Be cautious; this is not love but manipulation. Read on to learn what love bombing is and how you can protect yourself.
Ultimately, after a lot of left and right swipes, you discovered the “Perfect One” (It seems like your time spent on dating apps has finally paid off.)
This new person feels incredible. In fact, it’s too good to be true. He/she treats you like royalty, showers you with gifts and compliments, and never ceases to amaze you with their unique charm. They keep reminding you how important you are to their survival and how their entire world revolves around you. It feels great, right? Like a beautiful fairytale?
However, despite everything, you feel frazzled and a bit confined. There is always that nagging feeling that something is wrong. But why?
Do they always want you close by, secluded from others, leaving little space for you? Or make you feel like you’re on a rollercoaster of emotions all the time?
Then, my dear, it is likely that you are a victim of a love bombing.
Although being in love can be lovely, being “love bombed” can lead to emotional abuse and control. Continue reading to find out what love bombing is and how to get away with it safely.
Table of Contents
What is love bombing? Why does it happen?
Love bombing is a form of severe manipulation and emotional abuse in which the other person showers you with excessive compliments, unmatched attention, gifts, and other displays of affection to gain control over you. It can also be used as a tactic to quickly build trust and get on the good side of an individual.
In some cases, love bombers may even try to convince their victims that they are the only one “true” partner they can depend on. In short, they purposefully make the other person fall for them, often by coaxing and cajoling or emotionally overwhelming or suppressing them by showing how much effort they are putting in, making the other person feel guilty for not giving back.
Typically, love bombing occurs in three phases:
- The idealization phase
- The devaluation phase
- The discard phase
The Idealization phase:
Typically, this love bombing tactic starts at the beginning of a relationship, which we call the “honeymoon phase”. The abuser lures the victim into a dream world in which they are treated like a queen or king and bombards them with affection, compliments, and presents. This may include cute love notes, long phone calls, 24/7 text messages, constant flirting, and reassurance that you are the one they ever wanted. In a nutshell, everything and anything that can make one deeply attached to them
The devaluation phase:
However, once the honeymoon period is over, they gradually begin to withdraw the bounties they offered in the first place. The texts become fewer in number, the phone calls become shorter, and they begin to distance themselves. In the meantime, the victim becomes emotionally dependent on the abuser, which they take advantage of.
Under the guise of love and possessiveness, they show their anger and jealousy by issuing ridiculous demands, like that the victim must spend all of his or her time with the abuser, which can cause the victim to withdraw further from his or her support system. In extreme cases, the abuser may employ physical violence, intimidation, and fear to control the victim’s behavior. Worse still, the abuser keeps gaslighting the victim during this time, leading them to believe that they are to blame for the abuser’s behavior. As a result, the victim loses control over their own lives, giving the abuser more power.
The discard phase:
Usually, in such cases, the victim’s emotional dependence typically prevents them from recognizing the manipulation being exerted over them. However, even if the victim is exhausted and devastated enough to confront the abuser about his or her bad behavior, the abuser will still avoid accountability by arguing, playing the blame game, or simply abandoning the relationship. Their method of breaking up usually leaves the victim feeling guilty, bewildered, and miserable.
Why does love bombing happen?
Psychologists and researchers agree that a person’s insecurities, lack of trust, traumatic experiences, and need for social connection are the root causes of love bombing. Typically, love bombers are considered narcissists who want to keep the person to themselves and enjoy their unshared attention and love. They get a kick out of seeing someone fall helplessly in love with them, become dependent on them, and focus all of their attention on them. They get annoyed if you mention or compliment someone else in front of them because they can not stand even a slight diversion of their focus.
“If you reject advances from someone who is love bombing you or they feel you are not responding to their needs, they may threaten or berate you,” says Dr. Alaina Tiani, PhD, a psychologist. “Their underlying insecurities cause them to seek constant reassurance that they are loved and worthy.”
