This technique, used by narcissists and abusive people, can be a dangerous trap that is hard to get out of.
When we welcome someone, a friend or romantic partner, into our life, the initial phase of getting to know each other, spending time together, and discovering mutual interests is a lovely time. However, if you feel that you are being bombarded by attention, messages, and gifts, there could be something off about the person doing it to you. It's a tactic that can be used by people to manipulate those who are not looking for red flags like this. After all, who doesn't enjoy some attention! This lavishing of attention, time, and energy is called love bombing.
"Love bombing is characterized by excessive attention, admiration, and affection with the goal to make the recipient feel dependent and obligated to that person," licensed therapist Sasha Jackson tells Cosmopolitan. "And as the recipient, love bombing feels really good because of the boost of dopamine and endorphins you receive. You feel special, needed, loved, valuable, and worthy, which are all the components that contribute and increase a person's self-esteem," she added.
Narcissistic and abusive people use this method to reel in a person. It's not easy to tell when the prey is trapping the victim, since them showering us with attention would feel like validation and love. It's dangerous because it can trap a person in an abusive relationship.
"Love bombers seek to quickly obtain the affection and attention of someone whom they are romantically pursuing by presenting an idealized image of themselves,” says Lori Nixon Bethea, PhD, owner of Intentional Hearts Counseling Services. The love bombers want the power trip of knowing that they control someone.
However, there are some warning signs that we can keep an eye out for. Here are four red flags to watch out for:
If your new partner or friend calls, texts, or messages you through different portals constantly, that could be a red flag, as per Healthline. When people initially get to know each other, it's normal to speak and message each other often. However, It can be a bad sign if it feels one-sided and becomes too intense and overwhelming over time. If the person starts messaging early in the day and keeps at it every hour, you should run the other way.
It is normal to give gifts to our partners as we want them to feel appreciated. However, if they say things like "I want to spoil you" and give you plenty of gifts in a short amount of time, it could be a red flag. Love bombing is all about over-the-top signals such as buying you inappropriate gifts and not taking "no" for an answer. "Most often, love bombing is done by a narcissist with the intent of drawing in and gaining control over the person who is being love bombed," says licensed professional counselor Tabitha Westbrook to Healthline.
Everyone likes to be told good things about them but too much of it can make anyone suspicious. When someone starts bombarding you with praises and professes undying love in a short span of time, it could be because they are an abusive person trying to control you. While compliments are harmless on their own, they need to be seen in the larger context. We should check how authentic the person is about their feelings when they are heaping compliments on their significant other.
If our partner says things like, "I just want to be with you all the time," it can feel burdensome. We might feel guilt that we want to have boundaries when the other person wants to give us most of their time. However, they could have some nefarious plans and might be herding you away from people you are close to. "True love does not want all your time and energy focused on them alone,” Westbrook tells Healthline. "They respect other commitments, ideas, and boundaries," they added.
Cover image source: Getty Images | Photo by Malte Mueller