Skip to main content

love bombing by narcissists and sociopaths

Note: when I talk about narcissists and sociopaths (Antisocial Personality Disorder), I am talking about the clinical condition in the DSM. See my post on what abuse is and who perpetrates it HERE.

Here is an excellent article about how narcissists groom people to believe they are soul mates.

In this post, author Alex Miles describes the love bombing manipulative tactic as:

... initially carried out through excessive phone calls, text messages, emails, the constant desire to be in close contact whether virtual or physical and the desire to be connected almost every moment of every day ...

... Love bombers are masters at flattery; they will constantly be telling their target how much they adore them, how beautiful they are, how funny, talented, special, precious and any other sweet nothing they can think of. Love bombers will make their partner feel as though they are the only person in the world for them, telling them how grateful they are to finally be understood, what terrible previous relationships they had, how they have found the love of their lives and that they are for-sure certified soul mates ...

Love bombing by narcissists and sociopaths is fraudulent because it is designed to draw a person into a loving, trusting relationship without the intentions of making the relationship loving or trustworthy. Love bombing for narcissists is about obtaining narcissistic supply (attention, flattery and power and control over people) and for sociopaths it is about obtaining IOUs (guilt trips, control, exploitation, extortions, blackmail, and either brutal shaming kinds of discards or vengeful retaliations over the sociopath's need for absolute dominance and sadism in the relationship).

The fact that it is a fraudulent set-up can deeply wound and shock its victims.

You will know that the love-bombing-idealizing-"can't-live-without-you" person is a narcissist or sociopath if they suddenly switch off the love, i.e. stop the behavior without warning and become hyper critical, rejecting and prickly instead. In addition, the reasons for stopping the flow of love with silent treatments and criticisms won't make sense, as most people with normal constitutions know that genuine love cannot be so easily turned off like a faucet. In fact, the person who professed to love you so madly becomes cruel, edgy, dismissive and sometimes even seething. At its core, love bombing is about psychological splitting.

Narcissists and sociopaths do this to see if you will try to please and placate them (i.e. the victim giving the perpetrator what they want).

In fact, the cruelty gets worse and worse over time (sometimes in a short amount of time, sometimes over years) to see how many and what kinds of excuses, lies, gaslighting, degradation, bullying and dodging the victim will endure before backing away and breaking free from narcissistic or sociopathic bonds. In that way, victims are treated like lab rats where the scientists amp the voltage on the electricity on the rats to see how much pain they will withstand while still accepting bonding with their electrocutors.

In fact, real life (without the rats) reveals that victims of child abuse will typically endure the pain the longest and at the higher levels with their partners because they were taught by their abusive parents to normalize abuse. That is a classic textbook fact that has been studied extensively. It puts them in considerably more danger than people who come from normal supportive families.

If the victim came from a very protective normal family with a lot of inter-generational support, the victim will exit the relationship early on, much earlier than the victims of child abuse, thereby surviving the incidents much better.

Narcissists and sociopaths do not necessarily know these facts, so their experiments with amp-ing up the pain and cruelty on their victims, and figuring out when to enact their discards are purely for self serving, trauma bonding purposes.

The cruelty of love bombing followed by a discard feels very much like date rape. The trauma from the experience is extremely similar in duration and in terms of how it feels for victims. In other words, they accept the relationship (or date), and are brutally treated and abused (or raped) by their perpetrator.

However in terms of society's attitudes, date rape is taken much more seriously where an arrest can made, and where the staff at a hospital can help intervene to get the victim the help she (or he) needs.

With brutal love-bombing-idealization, devalue, discard treatment from a narcissist or sociopath, the victim has no real support from any kind of authority unless he or she goes searching for it. Traumatized victims tend to self-isolate, so it is often very hard to get the help needed. This puts victims at an extreme disadvantage in terms of feeling safe from their perpetrators compared to date rape victims.

