normal human behaviour to expect an emotional connection to be returned and it is normal to keep trying harder to have it returned, because it seems not to make sense, that your imput is not reciprocated, but you are dealing with a person whose internal workings you cannot begin to imagine. Narcissists are disconnected from life, they have no knowledge, experience, or memory of love or caring. They cannot appreciate beauty. They are not able to replenish themselves; they have no internal resources and are at the mercy of other people giving them what they need. Once they have used up one person they move to the next. When you have recovered some energy that is worth taking they return. They know they will be ostracised from society if people know they have no ability to connect emotionally so they develop in another area to make themselves attractive, they develop in charm and charisma. But it is important to understand there is no-one inside and every breath you spend communicating them is wasted, they don’t understand and they cannot understand normal emotions, they will copy emotional words because they have observed it is the best way to get what they want but there is no substance in them, it is not their fault, but you must not have sympathy for them because they will use it. They don’t know what loneliness and pain is they have never experienced it, they only know that if they can make others feel it they can control them better. It is a no-win situation, you have to disconnect totally from these people. They suffer with a constant torturous empty boredom then cannot be healed. They cannot be happy, they can also not be sad. They are empty. They can only be temporarily filled up by adoration, but they are full of holes and it leaks out very quickly.

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    Kim Saeed January 9, 2015

    Anon, this is profound. If you don’t mind, I am going to post this as a guest post…anonymously, of course. I think this may help others who might read it to better understand Narcissism and why their partner acts the way he or she does. Thank you for sharing this <3

    Reply
    Mary January 14, 2015

    Thank you so much. You answered so many of my questions. Its still hard to understand the scope of their emptiness. I struggle everyday with a constant search for answers and understanding. Thanks again

    Reply
    Anonymous March 12, 2015

    This is wonderful! I totally agree one thing that stood out for me immensely was lack of emotion and no understanding of emotions or feelings…. They definitely don’t understand – it is like they have learned to parrot and mimic but the actions don’t ring true – it’s like a vacancy there – totally void of any thought or feeling for the other person. i have sensed a lot of pent up anger and unhappiness. I would rather be lonely and single as I am than feel empty and never ever feel what love is. Outsiders wouldn’t see this but the one that spends the most time is subjected to this and it is very evident once picked up on.

    Reply
AMarie December 30, 2014

I was no contact since the 15th. moved in with him, and he has all the signs. he wont give me stuff back. picks and choses. he started the crazy tactics. he insistedi took money from him that i did not. i really didnt. 3 1/2 weeks of him being distant, silent treatment, verbal abuse and just not being like he normally is i flipped. he took my car and made me drive his old van to work. started withholding love and when i called him out on it it was because he insistedi took money.
now its he doesnt care if i did. he doesnt care just say sorry and come home.
he emails me, texts me, says everything he did is because i made him act that way.l that i pressed his buttons and he loves me so much and he cant believe that he is in love with a woman who doesnt care. i made sacrifices, i dont see my family much, .. is this normal? he goes from one thing to another and now how its if i want my things i have to get them tomorrow. if i dont6 want to work things out with him if he is just a big joke. that i never loved him it was a big joke. i am seeing through the smoke but its hard.
any suggestions. i get fake emails that say they are his friends. i just dont understand. . Im a good person with a big heart. i just feel very overwhelmed.

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[…] fall for the hoovering. I’ve heard and read of extremely far-fetched campaigns by the Narcissist to win back their […]

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[…] don’t listen to their words; pay attention to their actions.   This doesn’t include their hoovering or blowing up your phone and email when they’ve muffed up yet again.  It means their actions […]

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[…] Narcissist’s behavioral toolkit.  However, this bad-faith tactic is typically used during hoovering attempts.  During hoovering, they pull out all the stops, showing previously unseen regret about how much […]

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[…] of your intention to leave.  The reason for this is because they will begin to love-bomb you and hoover in order to keep you under their control.  Hoovering is aptly named because it’s their […]

Reply
Kim Saeed June 2, 2014

I see, well…in most cases, you’ll need to stand the test of time. Not meaning you should stick it out regardless of what’s happening, but that until someone gives you a valid reason to distrust them, do whatever you can do to calm your anxieties.

Have you tried any of the healing meditations? I would recommend them because they are wonderful at healing the subconscious, but you ‘d need to do them on a regular basis. As I tell my readers and clients, reading and educating ourselves about Narcissism is good, but it doesn’t heal us.

You may want to consider some of the tools I’ve listed because really, those are the only things that will help overcome the trauma of being with a disordered personality.

Lastly, don’t listen to the others around you. If you doubt your own judgment, choose one person to lean on who is supportive and has the ability to be objective. The others, just don’t let them in on your relationship progress. If they attempt to give you unwanted advice, simply let them know you don’t want to talk about the matter.

