Recently I was a guest speaker at an Empowering Empath class and a student asked me why is love bombing bad? She went on to say that so many people that talk about narcissism make it seem bad, but doesn’t everyone love bomb a person when they start dating? I loved her question and I want to talk about it today. My answer would be yes and no. First let me talk about the NO, meaning not everyone loves bombs when they start dating.
When you meet someone new, it should be fun and exciting. You are flirting with each other and discovering what makes this new person in your life different from other people. Do they make you smile, laugh, feel comfortable, and accepted? Are they listening to you and I mean REALLY listening to you? Does this new person validate what you have to say, think, and feel? Are they considerate, conscientious, respectful, optimistic, and understanding? And are you really listening to them? Are you connecting with each other or do they give off a strange vibe? What are their core values and do they match your own? In away, it can feel like you are both love bombing each other because there are times when you can be so excited to meet this new person. You want to know everything about them. You might want to show appreciation by sending them a text messages, giving them a gift, or wanting to spend more time with them. This is normal and all good. I view it as a healthy way of connecting with a new person and not the manipulative style of love bombing. So, if the word love bombing makes you feel bad about yourself or triggered, do not worry. You might love bombing when you meet someone new, you are just not doing it to manipulate or control that new person. You are just overly excited and curious.
Dating is a courtship to see if you are both compatible. Some people have deal breakers and that is why communication and taking it slow is key. Jumping into bed too quickly can either make your connection stronger or it can destroy it. How? Well, most couples do not talk about sex during the first or second date. You are most likely trying to discover if there is any chemistry or connection. And connection is the key to any lasting relationship. Now if you have an attachment disorder, it can make it more challenging for you to allow someone into your personal space or bubble. The real different I have found in love bombing is decent people do not have a hidden agenda when it comes to love bombing another person. I will explain more in details very soon.
If the person is narcissistic and their main goal is to get you into bed, then they will talk about sex ASAP. Some people will fall for this trick, and others will find it offensive. Why it should be a red flag is there are people out there that just want to use another person sexually. They do not care about your feelings or forming a connection when they discard and ghost you. The act of getting you in bed is one example of a hidden agenda. The charms, flattery, flirting, and sexual tension building is an act of deception. The person might be very attractive and you might want to just sleep with them also, but there will come a time in your life when meaningless sex is no longer enjoyable. Sex is about connecting, opening yourself up to another person, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable. When you are not connecting, it can feel like you are having sex with a friend and you might regret it later. One person might feel like they formed a connection and the one with the hidden agenda will feel/think the exact opposite. If you decide to just use each other, this is a risk you will have to take. All I have to say is it can hurt a persons feelings when he or she believed they were connecting because they experienced great sex, but when that person turns cold and kicks a person out of bed; well it can be heartbreaking. It can take you weeks or months to recover from that one major rejection. That is why I avoid having sex right away. You do not know the person’s sexual history, do they have any transmittable diseases, are they grooming you for some other hidden agenda, and/or are the bells going off in your head that something is not right? Having meaningless sex can be very dangerous. That is why I encourage people to take your time and get to know more about this person before you allow them into my personal and professional life. And if you have a child or children, it is imperative that you do take it slow for their comfort level and peace of mind.
When you are dating someone new, people will show you love in the way that makes them feel loved. The book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, explains this in details. I highly recommend his book. If you click on the link, you can take a fun quiz. If the person feels love when giving, that person might enjoy giving you gifts, flowers, or taking you out to dinner. If the person needs praise, they might leave you love notes. If the person is into physical touch, they might enjoy holding your hand, snuggling, or being intimate. This is all healthy and normal. The person is trying to figure you out and you are doing the same thing. And I need to point out that if and when you have a child with your special someone, the love language can change. So keep this in mind.