If the love-bombing-idealization, devalue, discard treatment came from a parent, the trauma is even more pronounced than it is between partners because it is in a children's DNA to trust a parent to care about them, at least when they are still a child. Love bombing and idealizations from previously abusive parents should never be trusted. Parents love bomb their children out of their own insecurities: this is very common when the child is not sticking to the role the narc parent prescribed (highly successful scapegoats and failure criminal addicted goldens are highly challenging for a narc parent and love bombing gets them back into their children's lives to get the roles straightened out, or so they hope). Children who are in the public eye may make previously abusive rejecting parents highly uncomfortable where love bombing seems like the perfect antidote to avoid the fall-out of being exposed. Children who are highly successful in law or law enforcement may also make abusive parents uncomfortable enough to love bomb. These are all highly manipulative and untrustworthy, but many children fall for love bombing (at least once), if only to have a relationship that they have never had with their parent, a loving relationship. Most will eventually find out that the love was not real at all.

Why narcissists use love bombing:

The love bombing maneuver is the first move in a narcissist's bag of awful tricks and one he (or she) is most comfortable with and provides the most satisfaction in terms of obtaining narcissistic supply. It is gratifying to the narcissist that it often works, and that victims are so easily susceptible to it.

It most resembles seduction, but it is more insidious if only because there is a brutal ending to the seduction.

The targets chosen for love bombing tend to have low self esteem, are uneasy about their own decision-making capabilities, are susceptible to being talked into things, are highly empathetic, seem gullible, and were most likely groomed in childhood to believe they deserved abuse and/or abandonment (and are therefore love starved). They might have also been taught as children that they didn't deserve boundaries of privacy either (therefore were/are open to inappropriate interrogations and enmeshment). They may not, as children, had any true ownership and decision-making power over their own toys, projects or clothes.

The narcissist can find that indecisive, insecure empaths bend to his will a lot more easily than other types of people, so that is why they are chosen. Adult children of child abuse are hand-picked by narcissists and sociopaths as soul mates because they seem like the easiest targets to persuade -- in all kinds of ways. One reason why narcissists and sociopaths feel that victims of child abuse are their soul mates is that they think that the victim of child abuse will put the narcissist at the center of their world and attention, just like the target put their abusive parent at the center of their world when they were growing up. The narcissist slowly inserts the power and control into the relationship, like a poison, including making decisions for the victim. They try out making their "soul mates" walk on eggshells first, then perhaps a little love starving or silent treatment here and there, taking away friends and family slowly and deliberately too (isolation), testing gaslighting strategies and trauma bonding strategies after that, and eventually when they have their victims into a state of bondage and confusion, they explain away the abuse with blaming, blame shifting, confusing flipped tales, deflections, nit picking, projection, lectures and dodging (in other words, word salad arguments). This strips the victim of autonomy, thinking for himself and control over his own life, the same way the parents took these things away from the victim when he (or she) was a child.

In fact, the abusive partner tries to groom his lover into a child-like marionette for himself.

Effective cult leaders love bomb in order to obtain new recruits and getting people to worship them.

Why sociopaths use love bombing:

Sociopaths use love bombing in order to get what they want from the other person. They don't demand flattery and adulation so much as exploitation. They want to get as much as they can for as little as they can. They use what ever power they have at their disposal to get more out of a situation than they give.

Sociopaths are notorious for price bargaining and expect IOUs over any kindness or mercy at all. In the movie "Shelter", about the homeless in new York City, a man lets a homeless woman sleep on a hard concrete boiler room floor in a building so long as she provides him with sex (the sex is demeaning and sometimes brutal as well). There is a power imbalance, and the man uses his power over the desperate homeless woman who is caught outside in a raging snow storm with nowhere to sleep for the night, and exploits the situation for his own gratitude: it is typical sociopathic exploitative behavior with a degrading IOU attached to it.

Obviously this scene has nothing to do with love bombing, but a sociopath may think love bombing is necessary if he wants something from someone with more wealth or social prestige. Love bombing is also used on people who can get him out of jail or prison. He might feel love bombing is necessary to get co-operation for a revenge of some sort. Love bombing might be necessary to take advantage of a situation which the sociopath thinks will provide him with a life of little work, more relaxation, more leisure, more wealth. Power is sought for its own sake, not for the sake of an empathetic vision, though the sociopath might pretend he is an empath to get into a position of power (and later try to stage things, trump up conspiracies, create confusion and chaos to solidify his power).

