Narcissists have a way of really reeling in their victims, and it usually begins the moment you meet them. They’ll work hard to create an intoxicating bubble around you, presenting only false selves. They will do whatever it takes to win you over – and you’ll fall for it, hook, line, and sinker – even and sometimes especially when you technically should “know better.”
But once you’ve committed to this person, it’s usually too late. You’re already found yourself caught in their web of lies that nearly eliminates any chance of you leaving them. Worse, the lies they tell during the “honeymoon” phase can be very strategic – or the narcissist could just be infatuated with you. Either way, they appear as if they care deeply about your welfare. In reality, this is what love bombing is all about.
What is love bombing?
Love bombing is an intense, overwhelming whirlwind experience of being romantically pursued by another that includes overtures of grandiose, idealized love and devotion. These displays may consist of poetry, flowers, cards, and gifts—even marriage proposals or fraudulent offers of “forever” love. Love bombing is also called idealization. It usually happens during the initial stages of a relationship with a narcissist, when they attribute exaggeratedly positive qualities to the self or others. It’s the first part of a larger cycle of abuse.
What is the cycle of narcissistic abuse?
The cycle of narcissistic abuse is a pattern used by a narcissistic personality disorder, psychopathic, or sociopathic person to entrap their victims into giving them narcissistic supply. Unfortunately, the more they are given, the more narcissistic supply they feel they need. And the more intensely they are loved (or hate), the more shame is exposed, triggering greater and greater fears of destruction that ultimately result in narcissistic rage. For the most part, victims will experience four main phases, including the idealization phase, also known as love bombing, followed by the devaluation and discard phases. Thus, this cycle of abuse is a pervasive pattern of alternating idealization and devaluation.
How can I tell if I’m being love-bombed?
Why is it so hard to tell the difference between a love bomber and someone interested in you on a healthy level? The fact is that on the outside, a love bomber and a healthy person who has fallen in love might appear to be pretty similar. But some subtle differences are often overlooked when we are under the spell of new love.
What kinds of things do narcissists say during love bombing?
I asked my SPAN online support group this question: What are some things your narcissist said to you during the “love bombing” phase of your relationship? As we discussed the topic, several group members felt shocked about the similarities between their stories. It was in black and white: the plain pattern that seems to flow throughout nearly every toxic relationship with a narcissist – at least in some iteration.
Below are their answers – as you look through this list, I want you to think back to the beginning of your relationship – do you see a pattern, too?.
53 Lies Narcissists Tell When Love Bombing
Narcissists in love-bombing mode seem to tell some pretty common lies meant to throw us off the scent of what’s happening in the relationship. By learning to spot these red flags, you can better protect yourself from falling victim to their manipulations and behaviors. **Trigger warning: These are actual statements from toxic narcissists shared with me by real survivors of narcissistic abuse.**
- “You seem like the type of person I would want to marry someday.”
- I never wanted children until I met you.
- I’m divorced.
- It’s all you – all the time. (Because I have no friends.)
- My exes are all crazy bitches. (The same narc asked at the end of the relationship: “Is it okay to still visit for sex after our divorce?”)
- Your mother/sister/father/brother is messed up! I hid out in the other room while they were here because they gave me a bad vibe.
- How dare you put your kids before me?
- You don’t love me! Only your children.
- The day after, he had been drunk the night before. There was never an apology for his bad behavior, but he would always ask, “do you still love me?” And, of course, I would shower him with the reassurance of how much I loved him.
- “I just want to be with someone who wants to be with me for the same reasons I want to be with them.”
- You’ve never met anyone like me.
- “I love you” (a few days to a few months).
- “I will die without you.”
- “I will do anything to get you back. Please tell me you love me.”
- “Can I take the condom off? You know I will take care of you.” (3 days before, he discarded me for his new victim. Probably because I said no and wasn’t going to take him back without him becoming a decent human being.)
- “You remind me of my mother.”
- “The only way I’ll ever leave you is in a pine box.” (And left three days later, for a month, before coming back.)
- You’re all mine now, and I’m not letting you get away!
- “God sent you to me.” (a couple of days in)
- Oh, I never used to yell this much before my ex-wife… (and other irrational or jealous statements/accusations)
- I’ve never loved anyone as much as you before. I couldn’t live without you now.
- How much do you love me? (I was asked this almost daily ).
- Will, you always love me (again almost daily when he wasn’t giving silent treatment ).
- Why do you love me?
- You love me more than I do you!
- I think you’re a good investment!
- I wish I met you 30 years ago. We’d have been so successful.
- So, when’s the wedding? (2 weeks in)
- I just suddenly fell in love with you (the day after seeing my new house ).
- You’re perfect for me.
- No one will ever love you as much as me.
- I don’t need anyone but you.
- You’ve made me happy.
- My wife was cold and hated sex.
- My wife didn’t talk to me.
- My wife has issues.
- “I did everything to save my marriage” (I didn’t know about his 2-year affair, which he was still in when he forced himself into my home, saying he’d left his wife for me, and I couldn’t refuse him and make him homeless. So we weren’t even going out together. He was just a friend through work!)
- “I know how wonderful it can be when two people truly love each other share the same goals.”
- The narcissist made various graphic statements regarding my anatomy.
- It could have been anyone, but no, it was me and no one else who was the perfect one for him.
- He knew I was his soulmate.
- He knew from the first time he saw me that I was the one for him.
- He never had as intimate a relationship with anyone before me.
- Sex has never been this good with others
- “I’ve never been love like this”
- “You’re my dream girl!”
- “I don’t know what hit me.”
- That was the first time I called a woman on my phone. It has been so long.” (7 months to be exact, but with hookers in between that and meeting me.)
- “When I went out with my friends, I would not talk to any other women… Until I met you. You’re amazing.”
- “I don’t do violence.”
- “We are like soul mates, aren’t we “
- “Where would I be without you?”
- “I’ve never been with a girl as pretty as you.”
Okay, now it’s your turn. How many of these phrases sound familiar to you? What would you add to our list?
Need more help? You might like to read Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now.
Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today
Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.
- Sign up for our free email newsletter service that includes a free guided recovery experience via your inbox.
- Start your narcissistic abuse recovery here with our free narcissistic abuse recovery support system and program.
- Join one of our free online narcissistic abuse recovery support groups!
- Join one of our private small coaching groups!
- Get private, one-on-one narcissistic abuse recovery coaching or counseling.
- Get a therapist who will work with you online. Check out our guide to finding a therapist or psychologist who understands narcissism and narcissistic abuse.
Additional Resources for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse
- Take the Test: Are you involved with a toxic narcissist?
- How to Use NLP and EFT for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Should you warn the new ‘supply’ about the narcissist?
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: 9 Ways to Stop a Panic Attack
- Toxic Relationship Recovery: Deciding Who You Want to Be After Narcissistic Abuse
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: 9 Ways to Get Over the Fear of Rejection