Victim or Volunteer – Part Three




The Hoover. The ever reliable method of causing you to come to us or to come back to us. As I have written in Black Hole there are several hoovers that we utilise during the engagement with you. I am focusing on the hoovers which take place post-escape (where you manage to get away from us) or post-discard (where we have left you).

What about the hoover which comes when you have been discarded? At this point you have been thrown to one side, often with no warning and left to fathom out what on earth has happened to you. One minute you were the cock of the walk and then suddenly you became a feather duster. You were high on the pedestal and without warning (or at least without any warning which you might detect) you were hurled from that pedestal and down you went. Now you are sprawled in the dirt, hurting and confused. But wait. Here we come again. We are riding back into town, behaving as if nothing has actually happened. Indeed, this hoover is just like the first one you experienced, the delicious pull of the initial seduction. We are charming, considerate and magnetic and it feels so good doesn’t it? But it gets better. We have apologised for the things we did wrong and we are pledging to make changes, to do things differently, to even go and get some help. This is music to your ears, just what you hoped would happen as you lay alone in bed, crushed, night after night sobbing in anguished bewilderment. The old us has returned and with it we bring promises of improvement and signs of recognition. This is better than you had hoped for.

Pause for a moment. You know what has happened. You know because you experienced it. Everything was wonderful and then it changed. Not only did it change by virtue of the exciting and marvellous way we treated you vanishing but then we abused you. Of course you will make excuses for this treatment because look, the golden carrot is being dangled again. Of course you will accept some or even all of the blame because look the golden carrot is there and you do not want lose it do you. Who knows, if you step through the archway into the golden period again you might actually get some answers about what has happened. Surely lightning will not strike twice? We seem different. We seem to be sorry and ready to acknowledge our failings so surely it would only be right to give us another chance, after all, you are a forgiving and empathic individual. You just want this pain to go away and it will by getting back together with us again. You still do not understand what happened but you may get some explanations and even if you do not, will it really matter now that we are together again. Yes, that lure of the golden period is mightily strong, especially when you are feeling so weak, so tried, so wretched. It is entirely understandable, predictable even that you would come back to us with open arms. Do you remain a victim or have you just volunteered?

What then where you have escaped us? You may not know everything about why we did as we did but you understood enough to know that enough was enough and you escaped. You have implemented no contact and sought to keep away from us. You being to wonder whether that seduction was real or not. It certainly seemed real, it felt real. The abuse was definitely real, you know that much and you are damned if you are going to go through that again. You have begun to read and you are starting to understand what has happened. Some pieces of the jigsaw are falling into place. Yet, here we come with that inviting hoover again but you are going to repel us, you know it is a device to haul you back in to our grip again. You must stay strong, but it is difficult. You do feel lonely and that golden period with us, well it was unlike anything that you have ever known. What if those promises contained in that beautifully written letter are genuine? Surely it could not hurt to try again? Mind you, what if we haven’t changed and it starts again, but perhaps this time that will not happen because you feel that you know what to look out for and you can stop it before it starts. Yes, you have knowledge and you can apply that to protect yourself and also to repair our damage so that we remain happy. It makes perfect sense. You can engage with us but do so with your eyes wide open this time. You can assert yourself and lay down markers and boundaries, establish that things will be on your terms so you have control within the relationship. That is the plan. You want that golden period (and you do not want anybody else having it) and using what you know you can return but this time operating from a position of strength. Are you a victim now or a volunteer?

What about the fourth time we commence the hoovering. Three times it has ended and three times you have gone back. Everything was wonderful for a period of time, a few months and then it started all over again. The same behaviours, the same manipulations and the same abusive actions. You cursed yourself for falling for the overtures but you really thought that this time, yes, this time more than the last time or the time before that, you will not fall for the same lines, the same empty promises and the charm. It is hard and you understand this. You have discussed it so many times with your friends and family. You have seen a therapist too and you read about the subject as well, but the attraction it is so strong and there is always that little voice that says to you,

“One more time, this time might be the time that it works.”

