Love bombing is more often seen by people with Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and it is known to be toxic, abusive, and manipulative. But there is no doubt that people with Borderline personality disorder (BPD) also showcase love bombing behavior, but do they manipulate people consciously?
In this article, we'll discuss what love bombing is, why people with BPD love bomb, and the differences in love bombing between people with BPD and NPD.
What is Love Bombing BPD?
Love bombing is an effort to sway someone's opinion by displaying extreme affection and devotion. In other words, a conscious, intentional attempt to manipulate someone into falling in love to do their bidding. It is often seen as a tactic used by people with Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or Borderline personality disorder (BPD), and also people who have been in abusive relationships or have an anxious attachment style are more prone to do it.
The factors that cause love bombing behavior in people with NPD or BPD are splitting and lack of object constancy. People with BPD and NPD view things as either all good or all bad. A neurotypical knows that people have good and bad qualities, so when the idealization of a potential partner takes place (which we all do to some extent), the idealization is tempered with reality. This is not the case for people with BPD or NPD because when the idealization phase happens, they feel as if the individual has only good qualities, needs to be put on a pedestal, and that they need to do everything they can to make them happy. Although the causation factors may be the same for both disorders, the reasoning for love bombing is different, which is discussed a little later in this article.
''When it seems too good to be true, it probably is.''
When people love-bomb, they expect to be rewarded or adored when they give presents, compliments, and unjustified affirmation of the relationship. They shape themselves into who they think the other person wants them to be, commit to a relationship quickly, and may guilt trip the other person for setting boundaries, which is the manipulative side of love bombing. For example, when you urge them to take things more slowly in the relationship or tell them you aren't ready, they may react like ''I thought we had something special, but you're just like everyone else.''
How long does love bombing last?
The love bombing often lasts a few weeks up to around 12 weeks due to the intensity of 'love' being so self-consuming. In the end, there isn't a defined timeframe for love bombing. It can go on until they believe they've reached the desired amount of control. The more resistant the other person is, the longer it takes.
Love bombing difference in people with NPD and BPD
Love bombing by people with NPD
When someone with NPD exhibits love bombing behavior, it is usually because they want to win someone over to gain control over them, which for them feels like a prize or trophy. They create a false sense of intimacy for their personal gain. Their initial step is to convince a person to lower their guard and to gain the trust of being a good person, allowing them to abuse that person later without them leaving. The other person becomes so invested and convinced that the love-bomber is a caring person that they will be willing to do things they wouldn't have otherwise.
A narcissist wants to have the image they have of themselves reflected back to themselves. And this is also what they do for you in the idealization phase. They figure out what you like about yourself or who you want to be and reflect that back to you. They make you feel great by providing affirmation that you are the person you want to be.
Love bombing by people with BPD
In contrast to NPD, when Borderline individuals love bomb, they are usually genuinely in love with the person and expect to live happily ever after. At the beginning of the relationship, people with BPD are likely to believe that they have finally found their soulmate, someone they can love forever and who fills their chronic feeling of emptiness. This may lead them to shower their beloved with love, admiration, and attention.
They've essentially become 'lost' in someone else, fully codependent, and unable to change the situation. This can happen to people with BPD because their sense of identity is lacking and disturbed. They experience desperate feelings that crave emotional validation, and all feelings are extra intense, both good and bad.
In comparison to NPD, those with BPD do not have the intent of having the image they have of themselves reflected on themselves. So, their reason for love-bombing isn't the same as those of narcissists, but it has the same underlying pattern, which is the occurrence of the idealization and devaluation phase. Their sentiments of love are likely to fade shortly after they start to realize the downsides or when they get upset, disappointed, or angry with the individual.
Additionally, someone with unrecognized BPD cannot experience the full benefit of the genuine love you have for them.
Why do people with BPD love bomb?
Someone with BPD has an immeasurable need for intimacy and connection while simultaneously having an immeasurable fear of intimacy. Intimacy, by definition, involves expressing and sharing your authentic feelings with another individual. It's an emotional state of complete and absolute vulnerability.
In the upbringing of someone with BPD, their parents' attitudes toward their emotions had taught them that their feelings are fundamentally shameful, meaningless, and unimportant. A child who is emotionally neglected will seek emotional reassurance for the rest of their lives, and oftentimes it's through intimacy. But since they are taught that their authentic self is something unpleasant, they change themselves into the person they believe the other wants them to be. When this happens, they aren't their authentic self, which causes a deficiency in intimacy.
Do People With BPD Love Bomb in a Manipulative Way?