While sociopaths can try to work up the same kinds of gaslighting and trauma-bonding strategies over their victims that narcissists use, sometimes they take control right away, making a person hostage.

Sociopaths take the path of least resistance to get what they want and love bombing is used only when the sociopath feels it must be used to obtain one of his desires (usually at the expense of the other person).

Love bombing is used for conquest only.

Sociopaths tend to work alone as much as they can. They rarely trust others. They also tend to think that everyone is too stupid to pull off the effective manipulative maneuvers that they deem they are superior at.

How to tell if the love is real or not real

It is sometimes really hard to tell if the love and soul-mate pronouncements are real or not real. The best way to tell is to study the traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (another link) to see if the person love bombing you has any of the traits of these personality disorders, though it is hard to tell in the beginning.

In the meantime, you may want to figure out if all of the love-of-my-life pronouncements are for-real or a scam (before you get hurt). Here is one way to tell:

On narcissists:

Narcissists can't stand any kind or amount of criticism:

The love bombing will stop for narcissists if they feel at all criticized by you, or if you want to take the relationship really slow. Love bombing is also likely to stop when you are comfortable with them, and under their control. If you really want to find out whether you are having a whirl-wind romance with a narcissist, criticize them over something minor (perhaps about creativity, boundaries, respect, empathy, anything that narcissists tend to lack) and see if they blow up at you, or get distant, insulting and rejecting. They cannot stand to be seen as a regular person with flaws. While normal people will bristle over being criticized, and can feel hurt, narcissists will either go on the attack, or feel so wounded and hurt that they will withdraw from you and try to make you feel insecure about their love. You will quickly get the feeling that they cannot handle criticism at all, in any kind of  normal way.

Narcissists tend to lack creativity. They tend to be very formulaic. So, if you are going to criticize them, how they could improve one of their projects with creativity, would be the area to try out the experiment. Watch their expressions.

Narcissists can't stand boundaries and the fact that you think about other people or things other than them:

The other thing that narcissists hate is boundaries. One of the reason they love bomb you and appear to have the greatest sympathy for you is to break through your boundaries and get to know what makes you tick.

Narcissists have a track record of idealize, devalue, discard cycles in their relationships and they pretend they are victims in their past relationships:

Right off: real victims go to therapy, and they are usually in therapy for a long time, and often with other survivors, and they usually get diagnosed with PTSD. They usually read a lot about abuse and have an understanding of the subject. Note: do not confuse therapy with couples counseling which narcissists are sometimes willing to do. We're talking domestic abuse counseling, narcissistic abuse counseling or trauma-related counseling.

Narcissists almost never go to therapy unless their reputations are on the line from public exposure, or they don't want to lose narcissistic supply from a lover or spouse, or they are court-ordered. Narcissists blame others and try to suck in others (empaths) for sympathy for their pretend-victim status.

Narcissists also tend to take up other relationships (especially with their victims' rivals or best friends -- anything that hurts the target) very quickly after a relationship has broken off. They also tend to take extravagant vacations and cruises, or go on expensive shopping sprees, or buy luxury items after the dissolution of their relationships, whereas normal people tend to isolate themselves and get depressed. Real victims also tend to get very skittish about getting into new relationships after they have been victimized and tend to want to go very, very slow: in other words, they are generally NOT the love bombing types of people.

So, if your date (or new friend) has a lot of victim stories, find out if they have gotten treated in therapy for it and how long (get proof). Find out if they just left a relationship (big red flag as real victims don't go hunting for a new relationship or love bomb a new person right after a breakup). Dig into their past to find out if they leave victims behind or if they were victimized because they were groomed to take abuse as a child (child abuse). Are they a scapegoat of their family, or are they a golden child? If they are a scapegoat, they are more likely to be real victims. If they are a golden child be aware that over half of golden children grow up to be bullies with entitlement issues (making them primed to be a narcissist).

If there are also signs of idealize, devalue, discard in their past relationships, you are probably dealing with a love-bombing narcissist who manipulates people.

Narcissists are glib and arrogant:

Most narcissists pretend they are experts and superior at everything and that you need to listen to their expertise, advice and lectures. They also tend to be charming. They give a little too much advice. They pretend to be interested in all of the same things you are interested in (mirroring), but they act as though they have superior knowledge of those interests.

