Love bombing is a term that was invented to describe how narcissists lure their potential target into their narcissistic orbit, it has absolutely nothing to do with genuine love, it is a manipulation technique that narcissists use to make their potential target feel like they are adored, admired and exciting so that the person thinks that they think that they are the most important person in the narcissist’s world, that the narcissist is head over heels in love with them.
They flood you with all kinds of communications that are available to them, it could be phone calls, text messages, emails, messages on social media sites, flowers and other presents. This is most common in potential romantic liaisons but it can also happen with new platonic relationships too. The narcissist will constantly compliment you and you will feel flattered by all of their attention and will be lulled into a false sense that the narcissist is really besotted by you.
When the narcissist is physically around you they will listen intently to everything that you say, hang on your every word, feign interest in the things that you are interested in or hold important. They will seem like they are really in touch with your feelings, dreams and values and that they really want to get involved in a committed relationship. Attention blasting would be a more accurate term.
You might feel a little uneasy about this as it can feel over the top, exaggerated or too good to be true. This is because it is, there is nothing sincere or balanced about this type of behaviour. It is being done as a means to an end. To have you give them narcissistic supply. You might even feel like you are not giving enough back if you do not mimic some of the narcissists behaviour, in fact the narcissist will let you know (albeit subtly) that you need to give more and so this type of behaviour will become normalised to some extent. The intense listening and mimicking that the narcissist does is just a ruse that they employ to harvest information about you so that they can and will use it against you at some time in the future.
While as the target of love bombing you might feel flattered there will also be the inevitable nagging feeling that you are being preyed upon and the endless attention and interrogation about what they were doing and who they did it with, will often feel suffocating and infantile as no adult usually pries into the life of another adult with such intensity. It simply isn’t healthy. “Light hearted stalking” might also occur at this stage, they could be waiting for you outside your work with a bunch of flowers or they might know that you are going for a drink with some friends and turn up at the bar where you have told them you will be “because they just happened to be in the area too”.
The level of attention might even garner envy or admiration from friends and family and they might comment on how lucky it is to be held in such high esteem. It is very confusing for you t because your gut will tell you that something isn’t quite right but all the evidence/advice will mitigate against them.
As a result of all of the information harvesting that the narcissist did, they will have been able to find out exactly the sort of person you are is looking for in your life and will metamorphosize into that person.
It is at this stage that you let down your guard and let the narcissist into your life. You will not see the lying, cheating or the parasitical nature of the narcissist at this stage because you simply don’t know them well enough. You will not notice that they narcissist expects you to do everything for them and will give back only the very bare minimum to stop the whole relationship from falling apart (at the beginning). However, like an infant the narcissist will push the boundaries to see just how much they can get away with and unless you hold your ground those boundaries will be pushed without limits. Trying to get them to co-operate or contribute financially can feel like more effort than it is worth, it might be met with narcissistic rage (a ploy used to get their target to back down) or it might make you feel like you are being a terrible nag because you have to keep asking the same thing over and over again. This is a typical narcissistic strategy, to make you out to be something negative for something that they will or will not do. They flip their faults onto you, and narcissists while highly sensitive to any sort of criticism, will have absolutely no hesitation in calling other people horrible names, telling them who and what they are in a very negative way. Because they do it to everybody you may think that it is just bluster, it is not. It is a deliberate ploy to break your spirit. No matter how strong you are if you are constantly given negative feedback about everything that you say and do, it will eventually break you down (not you, anyone)
The narcissist will constantly tell you how fantastic they are themselves and how amazing the relationship is, how great you make them feel and that they have at last found their soul mate. There are two things that you will notice at this stage and those are that the narcissist will move in for “the kill” very quickly, that is that they could start to talk about moving in together on the second date. The other this is that you will feel that you don’t feel as strongly as the narcissist does about the relationship and in some way you will feel badly that you just cannot see it, that there must be something lacking in you. This is all part of the grand design.
The narcissist will constantly monitor you to see how well their manipulation is working. Their exaggerated language is deliberate so that even if you don’t return the complements in exactly the same lavish language that they use you will feel obliged to accept it and return some of it. When the narcissist sees that their ploy is working they will simply raise the bar, or push the boundaries. You might feel that it is all moving too fast (because it is), but the narcissist has to move fast for fear of losing you or for being found out for being the insincere fraud that s/he is. The narcissist will give a running commentary on how amazing and brilliant the relationship is going, how friends are jealous and will categorically deny any “let’s slow down” or other caution comments that you might make.
It is worth noting that the narcissist will not ask you how you feel and if you express doubts the narcissist will just flip it back on you with a comment that will be designed to make you feel that the fault is with you.
Once they have hooked you with their charm and flattery you will only then begin to realise what the narcissist is really like. They will have already have started to erode your confidence and self-esteem. This doesn’t happen overnight, it is done on a very slow almost undetectable way, so that you might just think that the narcissist is being sloppy with the language that they use, but they are not. Their put downs will get stronger as the narcissist sees that they have eroded your willingness to defend yourself, eventually it will end up as undisguised abuse, except when they are in public and then the narcissist will perform like the perfect partner.
It is important at the love bombing stage to listen intently to how the narcissist describes other people, especially their exs. They will probably oscillate between how amazing they were in bed etc. and how they didn’t understand the narcissist. The first comment is to try to make you feel inadequate, and the second is to make you feel like they really need you. This contrast creates confusion and that is their intention and you will start to doubt yourself and what you think/feel and in this state of confusion you will be much easier to control. That is what it is all about for the narcissist is control and power.
A narcissist has to try to make you invisible because their own self-esteem is so weak, that they have to diminish everyone around them for the fear that if another person shines even slightly, that they will just disappear completely.
It may sound like the narcissist is a great strategist, but this is not the case. Think of the spoilt child that makes their nanny’s life hell, well it is the same thing with a narcissist. It is not sophisticated as their behaviour is infantile. The reason that most of us don’t see it coming is because adults simply do not behave that way.