Are you in a relationship with a narcissist? If so, you might have experienced the phenomenon known as “love bombing,” which is yet another form of manipulation that a narcissist uses to reel in their victims.
The Urban Dictionary defines a love bomber as “a person who is full of love and always ready to express their love for somebody.” But when there’s a narcissist involved, it turns into a whole other ball of wax.
Why does love bombing work so well?
We all know how predictable a narcissist can be. And in the early stages of a relationship (or even during a “renewal” period in a long-term relationship, in which he reactivates the love bomb), you can rest assured that certain things will happen, with almost any lovebombing narc.
Kim Saeed at LetMeReach.com says it’s because love is the one thing we all really want and need.
“Love is the most sought after human need,” Saeed writes. “So, when a target receives an overwhelming amount of love and acceptance, it’s very hard to analyze the reasons ‘why’ for fear of losing what they’ve desperately been longing for.”
She adds that after a while, “the target becomes blindly dependent on their abuser; all while being hammered into submission.”
I can relate to that one. How about you?
Melanie Tonia Evans, a well-known narcissism expert, says that the narcissist engages in love bombing for a very specific reason: they are in desperate need of narcissistic supply.
“You must understand that the narcissistic emotional ‘love’ model is not the normal human one we know,” Evans writes. “Narcissists are insatiably needy. We know there are ‘needy’ people in the world – but the normal human version of ‘needy’ bares very little resemblance to a narcissist’s neediness.”
Healthy vs. Narcissistic Relationship Development
In a normal relationship, you grow closer over a number of months or years. But when it comes to a narcissist, one of the biggest red flags early in a relationship is his blatant desire to move quickly.
The narcissist will start off by rushing into it. He will idealize you and make you feel like he’s the part of you that’s been missing all of your life. You’ll be all, “OMG, love at first sight!”
Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure there are some totally legit “love at first sight” stories. But in general, if this happens, you’d do best to take a step back and reevaluate.
What Love Bombing Looks Like in Action
At first, it’ll all seem too good to be true. You’ll spend hours talking, and maybe you’ll get sweet little texts all day long. He will “like” every Facebook status you post, and maybe even comment on them all about how amazing/smart/beautiful, etc. you are.
He will say that you’re the best female he’s ever met – the rest are so crazy/unpredictable/whore-ish, etc. He will lavish attention on you like you’re his princess.
He might even take off work in order to spend more time with you – and at first, it all seems so perfect. You’ll think “maybe he’s my soulmate!” and he’ll take full advantage of such assumptions.
He will say all the right things, and it’ll just feel like you truly know him within days or weeks. You’ll feel like he understands you like no one else ever has, and no matter how smart you are, you’ll fall for it all – hook, line and sinker.
You might get overwhelmed with gifts (which, of course, as you’ll soon find out, always have strings attached).
This will lead to the inevitable next step – he starts mirroring you; that is, he will start “reflecting back to you” exactly what you really want to hear.
This is because, by becoming your ideal man, he gains a tiny bit of control over you. He can only gain the control if he has your full attention – and he knows the best way to get it.
“You just get me.”
He will tell you that somehow, you’re the first person he’s ever come along who “just gets him.” He’ll say that you understand him like no one ever could, and he will wonder how he ever got along without you.
He might even ask, “Where have you been all my life?”
You might even find yourself wondering the same thing.
The Soulmate Con
“Oh my god, I’ve never felt like this before!”
Narcissists play on our insecurities, and they tend to be rather attracted to empaths (mostly because they’re easy targets as they tend to be very in touch with others’ emotions – the narc uses this to their advantage).
In many cases, they use our deepest fears against us, including and especially the fear of being alone.
In love bombing, this takes a whole other turn – they go the other direction and make you feel loved, needed and protected.
One common way they do this is to tell you that they feel like you’re their soulmate. You fall for it, because we all want to believe that our perfect One is out there, and the narcissist knows this and uses it against us.
His Evil Ex
How does he talk about his ex? Most narcissists will have a terrible sob story to tell you about theirs. They will tell you how toxic she was and how crazy, and how by the end of it, he basically hated her.
They will also sometimes tell you that “she left him” because of cheating or some other reason, but often, they blatantly lie because, let’s face it, it works.
You feel sorry for him and without even realizing it, you may just vow to yourself that you’re going to become His Perfect Woman and make sure the poor thing doesn’t go through all of that ever again.
See, as women, we’re caregivers. It’s in our nature to want to take care of and fix people and their problems. Especially when we’re in love with them.
But it all feels so good!
So, here’s the thing. If you’re currently in the love-bombing phase, it’s unlikely that you’re actually reading this article right now. That’s because, during the “bombing” period, you’re going to feel absolutely amazing.
You’ll reason that this must be the person you’ve been waiting your whole life to meet. You’ll feel that this relationship is special, different – and yes, you’ll be certain that he’s your soulmate.
When you’re in that place, you have no reason to go around researching stuff like this.
Most likely, though, you’re here because you want to know what happened to the guy you fell in love with. You feel like he changed so drastically, and you want to know what you’ve done wrong.
You might even think you’re going a little crazy, or that somehow you’re to blame for all of this.
Here are some things you need to know.
Have you experienced love bombing before? What other red-flags did you notice? Need help? Here’s a video playlist that will help you recognize the red flags of narcissists.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.