Do most FAs love bomb? Can anyone explain this process whether you do it or have had it done TO you? Is this part of the idea of the false self?
I’m pretty sure I’ve love bombed before. I was afraid to lose control of the situation, because I wasn’t in control internally, vis a vis my feelings. Couldn’t let go but couldn’t move forward, so I love bombed to keep them near. It wasn’t malicious, it was just what I did.
Mine sent flowers to my job twice in three days after our first date... He also bought lots of things I did not ask for perhaps to smooth over the not so desirable behaviour. Maybe a preemptive move. I also belive he online sjops like mad in his isolation.
Thought he was a straight up Narc at first. Classic move.
For mine, first 6 months he was model boyfriend, big gestures, attentive, then we said we loved each other and he broke up with me. Then it became part of his cycling, perfect boyfriend, withdraw, breakup, perfect boyfriend, withdraw, breakup. He said 'he was trying really hard to make it work.' Which for me didnt make sense as I can only go all in if I love someone.
Now he's with someone else and they're moving really, really fast.
I think FAs and APs may do this to a lesser extent that I wouldn't necessarily call lovebombing, and they have motivations that they're not conscious of.
But I think people with actual personality disorders and other issues more serious than attachment full-on lovebomb (sometimes consciously, sometimes not).
An AP idealizes their partner and projects that idealization, especially at the beginning, when they don't know the partner and put them on a pedestal. Partner is viewed as better than self, and winning / keeping the partner's attention and affection is really important because it makes the AP feel better about themselves (they seek external validation to regulate). Later, it also eases the inevitable fear of abandonment. If giving a lot of attention seems to be winning the partner over, the AP will put in the effort, but it's in earnest because they believe the partner is that great and deserves to be treated like royalty while also wishing the partner would treat them the same way.
There's some of this anxiety for the FA, but there's an additional component of using people-pleasing because they learned to do that at some point as children. The FA may have ambivalent or shifting feelings which can lead to more focus on appearing perfect, both to win over the partner first so they can later attempt to sort out their own feelings and decide if they even like the person later and to keep an certain amount of control over their own environment.
Neither of those motivations are intended as malicious if it's being caused by attachment issues. They're both different slants on a fear of abandonment. Some of the difference is because AP and FA share a negative view of self, but FA also distrusts others whereas AP holds others in high regard.
I dont think its love bombing as thats a more narc thing but they are in love in those moments so it can feel like love bombing.
When my FA circles hes all lovey/communicative until deactivation starts to kick in, then poof. I know his pattern now. I accept who he is and he doesn't trigger me anymore. Somewhere under that attachment he does care or he wouldn't circle. Just like I think deep down under his attachment he knows Im not out to hurt him, he just becomes triggered.
Mine is circling now and putting is some serious effort this round. I even told him it like it is and he hasn't run yet. I dont hold back, I talk to him from a calm secure place, he runs, he runs. Im expecting he will and its ok, I just keep living my life and stay friendly with him. We get along well outside his attachment so Im ok staying friendly with him.
janedoe, it's pretty tough for actual narcissists to fake empathy because people with NPD don't have any. That's one of the traits. If you would see empathy in him but then it would flip a switch off, he probably got triggered by something in the moment and then was no longer able to access it until the triggered episode ended. But either way, as you know, that kind of lack in consistency makes for a pretty terrible relationship situation. Walking was the right thing to do, even though it was difficult. I know because I've been there, too.
I think that does a good job going into detail about what I was trying to say. Personality disordered lovebombing is intended to be seductive. Attachment style attention isn't usually intended to mislead like that, but is a way to try to get personal needs met that are less related to truly caring about the partner (because the needs are stemming from whatever unconfronted past trauma caused the insecure attachment style). Not that they don't care, but there's multiple agendas happening (they may care about the partner but it's just as important that they're using the relationship to meet the other personal needs I listed in my first comment above, and may have dysfunctional ways of trying to do that).
janedoe, one thing I've experienced is a disconnect between how past FA partners have viewed themselves and reality. Like, some of them were very aspirational in how they saw and described themselves. Their self-esteem was not great but there were certain traits they aspired to and idealized and they almost couldn't handle failing to have them. So they projected those traits onto themselves when talking about themselves or projected their frustration and lack in times of more clarity onto me. It was all very strange and inconsistent, especially when I'd be accused of not having one of these traits that I did actually have. I actually have been told from others with FA partners about having this same thing happen to them as well.
janedoe, it sounds to me like you're describing the inability to emotionally self-regulate that unaware APs and unaware anxious FAs have. They need external regulation because their negative view of self just doesn't allow them to self-sooth properly. That leads to the boundary issues you're talking about.
I wondered if one of my FA exes was a narcissist and emotionally abusing me for a long while. I eventually concluded no, though he gets really crappy when he's deactivating and just isn't a kind person, but it's FA dysfunctional defense mechanism stuff not lack of empathy narcissism. The only reason it "mattered" was nothing can ever get better with someone with NPD, and they are incapable of even caring about others. If it was attachment, it didn't mean he didn't care, but I had to be diligent about boundaries and, once I got over the relationship, decide if I wanted an inconsistent person in my life as a friend. If he had NPD, I would absolutely not want that in my life.
In terms of differentiating romantically, or being diligent about it for future partners, it doesn't matter because all that matters is if you don't want inconsistency and defensive behavior, you'll want to avoid dating either type. So focusing on being true to your own needs and boundaries is the best defense against getting pulled into a situation that's negative for you.
Well, in my case, his EQ and empathy are low, but I do know he actually cares about me (he's shown me that when I've been sick, for example). The times he hurt me were always during avoidant deactivation and were about withdrawing in fear and poor communication, not about lashing out at me. The problem is not a lack of empathy for me but rather if there was anything that triggered him, he always chose to "protect" himself (from imagined threats) in a way that was often unfair and could seem totally thoughtless (stonewalling, future-faking, etc.) rather than communicating and exploring compromise. Plus, he's excellent at self-sabotage and feels more comfortable with chaos than stability. Trusting in him completely as a partner in that situation was a recipe for pain. And, of course I didn't understand any of that during the relationship.
But after I went no contact for a long period of time, I spent a few weeks dating someone who truly lacked empathy and did a malicious 180, culminating in a long screaming fit brought on by nothing. It was a total character assassination of me with no remorse during or after. Having that stare me in the face really put into perspective someone who cares and means well but has some limited emotional maturity and communication ability versus someone who cares nothing about me and is simply seeking control. I don't know if that guy had NPD, but I ran away and went forever no contact with him after he spoke to me that way. I've also dealt with relatives who do have NPD, and I've never seen any change or progress. But in dealing with them, I've felt they never saw me as an independent person -- It was like they only saw me as an extension of themselves. I've read descriptions of people with NPD as they appear to only see others as mirrors reflecting back at them, and that struck me as accurate.
Did you often feel that way with this guy? That you were not seen as a person but as an extension? Have you looked through descriptions of NPD? I find it very different than FA, but if you've never dealt with either I can see how it all just seems confusing.