Falling in love is an art – an art that most of us are good at (?) – when you think about love with rose-tinted glasses, it’s all about the sweet, healthy, and absolutely heartwarming ways of expressing your feelings. Maybe you guys were just best friends who fell in love one fine day. Or, maybe you met on a dating platform, or maybe it was just love at first sight.
Every other rom-com from the 2000s has a very similar plot – but sometimes, love can really make things weird. It can all eventually go south – like, way, way south. Enter a brand new manipulative tactic known as Love Bombing. The thing about love bombing is that it is pretty abusive, but at the same time, it is very hard to detect, especially when it’s unleashed on some unsuspecting love-struck person.
But here we are, ready to spread some awareness about this brand-new manipulation known as Love Bombing! Stay tuned to find out.
Exploring Love Bombing: What Is Love Bombing?
So, what is love bombing? Have you watched ‘The Tinder Swindler’ on Netflix? It’s the perfect example of a love bombing. When someone starts showering excessive affection, attention, and admiration over you with the sole purpose of making you not just dependent on them but obligated to them,
Simply put, love bombing is one manipulative dating technique used by different abusive and narcissistic individuals. According to Cosmopolitan, the owner of Intentional Hearts Counseling Services, Lori Nixon Bethea, Ph.D., said a few words,
“Love bombers seek to quickly obtain the affection and attention of someone they are romantically pursuing by presenting an idealized image of themselves.” The actual goal? To start enhancing their own ego by just gaining power over the ones who were pursued. The truth is just about anyone is capable of engaging in love bombing. But most often, it is considered to be a common symptom associated with narcissistic personality disorder, according to Ami Kaplan, a psychotherapist.
Kaplan further explains, “Love bombing is largely an unconscious behavior. It’s about really getting the other person. Then, when they feel like they really got the person and they feel secure in the relationship, the narcissist typically switches and becomes very difficult, abusive, or manipulative.”
At the same time, she mentions how the person who was earlier idealizing their partner will end up switching to simply devaluing them.
Love Bombing: Origins
While it is considered to be common narcissistic behavior, the term ‘love bombing’ was never coined by psychologists initially. In reality, this behavior was first started among popular cult leaders.
Have you heard about the American cult known as Moonies? The members of Moonies originally hail from the Unification Church based in the United States. These people actually loved bombed their new recruits and started encouraging them to start joining their fellowships.
Other cult leaders such as David Koresh and Jim Jones were narcissists and loved bombing their recruits with excessive attention and positive reinforcement for manufacturing feelings of loyalty and intense unity. The love bombing cycle is addictive for both the bomber and the victim.
In this context, Sasha Jackson, a licensed therapist, said, “Love bombing is characterized by excessive attention, admiration, and affection with the goal to make the recipient feel dependent and obligated to that person.” Love bombing is a chilling tactic that is commonly used by abusers, narcissists, and even different con artists.
Love Bombing: What A BIG Confusion!
Thanks to all the endorphin and dopamine boosts that you are going to achieve from the love bomber’s attention and even lavish gifts, it is going to feel pretty great in the beginning. But soon, this feeling will transform into confusion. In this context, Sasha Jackson’s (according to Cosmopolitan) father mentions,
“You feel special, needed, loved, valuable, and worthy, which are all the components that contribute to and increase a person’s self-esteem.”
In the beginning, honestly, everything will start feeling perfect, and you will be overwhelmed with all the love and attention. Like, hello, it’s going to be all about the affirmation and validation that you have always wanted. But once the love bomber gains your trust, the manipulation, the abuse, and the conning begin.
It’s like someone has suddenly turned off their switch – this human who had treated you so well in the past suddenly starts to control, belittle, and eventually devalue you. It does sound nightmarish.
Love Bombing: Dangers Associated
You don’t have to google ‘love bombing meaning’ to find out what the term stands for! Love Bombing is incredibly detrimental to anyone’s mental health just because it is a type of emotional abuse. At the same time, it has so much to do with the universal law of reciprocity. In this context, Sasha Jackson says,
“If someone gives you something, you feel that you owe them something equal or greater in return. So if your partner is giving you excessive love and attention, you feel like you have to give this behavior, dedication, or ‘loyalty’ in return despite the red flags of your experience.”
