One of the deciding factors of the success of your healing journey after narcissistic abuse is your ability to reject the narcissist’s hoover. However, rejecting the narcissist’s hoover is the easier part. The harder part is dealing with the narcissist after you’ve rejected their hoover so it is really important to be aware of what you should expect from the narcissist so that you can be as safe as possible during the hoovering phase. 

When a narcissist has their hoover rejected it contradicts their sense of self, bruises their ego, and triggers their need for narcissistic supply. You can expect to experience a lot of rage, but if you maintain firm boundaries, you’ll be able to escape their abuse, rebuild your sense of self, and successfully heal.

This article is going to unpack the reason that rejection contradicts a narcissists sense of self, bruises their ego, and triggers all of their negative emotions but it will also guide you through some of the most common forms of manipulation and abuse that you can expect when you reject a narcissist’s hoover so that you can be as prepared as possible. 

Finally, when learning about narcissistic hoovering it is really important to be aware of the reason that narcissists are often successful in their hoovering attempts. We’ve created a short two minute video below that guides you through the reason that hoovering works that we highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with if you want to stay as safe as possible throughout the hoovering phase.

A Short Video About the Reason Why Hoovering Works So Well

When You Reject a Narcissist’s Hoover It Contradicts Their Sense of Self

While there are many different theories about the origin of narcissism, there’s an overwhelming amount of support from qualified professionals around the globe that narcissism originates from an unhealthy/abusive upbringing with primary caregivers who are unavailable, unresponsive, and inconsistent. 

These types of primary caregivers are not able to mirror their child’s thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs which means that the child doesn’t get the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they need to develop a realistic sense of self.

We strongly recommend that you read our article How Are Narcissists Made to grasp a comprehensive understanding of this important information but what this type of upbringing does to a child is it forces them to search their external environment for the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they couldn’t get from their internal environment. 

This usually manifests in the form of a child prioritizing very materialistic, trivial, and superficial aspects of life like appearances and achievements over their true sense of self and emotional stability because the neglect from their unavailable, unresponsive, and inconsistent primary caregivers has caused them to develop a belief that their true identity isn’t good enough to be validated, admired, and reassured by others. 

As this person moves from childhood, to adolescenthood, to adulthood, they build a falsified identity that is designed to accumulate as much validation, admiration and reassurance as possible but they continue to have the same emotionally inadequate approach when doing so. 

All this does is creates a person who has a deeply rooted hatred for their true identity because they believe that it makes them unloveable, abandonable, and rejectable, but is incapable of regulating these negative emotions because they’ve spent a lifetime neglecting their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.

This causes them to develop an incredibly fragile, yet grandiose, sense of self that they protect by suppressing all of their negative emotions behind a falsified identity. This is why some of the core personality traits of a narcissist are a grandiose sense of self importance, a sense of specialness and uniqueness, and an excessive need for admiration. 

9 personality traits of a narcissist

A narcissist’s grandiose belief about themselves is nothing more than a defense mechanism that they use to suppress their negative emotions and protect their fragile and grandiose sense of self. 

When they experience something that contradicts their sense of self, like someone rejecting their hoover, it triggers all of their suppressed negative emotions and serves as a constant reminder that their perception of themselves is a lie and that they are nothing more than a scared and neglected child that feels unlovable, abandonable, and rejectable. 

What Can You Expect When You Contradict a Narcissist’s Grandiose Sense of Self?

We touched on this earlier in the article but narcissists are so emotionally inadequate because the neglect they experienced as a child caused them to have an unhealthy cognitive development and incapable of regulating their own emotions. 

This is quite problematic because they have an absurd amount of negative emotions that they suppress behind an extremely fragile falsified identity. When they experience something that contradicts their sense of self and effectively exposes their negative emotions, they have no choice but to project those negative emotions onto someone else.

You can read much more about this in our article Why Do Narcissists Go Into a Rage but narcissistic rage is one of the most common ways that a narcissist will project their negative emotions onto others.  

By making the person who contradicts their sense of self feel as badly as their negative emotions make them feel, they’re able to repair their fractured sense of self and suppress their negative emotions. When you reject a narcissist’s hoover you should expect to be devalued, invalidated, and dehumanized both on a personal level and a public level like social media or to mutual friends and family members. 

When You Reject a Narcissist’s Hoover It Bruises Their Ego

Since you now have a clear understanding of a narcissist’s initial reaction to a rejected hoover attempt, narcissistic rage, let’s take a look at what happens when your rejection remains in place despite all of the the invalidation, devaluation, and dehumanization that they’ll likely be subjecting you to. 

The overarching purpose of a narcissist’s tendency to invalidate, devalue, and dehumanize you after you’ve rejected their hoover is to reassure themselves of their sense of superiority and grandiose sense of self-importance.

