What is Love Bombing? How Love Bombing Can Cause Parental Alienation (Part 1)

What is Love Bombing? How Love Bombing Can Cause Parental Alienation (Part 1)

Family law cases can be emotionally charged and complex – especially when children are involved. One concerning issue that arises in some family law disputes is parental alienation, where one parent attempts to damage the child’s relationship with the other parent. 

To achieve this, the alienating parent may employ a manipulative tactic known as “love bombing.”

In this blog post, we’ll dive into what love bombing is, how it relates to parental alienation, and how the alienating parent can use it to isolate children and make them more susceptible to manipulation.

What is Love Bombing?

Love bombing is a psychological manipulation tactic used by certain individuals to gain control and influence over their targets, which could include children involved in a parental alienation scenario. It involves showering the child with excessive displays of affection, attention, and compliments, creating an emotionally intense and overwhelming environment.

What Is Parental Alienation? 

Parental alienation refers to a complex and troubling situation in which one parent (usually during or after a divorce or separation) manipulates the feelings and perceptions of their child or children in a way that harms their relationship with the other parent. The alienating parent may engage in various tactics to turn the child against the targeted parent, causing emotional estrangement and sometimes outright rejection.

Parental alienation is considered a form of psychological manipulation and emotional abuse, since it undermines the child’s ability to maintain a healthy, loving, and secure relationship with both parents. Learn more about parental alienation here.

Symptoms of Love Bombing

As psychologist Dr. Kory Floyd puts it, love bombing is “an extreme example that turns out to be relatively something I call toxic affection.” 

Here are some red-flag symptoms of love bombing in the context of parental alienation with some help from Unfilteredd, a resource for victims of abuse: 

  • Constantly showering the child with lavish gifts, treats, and surprises
  • Offering excessive praise and compliments, often exaggerated or insincere, to boost the child’s self-esteem
  • Being overly attentive and available to the child’s every need and desire
  • Creating an idealized image of the alienating parent as the only source of love, care, and support in the child’s life
  • Encouraging the child to spend an overwhelming amount of time with the alienating parent, restricting or even sabotaging their time with the targeted parent
  • Making the child feel guilty or disloyal if they show affection or positive feelings towards the targeted parent
  • Sharing intimate or inappropriate information about the alienating parent’s relationship with the targeted parent puts the child in the position of a confidante or ally
  • Disparaging or denigrating the targeted parent in front of the child, planting seeds of doubt about the targeted parent’s character and intentions
  • Ignoring or dismissing any positive attributes or efforts made by the targeted parent, while consistently highlighting their perceived faults
  • Manipulating the child’s emotions by playing on their vulnerabilities, fears, or insecurities to gain emotional control over them

By overwhelming the child with affection and attention, the alienating parent aims to create a powerful bond that makes the child more dependent on them. Once the child is emotionally attached, the alienating parent may begin to exert control and manipulate their perceptions and feelings towards the targeted parent.

Should You Contact a Family Lawyer?

If you’re facing a family law dispute involving parental alienation, it’s essential to seek legal representation from experienced and compassionate attorneys. 

A family lawyer like the compassionate team at Hickey & Hull can offer invaluable legal expertise while keeping your child’s best interests in mind. We understand the complexities of family law cases and the sensitivity required when children are involved. We can also offer mediation services, and court representation for custody rearrangements, and refer you to our plethora of family resources. 

Our team is dedicated to protecting the best interests of your children and advocating for your rights as a parent. 

Contact us today for a consultation and let us guide you through this challenging time. Chat, fill out our online form, or contact us today to get a free consultation. Our River Valley office number is 479.434.2414, and our Northwest Arkansas number is 479.802.6560.