Is It Love…Or Manipulation? Let’s Take A Look At Narcissistic Love Bombing
You’re in a new relationship and your partner is showering you with adoration and affection, the kind that makes you feel all blissed out and turns your stomach into a butterfly farm. However, lately, the affection is making you uneasy and uncomfortable, isn’t it?
This is something that you should not ignore, at all. After all, too much affection can be a manipulation tactic, better known as – Love Bombing. The narcissistic kind.
Love bombing can easily be one of the scariest manipulation tactics as it can be very subtle. This manipulation tactic, often used by narcissists, means giving too much attention, adoration, and affection to make you feel dependent on the other person.
As the receiver of “love bombing”, you may feel great as your dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins may rise with the constant affection and attention. You begin to feel needed, special, and worthy, thus increasing your self-esteem and when you least expect it, love bombing hits.
In the beginning, these constant showers of love may feel too perfect and you may begin to believe that you’ve found The One! However, as time moves on, you begin to realize that the relationship has taken a turn for the worse.
To help you understand what does love bombing means, let’s take a look at some of the important facts, signs, and prevention methods you need to know about narcissistic love bombing.
What Is Narcissistic Love Bombing?
While you may not find the term, “Love Bombing” in any of the official diagnostic manuals, you may find psychologists using this term to describe abuse, mostly narcissistic and emotional. When you experience love bombing, you are constantly showered with affection and love to an extent that you begin to feel overwhelmed and uneasy.
Love bombing, while may look a lot like the perfect definition of love, isn’t love, at all. Love bombing is done to make you feel obligated and dependent on your partner. It’s a way to take control of an individual.
Narcissistic love bombing can make you feel uncomfortable and guilty when you and your partner are disagreeing on something. You may begin to feel like you owe your partner to do what they are asking for. After all, they love you, right?
In truth, love bombing can cause you to do, say, or act in a way you would not usually do, say, or act. The reaction brought on by love-bombing can cause you to think that while you may not normally do or act a certain way, you owe it to your partner as that’s the least you can do for your loving partner.
Anyone can be a love bomber, however, it is a major symptom of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). This kind of narcissistic manipulation is often unconscious and is aimed at getting you to do what your narcissistic partner wants.
Why Love Bombing Happens?
Often a form of emotional and narcissistic abuse, love bombing is all about overtaking control of an individual. A love bomber, so to speak, creates a false sense of security and connection early into a relationship to later exert control over you.
As I mentioned before, anyone can be a love bomber but often narcissists and love bombing go hand in hand. It’s important to understand how narcissistic personality traits and love bombing affect an individual.
Many people you know might show one or more narcissistic traits such as the constant need for appreciation, having an inflated sense of importance, or spending too much time talking about themselves but this does not mean that they are narcissists or have a narcissistic personality disorder.
However, when narcissism and manipulation merge, then it can be a concern.
How Long Does Love Bombing Last?
Psychologists say that once your partner takes control over you with narcissistic love bombing, then they move into manipulator mode. When in manipulator mode, they are more likely to devalue you.
Love bombing is often a tactic that is established during the initial phase of a relationship aka when you begin dating. The dating phase can last for a few days, weeks, or months. However, love bombing does not have a set timeline. This kind of manipulation behavior may go on until your partner has taken full control over you.
Narcissistic Love Bombing Cycle
Narcissistic love bombing is a vicious cycle of abuse and can vary depending on personalities and situations. Of course, like any other manipulation tactic, love bombing can look a lot different between relationships.
The narcissistic love bombing cycle includes:
1. Idealizing: Love bombing involves giving a lot of admiration and affection, right? So what better way than giving gifts and compliments during the dating period? This first stage of the narcissistic love bombing cycle may sound and look flattering but as this continues, your partner, the love bomber, may push for compliments and may become upset when you put boundaries.
2. Devaluing: Once your partner secures the relationship, they may stop with their shower of affection and become more critical. They would turn to devalue you and make you feel like they are the only one who wants you anyway.
3. Discarding: As the term suggests, in a narcissistic relationship, your partner may abruptly move on and suddenly discard the relationship. They may even begin dating others the next day and seem to break up with you, oh so suddenly.
4. Hoovering: Hoovering is also known as renewed love bombing. At this stage, your partner may insist that they have changed or are making an effort when you seem to walk out of the relationship. This is like a vacuum effect as your narcissistic partner may “suck you back” into the relationship by making empty promises.
Signs Of Love Bombing To Watch Out
Here are some of the signs of narcissistic love bombing you need to watch out for:
Your partner may:
- Buy you expensive, over-the-top gifts
- Shower you with too many compliments
- Constantly communicate with you
- Push you for a commitment
- Declare your meeting as fate
- Make your relationship feel intense
- Become upset when you try to set boundaries
- Make you feel uncomfortable with their affection
An example of narcissistic love bombing can be; After a couple of meetings, your date turns up at your house with tickets to the concert of your favorite band with the most expensive seats. Or saying phrases like;
“I like to constantly check on you because I get worried.”
“We are meant for each other.”
“I want to spoil you.”
How To Avoid Manipulation?
Love bombing is emotional manipulation, nothing more, nothing less. Yet, it’s common to feel attached to your partner and even go as far as defending them. Narcissists, often with love bombing, try to find your weakness and insecurities to use them against you. No matter how much control your partner has over you, you may feel like they are the ones who validate your feelings.
If you find yourself a victim of love bombing or any kind of manipulation, you can try:
- Removing yourself from the situation. Seek out support outside of your relationship. Try to connect with your trusted friends and loved ones.
- Converse with your partner. Usually, love bombing takes place in the initial days of a relationship. If you’re experiencing narcissistic love bombing, sit down with your partner and let them know how you feel about their excessive attention and affection. Let them know that they are moving fast and it’s a good place to set some boundaries.
- Walk away when the situation becomes too uncomfortable.You can’t change a narcissist, no matter how much you want to try. In any case, you might be too emotionally invested in them to rationally help them. When the situation becomes too uncomfortable and uneasy, it’s best to consider walking away from them.
- Seek professional help and social support.Sometimes, we’re too far gone to differentiate between love and manipulation. When you begin to feel confused, it’s better to seek professional help and join support groups that deal with acknowledging narcissism. Support groups can also help you meet people who are and have been in relationships with a narcissist. You can always learn from them how to deal with a narcissistic partner.
Caring about someone from the bottom of your heart is something that should be cherished but when the affection is full of empty promises and feelings of uneasiness then it is something that should not be ignored.
Narcissistic love bombing is a serious psychological manipulation tactic that can impact your overall well-being. This kind of manipulation tactic is often associated with people with narcissistic personality disorder.
The best way to avoid love bombing manipulation, you need to trust your instincts and follow the above-mentioned ways to avoid being stuck in a narcissistic love bombing cycle.
If you find yourself experiencing narcissistic love bombing, you can seek professional help by consulting a therapist or joining a support group. You can connect with BetterHelp’s professionals by clicking the link below.
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