Unhealthy relationships can be extremely hard to end. The very nature of them makes people…
What is Love Bombing?
Love Bombing is a term used to describe a behaviour present in some relationships characterised by excessive attention and over the top displays of affection. Whilst this can be nice occasionally, love bombing refers to the practice of using excessive loving words, actions and behaviour to control or manipulate someone. It can feel suffocating. Or, you might not see the harm until later when you realise the actions came out of a desire to control or win you over to achieve a goal, rather than genuine affection. It can be a form of emotional abuse and causes great relationship issues. Occasionally, it is done unintentionally due to a person’s insecurities and need for reassurance.
Love Bombing as a Distraction
Sometimes love bombing is a way of one person distracting from other bad behaviours. They might know they are doing something wrong but, when pressed on the issue, will say how well they treat you because of all these lavish displays. It can be a way of exerting control or hiding their negative behaviour from outside eyes.
Love Bombing is often used as a means of control by toxic people. The more they shower you with affection and attention, the more in debt you might feel to them. It can make you feel dependant and obligated. You might start to lose your independence and balance. It may also alienate you from friends and family.
People who display love bombing behaviour usually want to quickly gain control in a relationship. They tend to move very fast, seeking to exert control, gain power and boost their ego.
What Are the Signs of Love Bombing?
- Excessive gift giving and wanting to ‘spoil you’
- Constant compliments
- 24/7 attention and check ins
- Very quickly saying you are ‘meant to be’ or ‘soulmates’
- Extremely quick to commit and expecting the same in return
- Lack of boundaries
- Intense and overwhelming
The Dangers of Love Bombing
The dangers of love bombing are that it makes the dynamics of a relationship very one sided. One person tends to gain all the power and the other can find themselves feeling at a loss. They might experience a lack of identity or feel powerless. Issues they want to address or discuss may get pushed to the side because of all the distraction of these grand gestures and displays of love. They start to feel like they have no right to ask for what they want, as the other person is already giving them so much. Unfortunately what they are getting is often not what they want or need. There’s no real communication or give and take.
Another danger of love bombing is that it often comes at the beginning of a relationship and presents a false, idealised version of a partner who later becomes controlling and abusive once they feel secure. People can suddenly switch from love bombing to devaluing and criticising a partner.
Love Bombers use constant, positive reinforcement to encourage a positive association towards a person (that’s often false). It also preys on our feelings of reciprocity. Even if the gifts or behaviours are not asked for we feel we owe an equal amount of love or loyalty in return. Once a love bomber feels like they have gained complete control they may gradually start to exhibit negative behaviours like gaslighting, anger and abuse.
How to Handle It and When to Seek Help
If you feel uncomfortable you might start by trying to communicate this and seeing if you can set some boundaries. It’s possible that the person has past relationship issues that cause them to feel insecure or uncertain and this is their way of trying to limit those negative feelings. Some couples therapy might be a good way to talk through each person’s preferences and limits.
If things have already taken a turn for the worse towards abusive or controlling behaviour, you are probably better out of the relationship altogether. Seek support if needed.
If you need help with love bombing behaviour, working through your feelings or moving on from a difficult relationship please do get in touch. I help many clients and couples with a full range of complicated relationship issues. Sessions can take place in person from my London clinic or through online hypnotherapy. Whichever suits you best.