What is Love Bombing?
Love bombing is a type of emotional abuse in which someone who has an investment in your dependence will act all sweet and kind to you while they’re trying to get you under their control. They might do things like showering you with too much attention, too many compliments and gifts, or try to convince you that no one has ever been as perfect for you as them.
They may even propose marriage early in the relationship.
Love bombing is most common among narcissists and usually has other kinds of emotional abuse too.
Ultimately that initial period of intense seduction will come to an end, abruptly, say after you marry, and then the denigration begins. The admiration is withdrawn and the person who was being admired can be left feeling withdrawn, depressed and confused.
The narcissist has lured you into believing you deserve such lavish love rained upon you, that you have created a whole scenario in your head, and heart, about what a wonderful loving partner you have, and how you are so lucky to have been chosen by this person.
You don’t want it to end. It feels good. It feels like the relationship you always wanted. Like a fairy tale. And it can cause you to hang on longer than you should.
How can you give up on a love like this?
When one person lacks the attention from their significant other, they will miss that addictive feeling that at first led them to pursue the relationship. It’s not uncommon for people in a relationship to feel addicted to their partner’s attention, and this dopamine hit is what keeps them putting up with a withdrawing of this affection, because they miss the feeling they had at the beginning of the relationship, when they were the center of each other’s world.
It’s normal in relationships to feel this way in the early stages, but with narcissists they manipulate you with this initial love bombing.
How Can You Tell If You’re Being Love Bombed?
Some people are just overly-affectionate, not manipulative. Some relationships should be viewed with optimism.
But how do you know you are being love bombed and how do you trust your partner is authentic with their affection?
I think with all relationships, it’s a risk you have to be prepared to take. I certainly know at the moment I’m not prepared to take it. Because I have experienced love bombing.
All you can do is say you want to take things slow and just be aware whether your partner starts to change tact, if they are gaslighting you, if you start to feel put down, coerced, or if you are starting to pine for their attention in a huge way because the withdrawal of affection, makes you want it more.
So you should be prepared to bail.
I think a genuine partner will do what it takes to get through the hiccups and learning curves and growth opportunities, by either talking with you, or going to a therapist with you (narcs are unlikely to want to go to a therapist with you because they won’t want to be exposed).
You could also ask them to stop showering you with affection and gifts, and see if they respect your wishes and change their actions, or if they get angry at your request and dig in with their controlling behaviour.
The Lesson of Love Bombing
The lesson of love bombing is always about self love. Loving yourself first. And anything extra is an added bonus. But to look to others to love you first is where you give your power away.
I have learnt the most about self love from Dr Margaret Paul and Inner Bonding. And actually how to do it.
In her article “Loving Yourself First” she writes: “Loving yourself first means that:
- You learn to define your own worth so that you are not needy and dependent upon others doing it for you.
- You have a consistent spiritual practice that fills you with love so that you have love to share with others rather than needing someone else to love you to feel okay.”
Whenever we expect others to love us before we love ourselves, we are abandoning ourselves. We are giving away responsibility for our love, and this is where we give away our power. It’s always nice to have others love us, but that ALWAYS comes second, after loving ourselves first. You need to not value someone else’s love more than your own.
It’s time to shower yourself with Love!!