The Blast from the Past Hoover – Part One



Why does a narcissist seemingly appear out of nowhere to hoover you?

Why does a narcissist from the past re-appear, often years later?

What causes a narcissist to hoover you after a prolonged period of absence?


Many of you will be familiar with The Blast from the Past Hoover. Somebody from your past, often a former romantic partner but it may include a former school of college friend, a colleague and sometimes even a family member, reappears after years of absence and gets in touch with you. Not everybody who reconnects with somebody after a sustained period of absence is a narcissist, but it is an indicator and more often such a reappearance is effected by a narcissist.

I shall examine two main questions in with regard to this subject. Part One will address understanding the nature of empathic relationships, how they are less likely to end and where they do, why they stay ended rather than be resurrected. It will also address why somebody who re-appears after a prolonged absence is likely to be a narcissist.  It is important to understand these aspects as a platform to understanding why The Blast from the Past Hoover occurs. Many of you will have been surrounded by narcissists for much of your lives and therefore you will not have had the experience of non-narcissistic dynamics to the extent that you have. The repeated presence of the narcissist conditions you to see such dynamics as normal. This obscuring effect, alongside the impact of Emotional Thinking results in you failing to know and recognise the Red Flags. It is fundamental for you to understand the dynamics of various empathic relationships, to know why someone who turns up out of the blue may well be a narcissist and thereafter where someone is indeed a narcissist, why is it that the narcissist returns after such a period of absence.

Is Somebody Who Reappears After A Long Period of Absence Always a Narcissist?

The short answer is; no. However, when somebody does come back into your life after many years away you ought to pay careful attention to their behaviours because there is a risk that the individual may be a narcissist. One of the key indicators of a narcissist is the absence of emotional empathy and empathic traits. Those empathic traits include such behaviours as honesty, compassion and decency, amongst others. Ordinarily, when you are friends with somebody, your emotional empathy (and theirs) means that you maintain, nourish and invest in the friendship. Some friendships manifest where you may see that person every day, even briefly. With others it is seeing one another once or twice a week with communication by phone, text message or social media message. With other friendships you may not see one another in person often at all (distance and other commitments being factors) however you keep in touch through phone, text message or social media. Sometimes you may not speak for several months or see one another for several months, but you pick up where you left off when you are in contact for one another.

These friendships have different intervals and styles of interaction however the style suits both individuals. One knows that if they send a text message, it will be answered within a few hours or a day at most – there is no sense of entitlement, no absence of emotional empathy, no need for control which means the text is ignored or read and not responded to, such behaviours are the preserve of our kind. Sometimes a friendship does dwindle and there has been no falling out but neither party resurrects it, realising it has run its course. Each party recognises that the other has moved on in some way and intrinsically recognises that the friendship has had its day and therefore there is no longer a need to remain in touch, so there is no sudden grand re-appearance years down the lane.

Occasionally, a friendship might be revived after many years of hiatus and in such circumstances there are clear reasons why the hiatus occurred and an absence of other narcissistic indicators, although such occurrences are relatively rare and even rarer given the prevalence of utilising the internet and social media to stay in touch and find people. Even if someone moves away and you do not have their new address, you are likely to be able to find them through social media or their presence on the internet (profile on their work website for instance) so the likelihood of a hiatus occurring in the first place is much reduced. Accordingly with empathic friends it is far less likely that you experience the loss of them in the first place and if that happens, they are also far less likely to suddenly re-appear years later.

There are similar considerations with regard to family members. Dependent on the strength of the relevant family network, some family member including extended family remain in contact regularly, others less so, perhaps only connecting when there is a wedding, a christening or a funeral. Some family members, more usually extended family members drift apart with age because of the creation of your own immediate family. That cousin you played with regularly as a child is seen less often because you and her now have your own families around you, jobs to deal with, households to attend to and so forth. Again, similar to friendships, where the family member is empathic, you tend to keep in touch (in accordance with a particular level of regularity which varies from dynamic to dynamic) or you drift apart and only hear about that family member in passing from another one. There is no sudden re-appearance years down the line.

With regard to colleagues, you may keep in touch with some when you move jobs, but often what kept the friendship alive was the common interest of the workplace and other colleagues and as you move to another workplace, gaining new colleagues, time and motivation for preserving the colleague-friendship lessens and the friendship peters out. You might bump into a former colleague at a conference where you are civil and catch-up, but it does no cause a resumption of the friendship in the manner that existed when you work together. Both empathic individuals inherently recognise the boundaries imposed by having moved on. This means that there is warmth and civility when there is a chance meeting, but no other need to maintain contact outside of such encounters.

