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He thinks about how to love bomb you.

Cain Parish

In This Article:

One of my most popular articles on medium.com – it comes from a series I did from the perspective of abusers and narcissists. I hope you like it.

A cartoon love bomb with a heart on it and a lit fuse

Table of Contents

He picked you out of a crowd.

Not because of romance, not because of serendipity, but because of what you represented.

Your eyes had just enough sadness, and your smile was just a little bit too thin.

You saw a connection, a person, another human that had potential to enrich your life and become something to you.

He saw a mark, a resource, a utilitarian evaluation of what you could give to him.

Through chance or through intention, you two met and exchanged simple things like names, hobbies, feelings. Giving parts of yourself to him was an act of generosity, a way of showing interest.

His entire personality was a mirror. He gave back what he received from you. At no point did your conversation achieve anything other than give him indication of what you find valuable.

Some people call them love languages. Others call them preferences, or green flags, or any other of a dozen names, simply describing things you like in another person. For your budding romance to take hold, you want to see these things in him.

We are all desperate creatures. It’s easiest to trick those that want to be tricked, to fool people that are even slightly desperate for intimacy, love and connection.

While you were planning dates or feeling the sweet pang of anxiety that comes with butterflies, he was panning for details that made it that much easier to work his hooks in.

Everything you admit to me is a tool I can use later. My memory latches onto useful information, and discards useless bits like feelings. We narcissists are systematic creatures, and what we do is often intentional and carefully designed.

I profile everyone around me, sizing people up. I learned very young to see the finer details, to read faces and bodies, to gauge moods. What started as a defence mechanism is now the way I pick my parasitic relationships.

I want someone vibrant, but with a hint of pain. Someone that has a fountain of energy that I can feed off. There needs to be a wound under the surface. Vulnerability is a weakness in my eyes, and I am very, very good at exploiting it. The flimsier your self esteem, the more I want to latch onto you and poke and prod at your emotions.

On our first dates, you volunteer information. Likes and dislikes, past romances, goals and aspirations. What you mean as a simple method to get to know each other becomes my way of knowing what you want to hear. What makes you happy. What buttons I can push to make you feel. Good, bad, neutral, I can cause your mood to shift in a heartbeat.

And as much as I know how to make you smile, how to do the things that cause you the most joy, I also know what you despise. The features that you’re the most insecure about. The issues at work or at home that make you well up with tears. You thought you were telling me because I could support you. And I will. For a time.

You thought he saw the good parts of you. You thought it was a connection built off mutual interest and someone finally willing to put the effort in. The green flags came in a flurry, almost as if he was intentionally showing you his patience, his kindness, his love. To some, the love of a narcissist is like a firecracker. Intensity and vibrance in the briefest of bursts, before fading away and somehow making the absence of light even darker by contrast.

He became fixated on you in a way nobody had before. You felt special, loved, supported. You had done nothing but be yourself, and in his eyes, that was enough to deserve the world. You could feel a passion, almost bordering on an obsession.

Your relationship moved fast. Past every milestone in the blink of an eye. The adventures he would take you on felt like they moved the relationship at breakneck speed, that every day with him was worth three in a conventional romance. It’s hard to object when you’re having this much fun, when you feel this understood, when you feel so loved and cherished and cared for.

Your dreams are coming true. You begin to let down your walls.

Slowly but surely, you move from liking him to needing him. You realise you’re better around him than you were alone. The dependence begins to foster, helped by his kind words of affection. He shows you the errors of your ways. Those toxic people in your life, that you’d really be better off without.

Suddenly, you see the people in your life doing you harm. Your friends, chastising you for spending time with him, are just jealous. Your family wants to control you. All your relationships have fatal flaws, and the solution is to cut them out and throw them away. Why would you need them anymore?

You have him.

I feel so intensely at the start of my new relationships. Everyone before you was different, inferior. My obsession grows alongside my delusions, until I’ve even started to fool myself. I wanted you because of my need for supply, but somehow I’ve tricked myself into feeling the only love I can feel.

A hollow love.

Really, it’s more of an infatuation, but I’m too emotionally stunted to know the difference. I idolise you in my mind, knowing that everything I do is making you fall harder and harder for me. For now, that’s exactly what I want. The love of my life is in my arms. Of course, I said that with the one before you, and the one before her. But this time it’s different.

Because it’s you.

I have practice now. I know how to be a good boyfriend. I know what you like. You told it to me, remember? I can give you everything you ever wanted, now, right here. Those harpies and naysayers around you, giving you ideas that aren’t mine, are bad for you. I know best. I love you, remember?

You should cut them out. They’re getting in the way of us. They’re making it harder to believe how special this is. I hate them for that. And you make me feel so fantastic. I can’t stand to have people distracting from that. All the supply I could ever want is mine, in the here and now. Because of you.

I beg of you, let me in. Past your walls and defences, past the boundaries that you set up to hold yourself together. There’s no reason to keep things from me anymore. I know I said all that stuff about being horrible, but you make me feel different. Trust me, I’m a narcissist. That makes sense, doesn’t it?

