When Love Bombing Stops | Center for Growth Therapy

When Love Bombing Stops

Amanda , MSS, RYT200, CPRP, LSW — Associate therapist

What is Love Bombing?

Narcissistic Abuse Therapy Recovery in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

Love bombing is a form of manipulation that occurs in the beginning stages of a relationship with a narcissistic person. Love bombing is the act of flooding someone with over-the-top gifts, flattery and affection. It can feel bewildering and intense.You might ask yourself, “How does this person know me so well in such a short period of time?!” Or, more romantically felt as “It’s like I’ve known this person my whole life!” The narcissist might lie about their interests and personality to seem as though they’re a perfect match for you. Being love bombed is a gripping experience that draws us in. It feels magical, like you’ve found your soulmate. When being love-bombed, you experience the world in a different way; the roses are more vibrant, the music sounds sweeter and you feel seen. You might feel worshiped, idealized and enchanted. This can feel amazing, but the unfortunate truth is that it’s not genuine.

The narcissist is creating an experience instead of being a part of it. They are trying to lock you in, get you hooked and enamored by the relationship, so they are guaranteed the affection and affirmation they need from you. They are not being vulnerable, but rather, they are painting a picture and setting up the stage. They are building a facade that cannot be held up indefinitely. And they are building it with the data you’ve given them about yourself.


Falling in Love with someone who’s not a narcissist

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Falling in love with someone will always feel intense. The new relationship energy is often an enjoyable, memorable part of the relationship process. It’s a time to genuinely get to know this new person in your life, to exchange vulnerabilities and to connect authentically. And to test out compatibility through being honest with yourself and the other person about who you are and what you like. While falling in love will feel like you’re on a high sometimes, it’s not a facade or fabrication. The qualities you notice in a non-narcissistic person will likely be generalizable. If you observe loving kindness towards you, it’s likely the non-narcissistic person treats other people in their life the same way. You will notice consistencies in personality, and their friends might describe them in a way that’s similar to what you see.



When moving out of the honeymoon stage with a non-narcissistic person, there may be a period of stability, or slightly lowered energy. You may be getting used to each other, but there’s a sweetness that remains, and the foundation built on genuine vulnerability and connection stands strong. You have successfully integrated the non-narcissistic person into your life.You may feel more comfortable in the relationship. If boredom creeps in, that’s okay. It’s not abnormal to feel like things are “regular,” when you’ve successfully integrated a healthy person into your life. It’s less like a rollercoaster and more like riding through rolling hills.



How do you know the difference between “moving out of the honeymoon stage” and the “end of love bombing”?

Narcissistic Abuse Therapy Recovery in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM


When the love bombing stage comes to an end, anxiety ensues. When moving out of the honeymoon stage with a non-narcissistic person, there’s often more comfort and calm.

When love-bombing fades, you will be left without a solid foundation. You might notice that you’ve shared so much with your partner, but they haven’t shared much with you. It’s likely you know very little about the narcissist. This makes it so that you’re the more vulnerable person in the relationship, and there’s little vulnerability coming from the narcissist. This leaves the narcissistic person in the power position, which was either consciously or unconsciously intended. Because love-bombing is a facade, you might also notice that your partner isn’t who they said they were. You notice inconsistencies, or you could start feeling “duped,” and confused. “I thought this person was into meditation, but now they’re scoffing at my personal practice.” Or, “I thought this person cared about being close with my family, but now they won’t go with me to family events.” And unfortunately, you may begin to feel devalued, which is the next stage in narcissistic relationships.



What is Devaluation?

Narcissistic Abuse Therapy Recovery in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

In narcissistic relationships, devaluation is the second stage that occurs after the love-bombing ends. Narcissistic devaluation means that the narcissistic person realizes their partner is not perfect, and cannot provide them with constant and unconditional “fuel.” Because narcissists have a deflated sense of self, they are constantly trying to re-inflate themselves or fill up their cups with other people’s love and admiration. They feel empty without admiration from an outside source, and without being able to control when and how that admiration is given. This is part of the reason why presenting a facade is imperative to the narcissist. Because if they manipulate you into thinking they are the perfect match for you, then there’s more of a chance you will show them love and attention and stay hooked on them for longer.

