There is no shame in expressing your love and affection for each other, if not on a daily basis, at least occasionally. But the problem arises when one of the people in the relationship uses love and affection as a tactic to manipulate the relationship. In simple terms, he/she engages in ‘love bombing’. What are the signs of love bombing?
Early signs of love bombing will always be visible in a relationship but at that point it feels very cute, you feel warm, cared for and your partner seems to care for you a lot. But gradually that constant love, attention starts to make you feel claustrophobic. That’s a sign you are being love bombed.
While we have already heard about ‘ghosting’ and ‘breadcrumbing’, love bombing is way more devastating. Your partner regularly keeps sending flowers to your workplace. He/she keeps calling or texting you to know what you are up to.
Your partner plans a surprise romantic vacation with you. All these gestures will obviously make you feel on top of the world. But are these gestures genuine signs of a caring and romantic relationship? Or does your partner have other motives behind these? He/she might be love bombing you and you might not even realise it.
What Is Love Bombing?
Love bombing can be termed as a conditioning tool or a tool of abuse which is used by a person in the relationship to maintain control. It is a deceptive tactic whereby one of the partners in the relationship shows overt signs of affection and compassion towards the other partner.
So the actions taken by the partner engaging in love bombing may appear to be acts of love. But these are deliberately committed and completely overwhelming.
The target partner is, generally, unaware of the manipulative effect that love bombing has on him/her.
Such an approach by the love bomber does not give time to the target partner to register what is actually going on. The target is made to believe that the love bomber plays an essential role in his/her happiness, and thus, is indispensible. It is when the target gets addicted to the love bomber, that the perpetrator shows his/her true colours.
Characteristics of love bombing/bomber
When you are the target of love bombing, you will feel that you have found your soul mate. You will brag about the efforts of your partner in front of your family and friends. However, your relationship will be established on a bunch of lies and constant manipulation. Love bombers have ulterior motives when it comes to showering their partners with too much attention and love.
As human beings, we have a desire to be appreciated and cherished by other people, because of which love bombing actually works. Love bombing goes through three phases.
- Idealisation: In this first phase, the love bomber keeps bombarding the target with compliments and such affection that the target feels the most special and perfect person in the world
- Devaluation: Eventually, the affectionate love bomber will become a cruel critic of you, find faults in your behaviour and threaten abandonment. Through devaluation, the target is made dependent on the love bomber
- Discard: The love bomber becomes disinterested in the target and leaves him/her. Or the bomber utilises discard to manipulate the relationship further
Certain characteristics of love bombing/bomber which should be kept in your mind are:
- Love bombing is a narcissistic tactic used by a person to ensure that the other partner acts according to his/her whims and fancies. So a love bomber has a controlling personality
- The narcissistic love bombing cycle starts with showering of affection or presents, great sex followed by control and manipulation
- Flattery is the most essential quality of a love bomber, as he/she knows exactly what to say to trap the potential target
- Through love bombing, the person tries to de-stabilise the target in such a way that the target person can be conveniently manipulated
- Angry outbursts, temper tantrums and mood swings are common tools used by a love bomber
- Love bomber contacts his/her partner on a continuous basis, because being in constant touch with the target is the basic need of a love bomber
Related Reading: Exposing A Narcissist – What You Should Know
12 Signs You Are Being ‘Love Bombed’
Recognising a love bomber is not a cakewalk. It’s hard to pinpoint the love bombing warning signs. Your partner might be genuinely expressing his/her love for you and you do not want to upset your partner by accusing him/her.
Therefore you have to be aware of the following 12 signs of love bombing which will help you understand whether you are love bombed or not.
1. Everything in the relationship moves too fast
Just after the first few days of dating each other, you will notice that your partner thinks he/she is lucky to have met you. Your partner will keep complimenting you and making you feel cherished without truly knowing you. He/she will probably even confess his/her love for you without actually letting the relationship develop. You will be left wondering if you are falling in love too fast.
