Have you been love bombed? It’s a tool used by narcissists to draw you into their sphere of influence. How can you recognize it, and differentiate it from just normal early relationship excitement? Check out this week’s episode of The Resilient Self to get the scoop on love bombing, and learn what to do if you’re being targeted.
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Hi everybody and welcome to this week’s show. This week we’re going to talk about love bombing. Now we’re going to talk about this in the mental health context. So if you are looking for the recent hit “Love Bomb” by the girl band, that’s not me. And so, you might want to keep looking if that’s what you’re looking for.
But if you’re here to talk about mental health and personal development, then The Resilient Self is exactly where you need to be. And I’m so excited to have you here with me. Now if you’re new here, welcome. Don’t forget to subscribe down below and make sure you click on the little bell. That way you get updates every time I post a new video, which is every Wednesday, but you’ll get a little reminder. And if you’re a returning person, thank you. I’m glad to have you back into my orbit yet again.
And I’m just so excited to be here talking about mental health and personal development issues with you. Now my name is Chris Neal. I am a licensed counselor and a teacher and I help people reclaim their lives through self-compassion, through setting righteous boundaries with other people in their lives and through taking charge of their own happiness. So today we’re going to talk about love bombing and it’s a term I just recently learned. And when I got into, I thought I’ve got to talk about this because it is so important in the context of building relationships. So if you’re ready to go, let’s get started.
So what is love bombing? It actually can apply in a couple of different contexts. Not all of them necessarily bad. Love bombing is a technique where we shower someone else with just love and affection and kindness. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? We like receiving those things and under the right circumstances, it can be a really great thing. There are some psychologists who argue this is a great way to interact with your children.
I think others might take exception under circumstances, certain circumstances, but we’re not going to dive into that right now. There are folks who feel like just showering your children with love and affection is the way to go. And certainly a lot of the folks that I see in adulthood who have struggles stemming from their childhood oftentimes these come from not feeling loved and tended to enough as a child. So maybe there’s something to that.
Now the term love bombing was coined by the Unification Church under Reverend Moon back in the 70s. And to recruit people in, they would get their other members to connect with someone and just stay on them and, and connect with them and make them feel loved and accepted and wanted and through feeling that people would join up.
Now when it comes to relationships, how does love bombing apply and why do we need to know about this? Well, in a couple of ways to start with, again, when we talked about it at the very beginning, this idea of being showered with love and affection and told how awesome you are, that sounds great. Who wouldn’t want that?
And oftentimes when we’re in a relationship that we are deeply devoted to, we want the person we’re partnered with to feel that from us. And so I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with showering your loved ones with love and affection. However, there is another more sinister, destructive way that this gets used. And that’s in the hands of a narcissist. Now, as a reminder what a narcissist will do is that they will wrap someone into their orbit. They will draw them in.
Don’t forget, narcissists tend to be very attractive personality types. They are gregarious. They’re easy to get to know and they’re easy to like on the front end because they are just so outgoing. And that’s a part of the narcissistic cycle is they draw you into their orbit. They get you connected to them and they get you dependent on their love and affection for your personal fulfillment.
So in the beginning of the experience with a narcissist, whether they’re trying to date you or just be your friend or maybe a coworker they, it can feel like they are idealizing you. You are the ideal person to them. And this is a part of the narcissistic cycle of idealize, devalue and discard. Okay? And actually what we get with narcissist is idealize – devalue, idealize – devalue, idealize – devalue over and over and over and over again until it’s not working for one of you, then they discard you.
Okay? So we see this a lot in personalities of narcissistic people and we see it in the relationships that they build with other people because the narcissist has to be the center of attention and they have to be the center from which all things flow in the relationship. So it gets pretty destructive all of a sudden when they’re using love bombing to suck you in. And it is easy to get drawn into the realm of a narcissist.
So when you’re just starting a relationship with someone, it’s easy to get suspicious then because if they’re being awesome to you, it seems like they’re almost kind of idealizing you. Then I think there are a lot of questions that you need to ask regarding why is this person doing this? Just because someone is love bombing you doesn’t mean there are a narcissist. It could mean they’re codependent and it could mean that they’re putting all their eggs in that basket and they’re actually drawing all of their self-worth from you. This happens all the time.