You’re at the peak. Everything is fantastic. You know in your heart of hearts that he has you, but you trust him. He’s never let you down before. You’ve seen how sweet he can be, how generous and kind. You could live like this forever. It doesn’t matter that you’ve started to doubt yourself.

It doesn’t matter that you don’t see your friends and family as much anymore.

It doesn’t matter that you’re hopelessly dependent on him.

It doesn’t matter that he could crush you with a single look.

Because he wouldn’t. He loves you.

Right?

You did something wrong.

You had to have done something wrong. Surely. There has to be an explanation…

You can see it in his eyes. Something’s different. There was so much love, affection, care, all wrapped up in his gaze. And now, it’s gone. Replaced by nothing. Sheer apathy and the absence of emotion is all you see when he looks at you.

And you can feel him pulling away.

The gifts start to vanish. His words become less endearing, less supportive. You hear remarks that make you start to look at yourself in a different way. You could do no wrong in his eyes. Now, you can do nothing right.

I love you more than I’ve loved anyone since the last time I said that to a woman.

In my eyes, you’re absolutely flawless. The good feelings that you give me make you the most perfect person on the planet. Until they don’t anymore.

Actually, now that I look at you, you’ve gained some weight recently. You could stand to dress better. You’re starting to get a little bit too comfortable around here. I don’t feel quite as good about you anymore.

Oh.

That was bad.

You didn’t put quite as much effort in on our regular date night.

What, am I not worth it anymore? Are you dismissing me? Has someone else got what I don’t have?

You ungrateful harlot. I did everything for you, and you couldn’t even be bothered to stay perfect forever. You’re positively crazy. I was the best thing that’s ever happened to you. You peaked when we got together. I am so far out of your league it’s not even close to funny.

Now that I think about it, I should’ve seen the warnings. I bet you turned away in bed because you were hiding something on your phone. I knew that letting you have male friends was a terrible idea. Of course you were bound to disappoint me, I knew how rotten and despicable you were from the start.

I’m the only one that would ever love you. Don’t you see how all of your friends and family pulled away from you? They just figured it out before I did. How you were only worth rejecting.

You start off in shock. In pure disbelief. This abrupt, insidious transition is almost unbelievable. How could the person you thought you were with become this absolute monster overnight? The things he says about you are downright cruel.

Maybe there’s some truth to them, though…

Maybe he’s not crazy. Maybe you actually deserved it all along.

It’s almost easier to believe that you’re worthless than to accept he’s got his hooks in you.

He picked his mark perfectly. You were full of life, absolutely radiant. But underneath the confidence and the enthusiasm, there was just enough pain. Enough to let that little voice in the back of your mind distract you. The little voice that tells you everything he’s saying is right.

That you’re worthless.

That you’re not worthy of love.

That he’s the best you’re ever going to get.

So you stay. You stick around. You endure the psychological torture of a partner that is erratic, uncommunicative, apathetic. You put up with the abuse, the gaslighting, the mistreatment.

All because he was a master of his craft.

He love bombed you so completely, so fully, that you were transformed into an anxious shell of your former self.

Your dependence was an addiction, one fostered by a practiced professional. When he took away his phoney love, his illusion of affection, your withdrawal symptoms were almost too much to bear.

He thought about this for a long time. It was a mixture of pathological and calculated. A narcissist is fully immersed into his manipulations. Sometimes he knows what he’s doing, other times he weaves such a compelling narrative he even fools himself.

We aren’t even a tenth as good at lying to others as we are at lying to ourselves.

Eventually you find a way out. Whether he can’t be bothered to keep up the façade any longer, or whether you find the strength to make a change, eventually the two of you part ways. He forgets about you within relative seconds. The most heart-breaking part is that you never really meant anything to him.

What he could get from you was the only important part. You were as valuable as your utility allowed. When you inevitably slipped up and faltered, because you’re human, his perfect illusion of you was shattered, and replaced with rage, malice and contempt.

But, because you’re human, you can heal from this. Your path forward is difficult, and full of pain. But it is a path to something better. With practice, time, and intent, you can recognise the psychological debris that he left scattered in his wake. You can take the anxiety away and replace it with surety, with confidence.

The world view you were given by him is faulty. You can discard it and replace it with one you make yourself. With every part of the destruction that he caused, you have the opportunity to rebuild.

It certainly isn’t easy, or quick. But you are a survivor. You’ve been given strength by your ability to overcome this adversity. Some days, you get out of bed just to spite him. He is worthy of your hatred, until you can find the strength to forget about him. Despise him for what he did, until you don’t have to think of him at all.

He is a broken person, doomed to a vicious cycle of making other people just as broken.

And you’ll be damned if you let him win.

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About

Cain Parish

Cain Parish is the owner of cainparish.com. A prolific writer, educator and relationship coach since 2019, he specializes in dating, relationships, emotional intelligence and social skills. He is also the author and creator of the world’s largest and most comprehensive database for dating and relationship advice, which can be found on his website. His first book, I’m Sorry I Egged Your House, is due to be published in 2024.

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