5 Common No Contact Mistakes – No. 2 Thinking We Will Not Hoover You


A second common mistake which occurs when somebody implements no contact is thinking that there will not be a hoover from us. As I have explained, the hoover takes place at various points in the dynamic between narcissist and victim. In this instance, it concerns the post escape or post discard hoover.

Where you have escaped us, you will almost always face the Initial Grand Hoover as we unleash a frenzied attempt to bring you back under our control. This will happen where you tip us off and also once we realise you have embarked on your escape without giving us any notice of what you are doing. (You can read more about how we react in such instances with these articles How No Contact Feels – Part One   How No Contact Feels Part – Two  How No Contact Feels – Part Three ) Should you manage to resist the Initial Grand Hoover you are usually granted a period of respite as we seek fuel from our supplementary sources (secondary and tertiary ) and look to find a different primary source.

Where you have been discarded of course there is no Initial Grand Hoover. We have a new primary source and we focus on that person, effectively deleting you from our minds. You may try to contact us, to get answers, to win us back, to try and resolve unfinished business and you are rebuffed and receive malign hoovers which cause you to back off.

Accordingly, in the case of escape you have rejected the Initial Grand Hoover and there is silence. Or, you have been discarded and your attempts to connect with us have been rejected and there is silence from us. You implement or maintain no contact going forward and the fact that you have heard nothing from us, no messages, no phone calls, nobody calling around to see you, no enquiries from our friends or family causes you to think that you have weathered the storm and that it is all over.

It is not.

I will return to this presently.

The other common mistake that people make with regard to thinking that we will not hoover is making use of the phrase ‘final discard’. I have seen this used many times and I do not know where it has originated from. It appears to be the case that people seem to think that there is some final flourish from us as we tell you that this time it is REALLY over and this time I mean it (although didn’t I say that last time?)

There is no such thing as a final discard. I have written previously that the word discard is not accurate because it really is a dis-engagement. In our minds, our relationship with you lasts until either you die or we die. It is for life because you belong to us. Yes, we will put you from our minds at certain times (when enjoying the golden period with someone else, when we place an IPSS on the shelf) but this does not mean that it is over.

Just because you have weathered the sustained effort of the Initial Grand Hoover to win you back does not mean that we have got the message and we will leave you alone. It is a temporary cessation in the hostilities. Our need for fuel will send us elsewhere as we hunt down a new primary source but we will be back. You have a period of respite by which you can build your no contact and recover but do not be drawn into thinking that this one off blitz of hoovering was the end of it. Similarly, do not think just because we have told you that we wish you would fuck off and die, or disappear off the planet that we will not come back for more. Just because you have tried to speak to us but we have rebuffed you does not mean that that is the end. Not at all.

We are contrarians, hypocrites and engage in contradictory behaviour. This is because of the narcissistic perspective that we adopt. We do what the fuel requires of us. All is as the fuel dictates it to be. If that means in January you are persona non grata, it does not mean that by May we will not declare our love for you once more. What has gone before is the past and we have no sense of shame or reluctance in coming back to you again. It does not matter that we once cast you aside because you failed us. That was then and this is now. Now somebody else has failed us, they have been painted black and this means that you are back in favour. You have recovered and we see you through the lens of being a ‘good’ person once again, someone who is going to give us what we need. It is irrelevant that you let us down  previously. What matters is that our perspective causes you to be seen as a good source of fuel and we want it.

It is understandable why you might think we might not hoover, this may be for any of the following reasons:-

  1. We were so savage in our discard of you;
  2. You exposed us to people when you escaped;
  3. Significant time has passed;
  4. You believe there was a ‘final discard’;
  5. You hear we are with somebody else;
  6. You are with someone new;
  7. You sent us packing when we tried the Initial Grand Hoover.

Whilst these may influence the likelihood of a hoover occurring they will not in themselves mean that it will not happen.

Accordingly, just because of the circumstances and the passage of time, you decide you can go back on social media, you can accept friend requests from strangers, you can go to the places you had avoided for some time, you can talk about us freely again with your friends or even our friends and so on. This is dangerous.

I am not suggesting that you must spend the rest of your life always looking over your shoulder. That is unsustainable but you ought not to think that there will never be a hoover because if you do this you will instinctively lower your guard and in so doing you will cause two things

  1. You are far more likely to activate a Hoover Trigger by entering the spheres of influence; and
  2. You will lower the bar on the Hoover Execution Criteria and thus increase the chances of a hoover happening.

