Different forms of love bombing create an addictive cycle

Amy Chan

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You may have heard of love bombing, but have you heard of the other types of relationship bombs? Here are the three types of relationship bombs that can reel you back into a toxic dynamic.

💣 Love Bomb – the use of excessive affection, grand gestures, and promises for the future as a manipulation tactic. But right when you’re feeling high from all the love and attention, it’s followed by a period of withdrawal, avoidance, or abuse. You are then left wondering what you did wrong or get obsessive about getting that old feeling back.

💣 Anger Bomb – this is when someone provokes you so that you’ll engage with them in a fight. To the bomber, some attention (even if it’s rage) is better than no attention at all. Also, for those who are addicted to chaos, getting in a fight or a dramatic text exchange can create a rush of endorphins.

💣 Seduction Bomb – there are two kinds of this. One is when the bomber acts helpless and pulls on your empathy strings and guilt, so you help them. The other is using provocative seduction to reel you back in.

Don’t we all love bomb to some degree?

You might be wondering: Aren’t these things a part of courtship and a normal relationship?

The difference between healthy romantic overtures and love bombing is that the latter is used as a manipulation tactic. The intention is to exert and maintain control and power over you.

If you’re in the early stages of this, communicate to the person you do not want to rush the relationship. The constant showering of affection/gestures is making you uncomfortable. If you’ve been stuck in a back and forth dynamic with someone who uses these relationship bombs to control you, it’s essential to stop participating in the push-pull.

The cycle of intensity keeps you hooked in the addictive cycle

How do we stop the addictive cycle with an ex or toxic person?

It can be tough to get out of the toxic dynamic, and you may want to seek professional help to support you in the process. Here are some tips that can also help:

Create, maintain and enforce your boundaries

If you’re starting in a relationship and you notice they are coming on very strong with the romantic overtures, do not just react to the pace they are setting. Instead, have a conversation to let them know that you want to slow things down and get to know each other through time. If the person is invested in creating a healthy connection – they won’t try to rush you or pressure you into it. Practice communicating your boundaries.

Get another perspective

You might not be sure if you’re in a toxic cycle because if you’ve been gaslit, you will doubt your judgment and perspective of reality. You must talk to someone you trust, and if possible, a mental health professional to get an objective point of view.

Prepare for withdrawal

If you recognize you’re in a toxic, addictive cycle with someone, you need to acknowledge that it’s an addictive cycle that you are in. You need to be aware of reality and not fantasy based on how the person can change. Understand that you will indeed go through a period of withdrawal, and you’ll need a support system to help you through it. Create a strategy of healthy coping mechanisms and tools that you can use to self-soothe and emotionally regulate when you feel the angst of withdrawal. Meditation, mindfulness, and self-compassion practices done daily will help you ride the emotional waves that follow.

You can also join a community such as Sex and Love Addicts Annonymous or go to a breakup retreat focused on creating healthy relationship patterns.

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Amy Chan is the Founder of Renew Breakup Bootcamp, a retreat that takes a scientific and spiritual approach to heal the heart. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Heart Hackers Club - an online magazine that focuses on the psychology behind love, lust, and desire. The Observer calls her "A relationship expert whose work is like that of a scientific Carrie Bradshaw" and her company has been featured across national media including Good Morning America, Vogue, Glamour, Nightline, and the front page of The New York Times. Her book, Breakup Bootcamp - The Science of Rewiring Your Heart, was recently published by Harper Collins.

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