What is love bombing? Love bombing is a term used to describe when a Narcissist tries to use flattery, mirroring, compliments, adoration, and romance to lure and hook their person into their web. It is the first stage of narcissistic abuse called idealization where the narcissist idealizes the other. The stages shortly after the love bombing stage is: devaluing and discarding. Love bombing can also be used when a narcissist feels like they are losing power or control over their person as a tactic to lure the person back in.
How do we then protect ourselves? How do we ask important questions when we are vetting to see if we can trust a person? This can be true in the case of a partner, business partner, or even friendship. Here are a few questions I find would be helpful to be discerning in this process.
1.How well do I actually know this person?
Narcissists are often skilled at what they do. The connection that is manufactured is usually intense and very quick. I have heard it be described as meeting their "soul mate" or "fairytale" like. These interactions used in the love bombing stage can actually produce brain chemicals that bring people closer (i.e. norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin).Therefore, it is important to actually ask ourselves this question: How well do I actually know you? Give the relationship time and the ability to prove itself to you. Remember that trust in not given but earned after a longer period of time through different types of interactions and conversations.
2. Have I seen this person's actions reflect their words?
This is a very important one! Sometimes even in the love bombing stage a narcissist's words will not be in line with their actions. While other times due to being in the idealization stage the narcissist will be very attuned to you and your needs. For a narcissist this will only be a stage.That's why it's important to give it time to see the person's ability to back up their actions with what they say. Are they doing this for a long period of time?
3. Have you asserted your needs or boundaries in the relationship?
This is often times a great way to see if a person is safe or not by observing how they respond to your own needs even if they may not like it. A safe person will be able to respect your boundaries and needs that you put forth. Often times a narcissist will have a hard time respecting your boundaries unless it benefits them somehow.
4. Have you had a conversation with the other about something that bothers you in the relationship?
This kind of goes hand in hand with number three but it takes it to a deeper level of communication, the ability to self reflect and respect another person. Narcissists often don't have the ability to take responsibility for their behaviors or don't have the capacity to self reflect because their denial is so strong. If someone were to communicate with a narcissist the things that bother the other the narcissist will often result to: denying, blaming the other,gaslighting,shaming, or projecting.
5.What does your intuition say about this person?
If you were to take a step back and examine what your gut reaction to the person and interactions are what would it say? Is there an uneasiness? Is there a sense of confusion? Are you left feeling kind of unsafe? When the attractiveness of the newness of the person and the "happy chemical" of the bond is not present what does your intuition say? Many times with narcissistic abuse survivors they say that their intuition somehow knew that something was off or wrong but that voice is a lot quieter than the other things that are going on the in the interaction.
6. Am I losing my sense of self?
The bond between a narcissist and other can be very intoxicating. So it's important to take a step back and ask yourself am I losing who I am in this relationship? Am I compromising my values, my needs, my boundaries. Am I giving up too much my time, energy, or even social network to be connected to this person? I would suggest continuing to surround yourself with your friends and people that are safe in your life. Continue to grow and build your hobbies, interests and life outside of this person. Continue to tune into your own needs and sense of self.
*Disclaimer: We all have unhealthy and healthy ways of relating, interacting and dealing with conflict. We are all human. Also we all have traits of narcissism. Narcissism falls on a spectrum and just because a person has traits it does not mean they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder will usually not be able to take responsibility for their actions, will be in huge state of denial and won't be able to self reflect and ultimately be about their own needs and agenda. That is why it is even more important to continue to ask ourselves these questions in order to discern well:) I hope this was helpful!