Of course you may well be in a better place and thus far more able to repel the hoover when it happens but there remains a risk, because of your inherent susceptibility to our kind, that as I explained in Part One of this series, you will allow exposure to us cause your emotional thinking to rise and over take your logical thinking which means you are risking being dumped into the emotional sea once again.

If you think a hoover will never happen you will become complacent and you will then start to do the very things which will result in a hoover being MORE likely to happen. Thus, by always reminding yourself that there is a risk (even if it is very small) of a hoover taking place you will continue to maintain a degree of vigilance which ensures this risks stays small and you do not begin to engage in behaviours which encourage us.

I see repeatedly people state that they know their narcissist will not hoover again. They write that it will not happen and they are safe. The only way you are safe from a hoover is if we have died.

I have hoovered somebody after a 12 year hiatus. I would do it after a longer period of time if there was a Hoover Trigger and the criteria are met. There is fuel available and we will take it and assert our superiority and control over you. Remember, we made an investment in you, all that time ago and we will want to keep drawing on it. The fact you have not heard from us for a long time is because our attention was elsewhere and your no contact is proving effective so even if there is  Hoover Trigger, the criteria are not met and therefore no hoover follows.

If you start thinking we will never hoover you, you will become complacent and that is when you run a greater risk of a hoover actually taking place.


54 thoughts on “5 Common No Contact Mistakes – No. 2 Thinking We Will Not Hoover You”

  1. Am i a narc? Cause he would do things i didnt like, and I would later on do something too, to get even or teach a lesson, i failed. Like giving him a taste of his own medication which failed too. The more i listen to HD, i notice similar characteristics.

    Example: i blocked him on social, email, friends. BUT not on twitter with my iCloud mail. I remember once he found me on twitter, didnt add me me, maybe an account he can play with. then unblocked him to give a chance to reach out.

    Does that make me one of you?

    Do victims pick up narc habits?

  2. Am i a narc? Cause he would do things i didnt like, and I would later on do something too, to get even or teach a lesson, i failed. Like giving him a taste of his own medication which failed too. The more i listen to HD, i notice similar characteristics.

    Do victims pick up narc habits?

  3. Is a hoover less likely if one was discarded instead of escaping? And, if a Hoover is likely after being discarded, under what circumstances does it present itself?

    1. If we disengaged from you, unless it is of a malign nature it is highly unlikely you will be hoovered whilst we are in the golden period with a new IPPS. Thereafter, when this new IPPS is devalued, this factor (nearly a total lack of necessity to hoover you) alters within the Hoover Execution Criteria meaning – subject to the other relevant criteria and their impact on raising or lowering the hoover bar – a hoover becomes more likely. Just how likely depends on the criteria.
      Accordingly, there is always a risk of a hoover but dependent on when that Hoover Trigger occurs and what the HEC are, the extent of the risk will shift.

      1. Then my situation is unique. My narcissist withholds sex. There is lack intimacy ( zero). If he does find somebody else, there will not be intimacy, as he has a long history of issues with that. Perhaps this changes the circumstances of a future Hoover. Though he still has some of my belongings in his possession, so I supposed a Hoover is likely at some point.

  4. MLA-Clarece

    “You can’t trust a man until he’s been dead for 72 hours. Give all his secret dirt a chance to come to the surface.”

    I do like that quote.

    However it was 10 months before my Ns sh*t really started to surface. 1 year and 4 months, sh*t is still surfacing.

    I need to find the lid for the septic tank he was..

  5. Is it possible for a narc/sociopath to hoover via their “flying monkey’s?” I feel that his people (the one’s he has brainwashed into being helpers to get info on me/provoke me) keep popping up in my life. Now i can laugh it off & talk with them in a calm cool manner so that what they relay to him will provide little to no fuel. Thanks to the meds I’m on i rarely have panic attacks or drink/drug after such interactions anymore, but i don’t understand why he still gives a fuck about keeping tabs on me or trying to influence me emotionally anymore?

    1. Via their Lieutenants, absolutely. Those are hoovers by proxy.

      He does it because it provides fuel and you belong to him forever, in his mind.

      1. I just learned that my narc ex physically attacked his new supply in a fit of jealousy. His flying monkeys have no idea that he has a history of violence. Does this make him a Lesser?

        1. Physical violence is an indicator of Lesser behaviour however it, in itself, is not determinative as one would also need to know

          (a) the position of the victim in the fuel matrix
          (b) what was the nature of the physical attack – punching? kicking? slapping? throttling? with a weapons? one strike or a sustained assault?
          (c) the circumstances of the attack – how it arose, who else was there, what happened in the aftermath;
          (d) additional attributes/behaviours of the individual.

