After love bombing

If you’ve been learning about narcissism, you may have seen the term ‘love-bombing’. This is a behaviour used by narcissistic individuals at various times, but commonly in the early stages of relationships. It can last days, weeks or even months. Love bombing consists of pouring excessive attention, praise, gifts, etc. on the intended subject they are trying to win over. It might feel great to be the recipient… at first. When someone treats you like you are the most special person in the world, you might think you are both in love. How do you know then, if they’re in love with you or something is wrong. The narcissist who is love-bombing will really go over the top. Check out my Blog, What is love-bombing.

There are two big problems with this however.

  • Love bombing doesn’t last. The narcissist only love-bombs until you are caught in their web. Then they turn on you and start to put you down, tell you you’re worthless, basically de-value you. You go from being the most wonderful person in their world to nothing but an annoyance to them. This might be done overtly or covertly, suddenly or gradually. Some narcissists will be very subtle in how they devalue their partners. This can be done through various forms of manipulation, like gas lighting. Some mumble insults or criticism under their breaths and when confronted, act like they said nothing. Some narcissists de-value others by convincing friends, colleagues and family that you are unhinged, unreliable, or untrustworthy. This makes their partners feel like they must have done something wrong and so the cycle begins. Sometimes we are convinced it’s all our fault, that we need to be more agreeable, more generous, more forgiving. Before long, our boundaries are gone and the narcissist is ruling the roost. Eventually the narcissist’s partner questions their own reality.
  • If all you’ve ever known in romantic relationships is narcissism, it feels like the affections and interest of non-narcissists is just bland. It is very exciting and flattering to be the object of the narcissist’s love bombing. In fact, it can be addictive. This is not a healthy way for relationships to develop. A slower, more gradual pace, where trust and intimacy develops over time (like months – not days) gives both parties time to maintain their own sense of self and have an identity that isn’t dependent on the other. People in relationships with narcissists are often referred to as “co-dependent” because we lose our sense of self with the narcissist.

If you grew up with a narcissistic parent, love-bombing might seem like a normal expression of love, caring or affection. It’s important to recover your sense of self by learning to appreciate and love yourself for who you are. Staying with the narcissist means establishing boundaries and sticking to them so you can maintain your sense of self-worth and self-respect. It is challenging but learning about your options and what’s best for you is something to speak to a knowledgeable counsellor about.

Meeting new potential partners, we are prone to subconsciously seek out the ‘love-bombing’. See my Blog, Narcissism & Love Bombing. It’s important to recognize it as a warning sign and to steer clear. If you or a friend is in a painful relationship or recovering from one, please reach out to me for help.