Have you ever wondered what happens when you reject a narcissist attempting to hoover their way back into your life?

If so, you’re not the only one. A handful of our community members recently asked, “What happens when you reject a narcissist’s hoover?”

I got curious and looked into it, and here’s what I learned.

When you reject a narcissist’s hoover, they might respond by:

  • Increasing their efforts to win you over.
  • Playing the victim.
  • Trying to convince you that they’ve changed.
  • Launching a smear campaign against you.
  • Moving on to a new source of narcissistic supply.

In this post, I will explain these responses to help you understand what happens when you reject a narcissist’s hoovering attempts.

If you have or currently are experiencing narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse for help.

They Might Increase Their Efforts

When you reject a narcissist’s attempts to hoover you back into a relationship, one reaction you might see is an increase in their efforts to win you over.1 

It’s like when you say no to someone’s offer of a cookie, and they start offering you even more treats to get you to say yes. 

The narcissist might start sending more messages, making more calls, or even showing up in places where they know you’ll be, all in an attempt to get your attention. 

They could use tactics ranging from sweet-talking and promises of change to gifts and grand gestures. 

This intensified effort is driven by their inability to accept rejection, as they see it as a challenge to their control and self-image. 

Instead of respecting your boundaries, they double down, convinced they can persuade you to change your mind.

Suggested Reading: How Do Narcissists Try to Win You Back

They Might Play the Victim

Narcissists might shift tactics and play the victim when their hoovering attempts are firmly rejected. 

This means they start telling stories where they are the ones who have been wronged or hurt by your refusal to engage.2 

They might contact mutual friends or family members or even use social media to share tales of their suffering because of your rejection. 

A narcissist playing the victim while talking to someone on the phone.

This tactic is like someone who, after being told they can’t have something they want, tries to make everyone around them feel sorry for them, hoping this pressure will make you reconsider your stance. 

By playing the victim, they attempt to manipulate the situation, hoping to either draw you back out of guilt or tarnish your reputation among peers.

Suggested Reading: 10 Tactics Narcissists Use to Make You Feel Guilty

They May Try to Convince You That They’ve Changed

After their attempts at hoovering are rejected, some narcissists might engage in a show of self-improvement to convince you they have changed.3 

This could involve publicly taking up new hobbies, posting about self-help or therapy, and making grand declarations of personal growth. 

The key thing to remember here is that these actions are often more about appearance than genuine change. 

It’s like someone cleaning up the outside of their house, not because they want a nicer home but because they want passersby to admire it. 

By broadcasting their “transformation,” they hope to attract your attention and admiration, possibly making you question your decision to reject their hoovering attempts. 

However, without deep, genuine work on their underlying issues, these surface-level changes are unlikely to represent true personal growth.

Suggested Reading: 4 Reasons Narcissists Agree to Go to Couples Counseling

If you need help with anything related to narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.

They Launch a Smear Campaign

When a narcissist’s hoovering attempts are rejected, one reaction might be to launch a smear campaign against you.4 

Feeling wounded by the rejection and driven by a desire to retaliate, they may begin spreading rumors, lies, or half-truths about you to mutual acquaintances, friends, or even family members. 

A narcissist spreading lies to someone over the phone.

This is their way of “getting back” at you for resisting their attempts to re-establish control. 

By tarnishing your reputation, they aim to isolate you socially and perhaps even make you question your decision to maintain distance. 

It’s as if they’re trying to paint a picture where they are the victim and you are the one at fault, hoping to sway the opinions of those around you. 

This tactic not only serves as a form of revenge but also attempts to salvage their own ego by redirecting the narrative in their favor.

Suggested Reading: Will a Narcissist Try to Get Revenge?

They Move on to a New Source of Narcissistic Supply

Lastly, after persistent rejection, a narcissist may finally decide to move on and seek a new source of narcissistic supply

Recognizing that their efforts to hoover you back into the relationship are ineffective, they turn their attention to others who might provide the admiration and validation they continuously seek. 

This shift can happen quite rapidly, as a narcissist’s need for affirmation and control drives them to constantly look for more receptive audiences. 

Like a bee moving from flower to flower in search of nectar, they search for new individuals who are unaware of their manipulative tactics. 

This new focus allows them to once again play the role of the charming and attentive partner/parent/sibling/etc., at least in the beginning stages, until the cycle eventually repeats itself with someone else. 

This transition underscores the transactional nature of relationships for narcissists, where connections are pursued not for emotional intimacy but for the self-esteem boost they provide.

Suggested Reading: Why Do Narcissists Jump from Relationship to Relationship?

If you are ready to be more than a victim of narcissistic abuse, visit Unfilteredd’s Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse today.


Thank you so much for reading.

I hope this article has given you a clearer understanding of what can happen when you reject a narcissist’s attempts to hoover their way back into your life.

Now, I’d love to hear from you.

Have you ever faced a situation where you had to reject a narcissist’s hoover? What was the reaction, and how did you handle it?

What strategies have you found effective in maintaining your boundaries against a narcissist’s attempts to re-enter your life?

Or perhaps you’re looking for advice on navigating a similar situation currently unfolding in your life.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

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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.

Unfilteredd has strict sourcing guidelines and only uses high-quality sources to support the facts within our content. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate, actionable, inclusive, and trustworthy by reading our editorial process.

  1. The Editors. (2023. December, 1). How Does a Narcissist Handle Rejection and No Contact. UpJourney. https://upjourney.com/how-does-a-narcissist-handle-rejection-and-no-contact ↩︎
  2. Sandra Silva Casabianca, Traci Pedersen. (2021. May, 6). Why Do Narcissistic Personalities Play the Victim? Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/disorders/narcissistic-personality-disorder/narcissist-plays-the-victim ↩︎
  3. Jay Reid. (2022. June, 5). How Does a Narcissist Respond to Rejection? wikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Relationships/How-Does-a-Narcissist-Respond-to-Rejection ↩︎
  4. Marriage.com Editorial Team. (2023. February, 18). What Revenge Tactics You Can Expect from a Narcissist. Marriage.com. https://www.marriage.com/advice/mental-health/revenge-tactics-of-a-narcissist/ ↩︎

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