For some people, love bombing can also grow into a manipulative cycle of abusive behavior. Once the victim is hooked to their love bomber, they not just manage to obtain control over the victim’s heart and mind but also get their egos boosted. This is the phase where the love bomber no longer possesses any use for the victim and starts withdrawing from the particular relationship.
The moment a love bomber starts to withdraw, they start abusing the victim emotionally. They will throw insults at the victim, make certain disparaging remarks, cause the victim to feel devalued and invalidated, and ultimately gaslight the victim.
Such manipulative people are always aware that they can exercise control over the victim and even decide to walk away whenever it feels convenient. At the same time, they are also aware that they can come back at any point to continue this toxic cycle of manipulation and abuse.
Experiencing Love Bombing? Let Us Help You!
We can spend hours talking about love bombing, and so many of you will not even realize that you could be a victim of this toxic cycle of abuse. That is precisely why we are going to help you identify the signs of love bombing and what to do in case you are a victim of the same. Doesn’t that sound so much better? We figured so!
Then why waste time? Scroll down and get familiar with the signs of love bombing and dealing with your love bomber in case you identify as a victim of the same! (Don’t worry, we got your back!)
Signs Of Love Bombing:
When dating any love bomber, there is no guarantee that the relationship will appear the same in most situations.
But of course, there will be a few common signs in most love-bombing partners – from obsessive flattery and consistent complimentary texting to extravagant gifts and prompt replies, you can easily identify a love bomber if you pay close attention. So, here we go!
- “I love spoiling you (especially after your partner has done something wrong.)” – is your partner showering you with extravagant gifts within a short span of the relationship, especially after a fight?
- “I want to be around you always” – is your partner acting clingy all the time? Not respecting your boundaries or space at any point in the relationship is not a good idea.
- “I keep checking on your because I tend to worry.” If they love checking in on you ONCE IN A WHILE, then that’s cute. But if they call you frequently, get insecure about your whereabouts when you don’t pick up, or ask for your social media passwords, that’s love bombing.
- “We are meant to be together always – you and me forever.” You need to be cautious if things start getting intense fast. If they start referring to you as their twin flame or soul mate, then there’s a good chance you are getting love bombed without realizing it.
- A love bomber could completely isolate you from all your friends and family. For instance, your partner might get mad at you when you make plans with your friends or family without them, making you feel guilty.
- Lastly, another thing that any love bomber does is shower their victims with excessive compliments, gifts, and affection. At the same time, very early during the courtship period, the love bomber will definitely persuade you to commit.
Dealing With Love Bombing: What To Do If You Are Love-Bombed?
You do not need to look at any example of love bombing to find out how love bombing is a type of emotional and psychological manipulation. At the same time, it is absolutely normal to experience a strong and intense attachment to a manipulative love bomber. And not just feeling attached, you can also defend their toxic traits without realizing their true identities.
When narcissists start controlling someone, they usually seek deep-seated insecurities and subsequently determine ways of exploitation. For example, it might start to feel like only this person can truly understand you – it might start feeling like a relationship where you are getting everything you have always wanted from the relationship.
If you do realize that you are getting love-bombed, then the best thing to do is to eliminate yourself from the abusive situation safely. It’s best that you also seek a solid support system outside the situation. Moreover, if you think it is still very early and your partner is just crushing hard on you, then having a simple conversation can fix things for you.
If someone is manipulating or controlling you, you must stop communicating with them safely – it’s the safest way out of such a situation. Of course, you cannot change the behavior of a love bomber, and it is not really your job to change someone – professional experts who are not emotionally invested can be of better help to such people instead of you!
The best thing you can do? It’s simple really – you just have to dump them and move on entirely from the toxic situation.
Relationships Are A Pain In The A**! Period!
Our apologies for such a statement, but it is kinda true. Until and unless you turn to anyone outside your relationship, you might find it very hard to understand that you are dating a toxic and manipulative person. It is best to seek a close family member or friend – this confidant will make you confident and even help you look for a support group or even a therapist.
There are several support groups out there who help with love bombing, even if these groups do not usually use any such term. Taking slow and small steps can help you to set boundaries – getting support from others might encourage you to take the necessary action to remove yourself from such situations. So tell us, what your thoughts on love bombing are? And have you ever been love bombed? If you have experienced love bombing in the past, let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.