Love Bombing is the Gateway Drug to Love Addiction

By Kim Saeed | Contemplating No Contact

Jun 10
Love Addiction Drug

If you’ve ever been in love with a narcissist, you’re likely aware of how good they are at manipulating your relationship.

One of their tools of manipulation is something called love bombing, which appeals to the dreams and hopes their targets have regarding being loved unconditionally, being rescued from past emotional harm, and never having to worry about infidelity or betrayal.

The more you know about your emotional triggers, the better equipped you’ll be to protect yourself. You’ll learn how to identify manipulative people, how to recognize if you’re dealing with love addiction, and find the courage necessary to let go of toxic relationships.

Maintaining no contact is one of the most important things you can do when you’ve ended a relationship with a narcissist. But it can be extremely difficult.

To help you take steps toward maintaining no contact, let’s review why love bombing is so detrimental. Then, learn about steps which will allow you to heal from your toxic relationships and focus on your recovery and transformation after narcissistic abuse.

What Is Love Bombing and Why Is It So Addictive?

The main reason why it’s difficult to leave toxic relationships is because they’re highly addictive. It’s hard to recognize this in the moment, however.

To better understand the formation of love addiction, let’s take a look at love bombing.

Love bombing refers to a variety of words or actions that make the receiver feel loved, valued, and cared for. On the surface, it doesn’t seem like a negative thing, but it can be when it’s used by someone who has ulterior motives.

When used by a narcissist, love bombing is a tool of manipulation. Often, when those who are in a relationship with a narcissist express the desire to end things, the narcissist showers them with words of love.

The term “love bombing” originally referred to actions that members of cults would use to lure new members.

Alex Myles of ElephantJournal.com states that, when in a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, love bombing starts during the very first meeting. These are often considered whirlwind romances and, as Myles says, it can be “a dizzying experience.”

The love interest of the narcissist is so flattered and overtaken with their emotions that it can be difficult to see through all the love bombing to the heart of the matter. They create a fantasy world, totally absorbed in the euphoric ‘high’ from the feelings evoked by the narcissist’s validation and interest in them.

The problem with love bombing is that, once the narcissist or sociopath is bored, they end the relationship. This leaves the other person feeling hurt, broken, and craving love. After all, they’re used to being showered with words of love and devotion. Once it’s gone, or the narcissist gets angry and abusive and stops their displays of affection, their partner is left feeling empty, even desperate. The target realizes their fantasy of having finally found true and unconditional love was just an illusion, after all.

Symptoms of Love Addiction

Loving a narcissist can have adverse effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health because they prey on the fantasy their partners have about true love and yellow brick roads. If you’re curious as to whether you’re dealing with love addiction or not, take a moment to review the following symptoms. These are just some of the most common symptoms of love addiction.

  • Obsession with a romantic love interest
  • Mistaking sex or romantic attention to mean there’s long-term potential and/or a true emotional bond
  • Believing you can be loved in a “special way” that will make you happy for the rest of your life, as seen in popular romantic comedies or romance novels
  • Compulsive behaviors regarding the relationship
  • Lack of control – reacting immediately to emotional triggers without thinking of consequences
  • A strong desire to go back to the narcissistic individual
  • Striving obsessively to maintain the chemistry and romantic intensity that seemed present at the beginning of the relationship
  • Since reaching adulthood, you haven’t spent any time alone. You’ve always been in a relationship or you start a new one immediately after one has ended

The problem with love bombing is that it’s too good to be true. And this is something that victims of abuse find out rather quickly.

Of course, a thoughtful partner will show affection, say kind words, and make romantic dinner reservations. But the narcissist goes above and beyond. They shower their victim with so much love that it literally becomes something they crave.  To be showered with such seeming affection activates the same pleasure centers in the brain as other types of addictions such as those to drugs, alcohol, and food.

Then, the narcissist pulls away, either because they want to leave the relationship, they’ve found another target, or because they’re angry at their partner. They blame their partner for ruining the relationship and for making them angry. The partner becomes afraid of losing the narcissist because they’re now addicted to the “love” they’ve been shown. It’s a vicious cycle.

Maintaining No Contact and Other Healthy Ways to Cope with Love Addiction

You do not deserve to be with someone who treats you this way. Their actions and behavior are unacceptable. Deep down you probably realize this, but the idea of leaving is scary. Feelings of fear, self-doubt, and of whether you’ll find love in the future run rampant.

