Love Bombing vs Stalking – What’s the Difference?

By Kim Saeed | Narcissism

Feb 16

 

Love Bombing

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:

  • Constant texts, emails, and phone calls
  • Frequent deliveries of gifts, cards, and flowers
  • Bringing up marriage after only having known one another for a short time (sometimes as soon as a few days after meeting)
  • Showing up at the target’s place of employment or favorite hangout
  • Giving the appearance of having much in common with the target (painful childhood, horrible mistreatment by their exes, being of a sensitive and poetic nature)

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.

Stalking

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:

  • Constant texts, emails, and phone calls
  • Frequent deliveries of gifts, cards, and flowers
  • Showing up at the target’s place of employment or favorite hangout
  • Cyberstalking
  • Installing spyware on a partner’s computer and/or cell phone
  • Finding out about you by using public records or online search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers
  • Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go
  • Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets

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.

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalking#cite_note-menace-8

http://www.sociosite.org/cyberstalking_en.php

http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center/stalking-information

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(24) comments

Chris Carr July 8, 2016

I did all of these things but it was never to hurt a person’s feelings.

Reply
npeden February 17, 2015

I am SO glad I found this site.

My situation may not be all with my ex husband but I believe it was used in my family especially from my big brother who is cruel and violent and collects lots of guns and teaches his seven year old twin grandchildren to shoot them.

I adored him in high school. He was dropping acid and smoking a lot of weed so of course I did a little of that, after all if big brother is doing it, it must be good. I am the only one among four siblings who has not gone through a time of drug addiction. Some kind of grace saved. I have several times instituted no contact with him. Once was for ten years. Now I am back living near him and most of what I get from him is criticism. He does not approve of me or how I live.

Another kind of love bombing I have been sucked into is in a cult called Alaya, started by a man and a woman who were followers of Rashish (can’t rmember his name; he is dead but still has many followers. Their huge compound in I think it was Idaho or Montana was eventually ended and his Indian assistant caught with bags of money I think.

I never went to the “ranch” but the two followers offered unlicensed psychotherapy in Nashville, TN and Boulder, CO. They were very charismatic. Each group meeting began with ecstatic dancing.

I learned a lot from them about mysticism which I like (and may make be prone to narcissists) but after 11 years with them, two of which were “training” to be a therapist, they flunked me, saying if I were to go on I would get sick.

I can’t even describe how devastating this was for me. I had hoped for a career but never have been able to do anything much to support myself.

A book that really helped me is the Guru Papers, which is written in dialectic (meaning paradoxically emerges a solution to the topic it is discussing). They explain in that book how the guru keeps you hooked and then keeps you hooked. All the time of course, you are paying money for his “wisdom”. The guru keeps you hooked by telling you you are not enlightened and he is and is and only by following him will you get to enlightenment and of course, you never do. He remains the authority and is always more “enlightened” than you. Guru Papers is a fascinating read if you have been gaslighted by a guru or other authority figure.

I feel I am not describing this all well enough but I think the gaslighting I got from the males in my family, set me up well for falling in love especially with the gurus.

Since I have used the term gaslighting, which is now used in psychology, I will post Wikipedia on the term. It just seems easier than anything else to me.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting All in all, they taught me that I am 1. crazy and 2. inadequate. It has taken me over ten years to accept what happened. I had good lawyer who said I had a good case and that it would be very empowering for me to sue them and win. But she wanted 5k up front and I did not have that kind of money.

So here I am at 65, still falling for the charmers. So glad to have found a place that helps me understand my addiction.

Reply
    Kim Saeed February 17, 2015

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments regarding my site.

    I am very sorry for what you have endured through your lifetime, but please don’t give up. I’ve heard of a 70-yr old, suicidal woman who actually healed and went on to find the love of her life. It’s truly never too late to be happy, though the path to happiness can be long and arduous. I was able to find happiness by realizing that my childhood had much to do with my feelings of isolation and “never being good enough”.

