What is ‘Love Bombing’? According to Wikipedia, love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection.
The term actually originated in the late 1970’s when members of the Unification Church of the United States (who reportedly coined the expression) used it to convey a genuine expression of friendship, fellowship, interest, or concern. Thus, creating a special feeling of ‘unity’, to allow members to feel as though they were part of something special and open their wallets.
Love bombing has taken on an entirely differently role since the 1970’s however. The term is now used to label man and women who are manipulative and out for personal gain within a relationship. The ‘love bomber’ typically doesn’t care about the end point of a relationship, they are simply doing what they can or personal gain. Love bombing is most certainly a control mechanism and most often times the victim isn’t even aware that it is happening. That’s when you know you have found yourself a ‘good’ love bomber.
Love bombers are typically self centered, narcissistic, borderline sociopaths and have a severe lack of self worth and confidence. Although they portray they are confident individuals, this is certainly not the case. Love bombers also take lying to a level like no other, often times completely making up entire stories that are completely false.
There are many signs that one can look for to easily weed out a love bomber. Below, are a few things to look for.
1. A Fast Moving Relationship.
A love bomber will typically sweep you off of your feet and try and progress the relationship as fast as possible. As we all know, most real relationships start off slow, this allows for trust, love and a true connection to be built. With a love bomber things progress quickly, and you start to wonder whether this is what you’ve been missing.
Love bombers offer promises for the future with someone, making you believe you may have discovered love at first sight. The person is loving, caring, and affectionate, and they seem to just get you.
Love bombing involves being showered with affection, gifts and offering one everything they ever wanted or felt they needed in life. For example, cars, money, security, houses, vacations and so on.
4. Two Sided
The good times don’t last long and as soon as you show a hint of caring about anything other than your new partner, they get furious with you and label you as selfish. Their mask slips, and you see someone mean, belittling, and unreasonable underneath. They can’t comprehend that you have anything else going on in your life, and they completely turn on you. It’s a tactic manipulative people use and is, in fact, a form of abuse.
5. Anger And Force
Love bombing is the reinforcement, where the abuser showers the victim with love if the victim acts how they want. If the victim doesn’t, then the devaluation stage happens, where they withdraw all their kindness and instead punish the victim with whatever they feel is appropriate — shouting, giving them the silent treatment, or even physically abusing them.
Devaluation happens once the love bomber no longer needs to gain your attention or feels they are not getting your full attention any longer. This will typically almost always happen after the ‘honeymoon’ stage in a relationship. Between six months and a year, a love bomber will begin to turn against you. The promises will stop. The actions will stop. Hatred and anger will slowly replace love and comfort.
Love bombers also want all of your time. They need you close constantly to make sure they are getting what they need from you, which is purely selfish and emotional. Most love bombers don’t like their victims to work or see their friends. Over time, the victim will separate from those they truly love, family and friends. This is all part of the love bombers plan.
Once the devaluation stage sets in, the victim is left sad, emotional and confused with no one to turn to as they have given it all up for their ‘love bomber’.
It can be hard to spot.
It’s difficult to pinpoint love bombing in the short term, because all new relationships are exciting. There is promise and potential, and getting to know someone you like gives you butterflies. The emotional highs and feelings of giddiness are normal and not necessarily cause for alarm.
What isn’t normal, however, is quickly falling into a serious relationship where your partner demands lots of your time. Social media, texting, emails, and instant messaging make it incredibly easy to be in constant contact with someone, and an abuser who wants to love bomb you can easily take advantage of that.
Before you know it, they might have declared you “the one,” started making plans to marry you, or even moved in with you or had you move in with them.
Who Is Vulnerable?
The most vulnerable people and the easiest mark for a love bomber is typically someone who is just out of a serious, long term relationship. Love bombers will also seek out individuals that are in current relationships, getting to know the person and then making promises that they are a better choice than their current partner.
Love bombers also look for victims that are kind and open minded. They do this because they realize this person will always try and explain away their negative traits and sympathize with them.
Sadly, many people give up something great, for a ‘love bomber’ and they rarely will ever get it back.
Breaking free from a love bomber isn’t easy. In most cases, the love bomber breaks free first and drops their victim like a rock, moving on to someone else quickly and the process thus repeats.
When the love bombing turns into devaluation, it can be traumatizing and heartbreaking for the victim. Everything they do from that moment on may be to try to bring back the wonderful person they thought they had. In reality, this person never existed — it was a mask.
According to Perpetua Neo, a therapist and expert in dark triad personality types, all the gifts and affection were “transactional,”, because narcissistic abusers are always thinking about what they can get out of a situation. Every move and every choice are calculated. In return, the victim may end up feeling used and like a shell of their former self. The ‘gifts’ were not for you, they were to make the love bomber feel good for a moment in time and will most certainly be used as collateral down the road.
“They love bomb and then they devalue you, so you’re always on high alert and you never want to do anything wrong,” Neo said. “Because of that your standards are lowering, your boundaries are getting pinched upon, and you lose your sense of self.”
If the victim does break out of the abusive relationship, this hopefully will become clear over time. The fog may eventually lift, and it may become apparent what all the love–bombing words and actions were: empty promises.
These people do exist and it there is no harm in starting a relationship slow. If within weeks you are promised the world, told how ‘in love’ they are with you and how the future will be so bright. Be aware and be careful.