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Philippe June 2, 2014

Thanks for the kind reply.
I find it uneasy to detect disrespect and manipulation, in some particular areas: if she keeps asking for help, and I know she needs it, and I knows she suffers from having to ask, I see no manipulation. But others around keep doubting my judgment and make me doubt her, by consequence.

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Philippe May 30, 2014

Two thoughts I need to share:
you always write “he” or “him” as if there were only male Narcs. I lived 2 years witha female narc and I wish this to nobody. Brainwashing is as hard to live through for a male as it is for a female
The second is more a question: how long can one expect to be able to trust somebody again, after leaving a Narc? I have been in relationships since I left her, but not only the narc has damaged me, but she has destroyed my ability to trust and to commit. Every time the wind turn bad, i tend to think “I’m out of here” and to look for someone else. But this is not the way relationships work…

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    Kim Saeed May 30, 2014

    Philippe.

    When I first started my blog, I did use “he” and “him” because my audience was mainly female. However, I’ve been using gender-neutral descriptions in my more current posts as my male audience continues to grow.

    There is also a bit of a different dynamic with female Narcissists. While their agendas are the same, their behaviors manifest a little differently than male Narcs.

    Regarding new relationships, it is very difficult at first, especially if you haven’t done the healing work that’s so necessary after having been in an abusive relationship.

    Although there are many Narcs weaving in and out of society, there are still genuine, caring, loving people in the world. My motto is to not make everyone pay for the Narc’s behaviors.

    As long as you don’t detect disrespect or manipulation, it should be okay to explore a relationship with someone. Keep in mind, too, that some people are emotionally immature, but that doesn’t necessarily make them a Narc. There are also a lot of people with insecurities, but that doesn’t automatically make them disordered.

    Hope that helps!

    Kim

    Reply

[…] if children are involved.  You’ll need to use logic, not listen to your heart.  Your Ex may be hoovering and laying on the charm, but there is a 95% chance that he or she is plotting your downfall behind […]

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How to Leave a Narcissistic Husband or Wife | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed April 15, 2014

[…] of your intention to leave.  The reason for this is because they will begin to love-bomb you and hoover in order to keep you under their control.  Hoovering is aptly named because it’s their […]

Reply

[…] No Contact is – Shredding any letters received through the Postal Service.  Don’t open them, just shred them.  If you can’t bring yourself to do it, give them to a good friend for destruction.  (If you have a custody arrangement, let a trusted friend open the letter to determine if it’s a legal matter or just their attempt at Hoovering). […]

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[…] often the last resort for the Narcissist is to threaten to commit suicide after realizing hoovering and crying won’t work.  Once he recognizes his target isn’t falling for the old tricks, he has […]

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[…] if he keeps hoovering and you give in, you’re doing just as much to damage your rights as if you contacted him first.  […]

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[…] No Contact is – Shredding any letters received through the Postal Service.  Don’t open them, just shred them.  If you can’t bring yourself to do it, give them to a good friend for destruction.  (If you have a custody arrangement, let a trusted friend open the letter to determine if it’s a legal matter, or just their attempt at Hoovering). […]

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Confusedx10 March 3, 2014

I am currently trying to leave a 14 year long relationship with someone who, in the last 6 years, has become a mean person. Put downs, aggression and intimidation (not hitting, but threats), expected me to do everything (and I did…), and also let me pay for everything. I’ve tried twice to leave. The first time, my guilt brought me back. I worried about how he’d survive financially and emotionally. Second time was a bit easier guilt wise, but it was still present. I was gone for two weeks but I still got suckered back. He’s promised to change, recognized all his actions that lead to this and has so far been swell. Problem is I am completely not in love with him anymore. He thinks we are ‘working things out’ yet again but the idea of the future with him makes me angry. We went to counseling, separately. He was told he is abusive and I was told that I need to learn to put my needs ahead of his. He is responsible for his own feelings. I know this and I understand this but why am I struggling so much? I know I’m giving him a false sense of hope by staying but I feel trapped. Again, not putting my needs first.

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    Kim Saeed March 5, 2014

    Confused,

    The confusion you’re feeling is natural. You feel responsible for this person’s happiness and feel that if you let him down, you would be responsible for any resulting outcomes.

    I can’t determine if your partner is a Narcissist based on what you’ve shared, but regardless, if you are unhappy and not in love, then you may need some time to reflect on the situation, perhaps with a trial separation. That would give you time to work through your anger issues and decide if you want to give the relationship as second chance or not…

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    Dan September 3, 2014

    There is a particularly troubling need some people have that make them extremely susceptible to exploitation and manipulation. Namely, it is the need to be an altruist.

    As an altruist, everything must be seen and felt to be done PURELY for the sake of others. That means an unenlightened, would-be altruist cannot recognize their good deeds as fulfilling a personal need–a selfish indulgence–as this thought is fundamentally at odds with the entire concept of altruism.

    If you admit this is a personal need and not an inherent trait which defines you, then the need can never be met as you will never see yourself as doing anything altruistic. The only recourse, then, is to deny that you do much of anything for yourself. The needs of others come first, your greatest weakness is that you care too much, etc.