That little voice is so powerful.

Perhaps you should succumb to yet another hoover, you would not want the golden period to go to anyone else would you?

Are you now a victim or a volunteer?

40 thoughts on “Victim or Volunteer – Part Three

  1. RecoveringNarcoholic says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that what most enables narcs is their victims’ capacity for denial (which I guess makes us volunteers). Looking back over the 10 years of my relationship, I see that there were sooooo many red flags all along the way. I remember seeing them. I remember thinking about them and being vaguely uneasy. And I remember pushing them out of my mind because the lovesex addiction was so powerful and the golden period lasted so long. Lesson learned: if something SEEMS wrong, then something IS wrong. If something seems too good to be true, then it is. Trust your gut instinct, not your endorphins.

  2. B says:

    This could not be any more accurate. There are no ifs or maybes about it. The outcome will always be the same. I removed myself from victim to volunteer a long time ago because I used every if and maybe I could think of and I regret every single one of them. I have been reading HG’s writings for over a year now and it has taken me this long to figure it out. So many articles I did not read because I thought they did not apply and “if” they did not apply then “maybe” he is not narcissist. As the year went by I found that more and more were starting to apply. As I write this today I can tell you that every single one of them applied. I have a lot of reading to catch up on. If you are questioning whether you are dealing with a narcissist and you think that a particular article does not apply please read it anyway because if you are truly dealing with a narcissist it does apply, you just haven’t seen it yet.

  3. Debbie says:

    Tremendous article.
    It is so damned accurate.

  4. Maria says:

    I am certainly a volunteer.
    That doesn’ t mean that i will remain silent.

  5. Elizabeth says:

    On the surface a volunteer, to a degree a victim of the narc, in actuality a helpless, desperate child. I always escaped from my narcs, was never discarded. Experienced horrific abuse the 7 years I spent with the first one, but I hardly needed a hoover to return each time because I would suffer so greatly after leaving. I would be in a constant state of panic, with shock waves rushing through my body, couldn’t eat, had bouts of diarrhea, was obsessed and nearly paralyzed. I couldn’t stand the abuse but would go racing back, and once with him I’d feel normal again. I took time off relationships after my final escape and over the next decade worked through the emotions and warped conceptual beliefs I discovered as I processed the trauma of having been raped by a neighbour one day when I was 5 years old.
    Then came the second narc, much younger, very affectionate. I never loved him but we had lots of fun. I knew I was projecting something onto him, couldn’t put my finger on it. I left after 11 months because I had found out about his online women and had no desire to remain with him. Almost immediately the horrible panic and desperation began. I could barely function, was always on the verge of tears, couldn’t get him out of my mind. This time I knew the emotions couldn’t have anything to do with the narc and so I sat with them for three dreadful, agonizing months. Finally I had the realization that my returns to the earlier narc, and the almost overpowering desire to give in to the hoovering present one, had their roots in the rape. My rapist had love-bombed me, was wildly affectionate with me, told me repeatedly he loved me and of course as a 5 year old I believed him. He removed my clothes as he kissed me and hugged me, but then he stopped and decided to rape my 3 year old brother first. The wild panic and desperation I felt in my already traumatized state as my adoring abuser left me for another deeply imprinted my mind, and I re-experienced these trauma emotions each time I escaped my narcs. It was as though two people lived in me: the confident, strong, rational, professional woman who had no interest whatsoever in continuing the impoverished relationship and the child who could not bear to lose her “lover”. A few minutes one day so long ago were the cause of me repeatedly returning to men (there was also an alcoholic before the first narc) who I knew were deeply damaged. I know that the realization has freed me from ever having to experience this again, but I also wonder how many other strong and capable empaths have similar hidden traumas that keep them bonded to narcissists.

  6. horseyak says:

    HG, a while ago I wrote you about a malign Hoover pulled by my cousin who used the suicide of his grandson as a way back in to my existence. This cousin is a top of the category Greater. What would he say to himself if instead of my responding to his seemingly innocuous “Hi. How are you?” texts and voicemails, all further malign hoovers,I merely copied this article and forwarded to him.? Would it register? Would he identify and be wounded because he’s been outed?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I would advocate not responding to any of his communications at all.

