Have you started dating someone who has lavished you with attention and then things have quickly soured? Chances are you could have been a victim of “love bombing.”
Love bombing is a seductive tactic, where a manipulative person tries to control another individual with “bombs,” brimming from day one.
According to psychiatrist Dale Archer, typically it will occur in whirlwind romances where one partner will try to influence a person with affection, attention, presents, and promises about the future.
Things progress quickly and the rush of a new romance can often be powerful for victims, pushing aside any feelings of doubt and causing high levels of infatuation.
This leaves little room for the victim to assess if they are being manipulated or to see if the other person is genuine – particularly if contact is fairly constant, either over calls or through texts.
The move sees victims become co-dependent on the predator, who is often a narcissist or sociopath.
The “honeymoon” feeling doesn’t last and as soon as victims show a small hint of not caring or prioritizing their partner, the predator will often reveal their true colors.
Archer wrote in Psychology Today: “If extravagant displays of affection continue indefinitely, if actions match words, and there is no devaluation phase, then it’s probably not love bombing.”
“On the other hand, if there’s an abrupt shift in the type of attention, from affectionate and loving to controlling and angry, with the pursuing partner making unreasonable demands, that’s a red flag.”
“The important thing to remember about love bombing is that it is psychological partner abuse, period. When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another’s weakness or insecurity, there’s no other word for it.”
Archer advised that healthy relationships build slowly and couples should maintain healthy friendships and relationships with friends and family throughout.
Joe Pierre, a psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences professor at UCLA, wrote in Psychology Today about why people can fall for a love bombing abuser.
He explained that narcissists can seem attractive due to high levels of confidence, ambition and self-sufficiency.
Pierre wrote: “When it comes to mate selection, the more adaptive aspects of narcissism are often seen as desirable characteristics.”
“The thing is, narcissism is a complicated construct that includes aspects that can be alternatively adaptive (such as self-sufficiency, individualism, self-regard, confidence, a desire to lead, and ambition) and potentially destructive (such as arrogance, entitlement, vanity, lack of empathy, and a tendency towards interpersonal exploitation and manipulation), with these facets often co-existing in the same person.”