The key to recovery and transformation after narcissistic abuse may initially seem counterintuitive. The key is maintaining no contact with the abuser.  This is one of the first steps you need to take to break free from your love addiction.

It’s important to note, though, that like any addiction, love addiction has withdrawal symptoms. How can you healthfully work through these?

  1. Don’t give up. Again, this is an addiction. There may be times when you are overcome by your feelings. That’s ok – forgive yourself and move on. Remember: you don’t deserve to be in an abusive relationship.
  2. Get educated. Learn about your addiction. This will give you the upper hand. The more knowledge you have, the more you’ll be able to plan for and recognize triggers.
  3. Always be kind to yourself. Don’t ever treat yourself the way your abuser did. You’re not them, and you don’t deserve what they put you through.
  4. Get help. Talk to someone regularly about what you went through and what feelings you’re currently dealing with. The regularity is a good way to work through low points. Plus, the person you’re talking to probably sees more progress than you do. It’s good to hear how well you’re doing from someone outside the situation.

Recovery and Transformation After Narcissistic Abuse is Possible!

While you’re in the midst of an abusive relationship, the thought of getting out and feeling happy and healthy again seems impossible.

However, once you learn about your addiction, take steps to remove narcissistic people from your life, and get outside assistance, you will be able to overcome your love craving.

And, in time, you’ll make a full, healthful recovery and transformation after narcissistic abuse. You’ll get there – don’t give up!

I would LOVE for you to share your thoughts about this topic!  Are you still entangled in your relationship?  Do you have hints on how others can break free from their addiction to the narcissist?  

Please share in the comment section below.

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(10) comments

ohiogirl7 June 11, 2017

Oh, I forget to mention in the message below, that’s me also, that all these disordered people are magnets to empaths, which I also found out about myself. These preditors are out on the prowell for gentle caring people because we over look a lot of bullshit and put up with way too much crap. So if you keep attracting these idiots you could very well be an empath or as I call myself ” A highly sensitive person” and that’s because of all the abuse and crap I put up with growing with an idiot for a father and never learning what a good man really was. This was a dark night of the soul for me, I’m still quivering almost three years later!

Reply
Julia June 11, 2017

It is very sad to realize the narscist manipulates to get their needs met
I too was giving to get. I thought if I give him what he wants I’ll get what I want . I thought this was compromise . Things did not work out so fair. He was angry abusive and acted like a spoiled brat. I’m glad I am basically pretty independent. With the help of this and other recovery programs I stopped focusing on him and tried to work on myself. I was hoping healthy behavior would rub off on him. I realize my care taking and being responsible was from being the oldest child . I was setting a good example. Things got worse. I gave up on the dream. I hold my own hand now. I was dieing

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    Rebecca June 12, 2017

    Julia,

    I love that quote “I hold my own hand now!” Powerful and True!!
    Thank you Kim for so much insight and enlightenment ….. it takes some darkness to finally emerge out into the LIGHT!

    Thank you

    Reply
Suzanne Spiers June 11, 2017

I have spent the past few years healing and find myself in a completely different and much healthier space.

Recently, a man expressed a wish to get to know me better. I shared that I was open to see if we had enough in common to be friends, but was not open to a romantic connection.

He seemed to be very nice and I enjoyed several conversations that appeared to be regular and appropriate. Some red flags appeared though in the form of his very early invitation to come to visit him at his home which is not near where I live. I expressed that this was perhaps inappropriate since we did not know each other well.

He seemed nice and I simply got on with my everyday life and all seemed normal. However, the most recent red flag was when this man said he would text me when he got home. He had been in the habit of making contact with innocuous and pleasant texts about once each day.

However, the promised text msg did not arrive after two days. I decided that someone who was not prepared to stay true to his word, even if that person is an acquaintance, is not someone who I want in my life. Trust is very important and from past experience, if a person acts in a specific manner that is inappropriate and is not something my other friends do, then that is an indication to me that it is time to let go and leave this person to himself. I have the right to be who I am and should not have to be other than who I am just in order to have someone in my life.

