Your partner sends you a bouquet, plans a romantic weekend holiday by the beach, and enjoys a moonlight dinner with you under the magnificent starry sky. The days are amazing and exhilarating because you feel loved because of all the compliments, attention, and time spent together. Love has a hypnotic effect on you.
While everything in your relationship may make you feel special and important lately, you may be mistaken. These grandiose shows of love by your significant other may be signs of love bombing.
Read on as we tell what love bombing is, signs your partner is love bombing you, ways to identify a love bomber, and tips to ward off a love bomber.
What Is Love Bombing?
Every day, people are subjected to narcissists’ use of love bombing, but few people have a good understanding of what this insidious behavior entails or how to deal with it. Love bombing is a powerful tool in a narcissist’s arsenal. They use it to persuade you and manipulate you.
Love bombing is a term used to describe an attempt at manipulating someone by overwhelming them with feelings of love and affection (1). What feels intoxicatingly loving at first can quickly turn controlling and abusive. Love-bombing is an approach used by a narcissist with low self-esteem to strengthen a romantic relationship, especially in the early stages of the relationship.
A narcissist is a skilled predator who uses the love-bombing technique to entice a person into a relationship. They lavish affection, gifts, and praise on their new romantic interest, but their true intentions are hidden. So, how do you tell if your significant other is love bombing you? Read on.
12 Signs Your Partner Is Love Bombing You
It can be difficult to distinguish between an affectionate person and one who uses love bombing as a weapon to maintain control in a relationship. Here are some tell-tale signs your partner is love bombing you.
1. They constantly compliment you
We all value compliments and feel good when someone says nice things about us. However, if your partner is love bombing you, they will constantly shower you with shallow, superficial, and insincere compliments on the way you look or everything you do, even things you know aren’t worthy of praise.
For example, they may constantly tell you, “I’ve never met anyone like you and felt this way about anyone before,” or “Everything about you appeals to me.”
2. They shower you with gifts
A week into the relationship, and you are inundated with gifts. They may not buy you a Ferrari, but expect them to lavish you with clothes, expensive perfumes, or jewelry, making you feel obligated to them. Their ultimate goal is to make you feel indebted to them. They believe that showering you with gifts will lead you to believe that you owe them something. Thus, gift-giving is a form of manipulation used to gain control over you.
3. They excessively text and call you
If your partner is love bombing, you will notice that they call or text you frequently. You can’t seem to find a quiet moment without your phone ringing. The constant “I miss you,” “Where are you?” texts or WhatsApp messages indicate that you are love-bombed, and they want to keep you hooked.
4. They tell you what you want to hear
When your partner is love bombing you, they will say whatever you want to hear. The love bomber will most likely sing the words you want to hear into your ears at the perfect time. They expressly validate your point of view to gain your favor, trust, and affection with an ulterior motive.
5. They make love moves too quickly
You get immediate promises about your future together a few weeks after meeting them. For example, they may say, “I’d like for you to meet my family” or “We complement each other perfectly.” They may discuss living together, marriage, children, or any other significant step in the relationship. You may hear “I love you“ or be bombarded with love songs a few weeks after meeting them. Then, they may hasten the relationship by rushing into sex. If things are moving too quickly, you are a victim of love bombing. This is their way of controlling you and making you lose your independence.
6. They try to be the savior
Love bombers detect blood in the water and thrive when you are in distress. Whether you’re going through a breakup or losing a loved one, the love bomber is always looking for ways to save you and provide solutions to whatever ails you. In reality, they are doing them to make you feel obligated to return the favors. For example, the love bomber may expect you to lavish them with praise for rescuing you from difficult situations.
7. They make you feel special
A narcissist who uses love bombing will make you feel special. They will tell you that you are the most beautiful, intelligent, and talented person in the world or the best lover ever. During the love-bombing phase, they place you on a pedestal that creates a false narrative and makes you believe in grandiose fantasies. In addition, they may romanticize you, saying you’re wonderful and amazing despite not knowing you well. Although undivided attention can be enticing, be skeptical about outlandish praise and affection, especially if they come from someone you have just met.
