The love bombing phase is definitely one of the most advanced forms of manipulation in the domestic violence realm and depending on the personality traits of the narcissist, it can manifest in so many different ways.
At a quick glance, you’d assume that the love bombing phase is when an abuser will scrutinize ever single aspect of their victim’s lives and use the information they accumulate to transform themselves into the “last puzzle piece” in the victim’s life. However, there is a hidden aspect of the love bombing phase that makes it terrifyingly dangerous.
The love bombing phase is so dangerous because it creates an extremely powerful trauma bond. In fact, the memories and emotions from the love bombing phase give victims of abuse such a powerful incentive to stay in the relationship that they often remain trauma bonded for months, years, and even decades.
In our previous article in this series we conducted a study among 221 survivors of narcissistic abuse where we gave them a guideline to determine the type of narcissist they were dealing with and then asked them a series of questions to determine the average duration of the love bombing phase for each type of narcissism.
What we found was really cool so be sure to check out How Long Does Love Bombing Last (Case Study) for all of the details. But for this article, we wanted to give you a clear understanding of how dangerous the love bombing phase is, so, we went back and asked each participant to tell us how long their relationship lasted to determine the average duration of the relationship among 221 survivors of narcissistic abuse and found it to be 8.2 years!
8.2 years of your life taken by an insecure, vulnerable, inadequate, lonely, immature, and desperate man or woman is unacceptable, nobody should have to suffer something as traumatizing as that. If you’re interested in seeing all of the data that we used to find this average, a link will be provided at the end of this article. But for now, let’s dive into what makes the love bombing phase so dangerous!
What Makes the Love Bombing Phase So Dangerous?
We mentioned in the beginning of this article and spoke about it in depth in our article What Do Narcissists Do During the Love Bombing Phase, but narcissists are masterful at using mirroring and future faking to fill the void in your life.
Mirroring is a behavior that everyone does. It is when we reflect back the behaviors and emotions of those closest to us.
In a healthy relationship, mirroring is a behavior that strengthens the relationship because both parties are able to learn the ins and outs of one another’s identity in a healthy and mutual way.
In an abusive relationship, mirroring is a behavior that strengthens the trauma bond because it is not mutual. Meaning that the abuser doesn’t allow the victim to accurately see his or her identity even though the victim is allowing the abuser to see theirs.
What ends up happening is that the abuser will learn the identity of their victim very, very fast and use all of the data they gathered to use a whole boatload of manipulative tactics designed to control their victim, like future faking.
“I had been planning on running my own little bakery in my hometown for a long, long time. I had met my narcissistic ex-wife in California where she grew up, but she pretended to be really excited about moving to Florida, where I grew up. We saved for years but the year we were supposed to go, she got pregnant and we decided that because of how tight money was, it would be much wiser to keep our 9-5 job and focus on building a family. Six months later she accidentally told a mutual friend that she had secretly gotten off of her birth control in the hopes that she would get pregnant. She’s never admitted that she did it because she wanted to stay in California, but there is no other reason that she would do it. I mean, she always told me how much she didn’t want to have kids.” Jamie, Survivor of 6 Years of Narcissistic Abuse
How Does Mirroring and Future Faking Make the Love Bombing Phase so Dangerous?
The Yin and Yang relationship mirroring and future faking have is really hard to wrap your head around because for an abuser to transform themselves into your soulmate, best friend, beloved family member, or perfect colleague, they have to step outside themselves for a significant amount of time. I’m sure that you’re already aware of this but narcissists are some of the most selfish people on the planet.
You wouldn’t think that the level of attention it requires to learn the ins and outs of one’s identity would be a narcissist’s strong suit. Nevertheless, it is and it is exactly what makes the love bombing phase so dangerous.
We all want true love, a best friend, a healthy relationship with a coworker, or a tight knit family, right? Absolutely! It is very rare that an individual would rather be alone than have healthy and meaningful relationships in their lives. A desire for companionship is embedded into the psyche of every single human being on the planet.
Well, narcissistic behavior patterns are MASTERFUL at triggering this deeply rooted desire that we all have.
Mirroring and Future Faking Skit
So, imagine that you’ve been dating someone for a few months now and things are going well, but something is a little off. You feel as if they know you so well and it kind of scares you a little bit, but in a good way. You haven’t felt this good about yourself in a long, long time. When you’re with them, it makes you feel like it is you two against the entire world and you love it. Yes, they have some flaws that you’ve picked up on but hey, who doesn’t?
As the months go on, things become more and more intense on both ends of the spectrum. They intend on doing something big like move in together but they’ve also become really degrading, explosive, and hostile at times. It’s not a deal breaker, but it certainly doesn’t make you want to move in together.
You communicate your discomfort with their urge to move in so quickly, but it does not go well. You can see how hurt they are, but instead of exploding like they have recently, their approach is much different. They’re almost apologetic.
Moving to Texas to finish your education is something that is REALLY important to you and something that you’ve been communicating with this person in your life since the day you met. So, instead of being standoffish and preparing for the worst with this individual, you’ve let your guard down as your mind becomes consumed with self-doubt and self-blame.
This is exactly why the love bombing phase is so dangerous. As the trust you have in your own ability to have a comprehensive grasp on reality diminishes, the bond you have with the abuser in your life strengthens. When this cycle of gaslighting, mirroring, and future faking and all of the other behavior patterns seen in abusive relationships gets repeated overtime, you’ll develop a very, very strong trauma bond with the abuser in your life.
Love Bombing Is a Form of Emotional Abuse
The dysfunctional highs and subtle lows of the love bombing phase, caused by mirroring and future faking, often causes those trapped within the cycle to normalize the minimization of the abuse they’re enduring.
The love bombing phase is a form of emotional abuse and emotional abuse is such a significant aspect of domestic violence because it often preludes physical abuse.
In one of our previous article, What Happens During Narcissistic Rage (Survey With 100 Survivors), we found that all of the participants had experienced psychological violence, which is interchangeable with emotional abuse, and 79/100 of the participants had experienced at least 3/5 types of narcissistic rage.
This was a shocking discovery however, we did not ask the participants whether or not the psychological violence preluded the physical violence.
So, for the purpose of giving readers a tangible representation of just how dangerous emotional abuse is, we conducted another survey among the same participants to determine how often the psychological violence preluded the physical violence.
We found that 78/100 of the participants had experienced psychological violence, emotional abuse, before any of the other types of violence they suffered.
What Are the Important Takeaways of This Article?
The love bombing phase is a really powerful form of emotional abuse that often gets overlooked because of how good it can make someone feel.
The most important takeaway form this article are the statistics from our study. 79/100 of our participants experienced 3/5 of the forms of narcissistic rage that we outlined and 100/100 of the participants experienced emotional abuse in their abusive relationships and 78/100 of the participants reported that the emotional abuse precluded the physical abuse.
“Before They Bite, They Bark. Before They Hit You, They Hit Near You”- Maid, A Netflix Series About Domestic Abuse
Are you interested in seeing all of the data we from the narcissistic rage study? Download the PDF below!
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