And so just because it seems like someone is kind of going all-in on you and this relationship, I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. Now, how can we determine whether we’re being love bombed and someone is trying to draw us into a narcissistic cycle? Well, I think what you start with is looking at patterns in their behavior. I think that for starters find out about their history. What’s their relationship history been like. How do they talk about their former relationships?
And if they can talk about their former relationships with nuance and with caring about their former partners, then that’s a good sign. Because then someone who says, “You know, I was in this relationship and this person was a good person. And we had a lot of good things, but things just didn’t work out for whatever reason,” then that’s a good sign because this is someone who can look at another person that they’ve obviously had some kind of conflict or disagreement with because they broke up, and they can say, you know, this is a good person and it just didn’t work out with us.
However, if when you are talking with someone new in your orbit and they’re talking about all their previous relationships… And everyone they talk about is suddenly an idiot or is a narcissist themselves or, if all they have is negative things to say about the former people that they’ve had relationships with, I think it’s worth checking that out a little more, asking a few more questions. If they talk about a former partner, or a pattern of their former partners in all bad terms, then that’s a little bit of a red flag and you might, you might just kind of follow that along just a little bit to see what you find out.
I think also you want to watch carefully the behaviors that this other person displays towards you. Does the idealism remain constant? Does it kind of settle down? I mean, we all kind of get into that puppy love phase, right? Where all we want to do is be with each other and, and that’s an exciting time at the beginning of a relationship. As a relationship progresses. Do you see this person just kind of settling into normal ups and downs in a relationship?
Or do we feel like we kind of get emotional whiplash from this person that, that we do get this back and forth “You’re ideal, you’re terrible.” So if you find yourself being drawn into this idealize – devalue back and forth, then Houston, we have a problem. And so that is one of the primary ways we can determine whether this is being used kind of in a narcissistic cycle or if it’s just sort of a natural evolution in our relationship. So I would say when you’re in a new relationship and if you feel idealized… Hey, enjoy it, because it feels good when someone loves you completely and is excited about you as a person. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But watch what happens with that. And if they seem to flip a switch and go from that into telling you how awful you are or you know, anything along those lines, getting super negative flipping between really positive and really negative, then they might be love bombing you. And then here’s what happens is idealize – devalue. Okay, so there’s been a fracture in that relationship.
So what do they have to do? They have to suck you back in, right? And that’s where gets really dangerous with a narcissist because they devalue you, they knock you down, and then they start to shower you with love and affection again. And it builds a cycle of dependence where if you’re not careful, you can really become dependent on this person’s opinion of you and your actions just to derive your own self-worth.
It is so easy to get drawn into this, especially by someone in whom the force is strong in terms of being a narcissist. Or if you have codependent tendencies, if you know that one of your tendencies is to kind of draw your self worth from others, then you might want to keep an eye on that and try to identify those patterns early in a relationship so that you can put a stop to it in whatever way, shape or form.
Because what we can easily do is we can get into this idealize – devalue cycle, which can repeat itself over and over and over for years, sometimes a lifetime. Or it can get to where they just discard you. And this is the one way to get a narcissist to run away, is to stop buying into their, their crap. Okay? Stop buying into this idealize, devalue process. When you stop allowing yourself to be controlled by this, usually a narcissist will wander off pretty quickly. They’ll find greener pastures somewhere else.
So there we have it. Love bombing in a nutshell, love bombing is not always a bad thing. Sometimes we’re showering our kids with love. Sometimes we are just in that puppy love new relationship phase where we think this other person is 23 kinds of awesome and we want to tell them about it. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, if you catch yourself with kind of emotional whiplash back and forth, you might be connected to a narcissist and you might be starting to get locked into a cycle. And if that’s the case, then you can try to take steps to right the course and make some changes in your life so that you can get into some healthy relationships that are going to support you and are going to be real and authentic.
So thanks for watching today. Now if you’ve enjoyed the content, again, I want to ask you to do a couple things. Go ahead and subscribe to this video down below and click the little bell, so you get a reminder. Friends also, please share this with other people. We’re at the early stages in this show and it’s really important that we connect with as many people as possible, and I want to help as many people as possible.
So I do want to hear from you. Please leave a review down below. And also I’d love to just hear from you in person. You’re always welcome to check out my website, chrisneal.com. You can email me from there and I’d love to hear your thoughts on the show. I’d love to hear your thoughts on other shows you’d like me to do. So thanks a lot for being here and I’ll see you next time.