8. They like what you like
Your love bomber will love everything you love or dislike everything you hate. They’ll pretend to like the same things you do–music, movies, food, drinks, vacations, hobbies, sports, you name it. They will also expressly validate your points of view to gain your approval.
9. They call you a soul mate
The love bomber is quick to proclaim that they have found their soul mate, and they may attempt to create an intense emotional connection by convincing you that you two are meant for each other. But, of course, they’d call you a soul mate only after you’ve known each other for a few weeks. This stems from their desperate desire to be in a relationship to manipulate you.
9. They ask you personal questions
During the love bombing phase, the lover bomber will ask you probing questions about your previous relationships. They may insult your ex and try to portray them as losers. After you reveal your secrets, they may reveal their “deepest secrets” to instantly bond with you and possibly become your lover. They want to identify your emotional weak points and use them to manipulate you.
10. They try to get physical with you
During the love-bombing phase, the love bomber is likely to show his affection through physical touch. The Narcissist will use physical touch as a love language in front of you to create a false sense of closeness with you.
11. They tell you their sob stories
A love bomber will tell you his sob stories during the love bombing phase to elicit empathy from you. They may present themselves as a victim or someone who has been wronged by the world, including their family members. They are quick to find a weak spot in your heart, strike an emotional chord, and begin a relationship with you.
12. They monitor your social media activity
They constantly monitor your activities on Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Twitter, posting pictures with you, and flaunting you to boost their inflated ego. They immediately “like” everything you post and comment on them. This is their way of attracting attention and promoting themselves.
Why Is Love Bombing A Red Flag?
Love bombing does not foster healthy relationship dynamics. It is a serious red flag because it is a form of emotional abuse. When a love bomber uses the emotions of fear, obligation, or guilt to get their way, it creates an imbalance in the relationship.
As narcissistic love bombers are manipulative, having them in your life can be detrimental to your emotional and mental health. And if you’ve ever met a narcissist love bomber, you’ve probably witnessed how manipulative, emotionally abusive, inconsiderate, and self-centered they can be.
True Colors Of A Love Bomber
The following are the true colors of a love bomber. Once you have identified the signs that someone might be love bombing you, look out for these character traits in them.
1. They use verbal and physical abuse
If you’re in a relationship with a love bomber, you’ll notice that they tell you what to do and how to do it sooner or later. If you disagree, they try to intimidate you with their uncontrollable rage. If you don’t do what they want, they become angrier and more abusive, even physically abusive, to get their way. They also throw a fit or walk out of the room when you cannot give them the attention they seek.
2. They are control freaks
They try to take control over situations, finances, social engagements, and family plans. They have no regard for you, and they try to control what you wear, eat, and watch. As time passes, you become increasingly isolated from friends and family.
3. They are full of themselves
A typical narcissist love bomber is careless, self-obsessed, egoistic, and dismissive of their failures. They believe they have the right to exploit the emotions of others. They lack empathy because they generally believe they are better than others.
Love bombers have a colossal sense of self-importance, and they believe they are more important, intelligent, and deserving of praise and validation than others.
4. They have no boundaries
A love bomber has no regard for your boundaries. They may try to manipulate you by being upset, throwing a tantrum, making you feel guilty, and so on.
5. They do not take responsibilities
Being in a relationship entails taking responsibility, but a love bomber is incapable of doing so. The love bomber has no regard for the future or the consequences of their actions or behavior.
6. They blame you
The only way a narcissist can avoid responsibility is to blame others. If something goes wrong, you will notice them blaming you. If they notice you diverting your attention elsewhere, they will begin to label you as self-centered and mean. If they are the one who’s dishonest, they’ll accuse you of being dishonest. A love bomber will improve their image by making you look bad.
