Are you being Love Bombed?

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One of the favourite tools of toxic people, narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths is love bombing. These individuals would bombard you with affection, gifts, attention and “love” during the early days of your relationship, but the honey phase does not last that long. Identifying love bomb can be tricky, especially when you have not experienced it before, or if you are an empath, it is even harder to spot. We can experience love bombing in any relationship, whether a sibling, spouse, friend, acquaintance, or frenemy. Most relationships do not start as toxic; the toxicity gets revealed when their true character is unveiled with time. I try to heed the words of American Poet Maya Angelou, who once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.” Love Bombing seems like normal behaviour, but extreme idealizing is a red flag of things to come. If it is too good to be true, it is probably not for real.


What is Love Bombing?

In her book, In The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide to Dealing with Toxic People 1, author Shahida Arabi identifies love bombing as one of the favourite tools in the narcissists’ and toxic persons’ playbook. She writes:

Love bombing targets our greatest vulnerabilities and desires: to be seen, heard, noticed, validated, and cherished. It is the gateway drug to addiction with a narcissistic partner.

Love bombing is a manipulation method that cults use to groom their members. When it is done in a relationship with a narcissist or similar personality, you become part of a one-person cult. Love bombing involves excessive flattery, praise, and constant attention and affection showered on the target, usually in the beginning of a relationship, a friendship, or a work partnership, to get the victim heavily invested in the relationship early on. The higher the investment, the more difficult it can be for the victim to detach even once the manipulator reveals their true colors.


The Cycle of a Narcissistic Relationship 2

Author and certified trauma therapist Shannon Thomas describes the cycle of a narcissistic relationship in her book, Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse.2 She observed:

The cycle of a narcissistic relationship tends to run the course of: idealize, devalue, discard. But a more fleshed-out view of this cycle tends to run the course of: idealize, devalue, discard, replace, smear campaign, hoover.  A narcissistically abusive relationship is often one that is full of intense and extreme highs and lows, where the good times are really good, but the bad times are really bad. 


Idealize/Love Bombing

The Idealize phase is when manipulators and their new targets first meet. You were once the new target. In this phase, abusers are sizing you up, listening, and learning everything they can about you. This is done so they can mirror back someone who would be the perfect romantic partner, co-worker, or friend. It is during this phase that any survivor feels incredibly lucky to have found someone so wonderful to be his or her mentor, best friend, or even soul mate.

Love bombing occurs when a toxic person floods the target’s world with expressions of love. It is often done quickly in the relationship, and in a manner that amplifies the body chemistry (e.g., oxytocin and dopamine). These biochemical changes in the target are normal when someone is falling in love.

Devalue Stage

The Devalue phase is when the survivor’s world starts to suddenly implode. Remember all that love bombing and extra attention that was present earlier? Those exact compliments and attention now become all the rocks that are thrown at the target. Stone by stone. Bruise by bruise. The survivor’s perfect romantic interest, mentor, or friend has abruptly turned on her or him. It’s a crushing season in life. How could someone who once professed love, or deep respect, now be the exact same person who is stealthily abusive? Welcome to the vile world of personality-disordered people.

Discard Stage

The target was acquired (Idealize phase), the target was emotionally harmed (Devalue phase),and now we begin the grand finale of rejecting the target (Discard phase). The reason this last phase differs vastly from other relationship endings is because a survivor is left – not only with the loss of connection – but their entire personhood has been shredded as well.

Jackson MacKenzie is an abuse survivor and co-founder of, an online support community that helps abuse survivors with strategies and tips on living a psychopath-free life. He is the author of Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse and Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People 3. In Psychopath Free, MacKenzie describes the idealization/love-bombing phase in a psychopathic relationship. He noted:

The idealization phase in a psychopathic relationship will be unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. You will be swept off your feet, lost in a passionate fantasy with someone who excites you on every level: emotionally, spiritually, and sexually. They will be the first thing on your mind when you wake up in the morning, waiting for their cheerful, funny texts to start your day. You will quickly find yourself planning a future with them—forgetting about the dull realities of life.

You will be swept off your feet, lost in a passionate fantasy with someone who excites you on every level: emotionally, spiritually, and sexually.



All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.

Lifelong Learner | Entrepreneur | Digital Strategist at Reputiva LLC | Marathoner | Bibliophile |

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