    I’ve since forgiven myself and my parents and I have a much greater awareness when I experience triggers. I would recommend reading Robert Burney’s book, Dance of the Wounded Soul. It’s so spot on and was a catalyst for my own healing. Maybe it will help you, too <3

    http://astore.amazon.com/lemere-20/detail/0964838346

    Reply
Jack Moss February 17, 2015

My narc – a former co-worker for 8 years – came on to me after dinner 3 weeks after my wife of 30 years died. She told me that she didn’t want a relationship only sex, but that soon changed after a trip we made soon after. The love bombing was intense. I cutesy card telling me that she knew this was real and that I was the one, etc. Everything was happening at lightening speed and within weeks we were engaged. After that her attitude changed. She became moody, distant, constantly telling me that “something wasn’t right”. The ups and downs were dizziing. Before she moved in she moved like a tornado, throwing out my wife’s things. One big mistake was that I offered her my wife’s jewelry. I know now that was bad move. One thing, my wife and I both had cancer and I caretook for her the last 14 years of her life. She wanted me to move on so most of my motivation was trying to do just that. Anyway she moved in, lived with me for 5 months after I lost my job. I went through savings trying to keep things up and kept the bills paid. She never offerered – in spite of having a well paying job – to help in anyway. After moving out she told me that she had sold my wife’s jewelry to pay for the move, all of it. Soon after that she manufactured an exit only to hoover and return a month later. She suckered me back into a relationship claiming she’d get help, but that never happened. Then after a horrific Dec and Jan, where she would disapere and hide where she was going and more, who she was with, I called it quits and went NC. She left a note in my mailbox blaming me for the breakup – of course, but I remain NC to this day.

Now I’m going to therapy to not only grieve the loss of my wife but to clear my mind of the gawd awful mind games she employed. I’m also financially ruined as well, but trying to get back on my feet Thanks for your site, it’s helped me immensly in helping me to heal. Keep up the good work.

Reply
    Mary February 17, 2015

    Just goes to show what kind of wolves are out there and what they will do at your weakest points. I went through this with a man that also ruined me too financially. Haven’t seen him in almost 4 months. It still hard trying to wrap my head around it but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. Stay strong and don’t let her back in.

    Reply
    Anonymous February 17, 2015

    I can’t even read ur entire post, I apologize. I’m so extremely mad for that person exploiting you. They have no shame. As a mom of an ADHD kid and the stigma that goes w it, if we/they had physical apperance of our challenges we would be possibily more accepted, ( by no means do I or would I disrespect physically disabled friends, I’m active in our local American Legion, and advocate for all of our Veterans), emotional, PTSD abuse needs sites like Kim’s for us to through out our experiences to know we r not alone.

    Reply
Marcus February 17, 2015

I can totally relate to the love bombing. Plus she was very keen on being exclusive. That is to say my being exclusive. She was evasive about her own activities – just indignant that I would even ask for the same as what she demanded of me.
When she devalued me though and ultimately dumped me, I didn’t know what to do. I feel like a stalker simy because I cannot get her out of my head

Reply
    Kim Saeed February 17, 2015

    Marcus, it’s a common reaction for those who’ve had a relationship with a Narcissist (or other Cluster-B disordered person) to spend time checking out the Narc’s social media pages. It’s not really the same as stalking because the reasons for doing so are different. Although there might be cases where someone who’s been dumped by a Narc might react in an unhealthy way, it’s not the norm. Checking out the Narc’s social media is usually a way to come to acceptance.

    Reply
      Anonymous February 17, 2015

      Agree, we are all looking for the how’s, when, and most important why. We will never get the answers to the questions. BE GLAD FOR THAT, our souls are not suppose to understand that in itself is an indescribable blessing.

      Reply
        Kim Saeed February 17, 2015

        Thank you for the beautiful insight. <3

        Reply
Christensenkm@aol.com February 16, 2015

Is there a formal definition for hoovering? I have never heard this word before. I think I understand concept but would welcome a definition.

Thank you,

KM Christensen

P.S. Love your blog…helps me get thought the difficult days of No Contact.

