How to Know When You've Been 'Love Bombed'

'Healthy relationships ... are based on a series of actions, not a flood of words'
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2017 10:57 AM CDT
How to Know When You've Been 'Love Bombed'
Manipulative narcissists tend to be behind it.   (Getty Images / kieferpix)

Love at first sight may actually be a warning sign. That's according to experts cautioning people in new relationships about so-called "love bombing." Not familiar with the term? Elle UK "delve[s] into the worrying behaviors of a 'love bomber,'" explaining that it takes time for people to truly get to know each other as their relationships deepen. When someone is over-the-top awesome in the beginning of a relationship—always sending flowers and offering up compliments and affection—it could actually be a "conditioning tool (otherwise known as a form of abuse)." PsychCentral calls it a "process of grooming." Constant flowers themselves aren't the worrisome sign—the shift is; ie, if the attention goes from positive and affectionate to controlling and cruel.

If the person being "bombed" falls fast and hard it can be harder to see that shift. Love bombers, by the way, are narcissists, and they're usually men. In Psychology Today, psychiatrist Dale Archer dates the term "love bombing" to the 1970s, when Unification Church of the United States (aka the "Moonies") first used it. Cult leaders like David Koresh and Charles Manson would employ this tactic to woo followers and then con them into nefarious acts. Archer argues that idealization isn't necessarily harmful when it grows over time, but that the "common thread" in love bombing is intense courtship and idealization over just a matter of days or weeks. Soon, "love bombers exploit the natural human need for self worth, and turn it into shame, regret, and self-loathing." (One study finds that men tend to feel more entitled and be more narcissistic than women.)

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