“Am I a narcissist?” Wow! That was a tough question to ask myself. And, believe me, I wrestled with not just the question, but the possibility the answer might be, “Yes!” for many days (and more nights than I care to recall). The way I looked at it, if the narcissist could love bomb me with an unbelievable love, something I had only ever dreamed of, and I could actually return that very same “love,” didn’t that mean that I was also a narcissist? That I was love bombing her, too?
Have you ever noticed how, when the narcissist returns, for a short while, things are not only good between you, things are actually fantastic?! In fact, things are just like they used to be when you first started dating. This is called the hoovering phase. This is the phase that generally occurs after the discard phase. Hoovering, named after the famous vacuum cleaner from the early 20th Century, is when the narcissist acts just like s/he did when you first met. There are grandiose expressions of adoration, emotional moments where the narcissist seems to, “…finally get it!” You think there’s been some grand epiphany! “S/He’s hurt me so much, but now they’re so apologetic, sincere, and loving. Finally! This is the turning point for us.” Be forewarned: this is only temporary. Allow me to explain the different phases of a relationship with a narcissist.