In fact, it won’t be long when he starts to chalk out future plans like a Hollywood movie script- wherein he tells you what he plans to name the kids.
And while it may sound all exciting and sexy, this is a tactic often used by love bombers before they show you their devious, controlling and manipulative side. These are signs he is love bombing you.
2. A love bomber knows what to say to you
Since a love bomber is well aware of your weaknesses and deepest insecurities, he/she will utilise all of these to manipulate you. He will use your past life experiences against you, and your need for self-worth will turn to regret and shame.
You will start to feel he is always right, and because you feel that you have had a bad experience before, you feel too weak to take decisions on your own. He will make you believe you are incapable of deciding on things on your own.
When you feel that your partner is saying the right things at the right time, then decide for yourself whether it is manipulative or authentic or early signs of love bombing.
3. Romantic gestures seem to be over the top
No doubt you will feel extremely happy when your partner makes romantic gestures to make you feel special. It is romantic to receive a bouquet of flowers on the first date, but the problem is, it does not stop there. While there is a chance he is a hopeless romantic, however, when he/she starts spending too much money on these gestures and becomes too showy, especially after just a few days of dating, then you better evaluate your relationship.
By spoiling and pampering you, they further cement their relationship with you. You start feeling dependent on them and they exploit this.
You also start feeling obligated to them because they are doing so much for you so you often end up agreeing to do things for them even when in your heart you know that might not be right. This is a classic sign of love bombing.
Related reading: 12 things you should never compromise on in a relationship
4. Your partner values all your opinions
This will make you feel good only for a certain point of time. At the beginning of the relationship, your partner will value all your opinions, keep sharing all your interests and say yes to everything you say. They do this to gain your trust before they actually show you their ugly side.
This honeymoon period will not last long, and soon you will find yourself in the hands of a scheming manipulator. Ultimately the ‘yes’ will turn into a ‘no’ and make your life terribly stressful.
A few months into the relationship when you become emotionally dependent on them they will then start putting their foot down and you will be left wondering what just happened. This is a sign that the love bomber is showing his true colours.
5. The love bomber keeps reminding you of your deepest darkest secrets
By reminding you of your deepest, darkest secrets, the narcissist love bomber gets material to abuse you in the later stage of life. It is just his/her way of establishing a closer and faster bond with you so that the manipulation can work effectively.
All the things that you had told him in full faith will be used against you in the right situations. If you told them about a messy breakup, a boss’ sexual harassment that you faced in the workplace or childhood abuse or your experience with toxic parents, this information will be used and abused to emotionally blackmail you.
6. Others caution you about your partner
As a result of being love bombed, you will not be able to see your partner’s true colours. But there might be people close to you, who recognise the intentions of your partner and warn you. You must pay heed to those warnings to save yourself in time.
A love bomber will have the most charming personality but later on he might prove to be a control freak or an emotional abuser. So if his friends and relatives are trying to drop you hints, pay attention to it. Chances are they are trying to tell you, you will be love bombed and dumped. A narcissistic love bombing cycle they have witnessed in the past, that’s what they want to tell you about.
7. Your partner does not treat everyone equally
If you feel that your partner is treating others around him/her unequally and harshly, then there is something wrong for sure. You will think that he/she is good to only you. But this might not be the case in the long run. Ultimately, the harsh behaviour might manifest itself against you, too. Notice the red flag.
Let’s give you a love bombing example. He is always talking about how the women in his workplace are not good enough at their job, and such dumb ladies should never join the workforce. But when it comes to you he has only good words for your achievements and career ambitions. You are left confused if he is really sexist or just passes random remarks on his female colleagues.
He is sexist. Period. He will show you his entire sexist self only when you promise a future together with him or even wait till you tie the knot. After that his beliefs will apply to every woman in his life, including you.
8. They keep a tab on you
On a daily basis, you get showered with so many praises and compliments that sometimes you feel overwhelmed. These compliments and praises will be just a medium to flatter you and trap you in the prison of love bombing. And these compliments are passed on to you at the most weird times.