By devaluing, invalidating, and dehumanizing you, they are trying to prove to themselves that they are still someone who is special and unique that can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions, yet another core aspect aspect of their falsified identity. 

When they’re able to push past their victim’s initial rejection, they feel on top of the world. In fact, it is very common for them to shame or mock their victim for even considering leaving the relationship immediately after they’re able to push past the victim’s initial rejection. 

a narcissist laughing because he hovered his girlfriend back into the relationship

But when the victim continues to reject their hoover, sets and maintains firm boundaries, and remains indifferent in the face of the invalidation, devaluation, and dehumanization, it contradicts their sense of self again and they experience an ego injury, also known as a narcissistic injury. 

When you first reject the narcissist’s hoover, it contradicts their grandiose sense of self and they get really angry. But they still remain as pompous, arrogant, and delusional, as they were prior to the rejection. That initial rejection makes them angry but they still feel entitled to remaining in power and control over you. 

But when you continue to show them that they have zero power and control over you, it puts them in a really tough position that causes them to get desperate for validation, admiration, and reassurance. 

What Can You Expect When You Bruise a Narcissist’s Ego?

We mentioned above that narcissists get extremely desperate for validation, admiration, and reassurance when they realize that they don’t have any power or control over you. Well, there are many different reactions that a narcissist could have when their ego is bruised like this but the one that we’re going to go over is a narcissists tendency to use flying monkeys to hoover when they can’t themselves. 

Suggested Reading: 5 Examples of Narcissistic Injuries

We spoke about this in our article Do Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys to Hoover but it is very common for narcissists to use flying monkeys to push past the firm boundaries that you’ve set during the hoovering phase.

It could manifest in a very subtle way like a flying monkey being sent to pretend to be your friend but secretly manipulate you into reconciling with the narcissist or it could be very obvious like a flying monkey shaming, ridiculing, and devaluing you for refusing to let the narcissist back into your life. 

We highly recommend that you read our article How to Spot a Flying Monkey because hoovering through flying monkeys can be very effective if you don’t know what to watch out for. 

When You Reject a Narcissist’s Hoover You Will Trigger Their Need For Narcissistic Supply

We mentioned this in the beginning of the article but narcissists construct their sense of self through narcissistic supply, which is the validation, admiration, and reassurance of others. When you reject their hoover, it contradicts their sense of self, bruises their ego, and leaves them without a sufficient amount of validation, admiration, and reassurance. 

This is very “dangerous” for a narcissist because they use validation, admiration, and reassurance to regulate all of the deeply rooted negative emotions that they have about themselves. Without it, their falsified identity would begin to disintegrate and their emotional stability would get destroyed. It’s for this reason that a narcissist will need to find a new source of narcissistic supply and find it fast. 

What Can You Expect When You Trigger a Narcissist’s Need for Narcissistic Supply? 

Initially, a narcissist is going to try to get the validation, admiration, and reassurance that they desperately need from you. However, if you continue to maintain firm boundaries with the narcissist during the hoovering phase, they are going to go find a new source of narcissistic supply. 

A narcissist finally moving on with their life and leaving you alone is fantastic but it is going to cause you a lot of problems if you aren’t careful. The first problem you’ll encounter is trying to figure out if you should warn their new supply or not. 

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t warn the narcissist’s new supply. We spoke about this much more thoroughly in our article Should You Warn the Narcissist’s New Supply but it is rarely a good idea because the narcissist has most likely already fed them a narrative that portrays you as the abuser and them as the victim. 

You have to remember how manipulative narcissists are. The new supply is going to be going through the same intense levels of manipulation that you did so “warning them” probably will not work and will only keep you trapped within the narcissistic abuse cycle longer. 

The second problem that you might encounter is your own fears of abandonment, sense of inadequacy, and overwhelming amount of self-doubt being triggered. Listen, after months, years, and even decades of narcissistic abuse, it is very common to have your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs revolve around the narcissist. 

This makes leaving them, or watching them move onto a new source of supply, extremely difficult. It can make you feel like you’ve made a mistake. It can make you feel terribly inadequate. It can even trigger your fear of abandonment because healing from narcissistic abuse requires you to wake up every single day and walk into the unknown which can be terrifying, but it is necessary. 

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Rejecting a narcissist’s hoover is just one of the many steps that you need to take if you want to have a successful healing journey. They are going to throw all different types of abuse in your direction but you owe it to yourself, and the people who truly care about you, to remain indifferent in the face of narcissistic abuse so that you can live the healthy, happy, and secure life that you deserve.  

About the Author

Hey, I’m Elijah.

I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years. 

I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.

Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.

About This Article

We used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create parts of this article to enhance its accuracy and readability. It underwent a strict human editorial process before being published. See additional information.


Humphreys, Cathy, and Ravi K. Thiara. “Neither justice nor protection: women’s experiences of post‐separation violence.” Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law 25.3 (2003): 195-214.

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