>

Reply
Free at last! February 16, 2015

As I posted previously regarding Valentines Day I stated in the beginning red flags I dismissed when I shouldn’t have. But the “love bombing” was intense! Yes I thought , wow this is my soul mate. Was I ever so wrong & initially when a situation happened such as he said he loved me like after a month of dating my gut told me ” that’s weird” but I dismissed it. Yes, we had everything in common, same beliefs everything was “too good to be true”. Such lessons I’ve learned in 11+ yrs. low & behold fast forward to divorce 1/2014 & the whole yr of stalking & harrassment. I can recall just in this past December in one day alone I had 56 missed calls from him ALL from different numbers & I had to block each one until I changed my #. I’ve been threatened. Even back in 2011 I found a tracking device in my car in the pocket of the passenger seat. I knew then I had to get out & it took me yrs to do that & the entire yr of 2014 of hell. Yes my whole world has changed. My situation really is more of the extreme narc. He was extremely addicted to prescription pain pills for yrs & the list goes on. You really do start to think your crazy until finally one day it just clicks. Your not! I didn’t walk away , I RAN! It’s been tough but staying was NOT a option. He was slowly destroying me to nothing.

Reply
Halo February 16, 2015

This is exactly what happened to me. 5 months of being the love of her life, she would die without me, wanted to marry me, asked me to move in. Then within minutes it seemed one morning she out of no where said she was stressed and couldn’t handle a relationship. I lost my mind, she hooked up with someone she had dated before me. Moved her in that week. Never gave me an answer other than she was just not a good person and that she was sorry. She pursued me after hurting me previously, told me she was sorry and that she had made a mistake. I made the mistake of believing her. She said all the right things, that she was going to therapy to understand what was in her that caused her to hurt me so in the past. I had no idea of what I was really dealing with at the time. She played on my emotions, gave horrible stories of her childhood and not having a family. Has a debilitating illness which could leave her in a wheelchair and used that as “you might abandon me.” Which I never would have.
She’s now with a woman who is an ex con, who actually contacted me and wanted to know the extent of our relationship. My N told her that nothing ever happened between us, that her therapist had told her to reach out to the people in her past that she had hurt and that’s all she was doing with me.
I’ve never had anything like this happen to me and I’m in therapy now trying to get past it. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

Reply
    RodMan February 17, 2015

    Same thing happened to me. I was with this woman in a long dIstance relationship (330 mile difference). She loved bombed me for three months, and then played “on again, off again” for six weeks until we finally broke up. I was madly in love at that point and tried everything I could to get her back over the next 7 months that followed. She had already gone back to the guy before me, then cut him out and focussed her attention on another dude for six months, blah blah. The day she broke up with me was also out of left field. She told me she was a bad person (most likely a borderline, etc) and that I should go and find someone who can genuinely love me always for who I am. Later she borrowed $3,000 (my stupid decision), promised to give it all back. She text me one day that her money came in, and she would be sending the check to me. It never came, and she proceeded to block me from her social media sites even though I never stalled her. Was it revenge for me asking for my money, or was it her simply trying to erase me and her “dark deeds” from her brain? Probably the latter. It has been one year since I last was in touch with her. I am better off now, but cannot lie. I still think of her often. During the good times, I was never treated better, and she was 100% my perfect type. I think she was half that person to be fair. The Miss Hyde half though, is someone I would not wish I anyone, and she hid that rather nicely for three months.

    Reply
      Mary February 17, 2015

      I’m sorry this happened to you. I felt and unfortunately still do feel that when we clicked we were awesome. It’s mind bending to accept it was all a lie isn’t it.