They ask way too many questions of you while not revealing even a tiny fraction of those same subjects about themselves. Do not mistake this manipulation tactic as their being interested or enthralled with you.

On sociopaths:

They are also a Cluster B like a narcissist, so there are some similarities, but the difference is that they don't necessarily go into a rage when you criticize them, they don't have the kind of abuse cycles that narcissists do (they tend to discard you for good and move on to other prey), they don't like societal attention or detection, they tend to fib quite a lot more than narcissists, and they tend to be even more exploitative than narcissists.

Sociopaths look very uncomfortable when a conversation topic turns to empathy.

Watch their facial expressions or boredom when this topic comes up. Rarely will they look engaged or look people in the eye when this topic takes a dominant place. Mostly they look away. If they do engage, they will not be in agreement with an empathetic view-point. Sociopaths are into punishments, retaliation and they make "they deserve what they had coming to them" kinds of statements.

Sociopaths hate it when you want to slow things down

That is because they want what they want, and they want it NOW! The more you slow things down, or show them that they aren't any more important than others in your life, the less they can overtake you with their own agenda. Sociopaths are not good at wait ... and wait .... and wait.

Sociopaths aren't attracted to you when they feel that knowing you is of no benefit to them:

If you think that the person you just got to know is a sociopath, and you want him to disengage, appear really boring, to have nothing that will be of interest to him (finances, connections, compassion for his plight, sex, anything you can think of). Giving back any gifts is also a pretty good idea. Dressing down is another good idea. With sociopaths, you have to appear confident in yourself and your boundaries. They like easy prey, and if you make it clear that your boundaries are firm, that you are surrounded by protection, and that you have nothing to offer them, they usually go away unless they are totally obsessed with you.

If you are an empath, pretend NOT to be an empath. They target empaths by the boatloads for abuse.

If they are obsessed with you, or keep trying to contact you when you have said "no", or they want to make an example of you, call the police (with evidence). Sometimes criticizing them and/or exposing them will usually make them back off too. They may want to retaliate because of the actions you take, but they usually won't if you make it very clear that there is absolutely nothing about you that is of any use to them, including any ego boosts or reciprocity of feelings, and that you are surrounded by other people who love you and protect you.

Also making it known that you don't keep secrets, especially theirs, can work too.

Sociopaths generally insult others a lot (it is their favorite pastime), and especially behind their backs in long cynical, if sometimes humorous condemnations, so if you insult them a little in return, especially if you are the opposite sex, that is a language they understand. Make sure not to get taken in by their escalations of bigger and bigger insults: you just want to send them the one-time message to back off and leave you alone.

Generally, it is not a good idea to insult anyone (it is a form of verbal abuse), but if done right, and once, it can also be one of the few ways sociopaths understand that there is nothing in the relationship for them. Contempt, disgust and disapproval are emotional-type boundaries that tend to work so much better on sociopaths than, say, telling them how hurt you are by their actions and their complete lack of empathy, why you need to be left alone, why you can't seem to tolerate their particular personality or ways of doing things. The former usually gets them going off in another direction, whereas the latter keeps them coming back at you.

Making it very clear that you won't be taken in by ANY love bombing at all, no matter how much they try, and showing disgust about it and them may be a good idea when it comes to the sociopath.

Sociopaths leave a trail of victims who no longer want to associate with them.

That is because the wounding, threats and betrayal that sociopaths do is great.

If you talk to the sociopath's victims, they usually complain of the sociopath's need for pathological control. Sociopaths don't give up on a "punishment" or other sanction/maltreatment unless they have what they want from you. Sociopaths are also noted for using medications, mind control, cult-like persuasion, brainwashing, forced addiction to alcohol or drugs on their victims, threats, staged incidents, re-telling of the events or feelings of others, scare tactics, or some other penance to control their victims.

"You should never have done that" or "said that" is a typical phrase of the sociopath if and when you look into their past, tell of a past incident you don't like that they were part of, or even contact someone from their past.