      2. He slapped and chocked the victim after an argument about her possibly cheating on him. He also tried to stop her from calling police. I find the whole thing odd because just 5 months ago he told me that the victim was an insecure woman who he’d never dated and tried to get me to take him back. I declined and was discarded. How could a cheater beat someone for cheating? His daughter was in the home when he attacked the woman and alerted authorities. The victim lives with the narc, so I’m assuming she’s IPPS -she’s been with him off and on for a year (he discarded the IPPS briefly and took up with a hooker while also trying to get me back). I was his longest relationship. He’s been charged with the crime of assault and is likely going to jail. He has a history of rage and domestic violence with women and criminal convictions for the crimes. He never actually hit me though, he broke things, threw things near me, drove fast, threatened me, punched holes in walls, etc. I think this is the first woman he actually hit. He’s very insecure about his manhood but extremely professionally successful. Both me and the IPPS are about 20 years younger than him. He says the IPPS provoked the assault. He also destroyed the room during the attack. I know all this because of his daughter, who reached out to me.

        1. Samantha,
          He was probably lying to you about her. Before I had my no contact down tight, I watched his fb page. He lied about me daily. Everything HE had done (plus more), he outright lied and said I did those things. Can’t trust them a lick

      3. Jasmine, I know you’re right. I read the police report and visited the victim’s fb page. Looks like her “insecurity” stems from his abuse of her and his cheating on her. I’m shocked that her golden period was so short. He was on his best behavior with my for the first two or three years. In fact, I discarded him because I discovered he’d lied to get me to date him. He did everything I asked to get me back and I didn’t see the temper until year 3. The new IPPS has been significantly abused just one year in. She’s taunting him using facebook now that he legally can’t contact her due to his assault charges from attacking her. I admire that she’s sticking it to him but I wonder if he’s harsher to her because of that and hope she understands the danger she’s in. I’m more a super empath, my style of handling him is different. I never chase or taunt and I’d definitely never use fb to passively aggressively engage with him.

        1. Speaking as an IPPS involved in a similar legal position… perhaps she does know she’s in danger, but doesn’t realize what he is or what to do? when i first escaped, i was “running blindly”. It took me 3 solid months of research to end up here, (round the clock) and I still feel like I’m floundering. There’s a ton of great places, groups, videos, books, etc. Maybe reach out and steer her in the right direction? Or send her one of HG’s books anonymously if you aren’t comfortable getting involved..Just a thought.

      4. HG, based on the details below does he sound like a Lesser? How do Lessers respond to being exposed?

        1. Hello Samantha, based on the information provided he is highly likely to be a Lesser Narcissist. As ever, I prefer to have more information to enable me to provide a detailed assessment, but the repeated acts of physical violence, poor control of ignited fury and property damage are strong lesser indicators.

          An exposed Lesser erupts in fury and will lash out at the exposer if that person is to hand or the narcissist will find and confront the exposer if that is not too difficult to do. The exposer is very much at risk of a physical attack.

      5. Jasmine, I’m hesitant to reach out to the latest victim because I think she’d just use my words to throw more daggers at him and I don’t want to be involved. She would also probably be livid to know I’ve been hoovered so recently.

  6. Hi HG,

    I’m confused about the hovering. My ex fiance and I broke up almost 3 years ago. He did the IGH after 1 year of NC and I accepted his apology but didn’t return any contact after the one call. He kept calling and 8 months later I foolishly returned his contact. He was apologetic and telling me no one he’d met was like me, he told me there were a lot of potentials (his harem, I’m sure) and that he’d had one serious relationship since me but she dumped him. He wanted me to know he was single and willing to relocate to be with me again. I’m significantly younger than him and I was his longest relationship at almost 10 years.

    I told him that I was interested in someone else and not interested in ever being with him again. He suddenly told me that he had a new gf (who happened to be a criminal) and did a savage strike discard. He made sure I saw it on facebook. I like to think I’m safe from another hoover but I know his other supply is now burning out and I’m worried he’ll be back. I met him when I was extremely young and the abuse is something I’m just coming to terms with. He was my first everything and I had no clue what he was because he wooed me majorly for many years, in between great emotional blows, but his temper left me with PTSD.

    He would die if his network knew he dated a criminal and prostitute, he has a white collar job. If I exposed him, would he permanently go away?