Finally, when it comes to former romantic partners, empathic individuals move on and have no need to maintain contact with one another outside of bumping into one another. Both recognise that the connection was a romantic one and once it has ended then there is no need to remain in contact with one another. Whilst it is the ideal of remaining friends, it is invariably easier not to. That is not to say that you must become enemies, but rather that chapter in both your lives has concluded and it is time for you to move on. You find other romantic partners and therefore there is no empathic reason to remain in contact with the former romantic partner.

Occasionally this happens, for instance where empathic parents have to have contact because of children after the parents have split up or your former romantic partner works where you work or lives nearby, so you will see them. In those circumstances, since both are empathic, you do not strive to maintain contact (after all your romantic relationship is over) however where you do bump into one another the interaction if civil and possibly friendly. Where there is no legitimate basis for repeated interaction, both realise the relationship is over and it is consigned to the past. The empathic individuals recognise that it has ended, they respect that both parties have moved, they respect the new relationship they are in and the relationship the other person is in. They may happen to bump into one another years later by chance and doubtless would be friendly but beyond that chance encounter there would be no need to swap numbers, to pledge to meet up again, to reminisce about the past. Both individuals through their empathic traits recognise the relationship is done and dusted and they keep it where it belongs, in the past.

The individual who re-appears in your life after years of absence is not always going to be a narcissist, but there is a significant prospect that he or she is one and therefore you should proceed with caution. You should also be examining their behaviour for other Red Flags alongside this one of The Blast From the Past Hoover. The relationship either ought not to have foundered in the first place or where it has then the relationship has run its course and other than a chance brief encounter (as explained above) there is no basis for resurrecting the relationship. The reappearance in isolation is only an indicator, but it is a significant one, for the following reasons :-

  1. A person who just walks back into your life is exhibiting a sense of entitlement.
  2. A person who has failed to maintain the friendship or family connection by having no interaction or contact for a long time is demonstrating a lack of accountability to the maintenance and upkeep of that relationship.
  3. A person who suddenly gets in touch with a former romantic partner is similarly exhibiting a sense of entitlement, especially if the individual returns with proclamations about unrequited love.
  4. An individual who returns who makes remarks such as “I should never have let you go”, “you were always the one” , “I have never stopped loving you”, “it was always meant to be that we would end up together” and such similar comments is exhibiting magical thinking.
  5. An individual who was a former romantic partner who contacts you when they are in a new relationship is showing a sense of entitlement, a lack of accountability and a lack of emotional empathy.
  6. An individual who was a former romantic partner who contacts you when you are in a new relationship (and they are aware of this) is showing a sense of entitlement and a lack of boundary recognition.
  7. An individual who was a former romantic partner who contacts you and compares you to their existing romantic partner is showing a lack of emotional empathy and is triangulating.
  8. An individual who was a former romantic partner who contacts you and speaks unpleasantly about their existing romantic partner is showing a lack of emotional empathy, is triangulating and is smearing.
  9. An individual who offers no explanation for why a non-romantic relationship foundered is exhibiting a lack of accountability and is acting in an entitled and dismissive manner.
  10. Be observant for a differing explanation being offered for why the individual has failed to remain in touch (where non-romantic) compared to what you know has actually happened. This is likely to evidence the differing narcissistic perspective in action.
  11. A person who reappears and is seeking assistance or resources is demonstrating a sense of entitlement and the need for part of The Prime Aims.
  12. Be observant for vague explanations offered as to why the individual has not been in contact for so long and/or the basis for getting in contact now. Vagueness is a form of manipulation often used by our kind as it aids the preservation of a lack of accountability and thus the assertion of control, which is one The Prime Aims.


Accordingly, recognise how empathic relationships (of differing kinds) ought to function and recognise that whilst sometimes a person can disappear from your life and return in circumstances which are nothing to do with narcissism, it is unusual. Instead, understand that the reappearance of an individual in your life (especially a former romantic partner) is a significant indicator that the individual is a narcissist and that you are experiencing The Blast from the Past Hoover.

Part Two will examine why the confirmed narcissist uses his type of hoover, what causes it and the various forms by which it manifests.


61 thoughts on “The Blast from the Past Hoover – Part One

  1. Joa says:

    The weirdest and most ridiculous hoovering, I can remember, happened a few years ago.

    I made friends with my daughter’s friend’s mother. A wonderful, empathetic, open, smiling woman, who people cling to. We understood each other without words, closeness. Her husband, a police officer tracking irregularities in the ranks of the Police, “a purr” listening to our conversations, when we were with my daughter at their home. Kind, but quiet and staring. I preferred, when he wasn’t there. Sometimes there was a gun unholstered on the mantelpiece. Sometimes obscure stories about the death of their pets. With time, he began to introduce the rules of our visits – for example, you must not step on the lawn, because he put so much work into the care (and after all, the lawn is a utility item, not a museum). When I didn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve with them, a friend came to me at 10 pm and persuaded me to do so for over an hour, until I finally gave in – although I wanted to watch movies with my daughter – we got dressed and before midnight we were at their place.