If the sociopath has children, most of them try to get out of child support payments at some point during their lives whether they are rich or poor, so that is another sign. In general, sociopaths like to break agreements, promises and boundaries.

All sociopaths tend to be sadistic in some way. They get off  on hurting or punishing others who do not go along with their agendas. They particularly enjoy the punishment of animals and small children. So look into their past for these signs.

Sociopaths have very few, if any, close friends.

Love bombing of a child after the child has been discarded (estranged, shunned, punished by ostracism by a narcissistic or sociopathic parent for a few years):

When narcissistic and sociopathic parents love bomb their estranged children to try to get them back in the family or back into a role again, it is called hoovering. I have yet to do a post on hoovering, but basically it comes down to love bombing with the idealize, devalue, discard cycle of abuse (the idealization stage being the love bombing stage).

Children are often not especially valuable sources of narcissistic supply. Most children do not idealize a parent beyond ten years old. The reason why is that they were meant, by biology, to grow up and move away to start their own families. They are also not good supply because they know too much about their parent, and are usually onto them even when they don't say so. Information within a family is so porous and leaky that the narcissist is more likely to be dealing with shame and depression in the long run, especially in old age, if they try to turn their children into narcissistic supply.

But narcissists are bold and brazen, and most try to make their children into supply anyway, just for the hell of it. They overwhelmingly use triangulation, gaslighting, trauma-bonding, parentifying, infantilizingperfectionism and word salad arguments as their main on-going weapons against their own children.

Estranged, ostracized, shunned, rejected children are very, very common for narcissistic and sociopathic parents. It is usually the family scapegoats that are left out of the family. In contrast, it is so extremely rare for the rest of the population to treat children the way that abusive parents do. If narcissists or sociopaths are ever exposed about their abuse, they can meet with dismissal and derision from society (and this is when the tear-soaked "I have sinned" public displays come out, along with the love bombing of the children they dumped).

So, as you can see, making children into narcissistic supply for the narcissist has many drawbacks.

Some of the reasons why parents hoover (love bomb) has been talked about earlier, but if you are trying to look for signs to keep from getting into a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath, the following are better tell-tale signs of hoovering children:
* one sign of narcissists and sociopaths is that they are estranged from at least one of their children. This is usually the scapegoat child. They absolutely need a scapegoat to keep the bad deeds they do to others from being exposed and attributed to them, so they adopt one of their children to take all of the blame for their deeds instead. This is the big reason perpetrators pretend to be the victims of their scapegoat estranged children. However, children who are estranged don't make very good garbage cans for blame. Cluster B disordered parents cannot blame someone who is so far outside of the family that no one knows where he lives or what he is doing, has no contact with anyone in the family, so hoovering here and there becomes the way of continuing to effectively scapegoat, especially if there are any eyes on the situation.
* when the golden child is not satisfying them enough, isn't giving them the narcissistic supply they demand -- and they demand A WHOLE LOT, so it is not uncommon for friction to arise with the golden at some point and for an ostracized scapegoat child to be hoovered back in to challenge the golden
* when the golden child dies and all that is left is the scapegoat, so even if the scapegoat has been discarded for years, the narcissist will usually try to hoover the scapegoat back in to take the golden child's place
* the narcissists or sociopath are publicly exposed or they feel they are in danger of being exposed and rush to love bomb their estranged child to keep the child "from talking" (hoping the child will display loyalty to his parent in return for parental love bombing)

Love bombing sentences to estranged children:
* "I always loved you. You are my child, but you didn't see it, so we spent all of those years apart."
* "I really wanted to know you better, but you seemed more comfortable not having a parent in your life."
* "I wanted you back in my life, but you never came back to apologize like I expected you to."
* "I'm not a perfect parent. I make mistakes. So, I asked you to leave and not contact me. Big deal! Get over it! Now I love you! So accept it!"
* "I made a mistake. I really wanted to know you, but (golden child) was so much more persuasive and loving towards me."
* "You and I weren't getting along then, but I loved you the entire time you were gone, so we should just forgive and forget the past."
* "We didn't have the same perspectives. But sometimes perspectives change. And now I see value in you where I didn't before."
* "I thought our relationship was too damaged to fix. So I didn't try. But now I see that it wasn't damaged because my love for you carried on through the years when you were absent."

