I certainly cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you that you are not alone. I feel sad for you, because I have hoped for the same thing so many times and it never ended well. I’ve had a crazy roller coaster ride of hoovers, so I’ll try my best to share my thoughts in hopes that it will help you or someone else struggling through this.
The Narc in my life hoovered me sporadically for almost 2 years, but I didn’t know anything about narcissism or hoovering for much of that time. I always responded and it was always just a game to him – a dangling carrot only to be followed up with brutal silent treatments and smear campaigns. I eventually got to the point that I told myself if it happened again I would definitely ignore him and then it would be on my terms, but I always failed. While I wouldn’t respond right away, ignoring him felt wrong in my core being and I ultimately replied every time because I didn’t want to ignore and hurt him the way he ignored and hurt me. What I didn’t understand was that my silence would never be excruciating to him the way his silence cut me to the bone. And when I learned about narcissistic abuse so many things started to fall into place, though I struggled with making profound sense of his behavior… and I still struggle with it! I guess that’s because a Narc’s behavior will never truly make sense to an empathetic human being.
I am now almost 2 months of enlightened No Contact and I still have days where I feel the way you do… if only he’d hoover me one more time I could finally respond with pure silence and it wouldn’t be him discarding me. So your question really got me thinking about why I feel that way. Initially I would say it’s because I’m hurt and angry and he deserves to be punished for the horrible way he treated me. However, there are 2 flaws with that thinking. First, you can’t punish a Narc with silence – they simply move along and find supply elsewhere. In my case, he even went and got married, but still hoovered me after that (begging for help because his marriage was failing, etc.). Second, this leaves us in a place of holding onto anger and wishing harm upon another human being. And while part of me hates him for what he did to me and yes, he probably does deserve to suffer greatly, I hate him more for making me have such negative thoughts. That’s not who I am – I don’t wish harm upon anyone, not truly.
So if at my core I don’t wish harm upon him, why else would I feel that way? I think the next reason would be the simple desire for validation. If you are hoovered and can ignore them, then maybe you get some validation that your hurt is real and justified… the fact that they came back means they know they hurt you and feel bad for it. Unfortunately, a Narc will never really care that they hurt you, and if you do get some sort of apology (which I did), it is manufactured to just get more supply out of you. In my case, the apologies were just followed up with more GMF (grand mindf*#kery) and repeated discards.
Another reason I think we sometimes wish for a hoover is to get some sort of feeling that the person we cared for so deeply was real. For me, learning about narcissism has been hard, and actually very humiliating to realize that I let someone trick me repeatedly with such a fake façade. Part of me still really wants to believe I wasn’t wrong about him and that the good he portrayed was genuine. There is a song by Frank Turner called “Hold Your Tongue” that I believe captures much of what a Narc makes you feel. One of the lyrics is “I won’t let this die ‘til I have seen you cry a single tear to show there’s water in your soul.” And yeah, at times I hope for a hoover that will show there’s a single ounce of good in him and that he’s not just an empty, hollow void with a dry soul. But to heal, we have to let this die, because you will never find real water in their soul.
At the end of the day, I know all of my possible reasons for wanting one last hoover are just shattered pieces of my own psyche that I’m trying to put back together. It’s all part of the healing process and it totally sucks. The trauma bonding does not disappear overnight – it takes a long time and it’s not a linear pathway. A Narc is disordered, dysfunctional, and self-centered… but they have a knack of making us feel like we’re the disordered one. They are like a tornado that destroys everything in their path. If they hoover you, it is always for selfish reasons and it will always end badly. I wish I had ignored his first hoover… then I would be almost 2 years of No Contact instead of just 2 months.
Ultimately, you have to look deep inside yourself to sort through your own feelings and reasons for wanting a hoover to occur. While we are similar, everyone’s healing journey is unique. I hope that if your Narc does hoover you, you do indeed ignore him/her… and I hope you can reach a point where ignoring them would be not from a place of anger or misguided hope, but rather a place of self-care.
One of my weekly clients wrote this two years ago on Quora in a response to a question someone posted asking if anyone who had been discarded wishes their narc would hoover them just so they could ignore them. She shared it with me and I asked permission to post it on the blog because I feel it is something that many of us dream of as well. It’s a slippery slope – we often think we will react differently than we do so please use caution. Whatever the case, this is one to-the-point idea of “why” that makes sense to me. Does it resonate with you?
Sending Love & Light, Tracy