Love-bombing: what’s it about?

He opens the door for you, sends you constant gifts... is that sinister? asks Dr Colm O’Connor
Love-bombing: what’s it about?

Love-bombing can include constant gifts; texting, emailing,calling you many times a day;copying your interests,says Dr ColmO’Connor. Picture: Posed by model

IT is a strange fact that men who open doors for women, and make a grand gesture in doing so, are sometimes (not always) controlling personalities. While holding doors open for people who may be walking close behind you is common kindness and courtesy, you occasionally find men who make a grand gesture in doing so. They do it in a way that almost demands a formal thank you from the woman he has ‘guided through the door’.

It is not uncommon for controlling men to make public gestures of chivalry like holding a chair out for his wife or waiting to open the door for her. Now, don’t get me wrong, all of this can have its place but there is often something a little ‘off’ about the way controlling people do this.

The hidden dynamic is often one where it is the gesture of a superior male wanting to be seen to look after his weaker partner, or of an independent husband assisting his dependent wife. Controlling men do this to make him look good, or to trigger her be thankful to him, or to simply reinforce their roles. ‘I provide for and take care of you’, it says. A problem can develop though if she wants to be seen and treated as an equal.

A female colleague of mine once commented how she feel uneasy being guided through doorways by men as if she was unable to find her own way through. Kind gestures are quite lovely to receive but so-called chivalrous one’s can, at times, be a bit ‘off’.

This gets me onto the topic of love-bombing. One of the most disarming behaviours of controlling personalities. It is something I often see in relationships that have turned sour after an initial intense honeymoon period.

Love-bombing is an attempt to influence another person with over-the-top displays of attention and affection. I am not just talking about romantic gestures, like flowers and holidays away. Love bombing invariably includes lots of romantic conversation, long talks about “our future,” and obsessive attention to flooding the woman with attention and gestures where she feels idealised by him, and he feels he has captured her full attention. It’s the combination of words and deeds that makes love-bombing so powerful, especially considering the potential of phone messaging today. This kind of over-the top adulation can be a form of grooming that is typical of a narcissistic personality who wants to be viewed with admiration and be seen to be so good as to have swept someone off their feet. This is sometimes an indication of further abuse further down the road when the gloss wears off and she discovers that its not that he is very interested in her, he is interested in her admiration.

Love bombing was first detected in cults. If someone was to be recruited into a cult the victim was first love bombed by the recruiter or other cult members. This process of feigning friendship and interest in the victim was the way to lure people in.

Love bombing involves flooding victims with flattery, verbal seduction, affection, and lots of attention to their every remark. Love bombing can be used in any situation where one person seeks to convince and convert another into believing in something or behaving a certain way.

If you have experienced this in romantic relationships it will usually have involved excessive compliments; spending too much time together too soon; constant gifts; texting, emailing, calling you many times a day; asking you to spend time with them rather than friends; copying your interests; having excessive interest in your background; wanting to take things to the next level quickly; etc.

You will have felt like you have found your soulmate. That he was so into you made it seem like the perfect partner who would text you ‘good morning’, and even send flowers to your workplace. His extreme interest in your passions, hobbies and past is often information gathered that used against you later.

In today’s digital world, love bombers have an easier time than ever in having constant contact and communication with you. Overall, the love bomber is attempting to win you over by manipulating you into admiring and idealising him.

Do not get down if you find yourself in this situation. You are not to blame for trusting someone. In fact, manipulative people prey on peoples trust and good will. If you have been burnt by someone like this you know what this is about, if not then you may be burning.

Love, though, should not require someone to work so hard to win you over. You also should not feel indebted to someone who is excessively good to you. It’s a debt you may have to pay back which leaves you compromised. So, if he opens the door for you all the time, tell him your okay and can guide yourself through. A metaphor for life.

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