Until recently, I had never heard of the term “love bombing.” But upon further research I realized that even though I never heard the term, I had experienced it first hand in a past relationship.
Unfortunately, I know love bombing all too well.
Love bombing is yet another manipulation tactic used by narcissist’s. While there are many reasons behind why a narcissist love bombs, those reasons are typically selfish ones.
If you haven’t experienced love bombing before, it can blindside you! Often times, this tactic is mistaken by the victim as “true love” or a “whirlwind romance.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The best way to protect yourself from this manipulation tactic is through educating yourself. The more you know and recognize what love bombing is, the less likely you are to fall prey to it.
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What Is Love Bombing?
Love bombing is when someone overwhelms another with attention, flattery and adoration.
Instead of a flattery and adoration increasing overtime once you get to know and love the other person, love bombing happens immediately when you meet a narcissist. One day you just met and exchanged phone numbers. The next you’re receiving overwhelming text messages of how in love they are.
In most cases, love bombing occurs at the beginning of a relationship and starts up again if the victim expresses interest in leaving the relationship.
This type of tactic is considered intense to say the least. Flattery and adoration are not only shown immediately in a new relationship, but they’re shown intensely. This can leave the victim feeling shocked by the intensity and the fast-pace of the new relationship.
But the victim will usually enjoy the extra attention and flattery because the love bombing is often mistaken for a sign of “true love.”
Love bombing can be used as a manipulation tactic not only by narcissists, but sociopaths and psychopaths alike. Although the love bombing may seem authentic, it always has a deeper meaning.
It’s used by someone to receive a certain result from another person. Whether it’s control or receiving adoration back there are many reasons someone love bombs.
In fact, it doesn’t always apply to a romantic relationship…
The term love bombing was not coined by psychologists, but by cult leaders. It is a common manipulation tactic used by cult leaders to persuade people into a cult. Cult leaders (or the cult members closest to them) use love bombing as a way of showing extreme adoration toward a potential member.
This is done for a couple reasons. The cult leader (and other members) want the person to feel a part of something special. An elite group of individuals trying to change the world.
Overtime, love bombs are replaced with controlling behavior to change who a person is into what the cult leader wants.
Love bombing is used as a manipulative recruitment tool to give a potential member the appearance that the cult is “good” or not a cult.
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Reasons Behind The Tactic
There are many reasons for someone to love bomb another. But the reason is always different depending on the narcissist and the end result he or she is seeking.
While these don’t cover all of the reasons behind it, here are some common reasons for love bombing:
To build themselves up- Since narcissists are master manipulators, they strive to give the appearance of being the perfect boyfriend/girlfriend through excessive gifts and compliments.
To receive adoration in return- Narcissists are only concerned with themselves. Therefore, they may love bomb in order to receive gifts, compliments and attention back.
To control- Once someone flatters with excessive adoration, overtime the adoration will disappear. This allows a narcissist to start controlling and abusive behavior, that way you are reshaped into the image he or she wants you to be.
To trap- Love bombing can be used as a way of “trapping” or “buttering someone up” to convince them to be in a relationship. Then once their in a relationship, narcissistic abuse sets in.
To keep- The tactic is often used in the beginning of a relationship, then tapered off overtime till excessive flattery completely disappears. But once the victim expresses they want to leave the relationship, love bombing begins again to convince he or she to stay.
Allows he/she to see your boundaries- If you accept extravagant gifts, a narcissist feels you have lowered your boundaries to invite he/she into your life.
Although these six reasons don’t cover all the possible reasons, they are some of the common reasons of why love bombing occurs. It all depends on the person.
How To Tell If Someone Is Love Bombing You
-Excessive text messages or calls
-Gift giving- flowers, concert tickets, jewelry
-Hearing statements like “You’re my true love!” “We’re just so right for each other.” “I’ve never met anyone like you before.”
-Always wanting to be together
-Not wanting you to spend time with other people
-The relationship feels like a “whirlwind”
-Rushing plans to marry or move in together
-Leaving love notes on your bathroom mirror or car
-Visiting you at work unannounced
-Buying expensive jewelry
-Stopping by your house or apartment unannounced just because he/she was thinking of you
Again, these are just some of the examples of when someone love bombs. It’s common for the victim to feel rushed or pressured into the relationship.
