Manipulative people sometimes hook in their victims by “love bombing” them.
This can mean compliments, public displays of affection, and gifts.
If you fall for the trap, you might find yourself in a serious relationship quicker than you anticipated, with no way out.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, make sure you know the differences between someone who might be a narcissist and someone who just wants to spoil you.
You think you’ve met the love of your life?
Stop. Take a step back. Why do you think that?
If you’ve just met somebody who is saying you’re “soul mates” and declaring their undying love for you after a few weeks, you might have just become the victim of something called “love bombing.”
According to Dale Archer, a psychiatrist and author, love bombing involves being showered with affection, gifts, and 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. Things progress quickly, and you start to wonder whether this is what you’ve been missing.
However, it doesn’t last, 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 form of conditioning, Archer wrote in a blog post on Psychology Today. It’s a tactic manipulative people use and is, in fact, a form of abuse. If you are dating someone with dark triad personality traits — narcissism, Machiavellianism, or psychopathy — it might be a way they were grooming you.
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.
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.
You may have gone into the relationship with the intention of taking things slow or keeping things casual, but somehow you found yourself forced into a corner to do the exact opposite. You’re talking to them so much you start to believe you were made for each other.
Before you know it, they might have declared you “the one,” started making plans to marry you, or even moved in with you.