The narcissist collects people around him like someone else would collect video game characters. Everyone gets bored after a while with the video game character they keep playing with, so they create a new one with different behaviors to entertain them. After a while when they are done playing with the new one, they might resurrect the previous one for a while but never for long.
To trick you into a relationship the narcissist will initially employ a laser focus on you. Experts call this the idealization phase, and consider it the crucial phase in getting you addicted to the constant attention that the narcissist bestows on you. Never before has someone so needed you in their lives……..or that’s the impression the narcissist wants to create in you. After all, narcissists are expert impression managers.
After this intense investment in you, and once he has you hooked he can start the abusive phase of the relationship. He will do anything to devalue you. He will use jokes to mock and belittle you. He will withdraw time, attention and affection from you, and if you say something about it he will use his disappearing act aka as the silent treatment. The cognitive dissonance that this creates is unbearable. You try to get to the bottom of why this is happening, but you simply can’t. Your life becomes full of chaos and confusion, as you find out that he has an entire coterie of people around him that he calls on from time to time to fill his insatiable need for attention. You never knew about these people before.
Most of these people are devoted to him in one way or another, and it’s these people that keep him insulated from being exposed as the fake that he is. They are always at the ready to be there for him. You now are no longer his focus, and he starts dosing (minimizing) his attention to you……giving you just enough to string you along. His fan club is always there at his beck and call. You are just there as a back-up for those odd times when he has nothing else to do.
So you make the smart decision to finally quit this torturous relationship filled with narcissistic abuse. It’s over you think, but since the narcissist used the silent treatment regularly and always came back after a while acting like nothing happened, he expects you to do the same. So the narcissist may not take you quitting the relationship serious. He WILL make contact again, and assume everything can just continue as usual.
You feel an intense relief that he does want you after all, your addiction still has you so hooked and you were experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms, but the fact that he simply doesn’t see the need to do anything different makes you step back, and tell him no. You use this time to yourself to research what went wrong in the relationship, learn everything about narcissistic abuse, and the dysfunctional dynamics he has of still being tied to his adult son by a sick emotional umbilical cord.
You also may be tempted to share your new found knowledge with him in an attempt to get him to want to adjust his behavior. So you might end up breaking your own No Contact rule by agreeing to meet with him once more when he makes another attempt at hoovering. That alas is to no avail. The narcissist is just bemused with the fact that you are STILL looking for solutions to the crazy conundrum that he is in complete control of.
Don’t be too hard on yourself though, since now that you are free of him, the encounter actually serves to convince you of his ill-intent. After all, while you were in the relationship you avoided addressing much of it, just to keep the peace. Breaking your No Contact rule may even help you feel validated in your decision to leave the relationship. You got your confirmation as it were, and it helped you to observe instead of absorb the twisted nature of the narcissist.
Then there comes the moment when you are fully aware of how disordered his behavior is, and you want him to at least apologize for the pain he caused you. So you consider answering his next attempt at contact. As hard as it is, you keep yourself from doing that since by now you know they will NEVER apologize for the fact that the relationship was just a mix of real abuse and fake love.
Any further contact will just serve to hurt you all over again, and there will be the inevitable confusion from his attempts to mess with your mind again.
So lets examine why a narcissist employs the hoover maneuver to suck you back into the toxic relationship:
1. It will take far too much investment in time and energy to woo another unsuspecting victim into his web of deceit, and abusive entertainment.
2. he misses being able to provoke and abuse you and wants some kind of reaction…….just any, and he will almost immediately withdraw again. He just wants to see if he still can get a reaction out of you.
3. Even if he doesn’t get a reaction out of you…….he just wants to put himself on your mind, either before he’s planned another trip with someone else or right after. The former to have the pleasure to disappoint you all over again, the latter to invoke jealousy in you.
4. he might be in between relationships and is just bored. So he tests the waters with you to see if you are available for another cycle of “trick, trap and trash”
5. with occasional contact he hopes to keep you on the shelve for future use for years to come
No matter how seductive or contrite (unlikely to do so) he ACTS, he never intends on having any kind of healthy relationship with you. That would just be too boring. It is way more fun to abuse, and play mind games than to ever treat any woman with respect and actually love her for real.
By breaking the all important No Contact imperative, you would only set yourself up to be hurt all over again, or worse. These character disordered people only consider their momentary pleasures, and the most pleasurable experience to them is to be able to emotionally torture you. They won’t tell you that of course. Being upfront about that would spoil the game!
So they play their game of being considerate and nice for a short period, to make you think they have changed or have decided to do better, but that’s just a ploy to lure you back into the abusive relationship for another round of even worse narcissistic abuse.
The reason therapy doesn’t work on people with narcissistic personality disorder is that they like to exert this sick power over their intimate partner. They just won’t have it any other way. They actually pride themselves on their abusive practices. Besides they have an entire fan club to shield them from any consequences, who will continue to worship him despite his atrocious behavior towards his intimate partners.
Most of his fan club will continue to fall for the narcissist’s scam, as Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self Love, Narcissism Revisited states:
The narcissist flaunts his charitable nature as a bait. He impresses others with his selflessness and kindness and thus lures them into his lair, entraps them, and manipulates and brainwashes them into subservient compliance and obsequious collaboration. People are attracted to the narcissist’s larger than life posture – only to discover his true personality traits when it is far too late. ‘Give a little to take a lot’ – is the narcissist’s creed.”
Thus, the narcissist’s true nature is well-camouflaged, and he is well insulated by his current followers from experiencing any repercussions resulting from the cruel behavior towards old sources of narcissistic supply.