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Love-Bombing -- The Manipulation of Love -- Understanding the Rationale of Love Bombers And Ways to Surpass It

Updated: 2 days ago

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Love Bombing: A Seductive Trap Used by Cults

Love bombing is a manipulative tactic that cult leaders frequently use to lure people in. Furthermore, it is also used by narcissists as part of getting their "fuel" from other people. While cults may employ other recruitment methods, love bombing is a particularly insidious one because it preys on our natural desire for connection and belonging.

Here's how it works: Cult leaders shower potential recruits with affection, attention, and a sense of belonging. This can be especially appealing to those who are feeling lonely, isolated, or vulnerable. The love bombing creates an intense emotional bond, making it difficult for the recruit to see the group or leader's flaws.

Like with any sources of joy, joy can be addictive. This gradual gratification leads to weaker and less disciplined minds. The disciplined, critical mind, is there to doubt what it feels and look both ways. When the mind is desperate for something, it is naturally biased towards it quite heavily, hence the connection between desperation and the confirmation bias. The more attention and validation you receive from the group, the more you crave it.

This dependence can lead you to unnecessarily sacrifice your own judgment, finances, and even relationships with loved ones in order to maintain the feeling of acceptance within the cult. That is even though this feeling within you is their resource as part of a bigger, long-term plan.

Love Bombing and Exploitation

This is a major reason why people form cults: to gain money, power, and sometimes, sex.. This intense, but parasocial "love" can be addictive, and here's why:

  • The Need to Maintain the High: Like any addiction, the more intense the initial "high" of love bombing, the more you crave it. This can lead you to become increasingly reliant on the cult for validation and affection.

Here are some additional details about love bombing:

  • Love bombers shower their targets with attention, affection, and praise.

  • They make the target feel special and loved. People need to feel valued and appreciated for their psychological safety, whether or not if these feelings are a product of someone else's dishonesty.

  • Once the target is hooked, the love bomber will begin to slowly isolate them from their friends and family. That is done to increase their dominant influence on their lives, thoughts and behavior.

Intermission: The Rare Case of The Yandere

(Note: This situation is uncommon in everyday life)

In rare cases, love bombing might be a sign of a "yandere." This Japanese term describes an obsessive and possessive, and overprotective love interest. Yanderes can be controlling and jealous, desperate to possess their love interest.

While not all yanderes resort to violence, it's important to be aware of their potential instability.

Due to the extreme and potentially dangerous nature of yanderes, it's difficult to confirm real-life cases with absolute certainty. Legal proceedings often focus on the actions themselves rather than the emotional motivations behind them, as much of ethical law is deontological in nature..

Regardless, some well-documented events share characteristics with the yandere archetype:

  1. Obsessive Love and Murder: In 2019, Yuka Takaoka from Japan allegedly stabbed her ex-boyfriend after falsely feeling she was betrayed. Reports suggest she expressed strong feelings of love and possessiveness.

  2. Deadly Competition:  A 2006 case in Belgium involved a woman named Els Clottemans who was accused of tampering with the parachute of her friend and fellow skydiver. The motive was believed to be jealousy and a desire to eliminate a romantic rival.

  3. Isolation and Control:  While not having to always result in violence, some controlling relationships mirror the manipulative aspects of yanderes. Online, peope may anonymously confess they are ones. Whether or not it is trolling is up to the readers' discertion. In these cases, a partner might isolate their significant other from friends and family, constantly track their movements, or exhibit extreme possessiveness, under the constant fear and uncertainty of feeling devoid of that person in their lives. This can be described as a "Void-Fear", a term I invented and wrote about.

Yanderes teach us that some people may love-bomb others because of grave insecurities. Jealousy in relationships comes from uncertainty, so in order to try and fill out this anxiety, some people may shower love and affection on others, just so they will not find themselves alone and rejected again. Since rejection can be painful, manipulation can be used as an immoral way to prevent ourselves further harm. This isn't to justify this manipulation, but rather to explain its rationale. Love-bombing can therefore be used as a self-defense mechanism.

If you are convinced that the person you are dealing with is not a yandere, it is possible that they belong to a cult.

A Red Flag Or A Cute Obsession?

Love bombing can be a scary tactic, but it's important to distinguish it from genuine affection. Here's how to tell the difference:

  • One-sided Focus: Do conversations constantly revolve around you, with little interest in anything else?

  • Mental Health Concerns: Are there signs of underlying mental health issues that could contribute to their behavior? Disorders like BPD? Like NPD?

  • Limited Interests: Does their life seem solely focused on you?

If their love to you is their goal, and not a means to an end like importance and recognition might be in public life, then their love isn't necessarily love-bombing. It is love for the sake of love. This genuine love doesn't even have to be logical, as conditionals are imperative in logic. True love, AKA, "I seek to love you because I want to love you" is basically circular logic, which is fallacious in nature.

Conditional love can come from wanting power, and like with power in general, it can easily be weaponized and get prone to corruption.

And the desire to have more power comes from the feeling and/or fact that you are weak. Give up on weakness and you might feel less compelled to exert your power on others as a way to compensate for your lack of it.

Otherwise, as long as your mind isn't strong using endurance and hardship, you might feel compelled to oppress, manipulate and terrorize others. That unfortunately includes those who are dear to you, using their own bond to you.

The Virtue of Love, Weaponized and Corrupted

While the desire for love is natural, it's crucial to understand that not all affection is genuine, and may be used for something else the manipulator craves for, and is too weak to do without. Cult leaders create cults for the sake of feeling in control. Dictators have cults of personality used to strenghten their grip on the people's faith in them as means for their legitimacy.

Love bombing twists the concept of love into a tool for manipulation. Someone showering you with affection may not have your best interests at heart. Their goal could be control, money, or even something more sinister.

Healthy love thrives on trust, but not blind trust. It's important to understand the person expressing feelings for you, without falling victim to their agenda.

  • Take things slow. Don't get swept away by whirlwind romances. Take your time, get to know the person, and assess their trustworthiness by being a more logical being.

  • Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. If you have a bad feeling about someone, don't ignore it. But what if your gut tells you otherwise? Maybe lambasting it can prevent you from becoming a cult member.

  • Talk to your friends and family. Seek support from trusted friends and family. Their perspective can help you see the situation more clearly. Include their thoughts in your mind to increase the sphere of your decision making.

  • Get professional help. If you're unsure or feel manipulated, don't hesitate to seek help from a therapist or counselor. They can provide strategies for dealing with love bombing and navigate the complexities of forming healthy relationships. Hopefully that help can outweigh its criticism.

Conclusive Insights

Love bombing is a serious issue, but by following these tips, you can reduce the chances of you being the victim of manipulation. Be cautious, trust your gut, study logic, and prioritize healthy relationships built on genuine care for one another.

Take things at face value, and you will sure to be manipulated by ulterior motives.

Remember, true love and healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, trust, and open communication. Don't be fooled by the facade of love bombing. Try seeing beyond it, and do not hesitate to doubt your emotions.

If someone is showering you with excessive affection or trying to isolate you from your friends and family, it's a huge red flag. The more isolated you are, the easier you can be controlled.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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