What Is ‘Love Bombing’ & Why You Need To Watch Out For This Major Red Flag

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Love bombing is an explosive, rapid, and demonstrative display of attention and affection designed to knock you off your feet and into a love bomber's hands.

It comes in the form of texts, calls, emails, cards, letters, and songs. There may even be flowers, gifts, trips, and promises of a lifetime of a soulmate who will "do anything for you and nothing without you."

All this before they even know your middle name! If the bombardment of attention doesn’t alarm you, you should be concerned.

Why does it feel so good?

RELATED: If He Does These 8 Things, He's Love Bombing You And You Need To Leave ASAP

Love bombing is a serious red flag in dating that many people may not even recognize.

You're fed compliments until you're stuffed and wanting to push away from the table, but they insist on giving you more — because you "deserve" it. They ensure not a moment goes by that you don’t remember they're the one who cares for you most.

You'll get constant reminders of their devotion: You'll receive love notes on your car, flowers at work, and gifts for no special reason.

They befriend your friends to ensure they, too, know who cares for you, and engage them in "surprising" you with a special gift all can admire and be excited about.

You say "no" to going out for dinner due to work, so they bring dinner to you and stay dutifully by your side until you're ready to go home. You return to work the next morning to find a love Post-It on your screen from the evening before.

Your colleagues are all smiles and gushing over how lucky you are. Your ego gets inflated. Your self-esteem increases. You love feeling loved.

Your sense of reality is becoming confused with fantasy. Your guard is down.

You're being manipulated and controlled.

My love-bomber became my first husband.

It was a reeling, often confusing period of my life. Looking back, I connect the dots and see the picture take form ever so clearly.

At the time, it was happening so fast that in the dizziness of the ride, I couldn't see what was right in front of me. My love-bomber was happy to take my hand and tell me when to take a step to the left or to the right, forward or back.

This was a long, long time ago. And I have learned a lot about myself, about him, and about love bombing since then. He — like many love-bombers — was ultimately diagnosed as having narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissists are great con artists, and they play to win.

Narcissists tend to target empaths who are open, caring, and emotionally connected individuals.

Why? Because empaths make great victims or losers in their game.

I knew I had been targeted and duped when my ex-husband spoke aloud the words, “The best sales job I ever did was getting you to marry me.”

Narcissits focus on neediness in choosing their love-bombing victims.

In the beginning, my love-bomber was incredibly charming and the attention was flattering. He knew just what to say to build me up.

At the time, I didn’t realize how torn down and vulnerable I was, but I realize now he tested me to see. Little by little, he found out exactly where my weak spots were.

A few years before, I had been betrayed by my best friend. She hooked up with and married my boyfriend while we were in college.

Although I had moved on in life, I had not fully healed this wound. Somehow, I needed someone to make me whole. I needed someone to think I was great, to desire me, and to adore me.

RELATED: Why Narcissists Love Bomb You (And How To Recognize When It's Happening)

That left room for someone, in this case, a love-bomber, to "complete" me. He flew into my life and bombarded me with feel-good communications, lovely gifts, devoted time, and attention.

All this showered down on me like glitter, and I was caught up in a storybook fairytale. Before I knew it, I was literally swept off my feet and into his hands.

I’d like to say the fairytale feeling lasted. It didn’t. And many who have been love-bombed say the same.

Before long, the agenda behind love bombing shows.

Their act reveals a crack in its facade. You question it. They shoot you down.

Once the narcissist has you committed, tables turn. When you question or go against them, the love bombing becomes an assault on your character, leaving you defenseless and running for shelter.

Compliments are exchanged for criticisms, charming habits become controlling behaviors, and when you try to break up, they play on your sympathy and go back to love bombing while blaming something or someone else for the changes you see.

Love bombing precedes manipulation and emotional abuse.

You are trapped until you recognize the situation and remove yourself.

A love-bomber’s agenda varies. Some are out to get your money. Others are in it for the love of playing the game.

Others are in it for a relationship, but do not understand how to go about it. They want to love and be loved in return, and think by giving so much, they will get what they need. Regardless, it's still a narcissistic agenda.

Can a love-bomber be helped?

The answer is often yes. Some are simply clingy and don't recognize their behaviors are pushing others away.

Through self-awareness work, emotional development, and understanding boundaries, some can learn to pursue and attain healthy relationships.

What should you do if you find yourself the target of love bombing?

The same. Check in.

What is unhealed for you? Where are your vulnerabilities? Does this person respect your boundaries? Can you say no? Can you ask them to slow down?

Real love does not force commitment. Real love does not debate your answers. 

Real love does not threaten. Real love is patient, kind, and develops over time.

What does your intuition tell you? Your gut?

What red flags are you seeing and and possibly ignoring because you need this to feel good about yourself?

Neediness attracts neediness.

I needed someone to make me whole and build me up, because I had yet to do that for myself.

Know yourself, learn to set and maintain boundaries, and be your own best friend. You'll attract someone into your life who isn’t too good to be true, but someone who is good and true to you.

If other love-bombers show up in the meantime, you’ll recognize them. Listen to your best friend, they'll know.

RELATED: What Is Trauma Bonding? The Scientific Reason So Many Women Stay Stuck In Emotionally Abusive Relationships

Ann Papayoti, CPC, is a life coach helping people through losses and transitions as a relationship expert. To learn how she can help you, visit her website or connect with her on Facebook.