Bonnie Support Services

Bonnie Support Services

Love Bombing

Love Bombing: Control and abuse wrapped in a pretty package

Perpetrators of domestic violence often don’t start their relationships by being violent or abusive. They often start their relationships with a different type of manipulation that can come across as love and affection, which I think makes it that much scarier. This tactic is called, ‘love bombing’.

According to Relationships Australia, love bombing is a form of emotional manipulation and abuse utilised to earn someone’s trust and make someone easy to isolate and control. Love bombing was originally coined to describe the tactics cult members used to lure people into their organisation. Since this time, love bombing has become a recurrent practice of perpetrators of domestic violence.

Love bombing can look like a few different things but most commonly takes on the form of showering someone in excessive gifts, praise or attention. This type of behaviour often leads a person to feel they owe their partner for all the nice things they do for them to the point they feel uncomfortable saying no or setting boundaries. Perpetrators will even overtly use these gifts, praises or attention to guilt their partner into behaving in a certain way. Additionally, this behaviour can lead to serious isolation as the person may feel pressured by their partner to spend all their time with them or cut certain people out of their lives.

It’s also important to note that love bombing doesn’t only occur at the beginning of relationships. Often love bombing occurs throughout the relationship as a part of the cycle of violence in the context of the perpetrator manipulating their partner after a violent incident. The perpetrator may shower their partner in gifts and compliments, and take them out for a fancy dinner, all while trying to minimise the violence and persuade the partner that the violence won’t happen again. This is all done to appear remorseful and to prevent the partner from leaving, so they can continue to control and abuse.

Unfortunately love bombing is often romanticised in pop culture, with serious displays of jealousy, stalking and control portrayed as exciting signs of the affection and dedication of the perpetrator. However, love bombing is actually a serious early warning sign of threatening and violent behaviour that comes as the relationship progresses or is indicative of more pervasive abuse already existing within the relationship.

It’s human to want a partner to buy you nice things, tell you how beautiful you are, and tell you how much they care. However, there is a fine line between affection and love bombing. Early on in your relationship, if you feel that you are experiencing love bombing, try and have a conversation about boundaries with your partner. If they do not respect those boundaries, try and safely end the relationship or seek support about how to safely leave. It is also important to maintain a strong social support outside of your partner such as safe friends and family members who you can reach out to for support.

Every single person deserves a partner who is caring, loving, and attentive. No one deserves a partner who is manipulative, controlling or violent. Love bombings tries to blur these lines between love and abuse. If your partner truly loves and respects you, they will be patient, understanding, trusting and kind. Trust your gut if a relationship doesn’t quite feel right. Make sure you support your friends or family if you see red flags in their relationship. If you’re not sure if what you’re experiencing is love bombing, speak to your friends, family or a local DV service about your concerns. No one is ever truly alone in what they are going through because help is always out there.

Written by Kate

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