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Thursday, February 18, 2021

10 Signs You're Being Love Bombed By a Narcissist

At the start of a relationship it's not unusual to go through that heady in love phase where you and your partner enjoy everything about each other and relish the time you spend together.  You're in the early idealized phase of the relationship.  Eventually, if all goes well, you come out of that idealistic phase. You come back down to Earth and you start to see your partner and the relationship in a more realistic way (see my article: The 5 Stages of Love From Attraction to Commitment and Relationships: The Ideal vs the Real).

10 Signs You're Being Love Bombed By a Narcissist

If you remain with your partner and the relationship continues to go well, the two of you eventually develop a more emotionally intimate relationship.  You're no longer like two giddy teenagers in love, but what you have together is more substantial and emotionally satisfying.  

As you get more comfortable with each other, you learn to be more emotionally vulnerable with each other (see my article: Emotional Vulnerability as a Pathway to Greater Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship).  

What is Love Bombing?
Love bombing is nothing like the reality-based experience I described above.  It might feel good at first, but most people feel uncomfortable with it pretty quickly because they realize that it has very little to do with them. Eventually, they're waiting for the other shoe to drop.  But, first, let's define it.

Love bombing, as the phrase implies, occurs when someone overwhelms you with attention and praise that's over the top.  Your partner puts you on a pedestal and the only place for you to go is down.  It's a phase in the relationship, as I'll describe below.

Most people who are being love bombed eventually recognize that all of the attention and praise is too good to be true because no one can live up to it.  

An important thing for you to know is that love bombing is a form of manipulation so your partner can get what they want from you (more about this below).

10 Signs You're Being Love Bombed
Here are typical examples of love bombing:
  • You're Their "Soulmate:" Soon after meeting you, your partner tells you that they're convinced you're the "soulmate" they've been waiting for all their life.  They're never been with anyone who is as "wonderful" as you.  As far as they're concerned, you must have been Heaven sent.
  • They Give You Over the Top Compliments:  Your partner can't give you enough compliments: "You're the best ______ (fill in the blank: lover, partner, and so on), "No one in the world compares with you," "You're the most beautiful woman (or attractive man) in the world," "I don't want to spend my time with anyone but you from now on," "You're my forever love," etc.
  • They Want to Spend a Lot of Time With You: They might tell you that they've cancelled other plans or they don't want to see anyone, but you (and they expect you to do the same): "We don't need anyone else because we have each other."
  • They Bombard You With Phone Calls and Texts: They want to be in constant contact with you throughout the day and night.  They might contact you numerous times per day--in the morning, mid-morning, early afternoon, evening and night time.  Then they text or call you at night.  And they expect you to respond immediately.
  • They Might Lavish Gifts on You:  Nothing is too good for you. They might make a show of sending two dozen roses to your job so everyone knows how they feel about you.  They might buy expensive theater tickets or plane tickets early on in the relationship.  They're constantly giving you little things, like Teddy bears or little trinkets to show you they think about you all the time.
  • They Pressure You For a Commitment Very Early in the Relationship:  They want you to know that you "belong" to them.  They'll talk about marriage or living together when you hardly know them.  
  • They Get Upset If You Set Boundaries With Them: If you try to tell them that you want to slow things down, they get upset.  They often refuse to slow down because they're intent on manipulating you.  
  • They're Need For Time and Attention is Insatiable: They're very clingy--like a bottomless pit that can never be filled up.  No matter how much time you spend with them, it's never enough.  This sometimes comes in the form of wanting sex multiple times a day when you get together.  They'll convince you that they're "very sexual" and they "need sex," but, in reality, it's that they're very insecure and needy.  They might try to convince you to cancel plans you have with family or friends. They might tell you that they don't understand why you need to have other interests besides them.  And if you don't give them the time or attention they demand, they can get very angry.  
  • You Feel Overwhelmed By Their Attention and Their Demands: You feel very pressured and overwhelmed by their demands and their refusal to allow you to set limits or boundaries.
  • You Feel Uneasy and Unbalanced: After a while, all this attention and the demands for attention are no longer appealing (if they ever were appealing to you).  They make you feel uneasy and unbalanced because you recognize that it's too much and it's not real.  
From Idealization to Devaluation
No one who is being love bombed can live up to their partner's expectations because no matter how much you give them, it's never enough (see my article: How Do You Know If You're in an Unhealthy Relationship?).

When you don't live up to their every expectation, it's as if the love bomber flips a switch and not only are you not the best lover and most wonderful person anymore, you're now the worst person they've ever known.  

They will suddenly switch from idealizing you to devaluing you in a nanosecond.  They often heap on a lot of criticism so fast that it can leave your head spinning and wondering how you went from being this ideal person in their eyes to a persona non grata.

Nothing you say in your defense makes any difference because you didn't give them what they wanted--whether it was time, attention, responding to their calls and texts, and so on.  And if you try to ask them how you  went from being so wonderful to being nothing in their eyes, they might go into a narcissistic rage.  

It's as if they rewrite your relationship history.  They might even deny ever feeling that you were so wonderful.  Or, they might say they thought you were wonderful, but now they realize you're horrible.

You're only as good in their eyes as the attention, praise and love you shower on them.  That's the manipulation:  If you want to remain in their good graces, you have to meet their demands.  That's why they have lavished you with praise, gifts, phone calls, texts, etc.  It's to get you to fulfill their narcissistic needs.

People who are narcissistic aren't capable of experiencing a deep sense of love.  That's why they have to make such a show of what they're giving you.  

In addition, they lack empathy, which is why they can't understand (and will become angry) if you try to set limits with them.  It's also why they can hurt you over and over again and not feel remorse.

This superficial showiness of empty words, gifts, compliments, etc., is all they have to give and they're hoping to manipulate you with all these over the top gestures to give them what they want--unending attention and love.

Behind all the showiness and grand gestures the narcissist experiences a lot of shame (see my article: Narcissism: An Emotional Seesaw Between Grandiosity and Shame).

A Relationship With a Narcissist is Unstable
Relationships with narcissists are unstable.  You might go through many rounds of idealization, devaluation, breakups and makeups if you go along for the ride.

Once they devalue you, tell you horrible things and break up with you, if you're steeped in grief, they often come back to manipulate you again because they think they have you right where they want you--down and not feeling good about yourself.  So, these relationships are often very dramatic and make you feel like you're on an emotional roller coaster.  

Only you can decide when you've had enough of the roller coaster and emotional abuse.  But once you've made it clear that you're over them, they can become vindictive--maligning you to mutual friends or even contacting your workplace to try to get you in trouble. 

Then, they usually move on rather quickly to the next relationship and that person becomes their "soulmate" just as easily as you did.  

This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality switch  can leave you wondering if you're dealing with the same person (see my article: A Relationship With a Narcissist: Where Did the Love Go?).  That's due to the fact that the narcissist has an unintegrated personality so that you experience different sides of them at different times.

People who have been in a relationship with a narcissist soon realize how destructive the relationship was and that their partner wasn't capable of real love.

Getting Help in Therapy
Going through cycles of idealization, devaluation and frequent breakups can leave you feeling emotionally broken.

If you have experienced the instability of being in a relationship with a narcissist, you could benefit from working with a skilled psychotherapist who has experience with this dynamic and who can help you to overcome the trauma.

Working through this traumatic experience in therapy is part of your healing process so that you can move on with your life and feel good about yourself again.

About Me
I am a NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist (see my article: The Therapeutic Benefits of Integrative Psychotherapy).

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 or email me.


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