If you’ve endured the nightmare of narcissistic abuse, you’d probably agree that the love-bombing (idealization) phase carried out by the narcissist is what kept you entangled in the toxic relationship.
After all, love is the most sought-after human need. So, when you received an overwhelming amount of love and acceptance, it’s very hard to analyze the reasons ‘why’ for fear of losing what you’d desperately been longing for, perhaps your whole life.
Admittedly, it’s hard to resist. The love-bombing phase was like nothing you’d ever experienced. You met this unique, charming individual and the chemistry was almost instant. Before long, you were receiving constant calls and text messages, gifts, flowers, invites to meet their family, requests to move in together, and the splashing of your social media with cutesy, flirty messages.
At last, you’d found someone you could be yourself with. All of your hopes, dreams, and wishes were acknowledged and supported unconditionally.
You opened yourself up to this person, layer-by-layer, allowing them into your true essence, your soul. No longer did you have to pretend in order to fit into society’s norms.
You could finally be your true self.
For the first time in your life, you were self-actualized, realizing your maximum potential.
Perhaps, at long last, you delved into art or music…or you were so inspired by your rapid spiritual growth that you booked that exotic vacation which, up until you met your soul-mate, you never thought you’d summon the courage to do.
Life was magical, mystical. You felt your soul soaring to new heights. Those little quirks you were too embarrassed to share with anyone else were cute – sexy, even – to your new partner.
You finally had someone who loved Every. Single. Thing. About. You.
…and, at long last, you could love everything about yourself, as well. For the first time in your life, you’d fallen in love with yourself!
Another human saw the special spark inside of you, and it was finally safe to love yourself. No more playing small.
You were YOU and no one could take that away. You thought love would last forever.
After your soul-mate wholly cherished you, they began to slowly pick apart everything little thing that made you distinctive.
They blamed, accused, and scoffed at you until you felt worthless. They meticulously cultivated feelings of embarrassment and shame in you.
They bruised your heart in a place where nothing could heal.
Why…why did they once love all of your little idiosyncrasies, only to hate you for them later?
In turn, you began to hate all the things you’d finally loved about yourself and about life.
Where you’d once felt happy with your freckles and crooked smile, you saw blemishes and a clownish sneer. Your violet eyes, once bright and hopeful, became sad and empty. You cut your flaxen hair and dyed it black.
The accomplishments you realized gradually meant nothing. Your favorite hobbies – once cradles of fulfilment and delight – became sources of disharmony and you loathed them.
You covered your art, turned down the lid on your piano, sold your rare sculptures, and burned your charcoal sketches.
The flowers in your garden withered and died.
To your children, friends, and beloved pets, you became a ghost, an empty shell, the walking dead.
You stopped going out. You no longer felt welcome in the world. You wanted to erase yourself. You cursed the stars and scorned the sun. You wanted to fall asleep and never wake up.
This is the true tragedy of the fall of the love bombing phase – You fell out of love with yourself.
And remember the tinman
Found he had what he thought he lacked
Remember the tinman
Go find your heart and take it back
Copyright 2016. Kim Saeed and Let Me Reach
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Kim Saeed is a recognized relationship and new life educator specializing in helping narcissistic abuse survivors to heal, rebuild, find purpose, and live joyfully after No Contact. In 2013, she founded Let Me Reach, a life transformation company that teaches people to flourish after toxic relationships.