Love Bombing: How to Recognize and End It
Love is something we all want in our lives. We are not only talking about the love of romantic partners but also the love of a family member or a close friend.
It’s, after all, a sentiment we can express to anyone that goes beyond the romantic.
However, sometimes love can be the perfect cover for toxic behaviors.
One of these unhealthy relationships is love bombing, a form of attachment typical of psychologically abusive relationships that occurs in both toxic social relationships and cults.
The term love bombing describes a calculated, false, and excessive expression of attention and love with the aim of manipulating another person and their behavior.
Although most commonly associated with romantic relationships, it is also present in cults and gangs to attract new members and control existing members.
How does Love Bombing work?
The basic characteristic of this behavior is too much of everything that is otherwise desirable in a relationship, such as showing love, giving support, and paying attention, in too little time.
However, such excessive interest on the part of one partner is disingenuous and superficial, and so overwhelming for the other that he cannot even enjoy all the tokens of affection he receives.
A partner who is the victim of such boundless love will feel uncomfortable and the whole relationship will develop too quickly and too intensely and will intuitively feel that there is something strange about the whole story.
It is extremely important to emphasize that this variety of love only exists at the beginning of a relationship.
If the partner soon feels like they are on safe ground, they will soon show a completely different face, because their true goal is not to love the person they are in a relationship with but to manipulate them.
Love bombing is the most common conquest tactic used by individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder or narcissistic traits.
They are not looking for a soul mate to live in love with for the rest of their life, but for a victim to manipulate to achieve their goals and interests.
How do you recognize Love Bombing?
The love-bombing perpetrator revels easily and extensively in declarations of love and gestures of affection, always says the right thing at the right time, and makes plans and a future together that sound too good to be true.
He insists that the victim shares all his worries and problems with him and generously offers to solve them. He presents himself as a savior.
He also has a keen interest in the victim’s family, friends, and ex-partners, which is why, with a covert motive, he constantly asks them about them to find out their shortcomings, and then regularly mentions them in a negative context.
Such behavior aims to glorify and praise oneself to better present oneself in the eyes of the victim.
He also intends to isolate the victim and distance him from those close to him.
He also treats other people he comes into contact with who are not important to him (waiter, clerk, taxi driver, etc.) in an ugly manner.
Certain behaviors that are characteristic of love bombing can also be exhibited by people with low self-esteem, who in turn portray high levels of independence and self-confidence.
Likewise, people with an insecure attachment style or bad experiences from previous relationships can be love bombers.
4 Stages of Love Bombing
Immediately after the meeting, the perpetrator showers the victim with attention.
His behavioral repertoire includes excessive flattery, gift-giving, and other extravagant gestures of affection, travel and even living together, and insisting on seeing family and friends as soon as possible.
Once the abuser has infiltrated the victim’s life and become their central figure, they gradually reduce the intensity of the worship.
At the same time, it separates and isolates the victim from those close to them and the existing social network, reassuring them that they are the only ones they can count on.
Affection and anger alternate, depending on whether or not the victim behaves according to the abuser’s expectations and demands.
In the first two phases, the victim always feels pushed and pushed into something that he is not yet ready for, namely living together, planning a family, and the like.
The victim begins to doubt the authenticity of the relationship and the partner’s good intentions.
Therefore, this partner does everything possible to damage the victim’s self-esteem as much as possible and keeps them away from family and friends who could confirm that something is wrong and help them leave.
At this stage, the abuser becomes colder and more cruel, gets angry easily, and expresses his disappointment at the victim’s behavior, which does not correspond to his ideas.
The previous phases can be repeated several times before the relationship breaks down.
The abuser will end the relationship if he loses interest in the victim or decides that the victim is too difficult to control.
Also, rejecting the victim may only be a temporary tactic used by the perpetrator, only to return as a rescuer in the future.
How to protect yourself from love bombing?
Certainly what can protect us from becoming a victim of this type of abuse is being content with ourselves and our own lives.
We achieve this by maintaining good and close family and friendship relationships and having trustworthy people with whom we can be honest and open about all aspects of our lives.
When we do a job we love and engage in activities that bring us fulfillment, we further strengthen our positive self-image and we are less likely to need someone’s adoration to make us feel good.
When we meet someone who seems “too good to be true,” it is desirable to pay attention to the relationship between what a person does and says.
Tell him openly that the relationship is going too fast and too intense for you. It is important to trust your impression and intuition.
Finally, when the relationship with the abuser has reached a stage where it is obvious that his intentions are not good at all, it is necessary to completely break off contact as soon as possible.
After that, connect with loved ones as much as you can and ask for their support.