Grooming, Manipulation, and Love Bombing
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When pathologically abusive individuals get access to a new target they often shift into an intensely addictive state. That being said, most human beings get a ‘lover’s high’ or ‘dopamine rush’ when they are with someone new. It’s normal. Our thoughts tend to get focused on our potential mate. We get butterflies when we see them and the thought of them makes us excited. Our attention is heightened and focused on our new love.
However, for individuals with certain personality disturbances – their ‘lover’s high’ tends to be over the top and extreme. They may even demonstrate feelings toward their new target that the potential victim has never experienced from anyone before.
“You’re an angel from heaven! I can’t stop thinking about you day and night. You deserve nothing but happiness in life and I want to be the one that gives that to you.”
During this time period there may be a flood of gifts, attention, and sweet romantic gestures – a love ambush or love bombing. Again, it tends to be over the top. There may be gentleness, an unending supply of time availability, a catering to your every whim, walks in the park, roses to your job, thoughtful poetry, shopping excursions, and so forth. Many targets report they feel ‘swept off their feet’ and ‘lucky’ to have met such a sensitive, open, exciting partner.
They might even sprinkle in sad and painful stories of their past (true or created). This tactic plants a seed in the target’s mind that he /she has been ‘hurt’ and therefore this new mate will behave toward them as most would when someone has been hurt – with gentleness and excessive tolerance.
Oftentimes, bad behavior is excused or forgiven when we know someone has been hurt in the past. Naturally, the true reason for the ‘pain disclosure’ by the manipulative individual is never told to the target. She (he) simply views it as the process of getting closer to their mate. Some abusive individuals will explain that they feel ‘safe’ sharing such personal memories and information because, “You are so special to me.” | “I can trust you.” (Grooming).
Many severely personality disordered partners put their mates on a pedestal (in the beginning) unlike anyone else ever has in their past. “Nothing is too good for you.” “No expense is spared for you.” “The sun rises and sets – at you.” They want nothing but “you.”
Now of course we are not saying that you are not a special person. If you have empathy, kindness, gentleness, and the capacity for appreciation then you are a great catch! You deserve the same kind of person in your corner. However, pathologically abusive individuals tend to not be referencing those deep qualities when they are in their worshiping addiction of their target. Some of them may barely know the new target. Unfortunately, this stage of the relationship is not really about their new partner. However, their target is rarely ever aware of that.
Although most are genuinely excited by their target, it is not deep and can (and usually does) change when this ‘phase’ ends for them. After they have taken their target high on this intense upward climb, they are quickly dropped (emotionally).
It is at this time that they tend to view the target as a pitiful human being not worthy of their time or attention. They may even tell her to leave them alone because they do not want to be bothered with her anymore. This is where the chaos and pain begin for the new target. – The devaluation period.
It’s easy to assume (who wouldn’t) that the praise, attention, and worship the abuser bestows on his new partner is based on her qualities. However, they tend to demonstrate this pattern with whoever the new target/ victim happens to be.
New is nearly always preferred to old (i.e., continuous/longstanding monogamous relationships) – particularly with psychopathy and narcissistic personality disorder. Their tendency to become bored quickly extends to their intimate relationships. Coupled with an inability to bond, lack of caring for others, minimal empathy, and tendency to punish, dominate, and destroy – it becomes a painful journey for their target.
If they do keep a partner, it is not uncommon for an abusive individual to ‘supplement’ them with new partners (e.g., girlfriend, boyfriend, random stranger sex, escorts, ‘swinging’, inappropriate relationships with internet ‘friends’, secret families, etc). Many will triangulate others in their lives. For example, they may carry on a relationship with their current and past mate simultaneously.
Many psychopathic and narcissistic individuals have a need to create chaos. It satisfies their infinite hunger for stimulation. Sometimes they keep their ‘bad’ behaviors secret, while other times their current mate is aware of their hurtful behaviors.
They usually get bored of their intimate partners. There needs to be stimulation somewhere and they tend not to feel stimulated by familiar, loyal partners. However, they will expect loyalty from each of their mates.
• We have another article regarding Grooming that you might find helpful. Grooming
[*This article was an example of one kind of pathologically abusive relationship. There are other patterns and approaches that abusers take when embarking on a new relationship. However, this tends to be quite common.]
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