Love bombing is a sweetly descriptive term — sounds like being finally discovered and bombed with soft and gentle gestures of love.
When love bombs detonate on you, you can get intoxicating hits. You may feel like you never want to get out of the phase.
However, after a few weeks or months, it no longer feels as nice as it did at first. How long do you think can love bombing actually last?
Love bombing can make you feel like you’re being invisibly stalked. Even when they are not physically present, you have the sensation that they are encircling you.
What love bombing really means?
Love bombing is a type of relationship manipulation in which a person lavishes excessive compliments, attention, presents, and sweet words on their targeted mate, to seduce them and later control them. It is usually carried out by an expert manipulator, like a narcissist.
While love bombing can seem like a delightful and euphoric state of courtship at first, sooner or later it devolves into a cruel state of abuse and control.
Love bombers are blatant liars who freely use flattery and gaslighting to entice and control their lovers and partners.
Love bombing always has a short shelf life. It evaporates as soon as the manipulator has effectively made you believe in them so much that you develop a strong attachment to them. It is at this point that they begin to exert power over you.
What does love bombing mean to a narcissist?
Narcissists use love bombing to trick their date into thinking they are as good as their soul mates. As love bombers, they lavish you with dependable and insatiable love. Narcissists pretend to be deeply in love with you while actually building you up to fulfill their own selfish needs.
When you fall for them, it inflates their egos because they feel proud of their ability to capture your attention.
What does love bombing feel like?
Love bombing may feel fantastic at first since it creates the illusion of being swept off your feet by a person who is hopelessly in love with you. In time, it begins to suffocate you as the narcissist love-bomber invades your personal space, steals your me-time, and follows you wherever you go.
Love bombing is flooding someone with affection and attraction.
After the initial euphoric phase, you grow an uneasy feeling, suspecting that those sweet crumbs they are throwing at your path will lead to a dark dungeon.
You start to notice how they blame you for neglecting them when you spend time with other people.
Love-bombing is a part of the “idealizing” phase of the narcissistic abuse cycle. It is absent in the next phases of “devaluing” and “discarding.” Love bombing may return in the “hoovering” phase.
How is love bombing different from falling in love?
True romantic love may include “excessively sweet” gestures of love and co-dependency, but it does not include boundary violations and usurpation of their lover’s independence. Love bombing is manipulative and calculative, aimed at getting the person of interest under control in the garb of love, and then using them to draw a narcissistic supply.
A love bomber so much lords over your time and attention that they lead to isolating you from other people in your life.
So, when narcissists take back their shows of love, the victim feels alone but has no one to turn to other than the narcissist.
Love bombing can seem like the honeymoon phase of courtship, but it is not, since it is driven by a desire to get payback in the form of validation and submission.
Love bombing will always include an element of feeling uneasy (queasy), encroached upon, and rushed into. Romantic love does not do those, even in whirlwind romances.
What is the purpose or motive of the love bombing?
1. Desire To Control
Love bombing can an entrapment tool that sociopaths, narcissists, and borderline personalities use to get their victims under their control.
Afterward, a narcissist may use the victim to draw a narcissistic supply. And a sociopath (formerly called psychopath) may use love bombing as a secret weapon to kidnap, torment, or harm their victim.
Love bombing is ultimately a means to capture attention, boost egos, fulfill self-importance needs, and wield unquestioned power and control.
Ted Bundy was a sociopath to his murdered victims, but probably, he was also a narcissist to his wife.
2. Cultural Habit
However, excessive adulation and adoration might be a cultural and familial aspect. The person may have grown up in an environment of excessive affection.
They are usually innocent of the modern dating norms, and mostly harmless. They agree to change their behavior when asked.
3. Prolonged Loneliness
A long period of being alone, whether forced social loneliness or self-imposed solitude, can make a person hanker for love. They may shower abnormal amounts of love in the hope of not losing you and being alone again.
Their sense of immediacy of partnering and show of over-affection may be because of an insecure attachment style (either avoidant or anxious or a combination). These people tend to have low trust in others to satisfy their emotional needs.
This study showed that people with an insecure attachment style were more likely to engage in love bombing.
Signs of Love-Bombing: How to know you are love-bombed?
Actually, a love bomber behaves much like “The Tinder Swindler” – a scamster using the dating app to find a girlfriend and con them into funding an extravagant lifestyle for himself.
The signs to know that you are love-bombed:
- They hold you in high praise and compliment you non-stop, even praising your dumb mistakes.
- They become overjoyed in your joys, overly concerned in your worries, and overly sad in your sorrows.
- They express their love for you early on and display public displays of affection (“touchy and feely”).
- They overwhelm you with extravagant gifts which make you feel indebted to them.
- Their love gestures seem to come at you like a rapid-fire series of explosions, without letting you think deeply.
- They invite you to exotic places for dinners and holidays and are reluctant to accept your no for an answer.
- They behave like they have an excessive need for your emotional validation, are dependent on you for even small decisions, and are constantly seeking your attention.
- They always disregard your boundaries and explain them as romantic gestures.
- They communicate with you intensely and almost constantly, texting, calling, and messaging you at all hours of the day and night.
- They keep love-bombing at an incessant pace, without respite or breathing space, and will often disappear if you ask them to slow down the dating or the wooing process.
Who invented the term “love bombing?”
During the 1970s, the Unification Church of the United States (a controversial cult known as the Moonies) originated the term “love bombing.” Margaret Singer, a psychology professor, reported on the topic in her 1996 book, Cults in Our Midst.
Singer claimed that the Moonies employed love bombing to recruit followers. Cult leaders would persuade new members that they are loved, desired, and safe. After creating trust and dependency, they would begin the abuse process.
Why love bombing is a red flag?
Love bombing is a red flag because it hints at a veiled attempt to entice the victim, isolate them from their social networks, and finally control them.
Love bombing forewarns of impending abuse and mistreatment if not stopped in its tracks.
Do all narcissists love-bomb?
No. Research shows love bombers have low self-esteem. But neither all narcissists love bombers, nor all love bombers are narcissists.
Healthy love begins with a comfortable friendship. It then grows by accepting and negotiating each other’s differences, feeling supported without undue demands, and moving toward realistic future dreams.
Love bombing occurs on the opposite end, and breeds a toxic relationship.
If you are having an intuition that the person you are dating is a love-bombing narcissist, don’t brush it off. Narcissists usually wear a mask when they meet a new person.
If you suspect you are in their trap and cannot extricate yourself, then take the help of mental health professional.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental wellbeing, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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