“Hoover maneuver” was coined after the name of a popular vacuum cleaner, alluding to the fact abusers often attempt to suction up narcissistic supply from prior sources (people).Individuals who have narcissistic tendencies typically lack solid, healthy self-concepts and must extract narcissistic supply from lovers, friends, colleagues, and/or family members to feel affirmed, adored, admired, attended to, nurtured, feared, or despised.People encounter those with narcissism in love, work, and family relationships.When I provide psychotherapy for survivors of narcissistic abuse, one of the first steps in the healing process is psychoeducation about narcissism and emotional abuse.He or she may “hoover” prior survivors by emailing, texting, phoning, or showing up at a survivor’s workplace or residence under the pretext of apologizing for transgressions, delivering flowers, hitting the reset button, or feigning illness or a need for assistance (money, return of belongings, etc.).This cycle is akin to the Power and Control Wheel often referred to in the domestic violence recovery community.Positive or negative, the reaction doesn’t matter, as long as the abusive person can excise a response from a target’s reservoir of emotional sustenance, thus rendering the abusive person “alive” by virtue of having his or her false self acknowledged.When a survivor has gone no-contact—in other words, the survivor has chosen to disengage completely from the abusive person—often the person with narcissism will attempt to see if the door is still open for more narcissistic supply.
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Such an action is not a sign that the abusive person loves the survivor or that he/she can change and suddenly develop reciprocity, authentically own responsibility for mistakes, and consistently show emotional maturity.
The analogy of a vampire sinking fangs into the jugular vein works here.
One such concept is “hoovering” by the emotionally abusive person.
When the cycle of “idealize, devalue, discard” is complete, a person with narcissistic qualities will often return to prior sources of narcissistic supply to see if he or she can tap such individuals for more ego-fueling attention, emotional reaction, sex, money, business advantages, a place to live, or other affirmations of his or her existence.