This is all manipulative B.S. and word salad by the way, and indicative of the honeymoon stage in the cycle of abuse. Narcissists and sociopaths so rarely change their behavior or views that they cannot be counted on to be trustworthy. These kinds of statements show absolutely no awareness, empathy or love of any kind. The only sign of them wanting to really change into a loving human being instead of an abusing or rejecting one is their desire for total rehabilitation (i.e. a commitment to learn about their condition from professionals, reflection into their past and the childhood abuse they endured and genuinely wanting to stop it from continuing down through the generations, on-going therapy with a domestic violence counselor, anger management classes, a commitment to child abuse causes and the healing of its victims, etc). Even if they do all of this, which is extremely doubtful, they can never entirely be counted on in terms of telling the truth about loving their children in any on-going, promise-laden, empathetic way (or their grandchildren either). "A leopard never changes its spots" should always be heeded, I believe, and if they totally surprise you that they have changed (it takes years and years), then they have done themselves a service whether the people around them can put stock in it or not.

With sociopathic parents therapy doesn't make sense because they will take what they learned for more abusive "tricks and tactics". I'm not a believer in sociopaths transforming into anything other than double-trouble sociopaths, with even more sadistic games up their sleeves.

Children of abuse or abandonment should always have their guard up at all times -- my philosophy. If you have PTSD, trying to have a relationship with your abusive parent again or even seeing them, may make your PTSD soar and get so much worse. It's a case-by-case basis. I personally would never share intimate personal details about your life with them under any circumstances.

For more on how narcissists and sociopaths treat their children, you can go to the following posts:

Narcissists and Children -- my own post
Sociopaths and Children -- my own post
Psychopaths are unable to love their own children — here’s why -- by Lindsay Dodgson (this is a good article, however the research on the role of the Golden child is from only one source, and woefully inadequate and inaccurate -- from all of my own studies and research the conclusion is that half of golden children become ultra-empaths and half become bullies/Cluster Bs: see favoritism in the family ... in another post I will address why there are two drastically differing Goldens).
The Dysfunctional Ways a Family Protects a Narcissist -- by Christine Hammond, MS, LMHC, for Psych Central (note: this article has to do with narcissists who stay in one marriage. Cheating narcissists, huge enmeshed families, and broken families with step parents change the dynamic Ms. Hammond talks about quite a bit -- there is actually more hope for breaking the tradition of domestic abuse being passed down the generations when step parents and inlaws enter into a family like this).

Following love bombing by a narcissist or sociopath, there is usually a discard phase, as I have mentioned:

The reasons for discards are spelled out by Dale Archer, M.D. in this Psychology Today article:

1. The devalued partner no longer supplies what attracted the love bomber in the first place. Seeing his partner as exhausted, broke, depressed, or less attractive, the bomber discards her for someone shiny and new.

2. The devalued partner gets fed up and starts pushing back, demanding reciprocity for sacrifices or defending boundaries, making it clear she refuses to be manipulated anymore. Feeling exposed, the love bomber discards his non-compliant partner for one who doesn’t yet see behind his mask of phony perfection.

3. The love bomber uses the discard as part of the manipulation, fully planning to reconnect in the future. Think of it like devaluation on steroids. He disappears, sometimes without warning, leaving the victim feeling devastated and confused. Then days, and sometimes months later, he reappears, out of the blue, professing undying love and promising to change. Curiously absent in many cases is an apology. Instead, the return is a test of his power and control, a challenge to see if his discarded partner can be conned into another round of abuse. If so, the cycle repeats.

Whether the discard is followed up with a honeymoon phase, largely depends on whether the partner can be honeymooned back into the relationship. If there have been a lot of rounds of the abuse cycle, most partners realize it is a bad habit and start to separate, at least emotionally first. Love does not mean a cycle of idealizations and discards, and most everyone knows that.

For children, the situation can be quite different. While disordered parents expect a round of idealizations and discards with children too, their plans for a cycle of abuse go awry in a way that they don't for partners.

For young children who are discarded, it means going off to live with the other parent or guardian who will have quite a lot more influence than the narcissist (the narcissist can find that love bombing does not work at all on children they want back, that children feel high levels of anxiety and distress with a parent who discards, leading to life long estrangement).