  7. NarcAngel says:


    An animal tortured and abused that finds an open door will flee. If it returns it is solely because it can find no other source of food and shelter. This is not the case for humans. Unless you are starving emotionally. Then, abuse and hope is your food and you return, but it is still your choice-there is other food available to you.

  8. Lisa says:

    Nope. Not a volunteer! Victim, because the attraction to go back was lead by deceit!! Nothing less!!
    A volunteer would stand in the ring, ready for the fight, knowing what was coming their way. Able to at least try to defend one self.
    A victim does not. They are cornered like a poor animal, having no idea of the turture and abuse that is yet to come their way. Even if, in the past, there was torture and abuse, the animal puts faith and trust into the abuser in the hope things will be different. But the deceiver will abuse and therefore victimise.

  9. winter says:

    Who wants an ugly, emotionally unavailable , Covert narcissistic, pathological lying,calculating,manipulative ,coward , self absorbed jackass peice of shit swamp creature that canmot communicate and never shuts the hell up for days talking about himself non stop? Not me.He fooled me once but not twice.I know the drill and chose to close the door for good.No more emotion or fuel.Dunped his ass.Disgusting fake soul

    1. 1jaded1 says:

      We had fascinating conversation. I miss that.and want it back
      I do.not want the other antics.

    2. windstorm2 says:

      Wow winter! That’s a spot-on description of one of my narcs! I totally agree with all you said and cut mine off as well. I do feel sorry for him though. But I can’t fix or help him. And I certainly don’t need all his crap in my life!!

  10. Ruth says:

    Thanks to HG, I am no longer a victim or a volunteer, and cannot foresee ever being either ever again. I am sincerely grateful.

  11. Hurt says:

    Golden carrot- double meaning- lol
    Indeed the golden carrot is hard to resist since it is the best carrot ever. That carrot is my downfall

    1. NarcAngel says:


      Carrots are cheap, common, and available everywhere. You should shop elsewhere. Perhaps WHOLE foods where the carrots are less likely to be infected or contaminated. An ACTUAL carrot could satisfy you and with less complication.

  12. Sarah says:

    The narc is the one who’s powerless. They ‘need’ us empaths to feel good, we’re their drug. We don’t feel worthless or alone when we’re not helping someone out or giving them fuel – we do kind acts because it’s in our nature to do so. It’s them versus us on a huge imaginary field – they come to us to metaphorically buy fuel, because we manufacture it. Ultimately, the power resides with the empath, it always will. They sit and scheme for months, years, working hard to secure fuel, like squirrels gathering winter food. We, as empaths, once figurured out what is going on, should immediately begin to shun the narc as the ratio is out of whack for survival/peace, yet we compromise ourselves and abuse ourselves over them – because the mind fuckery is mainly done by us, to ourselves. You cant blame a diseased rat for being a diseased rat, that’s how they came into the world. How I decipher it all is by realising how imaginative, how creative, how thoughtful and how deep we empaths must be to have allowed ourselves to wander in our own subconscious’, enough to entangle our minds with such vivid fantasies – this should give us an epiphany of our own capabilities and depth, regardless of anyone else that surrounds us. When you embrace the universe and really let go of the tension coming from things we’re brainwashed to THINK we want/need, we find peace. We all possess the gift to explore the endless entity of our imaginings, whenever we choose – when we see this as it really is, waiting for a narc’s text just seems boring and pointless

    1. Lisa says:

      This is so true. 😁

    2. 1jaded1 says:

      We stay with them…until we don’t.

      1. Shantily says:

        Lol it’s just that simple and accurate. 🙂 good one!

  13. K says:

    Cognitive dissonance; victim. HG, do you ever sleep?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Yes, for around 4 or 5 hours.

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        Do become ornery if you receive fewer hours?