    At some point, visiting them began to tire me. My friend only came to me. She gave her husband information and sometimes dinners from me, when there was something left 🙂 The friendship lasted several years and was coming to an end slowly and gently. A few months after we last saw each other and it became clear that each went her own way – her husband, with whom I hardly ever spoke in person (I was friends with her, not
    him), he called the secretary’s office at my company, asking if I still work here and if I’m alive, because I haven’t heard from him for a long time. He asked for a phone call to me and handed the phone to his wife.

    I was in shock.

    We never met again. Twice it happened, that we passed each other cars. He was able to wind up, catch up with me, overtake me and block my way, almost standing across from the hood of my car, forcing contact and exchange of courtesies.

    It was very strange. Once. Now I understand.

  2. Pingback: The Blast From the Previous Hoover Half 2 - HG Tudor - Realizing The Narcissist - Path2Positivity
  3. Kiki says:

    Coming back as if nothing ever happened.
    They suddenly miss you , but never acknowledged you or your feelings before this.
    Lay on the charm thickly , avoid questions, or simply hit the reset button as if nothing happened.
    This is a narcissist I’m sure HG .


  4. JB says:

    Just been reading an article on BBC news about some women who randomly received messages of apology from an ex during lockdown. Wonder what proportion of these were genuine cases of self reflection and remorse at a highly emotional time, and how many were narcissists returning?

    1. HG Tudor says:

      I read the same article JB. Most will be examples of hoovers.

      1. WhoCares says:

        Scattering a bunch of apologies around to past ex’s, to see who will bite? Low
        energy investment that maximizes the potential return.
        So transparent to those who understand; they likely copy and paste the same apology message.

        1. JB says:

          Yes it’s shocking, isn’t it! I was pleased to see that the women in question didn’t get involved again as a result of the apologies received.

          1. WhoCares says:

            Shocking for us, yes, but energy conserving for them. You’ve got to give them an ‘A’ for efficiency.

            Very good that the women didn’t get involved.

        2. JB says:

          WhoCares yes, true. Just makes me cringe though! I am so glad that has never happened to me!

      2. JB says:

        Yes, that’s what I thought too. I’m glad none of the women took things any further!

  5. December Infinity says:

    Bloody hell. This is the type of hoover in which I ended up getting entangled with the man who would become my husband. I met him while pursuing my first university degree and we dated briefly. He dumped me for whatever reason he had and then kept tabs on me for the next four years. I didn’t pay too much attention to him. I saw him once in passing about two years later. Fast forward 6 years. I called him to see how he was doing and that was all. Then he pulled the unrequited love, was looking for me for years blah blah speech. What the hell? Anyway, he came to see me and it was downhill from there. He was quite the piece of work. I had no idea what he was about. It was bad the entire time. I walked out of that marriage 10 years later.

  6. Cup Cakes says:

    Thanks Hg, Excellent Article

  7. Asp Emp says:

    “The repeated presence of the narcissist conditions you to see such dynamics as normal” – so very true, especially in relation to my childhood – I noticed but didn’t understand the difference when my friend’s parents appeared different to ‘Mother’. Now, I understand.

    This is another good article, explaining the difference relationships with others, especially when it’s friends that you knew at school and have either remained friends since school or “re-connected” – however, since reading KTN, one is actually a narcissist but they are not an issue to me, so I have no concerns there (they may suspect that I know what they are).

  8. Eternity says:

    Holy smokes HG, thanks for sharing this one. I need to keep my eyes wide open in the future .

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome. Part 2 arrives tomorrow.

      1. Eternity says:

        Cant wait.

  9. Leigh says:

    Extremely enlightening! Thank you! I can’t wait for part two!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Luckily for you, you will not have to wait long.

      1. Leigh says:

        You really do spoil us!

        1. HG Tudor says:

          I certainly do you lucky, lucky people.

          1. Cup Cakes says:

            Thank You for providing us with your material.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            You’re welcome.

          3. Cup Cakes says:

            H.G, which article can educate me about how the narcissist twists scenario around?

          4. HG Tudor says:

            Search for blame shifting.

          5. Cup Cakes says:

            Thank You

          6. Leigh says:

            Cup Cakes, may I suggest you read Mr. Tudor’s book, Your Fault. Reading this book was eye opening for me. Nothing is the narcissist’s fault. Even if they know they are doing something wrong, like robbing a bank, they still blame it on outside factors and feel justified in their actions. This is why they always blame shift and twist the scenario around. Reading Your Fault helped me to understand that.

