Love bombardment: when seduction leads to maneuvering

Who can believe that behind the outpouring of love, there is an evil desire to subdue another, or even a form of perversion? While this is the reality of love bombing, it is a method of manipulation that is even more toxic for those who suffer from it. How to recognize it, explain it and avoid it? Decryption with Geneviève Krebs, psychotherapist of short therapies and author, among other works, of the bestseller: Emotional trust: six steps to management and action (Ed. Eyrolles)

An influx of sweet words day and night, relentless gifts, more serious declarations, sometimes disturbing surprises … No matter how serious, these first steps in a romantic relationship attract most of us. After all, who doesn’t want to be adored and valued by his or her spouse, driven by a love worthy of a novel or a movie? However, if it creates a je ne sais-ne-sais-quoi of shame or an intuition of distrust, these excessive signs of affection should alert us. And for good reason: they can be introductions to an affective manipulation technique that has a particularly provocative name: love bombing (literally, the love bombing).

The crooked mechanism of love bombardment

Make no mistake about it: inveterate romantics are willing to fall in love at first sight, to compete for attention to express their love for those who exist … Not always reason to be wary of a (very) serious feeling of love. Fortunately, by the way: this spontaneity is also the beauty of a relationship. The love bombing, on the other hand, is a well -oiled mechanism, which should alert us. Its steps:

1. Seduction:

During this first stage, the manipulator floods his victim with love. The goal: to sublimate or secure him according to his needs, to make, from the first shake of the relationship, a commitment. “The love bomber will not stop monopolizing his victim’s attention through proofs of love, to prevent him from thinking about the situation, to really realize too much love. Not a day, not an hour goes by that she doesn’t remember him, ”explains Geneviève Krebs, psychotherapist. “Sometimes he would tell her I love you after a few days, even though he hardly knew one anymore. It’s completely pointless, but the manipulator has the art of picking people who are too lacking in affection or need to recognize that they will enter his game ”.

2. Attachments:

Once the seduction phase is over and the relationship is established, the manipulator (or the manipulator for that matter because the love bombing is sexless) will do everything to create the sentimental relationship. He / she can be very attentive, very attentive, more languorous too … It’s all, again, in a constant effort to be loved. “At this stage, the manipulator seeks to create an addiction, in order to make others‘ addicted ’” he specifies. For the victim, the relationship becomes a drug and the proofs of love are like multiple daily doses. He no longer controlled the situation, he allowed himself to be completely carried away by this wonderful love. “This is where the manipulator comes in to find trust, to figure out his mistake in order to better destroy it”.

3. Right of way:

Once the relationship is established, the couple usually skips steps: family introduction is quick to do, spouses get together when they know little about each other and the negative effects. in manipulation occurs. “In general, the love bomber starts by isolating his victim, encouraging him to distance himself from his loved ones. Then, if the couple doesn’t get together, he stops giving news all night, even if his victim thinks about their story at an idyllic stage.If the couple is already in a home or a family, the love firefighter prefers to humiliate his partner, show malice, ridicule to create pain and misunderstanding ”, the therapist explained. However, the addiction generated by the love bombing makes any increase in height or detachment impossible. The victim has no choice but to suffer, or worse. And for good reason: “this kind of manipulation is very similar to sectarian practices. It can lead the victim to violence or even suicide. recalled Geneviève Krebs.

Bombing of love: when narcissism meets addiction

If the bombing of love is so damaging, it’s because it stems from the psychological flaws of its protagonists.

On the one hand, the manipulator often lacks emotions, feelings, or the ability to empathize. We will not prosper by destroying others if we are not cut off from our own emotions, ”he continued.

On the other hand, the victim is vulnerable: “People in situations of emotional trust are more sensitive to love bombing. They are so afraid of leaving, of emptiness, of loneliness, they need others to survive, that they always stay and accept the unacceptable. It is fed by manipulators, “stressed Geneviève Krebs. And to ensure that people whose emotional wounds (wounds of rejection, abandonment, humiliation, injustice …) have not always been comforted also by the sights of predators who know the area very well: “Once the love-bomber has gained the trust of its victim, it is tirelessly working to reactivate the injury or trauma. The more others suffer, the more the love-bomber will enjoy his or her success”.

The clues to identify the bombing of love are sure

So the bombing of love can leave a lasting and deep mark on the people affected by it. That’s why it’s important to know how to find it in time. And in this matter, there are signs that always say a lot:

– abnormal behavior “Anything too fast, anyone who is burning more severely, too early in the relationship should be alert” warns the therapist. But in this case, how to tell the difference between a love bomber and a very passionate lover? According to Geneviève Krebs, it’s about excessive behavior. Someone who sends you flowers the day after you meet can be a good romantic. On the other hand, someone who brings you flowers to your house if you don’t give them your address or who gives you a valuable gift after a few days is even more worrying.

an intuition : “Facing a manipulator, it is necessary to listen to yourself”, insisted Geneviève Krebs. But our little inner voice is often more reliable: it’s time to give it more credit!

– decisions we no longer have : When the manipulator starts making decisions on behalf of his partner without considering whether his limits have been reached, that he seeks to manage everything, it is so that an event of domination begins to take over place. “The love bomber often pretends it’s to help, to create a unique surprise, but in reality, he / she aims to control” he continues, noting that this apparent goodness is always hidden , in these cases, a destructive intent.

a cycle of violence : when the maneuver begins, the love bomber multiplies small and large acts of evil (ghosting, shame …). A new, easily recognizable pattern has been put in place: “when he feels that his victim has moved away (in the right way), the love bomber apologizes, doing everything to bring one back with the promise and attention.The partner is then touched: he / she does not want to judge, tends to give one or even some new opportunities … After all, the love bomber is very nice to start in the relationship describes Geneviève Krebs.But if these episodes are constantly changing, it’s time to save ourselves and leave!

How to get out of the hands of the manipulator (or the manipulator)?

If we are victims of a manipulator, protecting ourselves is never easy. The bombing of love is no exception to the rule, although some ways of self -preservation can be explored depending on the stage of the relationship.

At the beginning of the relationship, it is necessary to identify all challenging behaviors. “If it’s too much, too soon, if you feel something is wrong, the best solution is to end the relationship. If we are in doubt, we can make the relationship temporary, tell others that things are moving so fast, that we want to give our time. If he truly loves, he will respect this desire to build the relationship patiently and gently. On the other hand, if he is angry, say half-word threats (‘we will lose good, you will ruin everything’), or even try to downplay the value of another (‘you will not find anyone else like me ‘), you have to say stop! And in this matter there are no half steps: “you need to stop answering messages and calls, remove him from his social networks: you need to cut the link!»

When the relationship develops into something more serious, it may be a good idea to take the time to evaluate it regularly. “Love is trusting each other, feeling free, wanting one to thrive alone or in pairs, it’s a fluid relationship, where everyone respects the limits of‘ others ’ reminds the therapist and urges everyone to ‘take off their antennae.’ So, a man who seeks to isolate his spouse, puts him on an emotional roller coaster (praise him one day and humiliate he next), want to commit him immediately to a relationship, or make him emotional blackmail can be a legitimate cause of concern.The only practical solution: consider separation.About therapy (individual or couple), Geneviève Krebs less believe in the case of the love bombing: “These personalities never change. They may go to a consultation once or twice to deceive them, but they are always malicious. The only way out is to cheat.” was in a relationship! “.

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