Lovebombing. A Narcissist's first weapon to reel us in. It is their first line of attack in waging war against us. This guest post explores what happens when Narcissists lovebomb us.
This is not as simple as it seems, since what the narcissist will say when love bombing may also be said by a sincere, normal guy. However, the wording, timing, and motivation are very, very different.
Get this....a narcopath love bombs to get INSTANT GRATIFICATION since getting supply a primary motivation, and love bombing gets them that, right? I remember that sense of awe and wonder when I was love bombed. Part of the love bombing was “mirroring”....my NX learned all about me and became very much like that...interests, politics, faith, values, hopes and dreams.
Now, lets face a fact. NOBODY FALLS IN LOVE IN A FEW DATES, or a week, or even two. Nope. Love that is love takes time. You have to get to know the person and know them well. You need experience with them in a variety of situations to really know them. Knowing their friends and family helps a lot, too. Love begins from a developing appreciation of who and what the person is.
Love does NOT imagine perfection. Love bombing does. We all have flaws and faults. We've all done stupid things we regret and are embarrassed about. That's life, and any grown up adult man will know and accept that about you. No, you don't HAVE to reveal all that. If you do, to a narcissist, he will use it against you.
Personally, after a while, when were becoming serious, told my beloved EVERYTHING stupid I'd ever done that I could remember, and believe me, there was a lot to tell, but I knew she'd be OK with that because she'd had a disastrous marriage to “Mr. Perfect”, and so....now was happy with an imperfect guy who treated her like gold. Another thing....since we got to know each other extremely well, she could see from what I said how much I'd changed over the years of my marriage to my NX. I was never unfaithful and it was family first with me.
Time....time is the foe of love bombing because the narcopath needs that instant gratification from you (and others) so GRADUAL is not in the cards for him. Love bombing is romantic overkill, not a reasonable assessment of the person's character and values, nor even a natural attraction, physical or personal. It's a fantasy situation without caution or balance. It's based on DECEPTION, not appreciation. And, so, it's temporary.
A normal romance is an unfolding appreciation of someone who may be able a long term, even permanent, partner who stands beside you as an equal. Love bombing is a quest for control. It's the very same tactic used by cults and it's object is the same....to make you a devoted disciple.
A normal relationship creates a space for both of you to grow and flourish, and find their deeper self. Love bombing creates an instant and captive source of supply. Besides, narcissists have NO real self. They only have a False Self which is based on the image they can get others to believe, and notice that this is a serious part of love bombing...that he seems “perfect”.
Love bombing is an extreme and lavish show of gifts, attention, extraordinary levels of praise and affection FOR THE TIME you've been together. Love bombing is a blitz attack because the “need to feed” is profound in a narcissist. The idea is to sweep you away before you can catch your breath and get your feet on the ground, and it's like entering an alternate universe.
Because the narcissist is an empty shell, being without supply is almost like dying inside, since it's the only thing that gives them reality. I once told my NX that she should drop the constant pretense and just be herself. In an unguarded moment, she said, “I have no idea who I am”. She meant that she only exists in the minds of others and not within herself. So, she put up a false and highly grandiose self for others to see. And, that being the case, the need for supply is constant, to avoid a feeling of emptiness.
So, love bombing occurs in the part of the narcissistic cycle called “idealization”...that's what love bombing is. This will be followed by devaluation and abuse, and then, the discard.
Now, a thoughtful person, when they meet someone they really like, is careful so as to not hurt themselves or the other person. Let me contrast what the narcissist does and says when love bombing, with what a normal person would do. When my wife and I first met, I expressed appreciation for her time and told her I really enjoyed being with her.....that I appreciated her cooking....that this dress looks very becoming on her....that I thought we had similar tastes in movies (but not necessarily books), that I could tell she was a “family first” person, and I noticed, and commented on, her kindness and considerateness to others. Notice I was DESCRIBING THINGS SHE DOES as specific personal qualities.
What I DID NOT say was that she was the most amazing person I'd ever met, that I was in love with her, that we were soul mates, or that no one understood me like she did, that she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever met, that I wanted to marry her.....and the like.
However, and here's where timing comes in. A year later, and two years later, I DID say things that were very loving and romantic, but never have there been expressions of her perfection. That would not only be untrue, it would make her very uncomfortable. We love each other just the way we are, warts and all, and BTW, love is like that. My words were SPECIFIC COMPLIMENTS and also, I think, things she knew about herself. I was telling her I noticed and appreciated them, and what I said was sensible, given the time involved. Now, of course, I do tell her how much I love her, but it has no ulterior motive. It's just an expression of love, pure and simple and I don't expect to gain anything....certainly not supply....from saying so.
I said at the beginning that I might indeed say something like what a narcissist would say, but it was a matter of wording, timing, and motive. My wording was never extreme and lavish. It was specific and amounted to noticing her good qualities. Timing....well, what I said at 1 or 2 years I would not have said at 1 week or 2 months. And, motive....I was seeking NOTHING in return.
I am struck with the fact that for me, it's my now wife's happiness that matters to me most of all, more than anything in the world. For the narcissist, it is HIS happiness that matters most of all. The motives of two such people could not possibly be different, and the outcomes of a relationship with both will be entirely different, as my now wife, and I, know quite well.
We were both love bombed. Our exes left, then hoovered us with love bombing to get taken back. We fell for it because it FELT SO GOOD at the moment. I think it is very much like drugs. I feel sure, that crack makes you feel good at the moment, and I feel just as sure that love bombing likely triggers pleasure centers in the brain, just like drugs, and I think love bombing is easily as addictive as drugs, and can be just as hard to get off of.
That's why I think victims feel this gnawing need for the narcissist after he's gone, and why hoovering works.....you're getting a hit of love bombing again and it feels just as good. Getting away from a narc takes a lot of discipline, and toleration of feelings of withdrawal to boot. But, it's oh so worth it. You will have love again, but this time, you'll be smarter. You can do this.
**This blog was reprinted with permission from Soulmates in Hell and was originally published on September 10, 2015.
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Greetings, my warrior survivor friends! Welcome to my blog. I'm Julianna, the owner and creator of this site. Check out the My Story section to read about why I started this blog. Thanks for stopping in. And feel free to comment on any post, share your own thoughts and stories. I would love to hear from you!
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