Love Bombing: Examples And Dangers
What could possibly be wrong with being showered with tokens of love and affection early in a relationship? After all, this can be flattering and even make you feel special. Unfortunately, while gestures like these are sometimes sincere acts of kindness and affection, the problem arises if they are actually hidden ulterior motives. Unfortunately, people are not always what they appear to be. That doesn’t mean every partner or potential suitor will pose a danger to you, but certain ones might. This article will help you discern what love bombing is so that you can avoid it or break away from someone who is currently love bombing you.
What Is Love Bombing?
Love bombing happens when an individual is subjected to an excessive amounts of grand gestures, signs of affection, extravagant gifts, and various acts that are supposed to convey appreciation and gratitude. With love bombing, the gifts and attention seem sweet until the person begins to participate in mental manipulation and attempted monopolization of your time and energy. Unlike genuine displays of affection, this manipulative tactic occurs purely for the purpose of distracting you from character flaws, establishing a toxic dynamic in the relationship, and ultimately maintaining control over your life.
In many regards, love bombing is almost a sort of grooming. It appears innocuous in the beginning, but as time goes on, the love bomber will eventually begin to expect certain things in return. The dark, insidious nature behind their seemingly sweet actions will ultimately reveal itself as time passes.
Subjection to love bombing can wreak serious emotional turmoil on the person experiencing it. For one, it’s not unusual for love bombers to suddenly disappear from the lives of the person they were showering with affection and grand gestures. A person may receive cards and flowers and go on amazing dates only to never hear from the love bomber again. People who love bomb are also known to engage in infidelity and erratic behavior.
People involved with a love bomber often begin to question themselves and wonder if they did something to alienate or turn off the person who was seemingly in love with them. While this train of thought is understandable, it’s important to understand that the only one responsible for the conduct of a love bomber is themselves. The switch between hot and cold is no fault of the person experiencing this. Instead, it has everything to do with the individual insecurities of the love bomber.
Love bombers generally have narcissism and low self-esteem; therefore, their erratic behavior occurs because of their desperation for reassurance and self-satisfaction. To be clear, people experiencing love bombing are not responsible for the actions of the love-bombing individual.
To truly comprehend this in its entirety, we must evaluate the mental state of individuals who perpetrate this type of behavior. Narcissism aside, love bombing people struggle with deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. Furthermore, they often fear that they lack the worthiness to be with a romantic partner. The overabundance of grand gestures and romantic acts is merely an attempt to overcompensate for low self-esteem, which they are battling internally.
This also explains why love bombers tend to ghost the victim after they’re done showering them with massive attention and gestures. Sometimes ghosting the person they are targeting is their twisted way of maintaining some sort of power or control.
What Are The Common Scenarios For Love Bombing?
People most often experience love bombing in the early days of a new relationship. In some cases, love bombers use these tactics to gain control over the victim, which ultimately fosters the development of abusive relationships.
However, you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship to be love-bombed. Many people try love-bombing to gain friends or as a tactic for feigning friendship with someone. As with romantic relationships, it could be to gain control of the person or to use them for some reason. In fact, love bombing is known to be an effective, yet deceptive ploy accounting for many successful recruitment drives. They enjoy luring people in by promising instant companionship and community.
The process of feigning friendship or companionship has been associated with early youth cults, but is now more widespread and utilized by a variety of groups. Unfortunately, many people fall for this ploy, thinking they are making true friends and forming a community.
In the majority of cases, love bombing happens over a period of time, but starts in the early days of the relationship or connection. There are also usually warning signs of this manipulation, but you have to know what to look for. Ultimately, the best way to shield yourself from these narcissistic tendencies is to recognize the warning signs.
One of the ultimate goals of the love bomber is to ensure that the person becomes mentally and emotionally reliant upon them. To achieve this endgame, the person doing the loving bombing will often take crafty and strategically-manipulative steps to make the person feel safe in the connection. Declarations of confidence in the relationship, proclamations of love, and moves to isolate the person from others are some moves that love bombers often employ to foster dependency. The attention and affection can seem wonderful early on, so the affected person may become dependent very quickly.
