Love bombing is synonymous with abuse, deceit, and most importantly, shortness of length. According to researchers, people who use love bombing as a tactic to lure targets into committing into a relationship. They do so rapidly and move on to another target once satisfied. Love bombing is mostly used by pimps, however, its popularity and success have made it popular amongst the general population. Falling for love bombing is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a person, as it is swift and difficult to detect. Therefore, it becomes imperative that everyone is well fortified with the intricate details, techniques, and the eventual lack of integrity of love bombing.
What is Love Bombing
Love bombing is simply defined as bombing a person with attention, affection, gifts, and a host of other things to influence the person’s emotions towards them. Love bombing works because humans are emphatically wired to seek out positive affirmations and ways to improve self-esteem. Anyone well-grounded in the art can use these to lure unsuspecting victims into a cycle of abuse by focusing on lavishing positive attention on their victim.
The excessive showering of attention, affection, and admiration, according to Trauma and relationship Therapist, Sasha Jackson, makes the recipient dependent on the abuser. A successful love bombing cycle leaves the recipient vulnerable and preoccupied with satisfying their abusers.
According to Researchers, Love bombing is an unconscious manifestation of narcissism. While all of the positive attention is focused on the victim for a short stretch, the Narcissist reveals their true self when the relationship is secure and strong. The manipulative tactic employed during the initial stage of the relationship is revealed, as the abuser reveals themselves and not the idealized version of themselves previously portrayed for the sole purpose of winning over their victims. According to Lori Nixon Bethea, Ph.D., owner of Intentional Hearts Counseling Services, “Love bombers seek to quickly obtain the affection and attention of someone whom they are romantically pursuing by presenting an idealized image of themselves.”
Love bombing leverages the energy of the initial stage of a relationship. The stage where people are expected to fall notoriously and helplessly in love with their partners. While this may not be a bad thing, infusing live bombing in this mix will only achieve the purposes of the abuser. The abuser overwhelms his/her with loving gestures, words, and gifts.
Origin of term
While love bombing is popular amongst individuals, its origins can be traced back to the Unification Church of the United States cult in the 1970s. This was solidified by the statement of their founder and leader in 1978, Sun Myung Moon.
“Unification Church members are smiling all of the time, even at four in the morning. The man who is full of love must live that way. When you go out witnessing you can caress the wall and say that it can expect you to witness well and be smiling when you return. What face could better represent love than a smiling face? This is why we talk about love bomb; Moonies have that kind of happy problem”.
Signs of Love Bombing
While love bombing is usually accomplished without raising the suspicion of the victim, there are nonetheless some clear-cut signs that will give away an abusive narcissist. Below are those signs.
💣 Plenty Gifts
Love bombers try to accomplish their goals by being excessive. Instead of sending a single piece of gift, a love bomber will literally bomb you with enormous gifts at your workplace, home, and wherever you have an address.
While lavishing your potential partner with gifts isn’t necessarily terrible, lavishing constantly and demanding that your gifts be accepted is a red flag. The intention behind such enormous gifts is never pure, as they are part of a bigger strategy of manipulating their victims into a form of emotional debt.
The idea behind lavishing a person with gifts is simply to gain control over the recipient, making them spellbound to the person doing the bombarding.
💣 Unending Compliments
Humans yearn for compliments, admiration, and anything else that’ll boost our self-esteem. Narcissistic abusers are aware of this inherent weakness in humans and constantly leverage on it. They shower their victims with unending abrupt compliments, spinning their heads until they become addicted and cannot do without them.
One sure way to know someone is love bombing you with unending compliments is by the timing. If it’s coming almost immediately after your first meeting, then you should be suspicious of the person’s intent. True feelings take time to develop and when they do, communication is cautious.
These unending compliments intend to make the victim feel very special and once that’s achieved, the abuser pulls the red carpet from underneath their feet.
💣 Demands all your attention
The only people that can demand all of your attention are kids and pets (not your cat though). Even your spouse wouldn’t demand that much from you. However, people who employ tactics from the unethical book of love bombing never want you out of sight. They demand your physical presence at all times, and when you’re not there, would do anything possible to have you around. Refusal can cause resentment and visible anger.
There’s nothing romantic about a partner who wouldn’t let you be. Demanding almost every minute of a person’s life is evil and a sign of narcissism. It’s also a form of abuse.
💣 Bombard your phone with calls and texts
Along with demanding all your attention, love bombers will bombard your phone with countless texts and phone calls. They’ll contact you 24/7 via calls, texts, and instant messaging apps. They might even go as far as stalking you on various social media platforms, commenting under your posts and under your comments.
