Love bombing is a technique used by Narcissists (aka emotional con men and women) of all kinds. Love bombing is a technique that is most commonly associated with online scammers, and is where the Narcissist “bombs” their victim with constant communication (texts, emails, phone calls, liking or commenting on the victim’s social media accounts) and constant complements. The victim feels flattered, and relieved that they have met someone who is attentive and thinks so highly of them, who is in touch with their feelings, and who is looking to be in a relationship. At the same time, the victim may also have a sense of unease about all this flattery. It may feel fake, too good to be true, or like the person is laying it on too thick (because it is, and they are).
Examples of love bombing: good morning texts, good night texts, multiple phone calls during the day, consistent texting throughout the day, “liking” a lot of your Facebook status and pictures, wanting to see or trade nude photos, and/or dropping by your work or home. You find yourself very quickly talking to this person in some form or another for hours everyday. You may feel that this person is your Prince Charming, or that finally God has answered your prayers and sent you the “perfect” person for you and/or your children.
At the same time, you may have the feeling that you are “prey” or feeling somewhat suffocated by all this flattery. The flattery may be so excessive is feels false and unbelievable. This attention may also be perceived as “childish” or “immature” by either the victim or friends and family of the victim (this is behavior that teenagers often exhibit, but not grown adults). Family and friends of the victim may also comment how “into” the victim the Narcissist appears to be, how “lucky” they are, and what a God-send this person is.
There are three goals that Narcissists have with love bombing:
– Luring the victim. The point of love bombing is for the Narcissist to become the most important person in the victim’s life. Victims get used to this constant attention and flattery and mistake it for intense interest and devotion on the part of the Narcissist. During this time the Narcissist is able to (very quickly) gather through listening to the victim exactly what they are looking for, and then the Narcissist quickly gets to work on being that perfect person. Once they can lure the victim into falling in love with them, and have access to victim’s life, the con games really begin. Often times the victim doesn’t see the lying, cheating or stealing right away, and when they do the Narcissist manipulates the situation to either make it the victim’s fault or they prey on the victim’s hope that they will go to therapy/church/rehab and change.
– Stroking their ego. Normal people, when given a complement, will return it. During the love bombing phase, the Narcissist is continually telling the victim how “perfect” they are, pointing out this “amazing connection” that they have, and how beautiful the victim is—often telling her she looks “like an angel”, “is the most beautiful woman”, and how “he could stare at her for hours”. This might feel unbelievable for the victims because they just rolled out of bed, are sick, have no make up on or just got home from the gym (times when they aren’t looking their best). The victim, taken aback by such lavish complements, doesn’t really know what else to do, so she returns them, telling the Narcissist how handsome, intelligent, funny, etc. he is. Which, of course, the Narcissist loves to hear.
– Assessing as to whether or not the con is working. When the Narcissist love bombs, they are also continually accessing where the victim is emotionally. The Narcissist’s focus generally starts off on the victim’s beauty and then quickly (within the first week or two) moves to the “intense connection and love” that he has for the victim. The goal is to breakdown the victim into feeling (and verbalizing) that she feels the same. The victim often feels that they are moving too fast, but the Narcissist reassures her that “they’ve never felt this way before” and that they are “soul mates” and have “an intense connection they shouldn’t deny”. The Narcissist may tell her he feels “like a teenager” or has “never been in love like this”. (They will encourage the victim to think with their heart and not with their head.) The victim feels this way too, after all, the Narcissist is pretty close to the perfect person for her, and soon she quits worrying about whether or not they are moving too fast. She allows herself to get caught up in the whirlwind, as the Narcissist just seems so sure that she is the one for him, that she feels reassured by his total and absolute devotions of love…after all, it’s a reflection of how she’s feeling too.
(Here is a link to all of the “Red Flags of a Narcissist” series articles and videos in a list. I will be putting this link at the bottom of all the articles and videos so you can refer back to them in an easier-to-find way.)
This “Red Flag of a Narcissist” series is not designed to diagnose anyone with a personality disorder. It is designed to present a broad brush look at behaviors that most (if not all) manipulative people tend to have (not just Narcissists). Not all of these red flags are a signal to run for the hills, and a person doesn’t need to have ALL of these flags present to be dangerous or destructive.
These red flags also occur on a spectrum, meaning that they will be more obvious and troublesome in some people, and not so much in others.
At the same time, keep in mind that EVERYONE has some of these red flags—however, manipulative people tend to have them to a more troubling degree than normal, non-manipulative people. Keep in mind that Narcissists and Antisocial Personality Disordered people’s red flag behavior is more driven by their lack empathy and remorse, desire to manipulate and exploit other people for their personal gain, which is often not the case with those without these disorders. So don’t panic if you see some of your behavior in these red flags, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a Narcissist, or have a personality disorder. 🙂
My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.
Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.
It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
Latest posts by Dana (see all)
- Episode 55: How Do I Stop My Addiction to the Narcissist? - August 23, 2017
- Episode 53: Strategies to Help Prevent Your Child from Being Manipulated by a Narcissistic Parent - August 21, 2017
- Episode 54: How can we handle victim blaming and revictimization? - August 18, 2017