“Love bombing”, seductive or destructive technique? When love is just manipulation

“Love bombing”, seductive or destructive technique?  When love is just manipulation


Let’s forget about gradualness, about prudent and exciting courtship. Let’s forget the amorous strategies, the seduction, the linguistic ones. The narcissist enters the life of the predestined victim with a straight leg and destroys it. He implements his usual amorous modus operandi, inundating him with his disturbed and disturbing presence until he leads his prey to suffering and total dependence.

Love bombing is not courtship

Courtship is that dance made up of approaching and moving away from each other’s world. Imbued with emotions and care. Of strategies and expectations. Of a beating heart and posthumous pauses to savor it all. Love bombing, on the other hand, is a manipulation technique in all respects. It’s not love and it doesn’t lead to love. It paves the way that leads to addiction to an excessive, unhealthy and overflowing dose of love or presumed love phrases. It is a real manipulation technique that exploits the emotional bath given by that lethal combination between an excess of words and sensational, apparently and falsely romantic gestures.

The goal of those who use it is to make the chosen victim capitulate at his feet and also to explore the defense mechanisms of his psyche. The suddenness of the courtship, or rather of the love siege, confuses the victim, disturbs him, creates a rift between reason and heart, between ideality and reality. Love bombing is a behavior closely linked to narcissistic behavior and does not correlate with love.

Love bombing, etymology and causes

The literary translation of love bombing is love bombing. It’s a shame that love doesn’t bombard, doesn’t manipulate, doesn’t expose. Love nourishes, enriches, warms the heart and the senses and, above all, is symmetrical. The English term describes the models of behavior used by religious sects, by some institutions or (pseudo) professionals, which recall gurus and motivators, who tend to plagiarize patients. The ultimate goal is always plagiarism, conditioning, manipulation, power over the life of others, even personal economic gain.

Fragile personalities

The victim of love bombing is a very normal person, he or she must not have previous traumas or multiple personality disorders and should not feel ashamed for what he or she finds himself experiencing. He or she is a person with fragilities and insecurities or he or she who he is going through a vulnerable phase in his life.

The manipulator is very skilled at identifying those who are hungry for attention (among other things, in a historical moment in which one entrusts one’s heart to social media, confusing the private with the public, the victim leaves behind very clear clues, such as the Tom Thumb’s pebbles). So, he would intercept her among a thousand souls. Once this is done, he acts out his unhealthy modus operandi, and the victim becomes prey.

The stages of manipulation

Phase one: phrases that become bullets: “There is no one like you. I’ve never felt this way. You are different from the others. I’ve never experienced anything like it. Thank you for existing. I want you only for myself. It’s just you and me. You filled my days. You are my sunshine, my everything. I finally found you”. This is followed by sweet words that are excessively anticipatory of the depth of the bond such as “love, darling, etc”.

Phase two: isolation and intermittent punishments. When the bond is established and the prey is hooked, the love bomber begins to isolate his victim from all the other people, friends or family, who could help him carry out a reality check. If the victim resists because, deep down, she feels confused and torn between her reason and her heart, the manipulator escalates the situation and attacks her affections.

He instills in her the doubt of manipulation: “When you are with them you are not you, you are different, you are not the woman I love. I do not recognize you anymore”. Between the lines he tells her that when she becomes lucid she loses her charm and is no longer up to her supposed love for her. She follows the punishment of silence and her disappearance and then rewards her with her most intense and destabilizing reappearance ever. The victim breathes deeply of her presence because before she felt grieving and in the dark and begins to isolate herself from her affections in order to indulge him.

Phase three: addiction and the neurotic carousel. The last phase of love bombing takes place when the relationship is now more than solid. The victim needs the manipulator and the manipulator his victim. The phases were all there: seduction, excesses of everything, absences, threats of abandonment, blame, blackmail, punishing silences, abandonment, the return. And we start again as if on a neurotic carousel.

Psychological abuse and its aftermath

The manipulative partner presents himself as the one who saves life, but instead he takes life away. He presents himself as the one who repairs childhood wounds, and instead he tears apart childhood wounds without mercy. He presents himself as the one who protects and embraces, but in reality he crushes and disfigures. Life seems to live within his reassuring embrace: all of life, no area excluded. This manipulative technique brings with it a form of psychological abuse with all the psycho-physical repercussions that derive from it. When it is perpetuated over time, it reinforces the victim’s fragility, sharpens his atavistic fear of abandonment and creates a bond of emotional dependence.

Arrogant and dazzling: the sick love that makes you sick

Part of a farewell. “Doctor please help me! After heartaches and stomach aches, I finally left him. But I’m sick! Maybe more than before. Four years have passed, but since then the sadness and emptiness have never left me. I miss it so much. I also miss being bad with him. I miss that fullness, those emails overflowing with love and desire. I miss his long chats, night and day. His threats. His words. His excesses. Now I’m alone and empty. Silence punishes me.”

(Letter, rewritten, from one of my patients).

Many readers or patients write me emails with content very similar to this. They are predominantly women, heartbroken, desperate and distressed by the emptiness and the chasm. They confuse what was inside them before with what they experience afterwards and think, mistakenly, that the emptiness is always to be attributed to the end of that love. In reality, they experienced that unhealthy love because they were already sick on their own. These are women or men who are not enough for themselves and who, driven by a devouring hunger for love, stumble into toxic loves with elements of dangerous manipulation.

The orphans of love

When the other becomes a dispenser of suffering it is not a question of love. He who truly loves feels the other. He is empathetic, sensitive, loving. She worries about the effect that his behavior has on the beloved partner, she limits it, modifies it, modulates it according to the well-being of the partner and the bond of love. Furthermore, a partner who loves cooperates, presents himself in a symmetrical manner and takes care of the relationship. Those who are used to giving are not afraid of loving but of receiving love. Always.

He doesn’t know how to do it. He doesn’t know how to ask. How to recognize that need and listen to it. She runs away. Repeats dysfunctional scripts (thanks and because of the repetition compulsion: a powerful psychic mechanism). He does not discern needs from fears. Desires from the chasms. So, undaunted, he follows the lame step of asymmetrical love.

Health Love – the archive

Recognizing a healthy partner is never easy. Those who love badly will do it again and again until he is totally destroyed, devastated, sick. The script that repeats itself must be analyzed and defused in therapy, there are no alternative paths or shortcuts.

*Valeria Randone she is a psychologist and sexologist in Catania and Milan. www.valeriarandone.it

Health Love – the archive



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