When it comes to dating someone new and if you are serious about this person, there are some fun couples games to play. Why I recommend these games is it takes the pressure off you to sometimes ask embarrassing or awkward questions. Plus, at times we can get brain fog. Your mind has so many questions to ask this new person, you just do not know where to start. Couples games can be the best solution for self discovery and connection. I just played, “Let’s Get Deep“. I learned so much about my partner. From the website, Best Self, There is card decks to help couples that are just dating, starting to form intimacy, and in a relationship. There are even cards for just meeting someone new like icebreaker, deeper talk, and little talk, which allows you to connect to your kids as well as your partners. There are even decks to discover your core values and an impact deck to help you show up and step up. Why these tools are so important is we can stumble on our own words, feelings and thoughts. You could be dating a person and have practiced what you want to say to them over and over, but when they are standing in your face, your mind goes blank. You freeze and you can feel self conscious. Having something already written down and in the form of a fun game will reduce all that pressure. And, it takes the pressure off the other person as well.
Now let’s talk about how love bombing is bad. Love bombing is like a smoke cloud. The person love bombing you does not want you to see the real person behind the mask. It is about power and control. Whenever I have meet a single narcissist, they always have a sad love story. It can seem like an SOS that they need to be saved by a new relationship – with you. Why love bombing is a bad thing is because this technique used by narcissistic people and abusers is to manipulate you. Here are a few reasons for their manipulation.
- They have nothing to offer you personality wise and they just want to get you into bed as a conquest.
- Their personality is toxic, so they compensate by giving you gifts or excessive praise.
- They have a hidden agenda (which I will explain more in details).
- They need to be saved and feel loved by another person. They might even fear being alone/single.
- They feel the need to be in control when in a relationship to prove something to their wounded self.
Here are some red flags to watch when dating someone new.
- You might be manipulated into doing something they want after they doing something over the top for you. Over the top is VIP baby…a little humor there. They might buy you a big purchase item, get you into a private party or club, or take you on an extravagant vacation. Three good example of this are on Netflix, Inventing Ana, Bad Vegan, and Tinder Swindler. These shows revealed that the narcissist did have a hidden agenda.
- Sending you intense love messages and then disappearing without an explanation for days.
- Surprising you randomly at work, a social gathering, or girls night out to pressure you into spending more time with them.
- Doing their best to isolate you from others and to manipulate you into to wanting to spend more time with them.
- Showering you with compliments, but then insult you when you don’t go along with their desires.
- They “jokingly” insult your friends, a coworker that flirts with you, or a family member that can feel something is off with this new love interest.
- You are their soul mate and they can see a future with you, when you are still a complete stranger. They fill your head with fairy tale love because they want to make you feel bad for being single and alone. Like being single and alone is a bad thing, when in fact, it is NOT.
What are the benefits of love bombing you from a narcissistic or abusers perspective? It is about winning and gaining control. Here are some examples.
- Showering you with adoration, gifts and/or other forms of attention will allow them to dictate how you behave or with whom you can socialize with in the future.
- You can be manipulated into acting or dressing a certain way that devalues you and puts you in a position where you will seek their comfort or approval if you are embarrassed or humiliated.
- Some may believe that spending time with you where they plan fun and exciting adventures will help them in controlling your schedule as well as who you spend your time with.
- They may use generous gifts to manipulate you into feeling beholden to them and leave you entranced with their generosity. Believing that they are either very wealthy, come from good stock/breeding, or have a high social status. Later, they will ask for you to repay this generosity by giving them a loan and you might believe, they are will pay you back.
- They want you to believe that they are the ONLY source of love and you will not find anyone better. This is why they will isolate you from people that care about you. They will belittle your achievements to become independent, and/or tell you that they are the only person who makes you feel really loved.
- Their love and adoration is contingent upon doing as they say and what they want. They will push boundaries or force you to adjust your boundaries to meet their specific expectations. These boundaries can be either sexual, financial, social, career, or practical. They want you to believe it is founded upon mutual affection, but it is not. And when you do not allow them to cross those lines, they might act like an immature child, reject, or belittle you.
What are some hidden agendas? Here are a few examples.
