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Love Bombing - attention today, abuse tomorrow

View profile for Rhian Williams
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As of 24th April 2023, Love Bombing is now recognised by the Crown Prosecution Service as a sign of emotional abuse in the UK, but what is Love Bombing and what are the signs? 

Love Bombing is often disguised as excessive flattery; showering with attention and praise, over sharing and communication of feelings, lavishing with gifts and early intense talks about the future of the relationship, with a fast relationship progression. Further examples of Love Bombing are overwhelming you with love and affection. To some people this sounds like heaven, but the relationship can quickly turn sour.

Initially, a person may feel safe and secure and enjoy the feeling of being ‘swept off their feet’. A ‘Love Bombers’ ultimate goal is not to seek love, but to gain control over you, and the grand gestures are an effort to manipulate you, making you feel indebted to and dependant on them. With gradual attempts to isolate you, gain control over you, under the guise of charm, and often jealousy, obsession and possession, this is disguised as care, pushing your personal boundaries, and often abusers do not take no for answer.

These are all forms of emotional abuse and coercive control, resulting in manipulation and control of your life. The signs are not limited to the signs as described above and can present in different forms and at any point in a relationship. There tends to be three stages to a ‘Love Bomber’s’ abuse:

1.  The idealisation phase: During the phase a partner will bombard you with excessive love and affection, drawing you and convinces you to let you guard down.

2.   The devaluation phase: Once a person has let their guard down and you feel comfortable, often the red flags appear. Your partner may attempt to exert control over you, your time, your hobbies, how you dress and attempt to limit your access to family and friends. Your partner may become more demanding of your time and become upset when you make plans without them. They may become jealous and make accusations, use guilt and emotionally manipulate you. It can on occasions progress to fear, intimidation and even resort to physical violence.

3.The discard phase: Often when confronted about harmful behaviours, or a person makes attempts to reset healthy boundaries, the partner will avoid and will not accept accountability, attempt to Gaslight you, leaving a person confused, disorientated and made to feel that the failing in the relationship is your fault.

The Chief Crown Prosecutor, Kate Brown, National Lead for Domestic Abuse at the CPS, said:

‘These controlling offences can quickly escalate and this is why we’re absolutely committed to prosecuting wherever our legal test is met and will always seek out relevant orders to protect victims.’

It can be difficult to identify these behaviours within a relationship, but If you or anyone you know is being subjected to ‘Love Bombing’ or any other form of domestic abuse, please contact the Domestic Violence and Abuse Department (DVAD) for expert advice as to what protective measures are available, either by clicking on the links, or by telephoning Johnson Astills on 0116 255 4855.