The cycle of lovebombing, devaluation, discard, and hoovering

Lovebombing (idealisation stage)

Love bombing is a strategy the narcissist engages in to ensnare their victims quickly by providing an environment that makes their target feel desirable, confident and loved. Strategies the narcissist employs are grandiose in nature, and intense, with the victim being bombarded with messages and gestures that pull at their hypothetical heart strings. These may include incredible statements of passion and desire likened to a romance novel or a hallmark greeting card, poetry and music, generous gifts and holidays, or constant messages implying a future with you which is described in narcissistic abuse recovery as “future faking”.

Many victims describe their feelings in the initial love bombing stage as euphoric, like they were on a pink cloud of happiness, and they had never felt so desired by another person. The intensity of these feelings is extremely important in the narcissistic cycle of abuse because it is these “good” feelings the victim will remember when they inevitably come to a screeching holt. It is this euphoria that will trump all manners of abuse and set the victim up for an incredibly high tolerance for abuse, believing the pink cloud will return at any time.

Devaluation stage

The love bombing phase is unsustainable because the narcissist is only interested in the end goal; and that is their desire for you to reflect back to them, just how amazing THEY are. When their mask inevitably drops the true self is revealed, and that is when you will be punished eternally for your inside knowledge around their true self. This is called the devaluation stage.

The narcissist’s need to punish you, and constant boredom results in never ending conflict in the relationship. The devaluing process continues as the narcissist intentionally incites arguments and ruins special times by creating drama. They will use strategies such as coercive control, isolation, sabotage, triangulation, gaslighting, projection, word salad, financial abuse, and the silent treatment, to punish, manipulate and control their victim. The victim unknowingly increases their threshold for abuse, and lowers their threshold for respect, as they try to bring back the person they fell in love with.

The Discard stage

The narcissist disposes of their victim when they no longer see any usefulness in them. Everyone has a use by date as far as the narcissist is concerned. People are viewed as replaceable. They are objectified and are only as good as their ability to meet the narcissist’s needs.

You will not get any closure after the discard because the narcissist wants you to pine for them and beg them to come back. They want you to be miserable to punish you for not worshipping them anymore, for not being perfect, and because you saw behind the mask.

The discard is inevitable. From the supply and demand perspective of the narcissist, you were empty of narcissistic supply (because they had abused you so much), and they needed a full tank. You were unable to boost their ego any longer so it is imperative for them to move on to another source they have not yet abused.

The Hoover stage

“Hoovering” is another term we use in narcissistic abuse recovery which refers to the narcissist’s actions to bring you back, or “suck” you back into the vortex of the abuse. The answer to why the narcissist comes back to “hoover” you is quite simple. The narcissist comes back to see if you’re up for another round of abuse, to make sure you don’t heal, and to regain control of you.

When they come back to hoover you, they are staking a claim for that which they worked very hard, and to tap into a trusty old source for potent narcissistic supply. The narcissist knows the most opportune time to begin a successful hoover manoeuvre. That time will nearly always be when it looks like you are starting to heal, to move on and possibly forget about them.

Hoovering is not just specific to sucking you back into an intimate or friendship relationship with the narcissist. It can just as often be to reengage you into arguing with them, so they are able to garner that negative supply from you. When the narcissist hoovers it is only ever to inflict more emotional torture and to reclaim you as a reliable form of narcissistic supply.

Nova will help you to recognise these 4 stages as part of the narcissist’s intentional and habitual cycle of abuse so you are able to heal, and never be the victim of a narcissist again.