You think you have found the love of your life. Maybe you are just getting out of a difficult relationship or perhaps you have had some other life altering event happen to you. You are vulnerable and uncertain. That is when the “love bombing” starts. You are feeling like you are in a whirlwind. You think that your luck must have changed. Finally you have hit the jackpot.
“Love bombing” is the name given for the time in a relationship when your partner-to-be initiates what will turn out to be the best part of your relationship/courtship. It is meant to overwhelm your senses . You are swept off your feet. Finally, you think, someone who really cares and who is really interested in me. You think you are buying into total and complete happiness and bliss for ever and ever. Nope. It isn’t like that at all–but it sure seems that way at first
What happens in a relationship with a cluster B personality* isn’t like anything you have experienced in your life. Somehow the connection with them happens quickly. If you haven’t fallen hard right away–they will gently nudge you and push you into the direction they want. A personality disordered person has a goal and they aim to achieve it. They have a much easier time than most doing this because they are not weighted down by those pesky things like a conscience or empathy or loyalty.
They begin by paying attention to you and only you. Generally it is to the point of being ‘too much’ at first. They whisper into the phone that they love you over and over and over. It feels strange that they do this especially since they have only known you a few weeks. But they seem so sure. They seem so involved. Now they are constantly texting and calling all day every day. They want to move in with you even though you just met or they are just getting out of a committed relationship.
While initially you may feel a bit squeamish, the need and desire to be connected wins out. Personality disordered individuals push for commitment right away. They push to move in together right away. They may want children right away or to buy a house together right away. This serves to hook you into the circumstance so you do not look for ways out. You are committed…..It seems a bit too much but you give in because they tell you that this is the only time they have ever felt this way. Oh, how many times they have whispered those words to others. Laughable if it didn’t hurt so much in the end.
All this ‘getting to know you’ is also necessary for the personality disordered individual to be able to create your soul mate for you. They have no souls of their own. They have no personality beyond being selfish and pretending. So what they do is to reflect back to you what they see in you. They become just like you. Again, WOW. How can it be that this partner loves to shop? How can it be that they love the same music? How can it be that they want to stay home or go to the bar or whatever it is YOU like. Well, it is because they are masters at creating a façade that you will fall in love with. Make no mistake–it is empty and hollow but you won’t know this for some time to come.
‘Love bombing’ is is always the method they use to get you to believe that they are your SOUL MATE. You are the only one who understands them. The only one who “gets” their humor. The only one who sees life the way they do. YOU are so special they tell you. Like a flower that is blooming with many different petals. Or you are like the special picture that has been found painted under another picture–a treasure that has been hidden but is now being uncovered. You are the most amazing person they have ever known. You like that. You want to feel special. Believe me, they know that already.
Another telltale sign of a personality disordered person in a relationship is the amount of time they devote to listening to you talk about YOU. What you like, don’t like, your fears, disappointments, sensitive issues, childhood hurts, insecurities. WOW. You think this is great. They must care–and care alot. But in this type of relationship–this is not done out of loving and caring. It is done to size you up. This information is filed away to be used at will by the personality disordered person in the future. They now know what triggers you to feel happy, sad, embarrassed, ashamed….How convenient in the plan to manipulate you.
Another tactic that is almost universal is that they portray themselves as being victims of their previous relationships. They have been abused, taken advantage of, lied to, cheated on. They need you to be their advocate and take up their cause. If only for you to be angry and hate the previous partner with a passion. They will keep you from that partner with everything they have because they do not want you seeing the real partner–beaten down, abused, but good-hearted. If the new partner saw you–they would have to question what they were being told about you–so this works nicely for both the new partner and the personality disordered individual. Neither really want the truth known. This is a nice fit that keeps the previously victimized partner far from sight and allows the new victim to be oblivious to the truth.
You have been blown off your feet by this amazing person, listened to, spent time with and rushed into relationship bliss. It feels heady but a bit suffocating. You wonder if there is something wrong. You may see some of the above as a red flag–but it feels soooo good, right? It seems like you’ve waited you whole life for this one person.
You disregard the little “off” things like the fact that they have multiple marriages, kids that dislike them or want no contact with them. What about their complete lack of friends? No matter–they will insinuate their selves right into your life–because they have none of their own. You wonder a bit how they managed to find all the crazy partners before you. When they tell you all their other relationships ended badly because ALL the previous partners were crazy or wanted something else etc.–this is a clue. Often times personality disordered people will tell you things that should make you run BUT you will downplay it or disregard it because everything else is so good. Don’t ignore it.