During the devaluation stage, the narcissist begins to see their partners as less valuable to them. And they often aren’t afraid to make that perfectly clear, even if they aren’t directly taking ownership or acknowledging what’s happening and the impact it’s having on the non-narcissistic person. This is where it gets tricky. Narcissists aren’t good at taking responsibility for their thoughts, feelings or actions. In the realm of action, narcissists are not empathic to how they are hurting others. (If you feel you are suffering from narcissistic abuse, The Center for Growth has clinicians in Philadelphia, PA and Ocean City, NJ who specialize in narcissistic abuse recovery and can help.)

If feeling devalued, you may try to address this with the narcissist, only to be met with “gaslighting.” The term gaslighting means that the narcissist denies your reality, and tries to convince you (subtly) that you’re not seeing what you’re seeing. They may turn your concerns around on you, convincing you that you’re the problem, or you’re over-dramatic, or overreacting to the devaluation. When in reality, you are likely just feeling an increase in anxiety due to the shift in the narcissist’s character display. Feeling devalued hurts, and for those vulnerable to narcissistic abuse, it can confirm any fears that come from low self-esteem, or questions of value and self-worth.

You can think of devaluation as “the facade is beginning to fade,” or that the narcissist wrote a check that they can’t possibly cash. They’ve painted this picture and it’s fading fast, because all of that energy spent towards making you feel irreplaceable and idealized was more of an effort to keep you around, as opposed to a genuine effort to connect as two people. Again, the narcissist creates an experience but doesn’t necessarily allow themselves to be a part of it.


Past meets Present

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If you come from a home with narcissistic caregivers, or if you felt neglected as a child, you might already question how valid your thoughts and feelings are. You likely question your needs and the validity of them. Narcissists tend to prey on these vulnerabilities. And it’s often hard for non-narcissistic people to see that the behaviors such as love-bombing and devaluing, are in fact abusive and abnormal, if they grew up in households that are mirror images to this kind of treatment. This is where getting support from a therapist that specializes in dealing with trauma and narcissistic abuse recovery is incredibly important. The Center for Growth (NJ, PA) offers therapists who understand and specialize in narcissistic abuse. The effects of narcissistic abuse are different from other types of abuse and far more severe than exiting a toxic relationship. This is why it’s important to find a clinician who understands narcissistic abuse.



Conclusion: The End of Love Bombing:

Narcissistic Abuse Therapy Recovery in Philadelphia PA, Mechanicsville VA, Ocean City NJ, Santa Fe NM

When love bombing ceases, anxiety increases. And unfortunately, the next stage is devaluation. When devaluation happens, the narcissistic relationship turns into an addictive cycle where the non-narcissistic person is trying to get back to the love bombing stage. The person being abused and devalued clings to the past stage, because it felt good and they were getting picture perfect mirroring. They were being courted by a mate that seems ideal. This is where it can get especially tricky, because glimpses of that love bombing behavior may show back up, only to slip more and more quickly back into devaluation over time. This is why it’s especially important to have a knowledgeable therapist on your side. The Center for Growth offers unique treatment to assist those being abused by narcissists. To heal from narcissistic abuse, you need someone who understands what makes it unique and challenging. Call 215- 922 - 5683 x 100 to speak to one of our love bombing expert narcissistic abuse recovery therapists and set up a therapy appointment today. We have 2 locations in Philadelphia PA: Society Hill Therapy Office and Art Museum / Fairmount Therapy Office and in Mechanicsville VA: Mechanicsville Therapy Office and in Santa Fe NM: Santa Fe Therapy Office and in Ocean City NJ, Ocean City Therapy Office and we provide virtual counseling services in Georgia and Florida.


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