Love bombing, though, can take place anywhere, whether on purpose or accidentally. Usually, it occurs in romantic relationships, but guess what? Love bombing is not limited to strangers; it can happen among people you know, too. This includes your closest friends, your confidante, and your family members. Scary, right?
What kind of people fall for love bombing?
Since it is a dark psychological tactic, love bombing can be used on anyone. However, the one with the most vulnerability is the one who will yield to love bombing. People with low self-esteem, those who are lonely, or people looking for validation and acceptance can easily fall prey to this vicious cycle. It does not help when they see someone showering them with the unconditional love and attention that they have been yearning for.
There are other characteristics that may make someone more likely to fall for love bombing, such as: being highly sensitive and easily swayed by emotions, not having a strong support system, trusting people too quickly, or having an inability to recognize manipulation. All of these traits can be exploited by the love bomber and used to their advantage.
The Use of Trauma Bonding In Love Bombing
Love bombers often use trauma bonding to keep their victims hooked. Trauma bonding, also known as Stockholm Syndrome, is an emotional attachment that forms between a victim and an abuser during traumatic situations. This bond can be so strong that the victim feels an inexplicable loyalty towards the abuser, even when they know it’s wrong or unhealthy for them.
Manipulators can portray hostile or intimidating situations as acts of passion, excitement, or love. For instance, they might distance you from your friends and family out of what they claim to be possessiveness; they might prevent you from starting a career because they believe it is “their responsibility to fulfill your needs”; even physical abuse takes on a passionate quality.
They gift-wrap every aggressive act under the shining packaging of love and give it to the victim, which they happily accept.
On the other hand, there is another kind of trauma bonding that you might find positive, but it’s not. In certain instances, it helped the victim emotionally, which resulted in them becoming dependent on the abuser. A shared trauma bond is a common term for this type of connection between survivors.
In this type of abusive relationship, the victim feels safe because the abuser has been through a similar traumatic experience and can empathize with and support the victim. Most abusers take advantage of this as well and use it to keep the victim hooked.
Red flags for love bombing – checklist
Love bombing is not easy to detect, but there are certain signs that can help you recognize it in the early stages. If you notice any of these red flags in the person you’re dating, chances are they’re love bombing:
- Unconditional love and attention – They love every single thing about you, even those things that are seemingly insignificant. They don’t criticize anything about you and shower you with excessive affection.
- Pressuring – The person might be pushing too hard for commitment early on in the relationship or pressuring you to make decisions faster than makes sense.
- Controlling – If the person is trying to control every aspect of your life, that’s a red flag. They might be trying to dictate what you wear, how you spend your time, and who you talk to.
- Isolating – If the person is trying to keep you away from your friends and family or isolating themselves from you, that’s a sign of love bombing.
- Gaslighting – If the person is accusing you of things that didn’t happen, making you question your sanity, or blaming their bad behavior on you, they are gaslighting.
- Invalidating – If the person dismisses your feelings and tries to make it seem like what you feel isn’t valid, that’s a red flag.
- Immense jealousy and possessiveness – Love bombers usually get upset if you mention or compliment someone else in front of them. They get jealous when you talk to other people and become possessive and controlling to keep you all to themselves.
- Quick declarations of love – Love bombers often use words like “soulmate” and “meant to be” too early in the relationship, which is a red flag that they’re love-bombing you.
- Excessively following your whereabouts: Love bombers often become nosy and start to follow your whereabouts. They might question you about who you’re with, why you’re out late, or who you’re talking to online.
- Lashing out when criticized: When they get criticized or rejected, love bombers tend to lash out or resort to manipulation tactics.
- Never taking responsibility for previous relationships: Another loveless characteristic of love bombers is their tendency to never take responsibility for previous relationships. Instead, they blame it all on the other person and make themselves look like the victim.
What do love bombers say – common things you may hear from a love bomber
Believe it or not, love bombers have a few things they always say to make their victims feel special while keeping them in their grip. Here are some of the phrases you may hear from someone who loves bombing:
- “I can’t get enough of you.”
