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Brought to the forefront of discourse recently by being added to the Crown Prosecution Service’s guidance on abuse, awareness of the term ‘love-bombing’ has reached our general lingo. Despite this increased awareness, there still seems to be some confusion surrounding the term - a quick glance at twitter brings up a whole host of misconceptions.  

So, what is love bombing? Where does it come from? Is it real? Let's dive in. 

First things first, the definition of love bombing is it’s a form of psychological and emotional abuse in which the perpetrator lavishes their victim with love and affection in order to manipulate them and make them dependent on their perpetrator. While it can look different for different people, it often involves; 

  • Excessive flattery  
  • Giving large quantity of gifts and presents 
  • Requests and demands to be together all the time 
  • Ignoring boundaries, such as the request to take a relationship slow  
  • Constantly referring to their partner as soulmates or that their partner completes them 
  • Wanting to know everything about their partner right away 
  • ‘Trauma dumping’ early in the relationship  
  • Intense and volatile declarations of love 
  • Intermittently flipping between coldness and anger, to affectionate and apologetic  
  • Showering attention before withdrawing it just as quickly 
  • Justifying harmful actions with phrases like “when I’m around you I just can’t control myself” or “it's because I love you so much”  

Love bombing is not a new term. It’s been around since the 1970’s and was predominantly used to describe manipulation techniques used by religious cults in order to indoctrinate new recruits. It has since been more commonly associated with the manipulation tactics used by abusive partners, however it’s easy to see how, in both cases, love bombing is used to grow dependence and subservience within the victim.  

The final thing to note is that ‘love bombing’ is not made up. It is not a phrase made up for attention, or to confuse men. It is not simply the act of treating your partner well and is not something that becomes okay once you’ve been with your partner a long time.  

It is a concerted effort to manipulate and control. It can happen to anyone. If you believe you may have experienced love bombing, help is out there. You can contact Safer Places at any time – find more details on our website