  10. NarcAngel says:

    Really great that you are covering this HG as I hear so many stories about this – most ending in disaster. My narc brother dumped his former appliance after reconnecting with someone from grade school ffs, on you guessed it – Fakebook. Looking forward to Part 2.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you NA. Yes, it is a relatively common hoover and the rise of social media and the internet has made it far easier for this type of hoover to be executed by us.

    2. Asp Emp says:

      NA, I loved “Fakebook”. Can I use it from time to time?

      1. NarcAngel says:

        Better to ask Mr Tudor. I have long called it that in real life, but HG coined it in print (along with some other humorous takes on Social media names) In Narc Tales I believe it was. I have no copyright – but he might haha.

        1. Leigh says:

          I call it Crackbook, lol! I feel like people, including myself, can’t get enough it.

          1. Joa says:

            “My” narcissist is called “Snoutbook.”

            In our mother tongue, it connects better.

        2. Asp Emp says:

          Oh, thanks for explaining NA. I still loved it 🙂

          Sorry Mr Tudor, pardon me for my ignorance on this one, is it ok for me to use the Fakebook word? It may not, unfortunately appear in the OED, certainly in HGTEBD (EBD = Even Better Dictionary).

          1. HG Tudor says:

            I have no issue with you doing so.

          2. Asp Emp says:

            Thanks 🙂

        3. Joa says:

          Damn, I scrolled down and already wrote it 🙂

    3. Joa says:

      N2 contemptuously says “snoutbook”, although it is spelled differently in my language.

      It used to hurt me a lot. His derogatory terms about other people.

  11. fox says:

    This was one of the main factors with my mom and why I eventually got the Narc Detector consultation. Very glad I did! It allowed me to let go of some anxiety I had about not allowing her to continue to pop in and out of my life. Looking forward to part 2, HG!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you Fox, yes I recall the very circumstances mentioned here are applicable to your situation with your mother.

  12. Empath007 says:

    I had a teacher in my past (clearly a narc – super charming guy – ugly as sin – but super charming) I graduated over 10 years ago and he shows up at my work every now and then. It’s not something I worry about because he is much different then my ex narc…. we never slept together for one thing because I got my parents involved, and I also never ever think of him or care when he shows up. I’ve reached “zero impact” when it comes to him. So his hoovering never became an issue. But now I understand this is just yet another weird, but regular behavior of a narc lol. My recent ex has yet to directly hoover me. If he ever did… I suspect I’d be in some trouble, as I am not yet quite at zero with him yet.

  13. Stella SHELF Unmaskers says:

    That really hit the spot! Thank you HG!!!

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Jolly good, more to come.

  14. WhoCares says:

    Excellent new article HG.

    I know of individuals who are so susceptible to approaches from past high school relationships. They may be on the lookout for new narcissists on the horizon – but they do not necessarily see them when they are from the distant past, because there is often a context or an explainable reason for anything odd about the individual they remember that person to be. Add to that being lonely, following a recent narcissistic entanglement – it just increases the susceptibility of being re-entangled.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      Thank you WC. Part 2 addresses how there often appears a plausibility with regard to these returns and wha you need to be aware of.

      1. WhoCares says:


        Re: part 2 – “there often appears a plausibility with regard to these returns”

        Doesn’t surprise me in the least that you’ve got that covered in the second part.

        And I wouldn’t be surprised that a lot of these returns are happening during Covid-19 because there is an existing pretext under which to make contact again.

        1. HG Tudor says:


          1. WhoCares says:

            HG, a friend of mine had a blast from the past hoover in the form of a past colleague reaching out to her (from over a decade ago under the context of wanting to say “sorry” for the fallout they had back then). She has started reading your work and so questioned his motives. When she told me what was happening, I directed her to this article. She got as far as the ‘Prime Aims’, stopped reading, and instantly blocked him. Haha – thanks for the timely and most useful article.
            And now she sees his behaviour clearly for what it is.

          2. HG Tudor says:

            Great to read, thank you for recommending my work WC.

  15. MB says:

    Thank you for the new material is what I meant to type.

    1. HG Tudor says:

      You are welcome.

      1. MB says:

        I had my Pay Pal fingers all ready and everything. Then I realized we were being spoiled 😊

        1. HG Tudor says:

          Indeed you are but feel free to not let your PP fingers go to waste by making a donation to the AAF!

          1. MB says:

            No worries there! They’ve already been up to some donating this month 😊

          2. HG Tudor says:

            Indeed you have MB, you good egg.

          3. NarcAngel says:

            MB IS a good egg. Sunny-side up. I’m hard boiled. I don’t want to name who is over easy…..but they know who they are haha.

          4. MB says:

            Thank you NA. I had some funds free up once the SEC shutdown Ol’ Phil McCoffers’ outfit! Unicorn sanctuary my ass!

  16. MB says:

    Thank you, HG. I hope you haven’t conjured him!!

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