For adult children, a parental discard means spending a lot more time with their own families or peers, which is the natural order of life anyway. The difference is that in normal families, parents have some input, and their input is welcomed and appreciated. Adult children of rejecting narcissistic parents do not want the input of their parent because the adult child does not want their own children to be exposed to experiencing idealizations and discards. This is the main reason for permanent estrangements (note: this does not come from a professional study; it comes from my own observations in forums for survivors of child abuse. Protecting their kids from grandparent discards or watching the grandparent discard is by far the predominant and overwhelming reason for permanent child-parent estrangements).

Children also experience the love bombing/discard experience differently than partners. Most adult children state (from forums again) that they felt that the experience resembled being brought up a mountain (love bombing stage) and then being shoved off of a high cliff once at the top (discard phase). In other words, it was just too painful to repeat again. Many children of narcissistic parents experience discards during the worst points of their lives too (major surgeries, major illnesses, being diagnosed with a life threatening disease, the death of their other parent, losing a child, etc). Parents like this do their discards during traumatic times for a reason: it has to do with the parent trying to get their child to trauma bond with them, which I will cover in another post.

For more on how narcissists apologize in order to love bomb discards, you can read the following post by psychologist Alexander Burgemeester: The Narcissist and Apology.

Always remember that love bombing is abuse!

Author Dale Archer, M.D. spells out the reasons why love bombing is abuse in the same Psychology Today article:

The important thing to remember about love bombing is that it is psychological partner abuse, period. When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another’s weakness or insecurity, there’s no other word for it. Love is not about controlling who you see or what you do.

Healthy relationships build slowly, and are based on a series of actions, not a flood of words. Love bombers are experts at talking, but when held accountable for their words, they tend to lash out. It’s normal to feel confused, or betrayed, and the urge to make excuses for the love bomber is strong, because they’ve worked hard to tie your self-esteem to their good opinion. And that’s what makes this cycle of idealization, devaluation, and discard so devastating. Love bombers exploit the natural human need for self worth, and turn it into shame, regret, and self-loathing.

Further reading:

Love bombing -- from Wikipedia

** recommended: What It Means When a Narcissist Says “I Love You” -- from the narcissist's point of view (posted by Athena Staik, Ph.D.)

Love Bombing: A Seductive & Manipulative Technique. -- by Alex Miles

** recommended: 5 Ways to Disarm a Love Bombing Sociopath -- from the True Love Scam Recovery website

The Secret Language of Narcissists: How Abusers Manipulate their Victims. -- by popular author, Shahiba Arabi

** recommended: How to Tell the Difference Between Narcissistic Love Bombing and Healthy Romantic Interest -- by Angela Atkinson from the Queen-Being website

What it is like to date a narcissist -- by Kerri Sackville

How and Why Narcissists Are Highly Skilled Abusers -- by Julia Hall

10 Signs You’re Putting Other People on Pedestals -- by Lenora Thompson for Psych Central

Avoiding Toxic People: Gas-Lighting & Love-Bombing -- by T├ímara Hill, MS, LPC for Psych Central

11 Things NOT To Do With Narcissists -- by Dan Neuharth, PhD MFT

5 Scientific Secrets to Handling a Narcissist -- by Eric Barker (note: the first bit of advice is NOT about how to handle them). The real crux of how to deal with them comes later: it means walking away, starving them of narcissistic supply, not hiring them for jobs, not listening to their "expertise", not getting involved in romantic relationships with them, not trying to parent with them, not getting involved in projects with them, not believing what they have to say, not trying to be close to them, not interact with them, etc -- in conclusion: just walk away).

One trait or behavior does not make a sociopath – look for a pattern of traits and behaviors -- by Donna Anderson

How Cults Work -- by CultWatch (discusses Love Bombing -- a very similar technique to narcissists and sociopaths in terms of how they try to isolate you from family and/or friends)
Sex and Aural Energy ("I always say, never sleep with someone you wouldn't want to be" -- part of the article)

How To Tell If Your Partner Truly Loves You -- by Katie and Jay Hendricks