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Love Bombing

Love is a term often filled with happy and wonderful feelings or memories while the term bomb is typically associated with danger and disaster. So what is love bombing? Love bombing is found in a romantic relationship when one partner showers the other with love and affection in an almost
overwhelming way. The person who is showering their partner with affection is typically using this excessive communication to obtain power and control over their partner’s life as a way of obtaining narcissistic self-enhancement. This love bombing behavior is often found at the beginning of a relationship as a way of securing the narcissist’s position as the most important person in their partner’s life. However, this behavior can also be found after arguments. Love bombing may also occur after an argument between partners, usually in the form of excessive apologies and loving words or actions with
the narcissist’s intention of keeping their partner in the relationship and reaffirming their feelings.

Common Signs of Love Bombing

How do you know if someone is love bombing? Although love bombing may not be coming from the narcissist intentionally, there are some common signs for love bombing behaviors. There are typically excessive expectations for communication within the relationship. For example, the narcissist may have specific times of the day that they have deemed mandatory for their partner to talk to them despite what is happening in their partner’s day. This often comes across as a lack of trust from the narcissist who may use this scheduled communication as a way of controlling the relationship and always knowing where their partner is. This lack of trust may also turn into accusations of unfaithfulness from the narcissist or a doubt of their partner’s feelings for them.

Why do they do this?

Although love bombing may seem like a tool used only to control a person in the relationship, there are additional potential reasons for why narcissists use the act of love bombing. Narcissists will commonly use love bombing as a way of coercing their partner into displaying feelings the narcissist has for themselves. This could be the narcissist’s way of affirming the qualities and traits that they believe they posses with or without their partner. These behaviors can stem from the narcissist’s insecure attachment throughout their childhood and adolescence or potentially from a lack of attachment in their previous relationships.

Repercussions of Love Bombing

There are many potential reasons for why narcissists display acts of love bombing, however, narcissists are rarely concerned with how these acts may affect their partner. In the beginning, the partner may feel wonderful and important, but as the relationship progresses, the unreasonable communication and trust issues may have the partner feeling overwhelmed and manipulated. It can be common for the partner in these relationships to go through instances of wanting to end the relationship followed by instances of extreme love for the narcissist and a craving for the attention that they give to their partner even if it is a form of manipulation.

It can be very difficult for the partner to end a love bombed relationship and even harder for them to have a healthy relationship after having left the narcissist. They may be fearful of falling into the same situation or have developed trust issues of their own. It is also common for these partners to experience low self-esteem or feelings of worthlessness due to a lack of constant attention.

Everyone wants to feel that they are worthy of love and affection, that they are attractive and desirable, and that they are important. Love bombing is a way of gaining these affirmations, but not in a healthy way and to the detriment of the relationship. These issues can become a serious issue if not addressed and potentially lead to additional repercussions for the partners in these relationships. In the end, true exclamations of love are what are truly valuable. Not the words or actions that are coerced from other people or given for the wrong reasons.

If you feel trapped in an unhealthy relationship that follows these patterns, there is help. Whether you decide to remain in the relationship or get out, good therapists can help you to recognize toxic patterns, set healthy boundaries, and rediscover your own voice and confidence as well.

August 2019, Amelia Forsmo, Administrative Volunteer

References
◦ https://scholarworks.uark.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1000&context=hdfsrsuht

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