Bombing does feel intense and may even go as far as making the victim feel stalked. Although these may seem like minor acts of kindness, the love bombs is considered extreme or excessive.
When someone is showered with gifts at the beginning of a relationship, then are suddenly cut off by that same person you never know how the abuse in the relationship will progress.
What To Do
If you have started to feel uncomfortable, unsettled or stalked by someone you’re seeing in the early stages of the relationship, it’s important to not ignore the way you feel! Don’t dismiss your feelings and think you are over-reacting or being overly-cautious.
You have every right to be overly-cautious, especially in the very early phases of a relationship.
Once you’ve recognized you feel uncomfortable by someone’s love bombing, it’s time to have a serious conversation with the love bomber.
If you are truly dealing with someone who is just excited about being in a new relationship with you, you will probably experience an open line of communication with that person. He or she won’t become angry about how you feel and will certainly apologize for their grand and enthusiastic actions toward you.
But if love bombing is being used as a manipulation tactic from a narcissist, you will be met with confrontation.
A narcissist or sociopath will become defensive or angry about how you feel uncomfortable. Instead of apologizing, he/she will likely turn things around to make you feel as though there is something wrong with YOU for not feeling comfortable about excessive adoration.
Then, a narcissist may go as far as trying to “sell” you on the idea that the act of gift giving is perfectly normal behavior and you should accept the “love” he/she has to give through gifts, comments, etc.
When you sit down to have an open dialogue with someone about how you feel…
Stay firm about your beliefs and feelings toward the person and your relationship. Remember, narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths are all master manipulators who will try to twist your words to confuse and lower your self-esteem.
Next, if the love bomber continues to try and shower you with excessive adoration, Stop communication!
I know it sounds harsh, but this tactic from a narcissist is emotional abuse. The bombing is used as a way to lure you into an abusive relationship with him/her. While he/she may seem loving and kind now, the love bombs will stop and controlling and abusive behavior will replace it.
Think of it this way… If you have already discussed your feelings about how uncomfortable you are with the excessive adoration and the person continues to drop love bombs, he/she is crossing the boundary line.
The relationship boundary line that you made clear to him/her is disregarded because he/she doesn’t respect you opinion or feelings toward the matter. The continuance of love bombing could cross the line into stalking behavior.
Please be aware that some cases do get to the point of stalking!
Thirdly, always make sure that a close friend or relative knows about the love bombing behavior. Although it may not seem like a big deal, love bombs do turn into abuse through time.
A friend or relative can help keep you safe just in case you decide to continue the relationship with a love bomber. If it’s a fairly new relationship, you may even want to always tell a friend or relative when you’re with a love bomber.
And if you are concerned about boundaries, take safety a step further and always meet in a crowded place or go on double dates with a friend.
The tactic behind the act of loving bombing someone is always manipulation. Each narcissist, sociopath or psychopath that uses the tactic has an end scheme in mind that only they know.
It’s important to recognize how to tell if someone is love bombing you. The act itself is tricky because love bombs occurs (normally) at the beginning stages of a relationship and is often mistaken for “true love.”
Don’t get me wrong… There are plenty of instances of immediate attraction between two people combined with expensive gifts and it turns out to be true love.
But if expensive gifts, flattery and adoration reach an excessive level and the relationship feels rushed, it’s best to address the love bomber with the following steps:
Sit down and discuss how uncomfortable you feel about the love bombing.
If the love bombing continues, break with communication with the love bomber.
(If you continue to see the love bomber) Always inform a friend or relative about the situation.
Take steps to ensure your own safety (meet in public places, tell a friend where you’re going).
Remember, love bombs are a false illusion by someone who (most likely) has not fallen in love. It is a form of manipulation and once he/she feels you are “easily controllable,” the love bombs disappear and emotional abuse sets in.
It’s ultimately your choice as to whether or not to continue a relationship with someone who love bombs. But remember to stay firm in the boundaries YOU set in your relationship!
Have you been loved bombed before? Comment below and tell me your story!