- “I think about you all the time.”
- “You make me so happy.”
- “I don’t know what I would do without you.”
- “You complete me”
- “I can’t imagine life without you.”
- “No one has ever made me feel this way before.”
- “I will die without you.”
How to know if you are being love bombed?
If you’re not sure if someone is love bombing or not, here are a few things to look out for:
- Are they overly passionate and obsessive about the relationship?
- Do they make too many grand gestures and over-the-top promises?
- Do they become hostile when you don’t reciprocate their affection?
- Do they try to control your life, dictate what you do and who you talk to?
- Are they always trying to buy you gifts, take you on expensive trips, or offer other financial incentives?
- Do they seem too good to be true?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is a possibility that you are being love bombed. It’s important to know how to identify and protect yourself from this kind of manipulation.
How to spot love bombing early on?
It’s important to spot the warning signs of love bombing early on in order to prevent it from escalating into a potentially dangerous situation. Here are some tips to help you recognize love bombing early on:
- Pay attention to your gut feeling – If something feels off, it probably is.
- Don’t jump into any commitments too quickly – Take things slowly, and don’t let yourself be pressured into anything.
- Trust your instincts – If you have a feeling that something isn’t right, trust it.
- Listen to the people around you – If your friends or family notice anything off about the person, take their advice seriously.
- Watch out for actions, not words – Actions often speak louder than words, so pay attention to the things they do instead of just what they say.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is – Love bombing promises everything you’ve ever wanted, but remember that no one can provide for all of your needs. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the fantasy.
How to deal with love bombs?
If you recognize the signs as soon as possible and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from love bombing, you can ensure that your relationship is healthy and free of manipulation. Here are a few tips on how to deal with a love bomber:
- Set boundaries: Always remember that you have the right to say “no” and set boundaries for yourself. No matter how silly it may seem, everyone must respect your right to choose what you do and do not like or tolerate. If someone is trying to cross those boundaries, standing your ground and being firm with them is important.
- Take a step back: It is ok to take a break from the relationship if you feel like it is becoming too much or unhealthy. Taking some time away can help you gain perspective and clarity on the situation.
- Speak up: If you think that someone is love bombing, it is important to tell them how you feel and why it’s unhealthy. It can be difficult to confront someone, but speaking up is the only way to make sure your boundaries are respected.
- Mental check-ins: It’s important to check in with yourself regularly. Ask yourself if you’re happy and if the relationship is healthy for you. If not, it might be time to sever ties with the love bomber.
- Positive self talk: Love bombers can be very draining, and it is easy to get caught up in the negative thoughts they bring. It’s important to focus on positive self-talk and build yourself up. Spend time with supportive people who help you feel good about yourself.
- Seek professional help: If you feel like you can’t handle it on your own, it is important to seek out professional help. Talking to a therapist or counselor can help put things in perspective and provide the support and guidance that you need.
- Be strong: We all understand how painful it is to let go of someone we love, but do not let that pain drive you to stay in an abusive relationship that will ultimately lead to your mental illness. If it is meant to be over tomorrow anyway, why not today?
Love bombing is an unhealthy form of manipulation that can have serious consequences if left unchecked. By recognizing the warning signs and taking the necessary steps to protect yourself, you can ensure your relationships are healthy and free of manipulation. Remember: You can stand up for yourself and say no – don’t let anyone take away your freedom or happiness.
In the intricate dance of relationships, recognizing the subtler signs is crucial to safeguarding our emotional well-being. Love bombing, with its initial enchantment, can easily cloud our judgment and lead us down a harmful path. By staying vigilant and attuned to the red flags discussed, you empower yourself to make informed decisions about your relationships. Remember, a healthy partnership is built on mutual respect, trust, and open communication. If you suspect love bombing, take a step back, seek support from trusted friends or professionals, and prioritize your own emotional health. You deserve a love that nurtures, not manipulates – a love that truly makes you shine.