Communication is key, however, when their energy is way above yours, be sure to take a step back and evaluate the entire situation. Waking up to numerous texts and calls has the potential to negatively affect your day if it’s not exactly consensual.
💣 Unwavering Solicitation
As mentioned earlier in this article, pimps are notorious for employing ‘love bombing’ to lure their victims into total submission. They then use their victims to commit crimes involving solicitation. Narcissistic individuals also use this tactic to make others dependent on them. Some even go as far as involving God or the Universe, stating that you both were created to be together. They tell you that you’re soulmates, and lavish you with words that make you special and overly important to them.
Fantasy love exists only in movies and books. So be wary of anyone who says anything remotely resembling fantasy to win you over.
💣 Demands immediate commitment
The universal sign of love bombers is speed. They want your love, commitment, and life now. Unlike patient con men, love bombers will rush you into making ridiculous commitments. A love bomber will quickly start talking about moving in together days after your first meeting. Some will spice their technique by adding marriage to the equation, giving hope for a future together.
No matter how lonely or desperate you may be, love is always going to grow slowly. It might be a month or more, but not under a week. People can date for years before talking about marriage, so when someone brings it up in under a month, be sure to be suspicious.
💣 They don’t respect boundaries
Deducing from the above, we can easily conclude that love bombers have no regard for boundaries. They go the distance to bring down boundaries and might aggressively thwart any of your efforts to create boundaries. To make it clearer, a love bomber simply wants to know everything about you, including your schedule and calendar, friends, and (not an exaggeration) your thoughts. They’ll guilt trip you or use emotional blackmail just to break your boundaries.
Always remember that anyone who values and loves you will never try to dismantle your boundaries for personal benefits.
Needy people are probably the worst, right? However, not all needy persons use it as a tactic to overwhelm others. Nonetheless, being with a needy person can be exhausting and demanding. Needy people are never satisfied. They want all your time and more. If you can find a way to extend your years, be sure that a needy person will still find a way to take it. This will eventually alienate you from friends, and other meaningful relationships you’ve managed to build in the past.
This set of people will do everything to overwhelm you. Love bombing can be overbearing, as they surpass your energy levels by a mile. From the constant calling, texting, to endless presence, these abusers will leave no room for you to breathe. You’ll be left amazed at their energy levels, or how attractive and charming you must be. Everyone has a life to live. Live yours to the fullest, with freedom and enough space to breathe.
What comes After Love Bombing?
The result of the love-bombing is not designed to last for long. Before the victim falls for this elaborate, sometimes, unconscious scam, the love bomber stays in charge of the relationship, directing its tempo and direction.
They shower their victims with an undying love (spoiler: it dies), attention, compliments, and whatever is in their arsenal to make the person feel special and needed. Narcissists will show a tremendous level of care, giving you the idea that you’re their world. However, the table turns once you fall for the trick.
Love bombing can only work once trust is gained, which is the end product. Once trust and dependency are built, the love bomber withdraws from the relationship, leaving their victims with the sole responsibility of keeping and managing the relationship. At this stage, you would have gone too deep to simply exit the relationship.
Confusion and pain sets in as you no longer enjoy what drew you into the relationship, leaving you begging for whatever it is you both had.
The aftermath of the love-bombing is unfortunately unbearable for the victims. They are left in chaos, and would only have 2 choices. It’s either they find a way to emancipate themselves or settle for their terrible situation. Either way, love bombing never ends well. So be sure to look out for the signs before committing yourself to any relationship.
How to Escape Love Bombers
Differentiating true lovers with good intentions from love bombers can be demanding and almost impossible. However, the above signs, if followed through, will guide and protect you from them. But if you’re unlucky to land in the hands of a love bomber, how then do you dig your way out?
First, you should know that escaping the claws of a love bomber is difficult as they make you feel safe, well, until you’re handed the baton. The love bomber validates his victim, leaving them confused and vulnerable.
If you notice that you’ve been love-bombed and your partner still displays any of the manipulative behaviors listed above, then finding an exit should be on your mind. However, one horrible mistake most victims make is seeking support from their abusers. They think communicating would resolve their dilemma but end up digging deeper into the abusive relationship. So, if you’re serious about seeking help and exiting the relationship, then seek external support.
However, if your relationship is new and still booming with a lot of excitement but you notice some of the above-mentioned manipulation tactics, communicate immediately with your partner. It may simply be the excess from crushing on you. However, if communication doesn’t work after a week or 2, invest in external support.
Conclusively, love-bombing is similar to the devil. He gains your trust by manipulating your weaknesses and makes you feel secure and comfortable, after which he reveals his true identity, at which point you’ve become incapacitated and require external help to escape eternal torment.