  7. I’d never doubt that this has happened to many, many people. BUT, I honestly feel that my case is different. We said such horrible things to each other before this last contact. We had not been in touch for going on four months. I contacted him to apologise for the terrible things I said to him. I felt it was necessary in order to try to put things to rights. I’ve never been able to NOT apologize for things I’ve done or said to people that were very, very ugly; or hurt them in any way. I felt it necessary in order for me to be able to live with myself and move on in peace. He apologized to me as well, as he’d said some ugly, hurtful things to me as well. He hadn’t apologized to me for any reason for over a year; no matter what the circumstances were. He said he was too ashamed and embarrassed to approach me even though he’d thought about doing it numerous times. We wished each other well, and I feel deep within my soul that this was the very last time we’d ever have contact with each other. His apology got me thinking that maybe he’s really not a Narc afterall. The last time he approached me before the grand finale, he bragged about his new conquest and said all the customery ugly, mean things that go along with this announcement; about my faults, etc. So I imagine he’s moved on for good. These things lead me to believe he’s gone for good. All of the other traits of him displaying Narc behaviors, suddenly seem irrational to me; leaving me to wonder if I haven’t had him pegged wrong all along.
    I hold no ill will towards him, whatsoever. But I feel confident and at peace: that he’s definitely gone for good.
    I mean, what real Narc ever presents himself in such a manner? Could I have really mislabeled him as being a Narc?
    If I may be wrong about him resurfacing; would someone who has had no contact for this long a span of time and then a “reconciliation” of sorts; have the Narc to appear again, please help me to get my thinking straight?
    I’m extremely confident that our association is over and done…

    1. Yes. If the profile is one which you do not recognise then it is highly likely it is a device of the narcissist as someone normal would not do so.

  8. Dear HG, why does my narc who suddenly dis-engaged with me 3 months ago telling me that I have disappointed him and made him feel worthless still keeps tabs on me despite I dont contact him and now he writes me that he really likes me as a friend and hates himself for hurting me? So many mixed messages. One day I am the one to blame, the other day he says he likes me and wants me as a friend and feels sorry because of pain he caused. Cant understand? Besides Im moving on and he doesnt see me hurting.

    1. That is a hoover and he is seeking fuel. He may be looking to establish the Formal Relationship with you again. There has been a Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria was met, so he hoovered you and it was reached you (so you need to look at your no contact regime again). His comment about being a friend and hating himself are just part of the hoover and are manipulation designed to make you think he is a better person and capable of contrition – those are lies and you should not be taken in by them.

      1. This is interesting because I interpreted his words as “well I didnt truly love you, you didnt match my standards, but I like you as a friend and thats why I contact you from time to time, please dont hate me for stringing you along”. If he was “normal” I would think these words mean that he feels guilty and doesnt want me to see him as a jerk. But because he is a narc I thought he seeks for some negative fuel thinking that by telling me that I am just a friend for him and that he is sorry, he will hurt my ego and I will lash out. The other option: playing my mind to show me that he is normal, empathetic person because he is afraid I will tell other people who he is.

  9. Hg can you please write a post about passive hoovers? I feel like many of us have been hoovered and we don’t even realize it was a hoover because it wasn’t direct. I know my mid range ex is all about passive hoovers.

  10. Infinite thanks Hg … you do not know how much you have helped me, in my worst moments, in my overwhelming solitude your writings have been a guide in my darkness.

  11. HG, I have a question … does the narcissist obsess with us because there is no contact? My ex always told me that it had never happened to him that a woman stopped talking to him, he brags about getting the woman he wants when he wants, when I have implemented non-contact he seems to become obsessive and crazy, even having many IPSS and DSIPSS, I’ve been holding messages for days ranging from love to devaluation …

    1. If you have escaped and the narcissist is incessantly hoovering you, this is part of the Initial Grand Hoover where considerable attempts are made to ensnare you again. This will of course appear obsessive.
      If you are the IPPS and you impose no contact, you are escaping him and therefore his response which you describe as obsessive and crazy is part of the IGH.

  12. HG, could you please help me understand something? So you state your kind hoovers victims because we are your fueling appliances. Because narcs do not attach to anyone and any appliance is interchangeable, why do you need an old appliance if you can just get new ones? An example, I may get attention and admiration from other men but because I love and am attached to the narc, I don’t care about the attention from other men. I only really value and want the attention from the narc. If I was not attached to him, I would just take the attention from someone else and forget about the narc. I hope I am making myself understood.

  13. Good article HG as usual

    If the IPSS or IPPS has lost her or his charm, beauty, status because of ageing and other reasons, will Narc still hoover her/him after many years? These Sources have nothing materialistic or esthetic to give to the Narc after some years. They may share kids or friends With the Narc still. I got the impression that narcs are picky about appearances of their sources and people they connect to and with.

