Everyone who’s discovered they are involved with an emotional abuser knows the meaning of having been love bombed. For those of you who may be new to this, love bombing is when you’ve been bombed by intense “love” in the beginning of a relationship, and then dropped from the highest point of emotional attachment (from the victim’s standpoint). This is a favorite ruse used by Cluster-B disordered individuals such as Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Psychopaths.
A Narcissist is drawn to their victim by said victim’s vulnerability, pain, and/or loss. They then intensely bomb their target with love and attention until they are so overwhelmed by the “affection”, the victim submits to the Narcissist. This is synonymous with the “idealization” phase.
The victim develops intense love for the Narcissist because they are seduced by all the attention. Once the Narcissist has the victim under their control and in love with them, they cease all attention and drop them off the highest emotional cliff. The effects on the victim of being dropped can be devastating. (This is commonly referred to as the devalue stage).
Love bombing is not about love, but is used to exert power and control. Love bombing consists of such activities as:
The intent of love bombing is to monopolize a target’s focus in order to diminish the target’s discernment and objectivity. It is damaging and is intended to destroy a person’s sense of self and establish power over them. Cult Leaders love bomb their followers in order to brain wash and take control over them.
While legal definitions of stalking vary from one jurisdiction to another, a good working definition of stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual toward another person through the carrying out of behaviors intended to frighten, distress the victim, and/or instill a sense of hopelessness in the victim (which often leads to learned helplessness). Stalking behaviors are related to harassment and intimidation and usually include following the victim (in person) and/or monitoring them.
According to Lamber Royakkers, author of The Dutch Approach to Stalking Laws (California Criminal Law Review 3, October 2000):
“Stalking is a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom they have no relationship (or no longer have). Moreover, the separated acts that make up the intrusion cannot by themselves cause the mental abuse, but do taken together (cumulative effect).”
Disruptions in daily life necessary to escape a stalker include changes in employment, residence, and phone numbers. Many targets of stalking have had to move to another country and basically go into hiding. Many of my clients are or have been stalked by their Narcissistic partner. Stalking behaviors carried out by Narcissists include:
Stalking is synonymous with hoovering in that once a source of supply expresses a desire to end the relationship, the Narcissist refuses to give up their power by forcing themselves into the victim’s world through harassing, following, and monitoring.
What’s the Difference?
As you can see in the two categories of behaviors, there really isn’t much difference between love bombing and stalking. Love bombing is idealizing and mirroring the victim in order to create a feeling of connection in the beginning of the relationship.
Stalking is a common behavior of Narcissists when a source of supply tries to initiate No Contact. The one distinct difference is that when stalking (hoovering) begins, the victim typically has a clearer picture of what kind of person the Narcissist is…which is why they want to go No Contact in the first place.
Love bombing and stalking are about power and control. They’re both pathological and used by disturbed people who cannot truly love another. They’re both insidious and can eradicate self-esteem and the victim’s sense of self. If your partner has taken part in these two behaviors, know that these are signs of psychological and emotional manipulation used to dominate and keep control over you and it’s time to consider going No Contact.