For many, nothing is more thrilling than the beginning of a new relationship and falling in love. You’re excited about getting to know your new partner, you love spending time with each other, and everything seems ideal or as close to it as possible. Then, as this initial phase subsides, the true colors of illusioned perfection start rearing their head, and you might very well find yourself in a table-turning situation. One minute, everything’s perfect; the next, you constantly feel at fault, incapable of understanding how the identical things you do can be both right and wrong. There’s a name for this – love bombing.
During various love bombing phases, your partner will do everything to display themself as your perfect partner. Granting you absolute attention, making you feel like the only person in the world, buying luxurious gifts…Non-stop. As your defenses falter, they gradually start moving on to the next love bombing stage, sabotaging your very understanding of the affection they bestowed. Eventually, you find yourself losing your identity, isolated from the true love of family and friends.
What Are The Stages Of Love Bombing?
In the narcissist love bombing cycle, the fairytale phase doesn’t last forever. Once they’ve got you under their spell, manipulation begins, and they start alternating between grand gestures, devaluing, discarding, and hoovering. These are the four love bombing stages you can typically distinguish in such a relationship.
- Love Bombing
Initially, your partner will make you feel so loved that you cannot imagine your life without them. You start feeling dependent on them and, naturally, expect this form of love to continue.
The first phase is difficult to distinguish from the honeymoon phase most relationships go through. The main difference is that this form of behavior is mainly directed only from your partner to you in their narcissistic attempt to gain control over you. While their gestures may seem to be romantic and thoughtful, they usually go overboard.
What comes after love bombing, once they’ve established control over you, is that your extremely generous and loving partner suddenly becomes judgemental and cold. They are love bombing and then pulling away. You may find yourself remembering the beginning of your relationship when the attention and gifts were pouring, wondering what you’ve done wrong to be deprived of it. This allows your partner to withhold and manipulate attention so they feel in control quickly.
You may start losing the sense of who you are because they’re managing all the little and not-so-little things, which can be anything from how you present yourself to how you dress. They’ll overtly let you know how they feel about your “mistakes” and often gaslight you when you try to defend yourself. You may feel like you’re under their constant evaluation, and you don’t measure up.
Once you’ve experienced emotional manipulation, gaslighting, and excessive criticism, you’ll probably feel so devastated and wounded that you’re no longer enjoyable for them to manipulate. This can cause them to either leave without much warning or push you away and cause a breakup.
During their absence, you’re left with confusion, feelings of guilt, and low self-esteem. You may believe that you’re the reason for the mistreatment, and it’s your fault that you no longer receive the affection and love that you experienced in the beginning. This is why it can be tough to move on and engage in new relationships.
After they’ve been gone for a while, they can return with even more tactics. Attention and gifts start again to lure you back into the relationship, trying to reach out for help, proving how much they’ve changed, or claiming they won’t find anyone like you.
They also tend to cross boundaries, such as showing up where they know they can reach you to check your response and how easily they could again manipulate your emotional state. While they may seem to show genuine regret, the truth is they miss the control rather than the relationship.
How Long Does Love Bombing Stage Last?
There’s no precise answer to how long the first stage of the cycle can last. On average, it can go anywhere between several weeks to several months. They tend to persist with it until you’re either completely seduced or you make it clear that their efforts have been in vain. While many victims perceive exaggerated declarations and gestures as red flags and get out, others tend to be more susceptible to this form of behavior, especially if they’ve been previously abused, have low self-esteem, or are particularly empathetic.
What Is The Next Stage After Love Bombing?
Love bombing is a tactic typically used by narcissists to establish control dependency. Unfortunately, once it’s over and they’ve reached their goal, they usually withhold the affection and love they used to give in excess. They’ll likely meet any hint of your desire to leave with rage or threats. They may gaslight and blame you for all their problems, suddenly destroying the illusion that you’ve found your soulmate.
This phase is typically emotionally devastating and described as invalidating, confusing, degrading, and inconsistent. This experience can seriously harm your self-esteem and sense of self and self-worth.
Learn How To Cope With Every Love Bombing Stage With PIVOT
Whether you’re looking for a way out of this vicious cycle or you’ve experienced it before and want to regain your inner self and self-esteem, our reliable and experienced specialists are here to carefully listen to your experience and provide you with proper guidance to help you get back on track. Opt for our comprehensive attachment–oriented Glass House retreat or book your individual coaching session. We’ll devise a tailored plan and work together with you to help you reach your full potential and feel ready and safe to engage in a new, healthy relationship.
Our certified experts take a relational and attachment-oriented approach to help you heal your emotional intelligence and reap all the benefits of it. We’ll help you learn to recognize red flags and successfully avoid becoming a victim. Contact our dedicated professionals today!