A new definition for an old tactic, love bombing is a way for a narcissist to control their partner.

In this trend, one partner showers the other with intense bursts of gifts, love, and talks about future happiness.  This typically occurs in whirlwind relationships (as many teenage relationships are) and it can create a sense that predator is indispensable to the other person.  If, after being bombed with affection, the victim doesn’t do what the predator wants, the predator will usually “punish” them via emotional abuse.

Another good description comes from Indy100.com, “They will constantly praise all the good aspects of your character and claim to be ‘good listeners’ but are prone to angry outbursts, which they use to help them gain more control.

The trait has been associated with people who have narcissistic or sociopathic tendances, people who soon dump their partner after a sudden loss of interest and change in personality.”

The abuse and feeling that the predator is indespensable can cause the victim to do things for the predator that they normally wouldn’t do in a realtionship.

If you suspect your son or daughter may be in this type of relationship a good tip for getting them to think about what is happening is provided by Dale Archer, a psychiatrist who wrote in Psychology Today,

A good litmus test is to think of your best friend, how much you have in common, and how often the two of you agree (or disagree).  Now consider how long it took to build that bond.

Is it likely someone you’ve just met knows you as well as your best friend?

If you find yourself saying, ‘Yes, they do!’ warning bells should be ringing.”

Explain to your kids that, “Healthy relationships build slowly, and are based on a series of actions, not a flood of words.

Love bombers are experts at talking, but when held accountable for their words, they tend to lash out.

It’s normal to feel confused, or betrayed, and the urge to make excuses for the love bomber is strong, because they’ve worked hard to tie your self-esteem to their good opinion.

And that’s what makes this cycle of idealisation, devaluation, and discard so devastating.

Love bombers exploit the natural human need for self worth, and turn it into shame and self-loathing.”