Those who’ve experienced the love bombing phase often cherish the way it made them feel. It’s usually described as unique, special, magical, inspiring, perfect, intense, and fulfilling and it is for this reason that it is so important for people to understand the reason why love bombing is a huge red flag. 

Abusers, especially narcissistic ones, use love bombing to portray themselves as the perfect match for their victim. Love bombing allows abusers to push past healthy boundaries and create an environment where their abuse is justified, rationalized, and normalized. 

This article is going to guide you through the biggest forms of manipulation in the love bombing phase to give you a clear understanding of the reason why love bombing is a huge red flag. We’ve also created a short video below about the difference between the trauma bond that love bombing helps create and true love to give you a better understanding of the severity of the love bombing phase.

A Short Video About the Difference Between Bonds Formed Through Trauma and Bonds Formed Through Love

Mirroring Manipulates the Victim Into Idealizing the Abusive Relationship on a Subconscious Level

Mirroring during the love bombing phase is when an abuser will absorb an extraordinary amount of information about their victim’s identity and use that information to create a falsified identity that is designed to fill a void in the victim’s life.

The void that the abuser’s falsified identity fills is really important to understand because it can be quite deceiving. Mirroring doesn’t always fill a void that makes people feel good. For example, imagine that a woman named Andrea comes from a household with abusive parents who are constantly cheating on each other, threatening to file for divorce, and are unavailable, unresponsive, and inconsistent  with their children. 

Without the guidance, Andrea will likely have an extremely corrupted definition of love and healthy relationships. If Andrea were to find herself in a relationship with the love bombing phase, the “mirroring” could simply be the abuser’s ability to mimic Andrea’s corrupted definition of healthy relationship and love.

A victim of abuse being confused about the difference between love and abuse

The thing about mirroring in abusive relationships is that it is all about the abuser being exactly who their victim needs them to be. If their victim needs an exciting and passionate relationship, the abuser will be that person for a while. If the victim needs someone who is strong and dominant, the abuser will be able to temporarily fill those shoes.  

The list can go on and on but the point is that mirroring in love bombing phase gives the victim the impression that they are in a healthy, happy, and secure environment with someone who is their perfect match.

Future Faking Forces the Victim’s Idealizations of the Abusive Relationship to Manifest on a Conscious Level

In the love bombing phase future faking is when the abuser will make a false promise for the future to get what they want in the present. It’s a very tricky form of manipulation to spot because it takes time to realize a promise someone made for the future is actually a future fake and it can manifest in both verbal and nonverbal forms.

A verbal form of future faking would be if a couple promised to each other that they would save money for a year to buy their dream home but six months in one of them realizes that the other is spending more money than they did before the promise and has no savings.

A nonverbal form of future faking is actually the falsified identity that abusers create through mirroring that is designed to fill a void in the victim’s life. By presenting themselves as the “perfect” match for the victim, they’re manipulating the victim into envisioning a healthy, happy, and secure future with the abuser that is never going to happen.

With that being said, the reason that future faking is such a significant aspect of the love bombing phase is because it solidifies the bond that mirroring creates. When a victim of abuse is being mirrored, a lot of the feelings that they feel originate from their subconscious. 

When mirroring is combined with future faking, things become very conscious. It often manipulates the victim into integrating their sense of self with the abuser in an attempt to hold onto the healthy, happy, and secure future that the abuser manipulated them into envisioning which is why it is so dangerous.

How Does Mirroring and Future Faking Contribute the Justification, Rationalization, and Normalization of Abuse?

As we mentioned before, mirroring and future faking during the love bombing phase manipulates the victim into envisioning a healthy, happy, and secure future with someone they believe to be their perfect match and who completes them. Sadly, the truth is that the love bombing phase never lasts forever.

the love bombing phase ending

We spoke about this much more thoroughly in our article How Long Does the Love Bombing Phase Last but after a study among 221 survivors of abuse we found that the average duration of the love bombing phase is 5.5 months.

Once the abuser believes that they’ve been able to successfully hook their victim on the vision they crafted through mirroring and future faking, they’ll begin the devaluation phase.

You can read our complete guide to the devaluation phase in our article What Comes After Love Bombing With a Narcissist but the devaluation phase begins the moment that the abuser stops pretending to be the victim’s better half through love bombing, mirroring, and future faking, and begins their self-centered and abusive pursuit of validation, admiration, and reassurance.

It is plagued with narcissistic behavior patterns that cause a tremendous amount of cognitive dissonance, which is a theory that suggests that when we experience an inconsistency among beliefs, behavior, and information, it causes a tremendous amount of psychological tension. To ease this tension we will change one or more of the elements to make everything consistent. In abusive relationships, this is the justification, rationalization, and normalization of abuse. 

The reason that the justification, rationalization, and ultimately normalization of abuse happens is because the mirroring and future faking during love bombing phase give the victim the information and shows them the behavior that causes them to develop a belief that there is a healthy, happy, and secure future ahead. 

When the devaluation phase begins, the abuser’s behavior changes the information and behavior that caused the victim to develop their misperception of the relationship, leaving them with only the belief of the happy, healthy, and secure future ahead. This causes a lot of internal conflict and psychological tension that forces the victim to make a difficult decision. 

Do they hold onto the belief that they’re in a relationship with a healthy, happy, and secure future with someone that completes them or do they let go of the wish for things to be different by acknowledging that what they are experiencing is abuse and that everything the abuser said and did during the love bombing phase was a lie?

Sadly, through manipulation abusers are often able to keep victims of abuse in the relationship by forcing them to justify, rationalize, and normalize the abuse. 

a victim of abuse justifying her abusers behavior.

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

The love bombing phase is a really manipulative and dangerous form of abuse. It is one of the biggest warning signs of forthcoming abuse that many vicitms of abuse experience. We strongly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the information in Is Love Bombing Emotional Abuse and Why Is Love Bombing So Dangerous so that you can fully understand just how dangerous love bombing really is!


This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

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DISCLAIMER

THIS INFORMATION IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINICAL CARE. 

IF YOU’RE IN THE UNITED STATES AND ARE SUFFERING DOMESTIC ABUSE, PLEASE CONTACT THE NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE AT 1.800.799.7233 OR YOU CAN VISIT THEIR WEBSITE FOR MORE HELPFUL CONTACT METHODS.

WE URGE YOU TO ENSURE YOU’RE IN A SAFE ENVIRONMENT WHEN YOU DECIDE TO REACH OUT FOR HELP. FOR THOSE WHO CURRENTLY RESIDE IN THE UNITED STATES, VISIT NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE’S LOCAL RESOURCES TO FIND HELP IN YOUR AREA.

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