- They love spending others people’s money.
- You have such a perfect body and appearance, I have to be with someone like you.
- You live a lifestyle they admire and want.
- They will pay less spousal and child support if they marry you.
- They want someone to take care of them.
- They hate their existing apartment and your home is so much nicer.
- If one gets pregnant, it will seal the deal that you are a couple.
- They plan on you moving in with them because they do not like your home.
- They plan on you moving in with them because you live too far away.
- If one gets pregnant, you will now live together.
- You are the gate keeper to their new career and future.
What are some signs that you are being love bombed?
I believe the easiest one to spot is confessions of LOVE. Men will say that it takes about two to four months before they will confess they love someone. Newsweek has an article on when to say I love you. It stated that in recent studies, most men say I love you on average after three months. Women can take two, three, six, or even a year to finally say those three words. When someone uses those words after hours or days from first meeting you, I would consider that a red flag. When a person says “I love you” early in the relationship or they repeatedly say, “You’re not like anyone else I’ve ever dated,” you need to step back. Do you feel pressure to say those three words back? And when you do not say them back, are they starting to treat you a little different? In my personal and professional opinion, you need to slow down and reevaluate why they’re being extremely forward with their feelings so early into the relationship. Grab a deck of relationship questions and learn more about this person before you give them your heart.
Next, are they isolating you? Are they encouraging you or forcing you to not see your friends or family members as often as you did in the past? Have you recently started to miss out on social activities or work events? Are their social needs more important than yours? Are they planning your future together without including your thoughts or feelings? Do they consider your voice or desires? Are they critical of your time, your hobbies, or other sources of social support? Do they try to isolate you from children or your adult children? Do they belittle or humiliate your children? Do they talk about your honeymoon even though you have never talked about getting married? Do they talk about the babies you will have together even though you have never talked about getting married? Do they become cold and punish you by withdrawing and withholding expressions of love when they don’t get what they want? How do they talk about their ex? Do they insult, embarrass, complain, or treat the wait staff or restaurant works poorly? Do they dictate on what you can eat or what you can wear?
You need to take it slow because everyone experiences the honeymoon phase. Each step you take in the relationship is important and must be addressed. There is a step for core values, beliefs, hobbies, friends and family, social time, spiritual or religious beliefs, career, finances, and many more steps that must be taken into consideration to see if you are compatible. What I have learned about a narcissist or abuser is they HATE to take it slow. That is why it is best to ask questions and they do not like being asked questions. A decent person enjoys being asked questions because they want YOU to get to know them. A narcissist or abuser does not want to be exposed. That is why playing a game of connection and communication can throw them off their game. That is why I suggest you play these games with other people being present. You will want everyone’s perspective on certain topics and you might be surprised when the narcissist or abuser is not in alignment with what decent people find agreeable or acceptable. Next, talk to your friends about how they felt about playing the “Go Deeper Game”. What did you learn about each other? What did your new partner learn? Is your new partner is being overly sarcastic, argumentative, or finds the game a big joke? If they do, that is a big red flag.
Another way I have found to expose a narcissist is they are not solution oriented. When something does not go well in their favor, they will stay stuck in blame. Try asking them solution questions? If and when you try to give them solutions, their brain might freeze. For them to find an acceptable solution, it must be self serving or they will not agree upon other positive healthy solutions to their problems.
Back to the honeymoon phase. The honeymoon phase can last up to six months or up to three years. Once the honeymoon phase is over, it can be easier for you to detect if your partner is truly love-bombing you. However, you maybe too invested in the relationship. You could be holding out in hope that things might change. Just remember that love isn’t supposed to be manipulative in any form, manner, or fashion. Remember you have a voice. How you think and feel matters. Love and falling in love is wonderful feeling. Therefore, I like to think of falling in love is like a fine wine. You want to savor it, not chug it. So sip, laugh, play, be your authentic self, sip some more, and enjoy the journey of falling in LOVE!