You might be out partying with your friends and he would call to say he thinks you are the most beautiful woman in the world and how everyone can’t help notice you where you are. “By the way where are you partying?” if this is the follow up question then these are early signs of love bombing.
The compliment is the guise, getting the information about the place you are in and keeping a tab on is the real motive.
Related Reading: My Boyfriend Is Jealous And Calls Me 50 Times A Day
9. They show they are happy for your success
A partner who is love bombing you will be on seventh heaven when you achieve something. If you got a promotion at work they could take you out to an expensive restaurant to celebrate or if you bought a house, then they could end up organising the house-warming party for you.
But remember if they are going overboard in supporting your ambitions it could be just a ploy to get you on their side. As soon you get entangled in their love web, they could make a volte-face. Don’t take everything at face value. That would be our advice. Look out for the warning signs of love bombing.
10. Your partner dotes on your friends and family
They could show that they love your BFFS and your family more than you do. They could end up checking on your parents more often than you do. You could get calls from your mom telling you your partner has paid her a surprise visit and is even cooking a meal for her. She could tell you that she can’t wait to make your partner her daughter-in-law.
This is a classic example of love bombing when your partner bonds with your parents or your cousins more than you do. Your friends could like him like crazy and tell you, “Where did you get this great guy?” But beware. Take a deep breath and take some time to know them better.
11. They are there even before you ask
You just told them you are down with a flu and the next thing you realise is they have taken leave from work, they are making you hot soup and checking your temperature by your bedside. You are over the moon with so much care and concern.
But be careful, this whole thing could be a charade. Just check how many times you found them on your side even without asking? You have been dating only a few months but a sneeze on an evening call from you even made them land up at your doorstep.
It’s super cute we know. But if your partner is going crazy showing you their concern there could be something fishy. You could be missing the sign that you are being love bombed.
12. A love bomber wants attention 24X7
If you are perpetually feeling overwhelmed in the relationship, and feeling throttled by love, unable to breathe freely, then you have a partner who is killing you with their love.
People who love bomb you with their attention also want that reciprocated. So if you take 5 minutes to answer a text, you could get a call from your partner telling you why are you ignoring them? If you plan a night out with friends they may sulk that they would miss you.
You have stopped going to the gym, to coffee with friends, to long showers, to spa visits, because they miss you and need you every single moment. You feel a, “I need to be alone” scream building up inside you. We hear you.
How To Save Yourself From Love Bombing?
First of all, you have to keep in mind these signs of being love bombed in order to know whether you are a victim or not. Don’t forget the narcissits cycle of love bombing is hard to fathom but it very much exists.
Remember the positive behaviours that your partner indulged in in the earlier stages of your relationship were just mere illusions. Therefore, do not expect to go back to that phase of the relationship again. It would never come back.
When you get into a relationship, you have to take your time to be comfortable in the changed environment, know what the boundaries of your relationship are, and keep perspective. Do not lose yourself in the process of being with someone who does not truly value you.
Get out of the love bombed relationship as soon as you feel trapped in one and give yourself time to get over the heartbreak that you have gone through.
If your partner is showing you too much care and concern, going out of the way to support your ambitions, making extra efforts to bond with your family and besties and at the same time you feel overwhelmed and drained by their love, then it is a sign you are being love bombed. It is indeed a relationship red flag.
It usually lasts till you acknowledge their advances and express your love. They become more intense in their love bombing act till you commit. By the way a love bomber can harass and heckle you for commitment and when you give it, they start shifting their stance.
It’s hard to reject love bombing because you usually feel good with all the attention. But when it becomes too much to take, you want to reject it. By then you are already in a relationship and it results in a breakup. But a love bomber narcissist keeps hoovering after that.
Narcissists usually have low self-esteem and need to feel desirable all the time. So it’s not that hard to love bomb a narcissist if you can up your game plan and shower them attention. Narcissists have huge egos and if that is massaged they are super happy. But you have to be very intelligent if you want to go to the next stage of manipulation and control with a narcissist.