If they tell you that everything was the crazy ex’s fault or if they have simply disregarded the ex, think about that. Who walks away from marriage after marriage? Who can throw away years of a devoted spouse without a second thought and rush head long into a new relationship with no time in between? If they may say to you that they lie a lot and don’t want to do that anymore–listen to that admission. Often times they will tell you they never cheated before. You are the first. It happened only because the ex was horrible, crazy, mean, violent…..or they will tell you they only cheated because of how amazing YOU are. Think really hard because if someone is willing to cheat on one spouse…or two spouses….what makes you believe they are not going to ultimately cheat on you. Facts are facts and those who cheat–especially serial cheaters–will ALWAYS cheat again.
They will also compartmentalize everything. They will seek to keep you away from all others from their past. The ex will be too crazy or dangerous to be around. You may wonder why the ex has so many friends and seems to be doing well. But you will listen to the lies of the personality disordered person because–well–it seems easier. You think how could this loving person be lying about the ex. Surely the ex was the bad one –even if it doesn’t quite seem to fit, we gloss over that in our minds.
BUT we believe that we are the exception to the rule. We are younger. Richer. Smarter. Funnier. It couldn’t happen to me, right? Well it could and it will. The personality disordered individual is what they are. They do not change much because it is a pervasive pattern of interaction. It IS how they see the world. It is how they ARE in the world. The don’t change. They are masters of deception. They are highly skilled at using and abusing. They are what they are and they give us clues. The problem is we refuse to see.
The personality disordered individual sees themselves as highly unique and special. However, the truth is they are fundamentally all the same and they do fundamentally the same things. They love bomb. They lie. They gaslight. They manipulate. They twist your words. They blame-shift. They project. They suck the life, love, and joy out of your life. They all use the same techniques but may apply them differently. They really are nothing special but they are very good at presenting that they are. IF you know the signs of a personality disordered individual–you can proactively protect your self and not fall prey to them.
They are hunters. They do seek out a particular kind of individual to control. They are insidious. They do their dirty deeds so slyly that you won’t know what is happening until it is far too late. Some personality disordered people can keep the mask on for literally years–but other let it slip right away. If you are not familiar with this façade–you will spend years trying to ‘get it right’. You will own the problems and troubles. YOU will think it is you.
But fear not. As we journey through this nightmare together–you will learn to identify the signs of a personality disordered person. You will learn what they do and how they do it. You will learn how we fall for this and why we fall for this. You will learn how to identify and protect your self from this kind of creature. If you discover that you have become a victim of this kind of person, there are special things that you can do to protect your self and get out as safely as possible.
They all do the same things at the beginning, middle and end of the relationship. It doesn’t matter who ends it–they do the same things. They exist in a predictable pattern of interaction with their environment. They seek to destroy your reputation, your credibility, and anything that you hold dear. They want to strip you of all that you have as punishment for the perceived danger that you are to them. You know what they really are behind the mask or façade so they must discredit you to protect themselves. They are dangerous and they seek to destroy you to avoid owning their abuses. Be prepared. And remember the beginning–the love bombing. Remember THAT is the best part of this nightmare. It only lasts for a short time and you will spend the remaining time in this nightmare trying to recapture those feelings, times, and behaviors.
Some stay for a few months and others stay for decades trying to figure out what the hell is happening. Once you see the signs (and they all follow this same pattern basically) you will be able to identify the pathology and make your move to safety.
We will be discussing in future blogs the love bombing in more detail. Also the tools they use to control and manipulate. How it affects you mentally and physically. There will be postings where victims/survivors tell their stories. There will be information on how they set you up long before the ending. What they do and how they do it. Stories that you think are too unbelievable are common place for those who have been victimized by the personality disordered individual.
They will forever get away with it if women don’t start talking to each other. If women are kept in the dark about the very obvious and telltale features of these devious people, they may fall prey to this pathological individual. Knowledge is the best tool that you can have. Just knowing this evil exists can help protect you from it.
This is becoming a very common phenomenon and yet how it actually unfolds is not really focused on much in school or in workshops. Most who know and understand it have been victimized by this type of personality disordered person. I have seen this take place personally and I have interacted with hundreds of people whose story is basically the same. Out of my own experience, I can teach and educate. Knowledge is your first step.
These posts will help you in identifying the patterns. Educating yourself to this process. Healing cannot begin until you see the true problem. This series of posts will help you see the problem and then help you to outline ways to fix it.
Remember–if someone seems too good to be true–they probably are! If you do not understand the process by which they seek to control and destroy–you will wake up one day and ask, “How did I get here“?
*(Cluster B’s include antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder). This article deals with those who suffer from antisocial and narcissistic issues.
“The process may seem strange and yet it is very true. I did not so much gain the knowledge of things by the words, as words by the experience I had of things.”