I sent him a final text msg thanking him for some pleasant conversations and reminded him that trust is important and so is keeping one’s word. I have now blocked his msgs and let go. I am happy with my decision because when people act in such ways as to create a form of uncertainty, in the past, I would have put up with such behaviour. No longer! When a person acts in such a manner they are showing you who they are and it only tends to get worse over time. Self-respect is the way to go and supporting my own self, setting boundaries and taking care to protect me.

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Carl June 10, 2017

So sad that a person I’d known since she was a teenager and considered a dear friend chose me to love bomb, convince me to leave my wife, lose my house and retirement, divorce against my core values, marry her and then go through the hell of 3.5 years of devaluation and finally discard. What kind of a heartless, sick person does this? Oh yeah, a narcissist. I loved her unconditionally, I cherished her. I tried to model Christ’s love to her, forgiving her again and again. And she spun around and left me for her narcissist organization leader, who got her a nice job that provides her supply. I am 63 years old, broke and broken by someone who was my soulmate, best friend and forever friend. Unbelievable. Oh, that’s what that other narcissist says.

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Mandy Carroll June 10, 2017

I left the narc/sociopath and returned twice. I was out this third time and still am out. I had contact by phone, the,t and would see him maybe twice a week. I feel odd..at first because the abuse started right away, I wanted to prove to him and family I was not this horrible person. From then on it was battles upon battles and I never gave him a break. I thought..why I stayed that I could help him because he showed signs of change..ha ha. So after calling him on his many abuses..perhaps I woke up I ended it. He did not want that. It has been 52 days of silence. I had some desire to see him squirm. Perhaps me fighting him so strongly made this easier.
I come from extreme abuse and an abusive marriage and my sons are abusive. Anyway, I am so done with that life..so done. Every moment of every day I smile and amazing things have happened to me..profound. I am seeing me..
I am done..but they say the abuser is never done.

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    Suzanne Spiers June 11, 2017

    The n will do what he or she will do and we have no control over what they do. The only person over whom we have control is our own self. I know in my own case,all the wounded parts of me were the ones that were vulnerable. I have spent the past 4.5 years working with my kinesiologist to heal inner wounds and beliefs and now feel as if I am an entirely different and much-healed person.

    I know that in my last relationship, as I healed, I found that as I learned to value myself better, I stopped doing things that seemed to be normal such as picking up my ex-b from the train after work. He would simply get into the car and take for granted that I would pick him up and never gave a word of thanks, not paid for petrol and when he got into the car, he would put his earphones in his ear and concentrate on listening to his iPod.

    I got sick of this and other behaviours and the more I learned to do self-care and set boundaries, there came a time when I simply got bored of his drama and had no interest in being with someone who brought drama into my life along with a lot of other behaviours that were not serving me well.

    I terminated the relationship and took out a VRO that has been in place for the past two years. He suddenly turned up on my doorstep last November and I was able to look at this person and in three sentences, tell him why he had to go. I then shut the door and went about my day. I have not seen him since and am probably not likely to do so. I am pretty sure he has new supply somewhere.

    These days, I get what I need in appropriate ways and also am able to better meet my own needs and make sure that I create lots of lovely things to do for myself.

    I am sure that as you heal too, you will be able to feel stronger and set better boundaries and will also be able to keep this person out of your life. The more we nourish ourselves, the less we will look to toxic people to meet our needs with all their strings that are attached to what they give or choose not to give.

    Reply
Tina June 10, 2017

This is a great article!

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mary June 10, 2017

I always enjoy your posts. The facts re that we are all mean to give and receive love because we are made in the image of god what is love.

I grew up in an alcoholic home with an emotionally shut down dad. I was always looking for love which is natural. I did not know how love starved I was and that it is ok to love yourself. I did not get the love and nurturing I needed.

This must have been obvious to the men I dated nd my sick, narcissistic x husband. I have been so betrayed and no I am afraid to love because I am still not healed.

Your posts always speak the truth and help a lot of people and they are good reminders of what to look out for in the future if someone is looking to get I to another relationship.

Also, we do need to know our emotional triggers and needs. And to know no o. Person can meet all of our needs.

Thank you for your postings. Peace to you always.

Mary
,

Reply
    Kim Saeed June 11, 2017

    Hi Mary,

    I’m glad to know my article resonated with you. I wish you all the very best in your healing journey.

    Kim XoXo

    Reply
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