    2. K says:

      Cognitive dissonance is new to me but I think it is applicable here. Festinger’s (1957) cognitive dissonance theory proposes that we have an inner drive to hold all our beliefs and attitudes in harmony to avoid dissonance (disharmony). The desire to be a family was so strong that I convinced myself to remain in an abusive situation, this is what is referred to as a maladaptive behavior. To reduce the dissonance I simply minimized the reality of the abuse. Also, I kept waiting for the boyfriend from the Golden Period to make an appearance. He never did appear again. The Golden Period was absolutely fantastic and real. But I was unable to reconcile the extreme difference between the Golden period and the horrific devaluation; I knew I had to get out, and I did. After two months of no contact, I still struggle with cognitive dissonance today. Do I feel victimized? Yes, absolutely.

  14. NarcAngel says:

    1. Volunteer
    2. Volunteer
    3. Addict

    Golden dangling carrots lead to mind fucks.

    1. 1jaded1 says:

      Victim can be 1. We don’t know before.that.

  15. 1jaded1 says:

    Unpopular as this makes me….at this point we are volunteers. Addiction is a horrendous disease. It’s also a choice once recognized.

    1. Gabrielle says:

      I can relate. Unfortunately. 🙁

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        I hope you break it.

    2. Snow White says:

      Hi Jaded!
      How are you?
      I totally agree. It would take everything in me to resist a direct text or phone call from my ex. I can’t believe that after a year I could still be that addicted.
      She has a very powerful hold over me.
      I am much stronger now and have the support here that I need. I would immediately come to this blog if it happens.
      I was a victim in the beginning but if I fell prey to her again I would be a volunteer. I would be choosing to return the the abuse and toxic behavior. I don’t ever want that.

      1. 1jaded1 says:

        Hi. Snow White. I am ornery at the moment but doing okay. How are you? It really is amazing what power they have. Their hooks are strong. We are stronger. This site is a game changer for sure.

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Glad you think so 1jaded.

          1. 1jaded1 says:

            I do think so and I am glad too…and glad you are too.

        2. Snow White says:

          Hi Jaded!

          Ornary can be great!!! Lol
          It’s better than being depressed and not being able to function.
          My anger hasn’t been as bad but I think that’s because I’ve been too tired to feel it. That can also be good. Lol

          1. 1jaded1 says:

            Hi Snow White. I’m done being ornery. I got some good news today. It helped. I
            hope you get some good rest.

          2. Snow White says:

            Hello Jaded!
            I’m just getting around to asking what your good news was. If you want to share it.

          3. 1jaded1 says:

            Hi Snow. Part 1 didn’t happen. Part 2 Idgaf if it does. Living in the moment.

          4. Snow White says:

            Hey Jaded!!!
            I love your attitude.
            Best way to live. I can’t handle much more than in the moment. People always ask what my plans are and I tell them I can only think of one day at a time.
            Hope you have a good weekend. 🍎

          5. 1jaded1 says:

            Hi snow…You too. This person shared a little chunk that we both get…I’m not anticipating. I am angry and not’t matter…oh wait…yes it does. I will pretend it doesn’t.

  16. Ellie says:

    I would never be hoovered back in. I love reading this site especially now that his hooks are out of me. I share a child so some contact is needed. The last time I met him he apologised for being late in a smug excited way, he’s never apologised for anything. I like to witness from afar. I know from what my child says he is still playing his games with me except I’ve dropped the rope he can’t reach me, what an amazing place to be. Golden period? It wasn’t that golden

  17. Iridessa says:

    I am both and I am neither. Long before I even found your blog I stated if ex wants to hoover, he should. I will be waiting, with a friend beside me. Let him promise me change and the world, I will gladly accept. He’d do anything to have me back right? Yes, I can imagine his carrot. However I see his carrot and call his bluff.
    He smeared my name. So ofcourse me and my friend agree he should come clean to his monkeys and enablers.
    The sweet little narc now has 2 choices, ignite in fury in front of a witness or admit to being full of ish.
    This image makes me smile. Carrot?? I’m worth a saladbar!!

    Told you I was different HG 😉

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