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What Is Love Bombing When It Comes From A Narcissist?

* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.

Being shown a lot of affection can feel great at first. You can feel like you are being truly appreciated and that you are finally in the right relationship.

And of course, sometimes displays of affection are signs of appreciation and should make you feel loved. So, What Is Love Bombing When It Comes From A Narcissist?

What Is Love Bombing When It Comes From A Narcissist?

However, a constant showering of affection may not be the dream come true it appears to be. In fact, it may be a sign that you are being love-bombed by a narcissist. 

Love bombing is a very common tactic narcissists use to trap others. In this article, I will discuss what love bombing is, the signs to look out for, and more.

So, if you’re interested, then read on. 

What Is Love Bombing?

Love bombing is a form of emotional abuse narcissists like to use to trap people.

Love bombing is the persistent and overwhelming showering of adoration and affection that typically happens at the beginning of a relationship with a narcissistic person. 

Love-bombing may sound harmless, but it is a tactic used by narcissists to make people feel obligated to and dependent on them.

Through love bombing, narcissistic people aim to control others. 

So, if the person experiencing love-bombing were to go against their narcissistic partner, they may begin to feel like they are being ungrateful or guilty.

This can result in an individual being emotionally abused going against how they naturally feel and doing things they would not normally do.

This is because they feel like they owe it to their narcissistic partner to listen to their will. Hence, control is established. 

Love-bombing is typically one of the first steps in the narcissist’s cycle of abuse.

Here, a narcissist will attempt to fool another person into thinking they have established a real connection so they will begin to trust them.

This will make that individual easier to control. 

What Is Not Considered Love-Bombing?

It is important to remember that not all displays of adoration and affection are considered love-bombing.

For a display of affection to be considered love-bombing, then it needs to be constant, overwhelming, intense and may make you feel a little uncomfortable. 

If your partner has randomly surprised you romantically, with a romantic dinner or a trip, for example, then this is not generally considered love-bombing.

However, if the goal of a romantic gesture is to manipulate another person, then this is indeed love-bombing. 

How Long Does The Love-Bombing Stage Last?

The love-bombing stage will last until a narcissist has established control over the other person.

Once they feel like control has been established, they will begin to become more manipulative and will begin to devalue you. 

So, there is no set time limit for the love-bombing stage, and it will differ from person to person. 

What Does The Cycle Of Abuse Look Like?

Love-bombing can look different based on the type of situation and the people involved.

However, love-bombing typically follows a narcissistic cycle of abuse, which looks a little like this:

  • Idealizing a person 
  • Devaluing a person 
  • Discarding a person 
  • Renewed love-bombing, also known as “hoovering.” 

Let’s explore these stages in more detail. 

Cycle Of Abuse: Idealization 

What-Is-Love-Bombing-When-It-Comes-From-A-Narcissist (1)

The idealization stage of the cycle of abuse is the stage that involves love-bombing.

As previously mentioned, love-bombing involves a constant showering of affection in the form of attention and gifts, and typically happens at the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist.

Usually, during the idealization stage, a narcissist will want to stay in contact with you constantly. While this may seem flattering, it is not intended to be so. 

Typically, narcissistic people will become upset if you try to establish boundaries during this stage, and try to get you to make commitments to them by creating a false sense of trust. 

Cycle Of Abuse: Devaluing 

As soon as a narcissist feels like they have secured a relationship, they will begin to move away from being affectionate and start devaluing their partner – often becoming very manipulative and critical of them. 

A key characteristic of this stage is making their partner feel like they would not be wanted by another person, so they stay with the narcissist and continue to depend on them further. 

Cycle Of Abuse: Discarding

This stage may not happen in all relationships that involve a narcissist.

However, sometimes a narcissist will suddenly move on from the relationship, breaking up with their partner, and immediately begin dating someone else. 

Cycle Of Abuse: Hoovering

Eventually, people being abused by narcissists may feel ready to leave their relationship.

When this happens, a narcissist may begin their love-bombing tactics once more to maintain the relationship.

They may tell the other person that they are making a “great effort” to change. 

This may feel genuine, but it is usually just the beginning of a new abuse cycle. 

Love-Bombing Signs: Red Flags To Look Out For

There are many common red flags associated with love-bombing. Let’s check them out in more detail below.

If a narcissist is trying to love-bomb you, they will typically:

  • Spend excessive money on you
  • Try to speak to you constantly 
  • Buy you OTT gifts 
  • Compliment you to an overwhelming extent
  • Call you their soulmate, or say something along the lines of destiny and fate 
  • Become uncomfortable or outright dislike it when you try and set boundaries
  • Make you feel uncomfortable or uneasy 
  • Make the relationship feel intense 

Here are some examples of love-bombing:

  1. On your second date, your partner shows up at your door with a bouquet of flowers and tells you they have booked a surprise trip to Europe. They state they believe you are their soulmate and they are certain the relationship is going places – so why not go away together?
  1. Your partner texts you constantly with compliments or attempts to make plans in very short spaces of time, even when you tell them you are busy. When you ask them to stop texting you, or that you are not going to answer because you have other plans, they become upset and annoyed. 

How Can You Avoid A Narcissist’s Manipulation Tactics?

To avoid manipulation tactics from a narcissist, you need to pay attention to how you are feeling.

If you feel overwhelmed or off-balance within the relationship, then this is something to pay attention to.

It is always a good idea to pay close attention to how your partner reacts when you make them unhappy. 

And of course, it is always good to remember that while it is important to show enthusiasm in new relationships, partners should always be respectful of your feedback and your boundaries.

An Important Note 

If you discover that a narcissist is trying to abuse you emotionally through love-bombing, do not panic.

It is a good idea to speak to a friend, family member, or specialist support officer so you can feel the support you need to leave the relationship.

Final Thoughts

Love-bombing is typically part of the first stage of a narcissist’s cycle of abuse.

It is characterized by excessive displays of affection, through gift-giving, compliments, constant texts, and an outpouring of love, that makes you feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable.

Narcissists will love-bomb to try and establish control over their partners, by making their partners feel dependent on them or uncomfortable going against their wishes. 

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories

Canada

UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

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