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Is it love or are you being love-bombed? Signs you’re entangled with a narcissist.

This post deals with abuse and might be triggering for some readers.

Everything is going great. You’ve met someone new who makes you feel good about yourself. 

He’s exciting, charming and larger than life — you’ve never met anyone like him and sometimes it’s overwhelming how incredible he is. No-one has ever made your self-esteem higher. He’s so perfect that it almost seems too good to be true.

I hate to break it to you but he probably is.

Watch: Women share their relationship deal breakers. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

The phenomenon known as love-bombing has re-entered the conversation again in 2021 thanks to Armie Hammer, who has been publicly outed by his former partners Paige Lorenze and Courtney Vucekovich. Both women have explained in detail the harrowing abuse the disgraced actor allegedly inflicted on them.

If you’ve somehow missed Hammer’s name everywhere online this year (I envy you if this is the case), allow me to catch you up.

Both women have talked about how they initially found Hammer charming and charismatic. 

He entered their lives quickly and before they knew it, he became a persistent presence.

Lorenze alleged that her relationship with Hammer began right after she moved cross-country to Los Angeles — mind you, she was fresh out of a difficult long-term relationship and was feeling vulnerable prior to becoming entangled in Hammer’s web.

Lorenze and Vucekovich both mention how his compliments were so grand and over the top that they sounded like a script from a movie. Lorenze has said on public record that he would say things like, “you’re like art”.

He made both women feel loved and cherished. He showered them in devotion, using it as a tactic to gain control of them without them realising it.

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Lorenze details how she would have done just about anything for Hammer. She was at his mercy. They entered a sadomasochist relationship, which Hammer used to disguise his skewed and misinformed version of BDSM. 

Before Lorenze could fully notice Hammer’s true motive, it was too late — he had allegedly left the young woman mentally scarred and physically mutilated as a result of his abuse.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

You might think that what allegedly happened to Lorenze and Vucekovich was rare.

Not all overly romantic men turn out to be abusers. And while this is true, it can be hard distinguishing someone who is loving from an individual luring you into their web of narcissistic abuse in the initial stages of a relationship.

According to clinical psychologist Ramani Durvasula, who has spent much of their career focussing on narcissistic abuse, the way a victim describes their partner is key to determining the difference between romance and abuse.

“In all my years doing this work, not once did someone, when describing the early months with a narcissistic partner, describe the partner as 'kind', 'respectful' or 'warm'. 

"The more common adjectives were 'fun', 'exciting', 'charming', 'life of the party', 'commanding', 'charismatic', 'good on paper', 'smart', says Durvasula.

The exciting and socially confident narcissist worships you in the beginning stages of the relationship. It’s as if they’ve put a spell on you. When you’re with them, they make you feel like you’re in a dream.

It’s so thrilling that the red flags aren’t going to be obvious.

Why would you doubt someone who makes you feel beautiful, desired, and loved? If he was insulting you, being aggressive and making you feel horrible about yourself, you would be running for the hills. 

But they’re not, so you’re on top of the world and ignorant of what they’re actually doing to you.

You’re addicted and when this happens, the narcissist moves onto the next phase — devaluation.

Without the first phase, the narcissist can’t move onto the devaluation stage. 

They need you dependent on them for them to proceed with their abuse. During this phase of the relationship, the narcissist is unveiled. Their goal now is to take control of you and remove your agency and power.

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You might notice that they’re more agitated now. 

There could be gaslighting happening, threats made, they’re isolating you, controlling aspects of your life, denying their abuse when you question it or manipulating you in various ways.

Perhaps it’s like Lorenze and Vucekovich, where Hammer coerced them to participate in sex acts that went well beyond their boundaries.

After the narcissist reveals their true colours and you finally realise the abuse they’ve inflicted, the narcissist will move to discard you from their life.

You’re no longer needed and they’re planning on finding their next victim — in Lorenze’s case, Hammer had moved onto another girl days after she distanced herself from him. 

The narcissist is always quick to find someone else, their own self-esteem depends on replacing you.

Unfortunately for many women, this isn’t always the final phase. 

Sometimes the narcissist moves to destroy you. They still want you and they’re quick to remind you how much you need them. They might make you reminisce about how incredible the relationship felt early on or maybe the narcissist will love-bomb you all over again — this is sometimes referred to as hoovering.

Again, not all men who shower you in love are narcissistic abusers — perhaps you’ve just found someone who cherishes you. 

However, it’s important you’re aware that there might be a likelihood that your romantic partner is luring you into a psychological cage.

The stories of Lorenze and Vucekovich might seem distant to you, but you don’t want to realise that you’re tangled into a narcissist’s web after it’s too late.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission.

Amy Smolcic is a writer, teacher, content manager of Wickedd Childd and bookworm based in Melbourne. For links to Amy's work, visit her website, www.asmolcic.com. You can follow her on Twitter @amysmolcic.

Feature Image: Getty.