      Reply
Only Me February 16, 2015

Interesting, but did you know that nearly 90% of jilted lovers are spying on their ex on social media sites? It would appear that the door swings both ways. Seems like for a time at least, most of creep an exe’s social media. Probably not our finest hour in being curious about an exe’s activities! But it seems to be a bad habit most of us eventually choose to forego as our wounds heal. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2182430/Facebook-creepers-Nearly-90-jilted-lovers-spying-ex-social-media-site.html

Reply
Mary February 16, 2015

Ok I have what I hope is a legitimate question. When the narc drops you off the cliff and disappears without warning, all of a sudden not answering the phone or texts, and has virtually dropped off the planet, and the victim checks Facebook, drives by their house, looks at their mail and any and all other things available, wouldn’t that be considered stalking as well? I drove by, texted and called several days when my narc abruptly dumped me for his new supply. Just wondering. Thanks.

Reply
    Ether February 17, 2015

    I think this question comes down to boundaries. Narcissists are unable to conduct healthy forms of communications. Often when a narcissist implements the silent treatment and cuts a person from their lives they do this without allowing closure to the target or discussing it in a healthy way. The reaction of many targets to this frustration is to try to continue some type of dialogue and the only way open to them is this type of behaviour. This is in fact how narcissists manipulate people who are used to healthy dialogues, by refusing it and causing frustration within the good communicator. Which is why no further contact is so important, so that the narcissist does not damage your ability to communicate in the normal healthy way that you are accustomed to dealing with other healthy people. If a target finds themselves in this situation it is important to recognise how the behaviour of the narc has impacted their own methods of communication in a negative way and decide to implement a zero tolerance attitude to the emotional abuse of the silent treatment and let it go, learn and move forward. When a relationship ends with a healthy mature individual although upsetting its safe to say that we don’t feel the need to do this. We accept it is painful and move on. Personal boundaries must be put into place to be able to identify that abrupt cutting off , the silent treatment and denial of closure is a form of emotional abuse / or at its best arrogant disregard that makes targets feel the need to do this. The target should not try to re-establish communication in any form with a person who is emotionally immature and unable to explain their motives clearly and give closure as no positive outcome can come of inviting this type of person back into your life if you do succeed in breaking their silent treatment.

    Reply
      Mary February 17, 2015

      Thanks just making sure I’m not the insane one here, and yes the mind bending of it still hurts and makes my head spin to this day. I am working so hard to find myself again and I know I will eventually. Thanks for taking the time to say something about this. And it is the lack of closure I think hurts the worst.

      Reply
      Anonymous February 17, 2015

      Right on! As Empaths no matter what our “challenges” were from our formative years we knew right from wrong. We compensate, make excuses, right the wrong, with our faults come the most important part of our gift, we are compassionate, caregiving, insightful and understanding of others needs by way of “feeling the vibe”, (lack of a better term). I’ve always known of my highly intune sense, when I was old enough have done yrs of reading up on it (behind closed doors), as a kid “Wow, how do remember this or that”, or my favs were, “how did u know that”, “how did u know this or that would turn out ok”. As a gonna be 50yr old this yr, I embrace my gift as I always have, offer my “intuition” after all w yrs there is knowledge right? Learn our abilities, study them (not reading cards or crystal balls), keep it to yourself, sit back watch it unfold, use that gut instinct for ur own guidance and protection. With Kim’s blog, guest bloggers and reading all of our friends posts at Kim’s site we will all learn to use our gifts to better us all.

      Reply
        Kim Saeed February 17, 2015

        Lovely! Hugs for using your gifts in an uplifting way. And thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful words regarding my site <3

        Reply
      Marcus February 18, 2015

      I agree

      Reply
      Marcus February 18, 2015

      With my narcissist, she refused any type of discussion. I went nuts. Four years of busting my nuts for her. Four years of requests from her. Four years of hard work. Four years of helping her with her divorce. And her young kids. And pouffe ! All gone with nary a word other than “it does not work and cannot work”. The kicker was that when I wrote to suggest what imagined had happened – and I would not have had to imagine anything if she had bothered to communicate her reasons to me – she in two sentences dismissed “my” facts as not being things she remembered that way. And of course did not say how or in what way her own recollection differed.

      Reply
    Marcus February 18, 2015

    Great question-I have the same issue. She left my life in smoldering ruins. I wanted to know what happened

    Reply
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