In warfare, bombs are employed against groups of people, not individuals, unless it’s as part of a booby trap. If it’s a booby trap, then the assailant is trying to take out either single or multiple targets. If bombs were typically used against a single person, love bombing might be called “love sniping.” However, in love bombing, someone is trying to curry favor with a target and the people in their circle. It’s a group of people, not just an individual. Hence, it’s a love bombing, not love sniping. Realize that when the “bomb” goes off, it doesn’t just injure one person — it affects the whole group, albeit some more than others. Yet love bombing is defined as an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of overwhelming attention and affection. While the actions can be intended positively or negatively and be labeled “love bombing” either way, you’ll commonly see it as a tactic employed by sociopaths and narcissists. When one of these people become inculcated in a family, work site or group of friends, his or her actions don’t affect only one person, this individual affects the entire group. The amount of damage they can inflict on the lives of others is truly breathtaking. The sociopath or narcissist takes careers, relationships, happiness and the emotional stability of others down, destroying them. Their motives can be hard to understand. It’s as if they’re empty inside. Like they have no soul. It’s important to remember that sociopaths and narcissists can be male or female or of any race. In recent years, the terms sociopath and narcissist have been abandoned by the mental health profession. The new modern, preferred term is antisocial personality disorder. Altogether, these people have dark personality traits. I suspect an umbrella term is preferred by professionals in the field because both of those types of personalities can be described by long lists of terms. An individual will have some but not all of the characteristics on the list. It’s better to go with a broad, overreaching definition because it enables people to move on from debating whether or not they’re one thing or another. No matter what you call them, the effect they have on others is destructive. The effect is what you need to focus on. Matt met Terri in Virginia. At the time, she had recently broken up with her long-time boyfriend. Never before had he met anyone like her, he said to her and her friends. She was the smartest, wonderful, incredible woman in the world. He bought her teddy bears at first. When he found out she collected unicorns, he bought her those. She was better than him but she had to be his. Had to. Had to. Had to. With his demonstrations of affection, Matt worked on Terri’s mom too. He told her mom that she was responsible for turning him around, for making him into a better man. Yes, he had some run-ins with the law, but that was going to be behind him now that Terri was going to be with him. He also emotionally worked on her father and her friends. In the beginning, Matt’s behavior was perfect and plausible. There’s really nothing wrong with someone thinking you’re wonderful. The problem happens when the whole relationship moves along so fast that you don’t give the person with the antisocial personality disorder time to show their true colors. When I was hearing the story later after he had gone through her entire unicorn collection throwing the ceramic ones out of their two-story window so they’d shatter on the asphalt below (the stuffed ones Matt ripped apart or cut with a knife), it sounded like the relationship progressed very fast over a two-week period. Matt’s behavior at the end of the relationship was designed to physically and mentally hurt her, to absolutely destroy her. To even help Terri out of the relationship was to risk crossing Matt. Then, when Terri left, Matt played psychological games with her to get her to turn on the people who had helped her get out of there. She turned around and accused others who had helped her of trying to ruin Matt. Matt had told her what she wanted to hear in the beginning. Terri you’re special. The previous boyfriend had been uncertain of so many things. Could they stay together with him going away to school? Did he still want to be with Terri after being together with her since high school. Matt, Terri and the former boyfriend were all in their early 20s. Matt was confident, had a plan, and was so loving. She followed him into the Army where he swore that he’d make something of himself. His violence, however, wasn’t normal. His psychological cruelty toward her wasn’t normal. It surely was visible before she left Virginia. It surely was visible in the way he spoke about people they knew, old girlfriends and the way he treated waitstaff at restaurants. You only have to realize the signs were signs when you see them. Once you’ve encountered one antisocial person, you can spot others a mile away. You see the antisocial individual working their way through the lives of others in a circle, flattering, offering overwhelming attention, getting favors, being unreliable, backstabbing, and sewing chaos and discord and the rest that goes along with that. While you’re on to them pretty early on in the process, others won’t necessarily be. If you try to warn others, at best you’re going to be seen as an alarmist. At worst, you’re someone persecuting this poor, innocent charming person. They probably have more charisma than you do. That’s just the way it is. Warn too stridently and you’ll make yourself into their target. Flattery is always nicer to listen to than the truth and your suspicions. You might even go over an article like this one about how to spot a psychopath. “It says they have a poor sense of smell. I have a poor sense of smell!” “Oh, that’s just a bunch of pop psychology!” “He doesn’t say ‘um’ any more than the rest of us. That’s just stupid.” No, there’s not a certain number of signs before they are or are not considered to be a psychopath, sociopath or whatever you want to call them. It doesn’t matter. People get hung up on definitions. The lying should be enough, so should the amoral behavior. Lists like the one above are just a way to trigger reflection, to help you realize when there’s something not quite right with the individual.
Can You Shield Your Friends From a Love Bomb?
When it came to friends, my grandmother had a little saying she had gotten from a song she heard as a girl: “Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold.” When one of these individuals moves into your life, they come in with a lot of flare, flash, and excitement. Yet, just because someone is charismatic, is fun and has style, it doesn’t make them a sociopath or antisocial. The sociopath’s colors only get revealed over time. Whatever they’re called, antisocial individuals have been with us forever. Grandma’s wisdom is to treat older friendships with more value than newer ones because they’ve had time to prove themselves. If you’re the one being targeted by the antisocial individual (or suspected antisocial individual) keep your head. Watch how they speak of and treat others. If anything is excessive or if they’re not particularly charitable in their dealings with others, realize you could be on the other end of that wrath. They tend to move on to easier targets. It’s easier to target weaker individuals than stronger ones for their games. Being firm and friendly seems to be the best defense. Keep and maintain a dream journal. While your conscious mind can be going along with what the potential antisocial individual can be saying and doing, your subconscious mind can have its reservations. The subconscious will often tip you off in dreams as to what those reservations are. There’s nothing better than remembering and writing your dreams down in a dream diary to get a general feeling for the overall themes in your life. The incongruities of the love bombing sociopath can stand out in dreams. Remember the reciprocity instinct is strong. You need to tell yourself you don’t need to repay anything right away. There’s time for that later. Acknowledge the compliments and move on for the time being. From time to time you hear about a relationship that started with a bang and continues forty, fifty years later. Realize that whether or not it started quickly isn’t important. If the couple was meant to be together, it could have just as well proceeded after a period of courting too. A couple of weeks like Matt and Terri had just isn’t enough time to know much about any dark personality traits someone has. A period of getting to know the other is the best way to shield yourself and others from the effects of a love bombing. There is no other. Antisocial people always reveal their true nature sooner or later. It’s better to not be around when they do.