How to spot Love Bombing
Here we take a look at the Red Flags associated with Love Bombers. This could be in any relationship (not just Catfish grooming) and are often associated with Psychopaths and Narcissists. Another name for Love Bombing is The Psychopaths love hook.
Early Warning Signs
Spotting the love bomb is both easy, given enough time, and difficult in the short run. There’s more to it than raising an eyebrow if someone sends you flowers after the first date. In fact, that could be a sweet romantic gesture. So how do you know if the guy who has you daydreaming at work, and feeling like a teenager again, is a love bomber?
Adelyn Birch explains: Clues you are being manipulated with love bombing are the intensity and the rapid pace set by the manipulator. It leaves you without time to think or come up for air to think clearly and carefully about who this person really is and what their motives are. When someone declares love for you before they really know you, chances are good there is something wrong.
“I know we’ve just met, but we’re perfect together!”
“I’ve never experienced this before, ever.”
“I can’t believe how lucky we are.”
Manipulative love bombers don’t just walk up and say: “We belong together.” They have to give you evidence that it’s true. That’s why they target the vulnerable. Masquerading as good listeners, the bomber gathers information on your likes, dislikes, insecurities, hopes, and dreams. Before you know it, they’re saying you have so much in common, therefore you must be soul mates.
Love bombers aren’t just confident you belong together for all time; they describe the future in detail, as if it’s a Bollywood screenplay. They use phrases like “We’re going to be so happy together…” and “Someday, when I take you to Europe…” and “I can’t wait for my parents to meet you…” “This is just a difficult phase, we have the rest of our lives together, don’t give up on us…”
I was invited to a family wedding. These are a big deal in Indian families and he said that his mum had suggested it would be a good time for me to meet the rest of the family. That was before he claimed his mum had been diagnosed with cancer which meant our plans would need to be put on hold. Would I wait for him? He said how he didn’t deserve for me to wait but that he couldn’t get through it without me. All part of the control and manipulation.
Notice how all these statements are foregone conclusions, not questions? Love bombers don’t ask; they declare how things will be, with conviction. They don’t sound crazy, because chances are you’ve already shared your hopes and dreams, while they were being such “good listeners.” All they have to do is pretend to be the hero who will make those hopes and dreams come true.
This is how the love bomber tricks you into thinking he is indispensable to your future happiness.
“You’re so perfect, you deserve the best of everything, I don’t deserve you…”
To manipulate you into thinking you’ve just found your soul mate, the love bomber builds you up to an idealised object. They constantly point out all the good traits you possess, and minimise any of the bad. Mention that you’ve gained a few pounds, and the bomber will say how much healthier you look with a little extra weight. Hubby left you? The reply will be he’s blind, stupid, crazy, and you’re the most beautiful woman alive. Complain about the boss who doesn’t give out compliments, the love bomber will say she’s an idiot for not recognising your talent!
The love bomber is there to give you the self-image you wish you had, but lack. You are their project. Text sessions that last for hours, depriving you of sleep; flowers sent to work, with notes extolling your virtues; surprise visits, trips, gifts, all with the same message: “You deserve nothing less!”
Our Catfish didn’t spend money. His story was that of a devoted father of 3 (he is in his real life) with his sons in Private School that he paid for on his own. Despite knowing now ( I didn’t then) that he has a very good job which would command a big salary, he drove around in a very old car, that needed the radiator filling up every morning. He wore a very cheap watch (probably because he often left them at our houses and didn’t want to lose the Rolex) but it backed up his story of not being materialistic, his kids being most important and a grounded and humble guy. I liked this man.
If you feel that you may be in the early phase of a love bombing attack, talk to a friend to get back on a reality track. They can be objective. Stop. Look. Listen.
Stop: Slow things down. Have a talk and say: “I really love everything about you, but let’s slow things down a bit, it’s moving too fast, and I’m a bit scared of that.”
I have texts of me telling him “I’m a bit scared at how close to you I feel already” All the signs were there.
Look: Actions speak louder than words. If his words and actions are not in sync, that’s a big red flag.
Listen: Listen carefully to what he says, and don’t be afraid to challenge the assertions. If he says: “We will be perfect together,” reply: “Well it’s early, but so far, so good.”
Also, remember that love bombers hate to be challenged, and a sarcastic reply to any of your comments above is another warning.
Recovery From Love Bombing
If you are reading this after the event, like me, you can get through it too.
Dr Freeman an expert in psychopathy and narcissism, says that in order to heal, survivors must learn the facts and gain an understanding of what happened to them so they don’t have to suffer “unnecessary blame and confusion over why they are in such intense pain.” She writes that the pain will last much longer if the victims don’t know the facts. You have to know what you are dealing with to move forward.
Add in the Catfish scenario here too and you are faced with not only the backlash and recovery from Love Bombing but the realisation that the person you loved never existed. Catfish don’t want to be found out at any cost, their identities are fake, just like their declarations of love. Finding out all the facts in our situation becomes doubly hard. Find people around you that have the ability to understand and leave those that judge you behind.
Go No Contact
No contact means just that, none. Block them, and make clear in writing that attempts to contact you by showing up at your home or work will be considered harassment.
You cannot remain “friends” with a love bomber, nor can you leave yourself open to communication. The love bomber will keep trying to exploit your insecurities to get you back, and the cycle will repeat again, and again, and again.
Our Catfish kept all his victims number and emails. He used these to maintain drip feeds of communications.
Reconnect With Family and Friends
Love Bombers and Catfish using this technique, will aim to get you isolated because if you tell people about their behaviour, it will break the spell.
Early on when we met in person, ‘Antony’ told me…’We don’t need anyone else, just you and me.’
Family and friends can’t stand the love bomber, because they see all the changes and want the old you back. You may need to apologise for disappearing, but friends will understand. In fact, coming clean about the devaluations and breakups will make them sympathetic if they are true friends.
Add the whole Catfishing experience, where some may have lost money, or you have been used for sexual gratification on their part and you can imagine how damaging and thoughtless (to someone who already suffers with low self-esteem) it is, when friends, family or even strangers label you with ‘stupid, pathetic, gullible and desperate’.
Imagine a close friend telling you the same story — would you encourage reconciliation, or do everything in your power to keep your friend from going back for more abuse?
Love Bombing is Abuse
The important thing to remember about love bombing is that it is psychological partner abuse. When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another’s weakness or insecurity, there’s no other word for it. If it is done for a malicious purpose or personal gain at all, it is abuse in its worse form.
Adelyn writes: Romantic love is intense and unstable. Ideally, over time it progresses to long term attachment, which is characterised by feelings of calm and security. This can’t and won’t happen if you are involved with a disordered partner who is devoid of empathy, morals and a conscience. The relationship will never be more than intensity masquerading as intimacy. This results in emotional turmoil and isolation.
The Catfish has only one intension. To groom you, and hook you so they can manipulate and use you.
Final Thoughts and for the TROLLS
On Adelyn’s site she refers to Maria Konnikova, PhD who says about those who wonder how they fell for this, (we know we are educated and savvy). “I think that anyone, if you press the right buttons in the right way, will end up being emotionally involved and stop thinking rationally. Once you are in that emotional mode of thinking, it doesn’t matter who you are.”