    That makes for fine poetry and music, but unfortunately, this sort of denial makes you extremely easy to manipulate. All a hostile party must do to hide something from you is tie it up with what you want to hide from yourself, and then you willfully turn a blind eye. It is not magic. You do all the heavy lifting for him!

    Consider the following:
    “I know I’m giving him a false sense of hope by staying but I feel trapped. Again, not putting my needs first.”

    Trapped by what? Whose needs are you putting first? Do you think this man needs false hope? Or are you giving him false hope… to meet a personal need?

    My advice is to find out exactly what need this is meeting for your, and then accept that you did it for yourself, not for him. Then, perhaps, review your relationship and identify all the other times you or he suffered because of something you did for yourself, but framed as being for him. Doing this will remove his ammunition, and if you want to be free, this is probably the best, most lasting way to achieve it.

    You are not an altruist, and as your therapist tried to point out, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a bit selfish–so long as you admit it to yourself.

    Good luck, and I wish you the best!

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    Anonymous December 13, 2014

    18 year relationship and I read all these things that are exactly like my life story. I finally got up the courage and ask him to move out he’s been relentlessly “hoovering” ever since.
    I finally ended it when I caught him cheating, pretty much red-handed as the woman he was cheating with was supposedly his best friend for 20 years …she text me by accident thinking it was his number.. when I confronted her she told me she had pictures of them together and she never even knew about me!! HE never admitted it, never was accountable, still denies it it, says its not what I think it was ..that they were just friends. Too many other things to mention here, but i always knew, i denied all the evidence that he wasn’t a good person, or an honest person, either. FOR 18 YEARS!!!
    I finally asked him to leave. .move out, but only after he convinced me to pay him (i mean afterall, didn’t i think i owed him after all these years? ?) Fact of the matter is I didn’t owe him s*** he actually owed me thousands of dollars. But I didn’t care I just wanted him gone that bad. yes, I was a total and complete idiot. I still can’t believe that someone can be as horrible as he turned out to be I guess I’m still in denial but I don’t want him back. I’m not in love with him anymore and he is relentless in trying to convince me to take him back. sometimes when he starts to wear me down, I read these things on this particular website and I just want to thank everyone and let you know you’re not alone…
    I’m trying to recover but this is 18 years I know I’ll never get back.
    I do know those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it, so please live and learn, my sincere love and well wishes to all of us who have dealt with narcissist relationships.
    keep the faith as I we struggle to regroup and know that it will get better.

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[…] like an episode of Investigation Discovery?  Did the relationship end and he is love-bombing and hoovering as if you were the Queen of […]

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Anna February 6, 2014

This article is so true. I’m experiencing all of the effects of a relationship with a narcissist. Amazing to hear I’m not crazy and that this can be overcome.

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How to Leave a Narcissistic Husband | Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed February 5, 2014

[…] of your intention to leave.  The reason for this is because they will begin to love-bomb you and hoover in order to keep you under their control.  However, it won’t be because of love.  It takes a […]

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rose perz January 29, 2014

THANK YOU…I HAVE LEARNED A LOT FROM READING ABOUT NARCISSIST. 15years was to long for me…wow

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    Kim Saeed January 30, 2014

    Thank you for stopping by! I didn’t know anything about Narcissists until I’d already left. Now everything that happened makes perfect sense. How are you doing now that you’re out on your own?

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beth January 25, 2014

Its somewhat disturbing tho because I am having very terrible thoughts that in the past I don’t believe I would have ever entertained. All I know is that they scare me so much that I MUST leave. I can’t trust that I can sit quietly any longer and allow him to rip what little ME I have left with his sharp scorching tongue. I am quite the angry woman yet still there is that thread in me that whispers “leaving will hurt but it’s okay, he will find you again and everything will be okay”. My heart is my Judas that refuses to listen to my brain that says RUN RUN RUN and don’t EVER look back. Something inside of me has spoiled when happiness comes from watching him squirm trying to figure me out now. Its a psychotic game and I find it difficult to even figure myself out. I’m moving forward with my plans flying by the seat of my pants and praying the emotional pain and turmoil will quickly dissipate once I am totally physically removed.

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    Kim Saeed January 25, 2014

    Beth, you are making a wise decision to leave, but don’t feel badly about whatever thoughts you are having. You aren’t the only one who has felt like snapping under long-term verbal abuse. Just try to get away before you follow through on those thoughts. Take what possessions you can and just leave. Once you are out from under his cruel spell, you will start feeling yourself day by day.

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beth January 25, 2014

I found that my thinking changed somewhere in time from “the two of us” to “me vs. Him”. I’m not even sure what day it happened.

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    Kim Saeed January 25, 2014

    Beth,

    Sadly, that has to happen before we can truly move on and leave the relationship. It’s a driving force, though an uncomfortable one for those of us who are givers.

    Reply
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