7. They are jealous
Love bombers are extremely envious and insecure. They may become envious if you try to go out with your friends or colleagues.
8. They make empty promises
They don’t keep their promises, whether it’s a vacation or dinner plan. You’ll quickly realize that the promises they make are flimsy and hollow. Instead, they fake compliments to gain access to your heart. If their compliments seem exaggerated, investigate the possibility that they have an ulterior motive to take advantage of you.
9. They devalue you
If you don’t agree with what the love bomber wants or try to break up with them, they will begin to devalue you. They will accuse you of being unappreciative or insult you. They will do all they can to crush your self-esteem and gain control of you.
10. They threaten to discard you
If all of their plans fail, the love bomber will threaten to leave you, break up with you, or leave you. They may continue to bombard you with calls, texts, emails, and WhatsApp messages when you discard them. During this phase, the love bomber may launch a malicious campaign against you or try to turn your family and friends against you.
How To Ward Off A Love Bomber?
So, what should you do if you’re in a relationship with a love bomber? Here are a few tips for dealing with someone who is love bombing you.
1. Politely reject gifts
When dealing with a love bomber, you must exercise extreme caution. For example, if they lavish you with gifts, politely inform them that you do not feel comfortable receiving gifts without a valid reason. Furthermore, express your desire not to rush into things, and let them know that excessive praise or gifts make you feel uncomfortable.
2. Adopt a no-contact policy
Adopt a no-contact policy if you want to reclaim your self-respect. You should not call, text, or have social media contact with them during the no contact phase, even when you feel lonely and vulnerable. Use this time to reflect on the relationship and the events that have harmed you and do things you love.
3. Spend time with family
Discuss it with trusted family members or close friends. Then, spend time with your family and friends by going out to dinner, watching movies, attending cocktail parties, or walking on the beach.
4. Restrict your social media access
Stop following anyone who is connected to the love bomber, including your friends. You can use the privacy settings on your social media accounts to prevent the love bomber from seeing anything you’ve publicly shared on social media.
5. Gain perspective
The key to dealing with the pain and hurt after being love-bombed is to gain perspective. Give yourself enough time and space to introspect. This involves observing the behavior patterns in both the love bomber and yourself. If you can do this, you can heal gradually.
6. Do not blame yourself
Understanding the true nature of the love bomber or abuser is only the first step toward victory. Another important step you should take is to stop blaming yourself and thinking about what could have gone wrong or how things could have been better.
7. Practice self-love
Accept that it is over and promise yourself that you will love yourself because you have most likely been physically and emotionally abused. Then, meet new people, broaden your horizons, and reconnect with your inner self. You could learn a new skill, such as painting, dancing, or playing a musical instrument, or indulge in any other interest you’ve always wanted to pursue but haven’t been able to.
8. Befriend positive people
Always keep in mind that we can unwittingly give toxic people power over our emotions and thoughts. Therefore, associate yourself with positive people who can lift your mood and motivate you to think positively.
9. Discover your self-worth
It is natural for your self-worth to suffer as a result of intense love bombing and narcissistic abuse. You may feel unimportant. Self-worth entails valuing one’s time, one’s body, and one’s goals. Most importantly, treat yourself with compassion and forgive yourself.
10. Consult a therapist
Dealing with the love bomber’s brainwashing is a difficult task. If, despite all your efforts, you have difficulty leaving the narcissistic love bomber or coping with negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, guilt, or anger, see a therapist and try to improve your emotional well-being.
Falling in love is one of the best feelings. It makes you feel happy when you are around the person you love. However, being in a relationship with a love bomber can be detrimental. While love bombing can be exciting in the initial stages, you will soon realize it is the most dangerous stage of narcissistic abuse. Thus, identifying the signs and taking steps to deal with love bombing are crucial.
- Claire Strutzenberg et al. (2017). Love-bombing: A narcissistic approach to relationship formation.