    1. Subject to the Hoover Trigger and the Hoover Execution Criteria, yes, because

      1. That person still has the capacity to provide fuel, character traits and residual benefits; and
      2. It may be a malign hoover seeking negative fuel.

      1. Thanks
        There is a risk of hoover from Narc1 because at present he has a wife and a baby, thus he is busy With them. As we have kids together, thus i have very little contact.
        But the other Narc2 has a long line of secondary Sources. He has gone back to his ex now, With whom he has kids together.. He is very secretive and never tells anything about his past. His facebook was almost dorment to me when suddenly i saw a photo With his New flame. When i confronted he did not reply at all. He deleted the photo and i thought it must be an old one. When i read your article about facebook, then i realised that he must have been active all the time even though he has not changed his profil photo for 2 years. he won’t let me be his friend on facebook either as he said that he don’t use facebook very much. What come as a shock for me was that he suddenly went back to his wife while being charming to me all the time and future faking. His ex wife might have been singel for last some years. Thus she gave up on him.
        Thus i feel that he would never hoover because as him and his ex wife are 50 now. Others are having difficulties in finding partners in this age. If not he, she will compromise.

          1. My best friend has a line she learned from her former mother-in-law who had been married five times, which was:
            “You can’t trust a man until he’s been dead for 72 hours. Give all his secret dirt a chance to come to the surface.”

  14. If an ex reaches out to you 14 years after the breakup, in the midst of their marital trouble…does that automatically make then a narcissist?

  15. Thank you for this.
    Yes, it’s hard to believe he will hoover after that last “savage strike” and because he is busy with his new and shiny appliance – – and I was only a NISS (although the level of interaction during the golden period was intense and daily).
    But yes, you may be right as you’ve mentioned it can happen to NISSs as well. These people are incredible.

    As far as I’m concerned, I will not communicate with him for as long as I live.

  16. This is one of the most important articles you’ve written, HG, and I think any abuse survivor needs to read this post to understand why it’s so vital to GOSO, and put up any and every roadblock possible between one’s self and the narc.

    My first narc hoovered me after four years of no contact. I had moved 900 miles away, but he found me. With narc #2, I was fortunate to have discovered HG’s teachings. Post-escape I asked my company to move me to a part of the building that required keycard access, which I know my narc doesn’t have. Anything to raise the hoover bar just a little bit! It’s been enough to get me through the HVH battle completely. He hasn’t hoovered me yet, but I know it’s coming.

  17. If he does attempt a hoover, again, he will be met with only two things from me. No reaction of ANY kind, and a fine view of my backside as I walk away from him without uttering a single word.

  18. HG, I really enjoy reading your posts, but they often make you–an admitted narcissist, right?–sound very calculating, which is more than simply predictable. My lengthy experience (21 years) with a narcissist taught me that she was more reactionary than calculating. She merely “reacted” based on the programming (i.e., the developmental injuries) she’d received from her parent(s) during childhood. So, not a chess player. Have you written about this at all, and can you point me in the direction of an article, if so? Thank you.

    1. I distinguish between

      Lesser – instinctive reactions
      Mid-Range – instinctive reactions with some calculation for Upper Mid Range
      Greater – some instinctive reactions and considerable calculation

      The instinctive reactions (and their different ways of manifesting) for Lesser and Mid Range appear in many different articles on the blog.

  19. Hi, what is the purpose of the Hoover where we show ourself but still remain silent. I know you have wrote about this in the past but I can’t find it. In my case it was via Facebook but I know it is done in other ways.


      1. Oh sorry. Why does the ex unblock on Facebook so clearly showing herself but still remains silent. I know this is a type of Hoover but what is the purpose of it. I know you’ve written about this before but I can’t find it. All her posts are private to friends only so I’m not having new supply thrown at me which is what I thought it might be


        1. Thank you for clarifying. This is a passive hoover. It is designed to cause you to contact the narcissist and is done

          1. In some instances because the narcissist is concerned about being wounded, so uses this passive hoover so that if it causes you to make contact, the narcissist becomes less concerned about being wounded through rejection;
          2. It may be part of a Relationship Bulletin designed to provoke you and upset you, possibly causing you to contact the narcissist and provide fuel or at the very least enable the narcissist to gain Thought Fuel based on your perceived response to seeing it;
          3. It may foreshadow a more direct hoover as the conduits between you are being opened up again.

      2. Thank you so much for the explanation. Your website has been a great help to me over the last 7 months or so.

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