Thank you for joining me for this weeks episode of The Confidence Column.
Today I wanted to talk about something that, well, it’s a form of emotional abuse dressed up as undying love but….it’s something that was brought to my attention as a form of abuse that...I have suffered from and I recently found out others have suffered from. It’s called Lovebombing.
Loveboming happens when someone overwhelms you with loving words, actions, and behaviors as a manipulation technique.
Now, it doesn’t feel manipulative at the time. In fact, it feels very genuine. The exacting words and actions they are taking with you are distinct to the love you specifically are needing.
More on that in a second.
I just wanna take a moment to breakdown the surface of this bombing a bit.
It is a shower of affection and admiration that happens at the beginning of a connection with someone that feels exhilarating and exciting. This shower of love is an attempt to win over your unquestioning trust.
I’ll try to be gender neutral throughout this episode but you may hear me use the terms him and her throughout so I want to explain:
All genders/non-genders have been shown to lovebomb. It also can happen romantically and through friendships.
The research leans extremely heavily towards cis men doing it to women. HEAVILY
In my own conversations about lovebombing, the men I spoke with didn’t know what it was or shied away from the conversation while women overwhelmingly expressed the traumatic experiences they’ve overcome and the various bits and details of how they experienced it and learned to RUN whenever they see signs of it again.
My point is, it’s not a point to be exclusive. My show is listened to primarily by identifying women so, I think it deserves to be noted that this happens towards and against women in pretty high percentages.
Love bomb abusers use this technique to navigate “relationships” as a way of control and ego-feeding. The feedback I saw from the women who expressed it having happened to them was “yea, and it suuuuuuucks,” “glad I know what it is so I can stay away from it now,” and “there was a lot of deprogramming and healing I didn’t know I needed to do after it was over...but I did. And it was tough.”
I also have been a victim of lovebombing but, I didn’t know it at the time.
That seems to be a consensus - you don’t know it’s happening until it’s happening or after it’s happening.
And I sure AF didn’t know there was a name for it.
Or that is a cycle of manipulation so
For those of you who don’t know what it is or if it’s happened to you...I wanted to do a rundown of what it looks like, what you may be experiencing / have experienced, and then how to understand the process...and heal.
The Love bombing (aka idealizing) - this is the crucial part of this entire thing. It usually happens very quickly and is a shower of affection and admiration. During this phase, everything seems like bliss. A lot of emotional time spent together, they likely say ‘I Love You’ very early on, and want you to say it back. The bomber in this situation is having you create a deep emotional tie to them, all the while, they are tying nothing to you. But it seems like they are because their words are idyllizing your future together, maybe marriage and kids, introducing you to his family, the house you’ll live in, the vacations you’ll take. All the jazz. They are playing whatever role, whatever character, they need to be to get you HOOKED on them. Some of the things you’ll experience here is them using a lot of charisma and charm, infinite praise, using false promises to fake a future with you, mirroring or parroting your dreams and desires, even showerin gyou with physical thing like sex, vacations, or gifts. You are investing yoru heart with this person and they are soaking it all up. They need the attention you are giving them and as long as you’re giving it to them, they will feed you whatever you need. You’re believing in this loving and intimate relationship and they are baiting you for a brash and intentional switch.
Uh oh. The love bomber (aka narcissist) is getting bored. All this high energy, honeymoon loving, can only last for so long and soon you may have disagreements (normal in relationships,) you may ask for some compromising (normal in relationships,) or even begin to ask more questions than you used to (normal in relationships.) In normal relationships, you and your partner would communicate through these parts of your courting but instead of meeting you there, they start to devalue you. This can look like withdrawing intimacy (when you used to be so close all the time,) put downs, gaslighting, or blaming you for their lack of affection.
“This used to be so great, now you’re making me do stuff I don’t wanna do, its your fault I don’t love you like I used to. You’re making this too hard.”
When the narcissist can no longer fuel their energetic ego supply, they discard you, bail on you. When you ask for compromise, reciprocity, honesty, balance, and boundaries (which are all healthy and valid things for you to want from a partner) they disengage from you. Their lust is lost and you are no longer the perfect partner….usually shifting the blame to you and what you said or did (despite those things, again, being healthy and valid requests of a partner in a relationship.)
If you fold on your requests, you can see them step back into lovebombing phases but this is a cycle and it can happen again. In fact, this cycle can go on for years. Though, the lovebombing is never the same after the first time, and the longer you’re with this person, the harder it can be to break ties with them. Emotional investment makes it hard to get out...which is why they BOMB you with love and admiration right up front.
So how do you know you’re dating a love bomber and how do you get out before it gets bad?
They say I love you first and super early on in a relationship and probably ask you to say it back (or make you feel bad for not saying it.)
They overly compliment you for normal stuff - maybe even idolizing you. You’re the best woman ever. You’re the most gorgeous woman ever. Nothing compares to you ever.
They are moving suuuuuppppeeerrrr fast and they don’t like when you question the hurry.
We get swept up in being in love. The movies, the songs, we’ve been trained to believe in love that is really unsustainable. I encourage you to think about what it means TO YOU to be in love and to be loved.
If someone just met you a week ago and are SO IN LOVE WITH YOU - how much do they really know about you to be in love with you? Please think about the kind of love You Want...and whether you’re down to settle for someone who says they love you after barely scratching the surface of who you are, your life, your struggles, your trauma, and your dreams.
Also, if you’re uncomfortable with how things are moving, you are allowed to say that. You are allowed to address it. It’s absolutely okay to ask if things slow down. If you feel like things are moving intensely, they probably are, and for a reason that -psst- won’t likely benefit you. In fact, they can probably hurt you.
This isn’t to say that people don’t meet each other and they know they found the one, or that love at first sight doesn’t happen. It’s more to say: You have more control in your relationships than you think. If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. If it is really *true love* than it can move at a slower pace and will still feel good.
Relationships can have overwhelming love and bits of pain. However, they need not devalue who you are as a person and what you want out of a partner or relationship. You deserve to be loved, supported, heard, and validated in your desires. No person is worth sacrificing your well-being and loving heart. <3