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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

A Therapist Explains the ‘Undetectable’ Way a Narcissist Might Be Love-Bombing You

We’ve all heard of love-bombing: the inundation of affection and romantic gestures from a prospective partner that might not necessarily be genuine. According to clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula love-bombing is often a red flag that you’re being wooed by a narcissist, and that you may even be in the early stages of a narcissistic relationship.

But while a grandiose narcissist’s love-bombing might be on the more obvious side and fairly easy to detect, Durvasula explains that there is another kind of narcissist—a “vulnerable” narcissist—whose tactics often go under the radar. We might tend to think of all narcissists as attention-seekers, but a vulnerable narcissist is more likely to be perceived as shy or socially anxious, and their equivalent of love-bombing is subtler and more insidious.

“If you are somebody who is at all prone to wanting to rescue people, or fix them… you may be at risk to meeting a vulnerable narcissist,” she says. “Often, vulnerable narcissistic folk often come off as being kind of down on their luck… That new vulnerable narcissist in your life has a risk of becoming a bit of a ‘project.'”

Durvasula goes on to describe the “intense humility” that a vulnerable narcissist might exhibit, as well as assertions that life has “never been fair” to them when it comes to school or work opportunities. They may go into great detail describing childhood struggles with their families or with bullies.

“You’ll want to be there, as an empathic person would be, and you’ll want to help them, and perhaps let them know that they are safe with you,” she says. “It can feel really comforting to be that to someone who has ever suffered. Unfortunately, what you’re going to realize over time is that no matter how much empathy or how many caring ears you offer them, they will forever seem stuck in that victimized place and cannot move forward from that mindset.”

This, she explains, is their version of love-bombing. Once a narcissist has shared their sad backstory with you, you might feel safe enough to share your own problems with them, leading to a sense of intimacy. “It’ll feel like something deep,” says Durvasula. “But it backfires… Because all that vulnerable stuff you shared? It’ll get weaponized against you.”

Philip Ellis
Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist from the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues.

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James Rodriguez
Go to the gym when I have some free time. My family is very important for me. I like to listen to music with headphones.

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