It’s important to understand that love bombers’ need for the people they manipulate to be dependent upon them goes back to their overall narcissism. Narcissism is a front for insecurity. Individuals who have this disorder desperately crave ongoing validation and admiration. The certainty of a healthy relationship is not enough for them. When their impossible-to-meet expectations fall short, the love bomber inevitably lashes out. This can make their new partner feel guilty, which prevents them from leaving the relationship or maintaining their boundaries.
In the majority of cases, being showered with ongoing praise and compliments feels nice. Who doesn’t want to be told what an amazing person they are? Now granted, not every person who issues compliments or flattery is a love bomber with narcissism. However, when flattery is excessive or feels extreme, then this can be a classic hallmark of an individual with an agenda.
You may wonder why a person who is a narcissist would devote time and energy toward flattering someone. In a nutshell, it comes down to control. The chemicals in a person’s brain change when they are continuously flattered. The love bomber, whether they know this or not, uses flattery as a means to manipulate them. Having the power of control is what gives the love bomber their high. Sometimes those on the receiving end are able to tell that something isn’t right. In other cases, they enjoy the attention and fail to realize the wolf beneath sheep’s clothing for quite some time.
Mistreatment of Others
The manner in which a love bomber treats other people is another very real sign of their motives. When a narcissist with an agenda showers you with “love,” it can be easy to become blindsided. However, one of the strongest indicators of their character is the manner in which they treat other individuals. When a narcissist comes into contact with others who can’t do anything for them, the ill-mannered way in which they treat those people speaks volumes.
Can A Love Bomber Be Redeemed?
Sometimes when people find themselves in a relationship with a toxic individual such as a love bomber, they may feel the urge to try to “save” that person. As well-intentioned as this may be, trying to save someone who has serious mental health issues can be dangerous. Whether or not they can be redeemed or improve as an individual depends upon a variety of factors.
However, it is not your job to try to save the person who is doing the love bombing. If you or someone you love winds up in a relationship with a love bomber, the best course of action is to end the relationship as gracefully as possible. In the beginning, this may be challenging, but ultimately it’s for your own mental health. Any relationship where a person’s main interest is manipulation and control is not an indicator of a healthy, mutually-respectful relationship.
Recovering From A Love Bomber
Because part of love bombing is getting you to cut ties with those around you. an important step to recovery is to reconnect with your family and friends. If you stopped participating in interests or activities you enjoyed, it’s also important to reengage in those things you once enjoyed.
Finally, you may need help recovering from the feelings and distrust that can result from a narcissistic relationship. Online therapy can help.
Seeking Professional Help
As one example, a study found that individuals who had been in narcissistic relationships often experienced similar mental health concerns, including trust issues, decreased self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. The study found that therapy helped survivors of narcissistic relationships understand how and why the relationship affected them the way it did, and provided tools to promote healing and restore their sense of self.
Dealing with love issues, relationship issues, or another entirely different matter, you may find that working with an in-person or online therapist can change your life. Research shows that online therapy can be a powerful tool in helping people overcome relationship issues. For example, one study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that individuals in an online therapy program experienced significant improvements in the following: depression and anxiety symptoms, work functioning, and overall quality of life. When you’re trying to navigate a relationship with love bombing, a licensed therapist can help you.
At BetterHelp, our objective is to aid those who come to us and assist them in finding and employing solutions when dealing with someone who is love bombing them. Online therapy is particularly advantageous because it’s available to anyone, regardless of their geographical residency, and at a time that’s convenient for them. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people experiencing similar issues.
"I love Lisa! I joined BetterHelp after a breakup. Lisa helped me to understand that I’m not alone in my feelings and that I need to be patient with myself. I was able to work through with her fairly quickly and she was always there when I needed her most. Can’t say enough about her!"
"Catherine’s been extremely helpful in helping me process my breakup! She’s definitely helped me a lot."
You are not responsible for the person who is doing the love bombing. If you are in a love-bombing relationship, the best thing to do is to end the relationship in the most graceful way possible. At first, this may be challenging, but it’s important for your mental health. It is not healthy for anyone to be in a relationship with someone whose only interest is manipulation and control. Hopefully, this article provided you with the information and confidence needed to make this major change. If you find yourself in this situation, seek help with a licensed therapist to help you manage this transition.
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