Dear Amy: I am 21 and just getting into the dating game.
My father is a narcissist and used love-bombing to get my mom.
I’ve watched her go through multiple men who used the same tactic. I understand how abusive these men turned out to be.
I’m also a psychology student, so I tend to read a lot into things.
My question is: How do I take a compliment without my brain throwing up red flags?
I’m having the hardest time still talking to people if they call me beautiful, or if they give me any other compliment.
– Confused Dater
Dear Dater: “Love bombing” is a term describing a specific kind of attention which is lavished on a potential partner in order to essentially ensnare the person in a relationship. This refers to showering (“bombing”) the person with affection, attention, gifts, compliments, and premature declarations of friendship or love.
This technique is often used by potential abusers to destabilize and control their partners.
Knowing about “love bombing” can help to protect you in future relationships.
It is important that you always remain true to your most authentic self – but it can be hard to locate that anchor when you’re feeling overwhelmed or unsure of an attraction.
I’m happy to report that a compliment is not necessarily the first grenade in a love-bombing campaign.
When I was your age, I countered every compliment with a self-deprecating denial, until a friend responded: “Amy. Just say ‘Thank you.’”
“Thank you” is the only response required. After that, you should remain in the space with an open attitude to see what happens next.
Because you are entering this phase of life as a skeptic, a “love bomb” will feel completely fake, inauthentic, premature and manipulative.
You will know it when it is lobbed in your direction.
Dear Amy: I used to be on Facebook. I never posted much. I’m a private person and always felt anxious if I did post anything.
But my husband loves it and I swear he lives for it.
A little over a year ago, we lost our son.
I wrote a poem about this and texted it to my husband so he could see it.
My sister-in-law told me, “That was a beautiful poem you wrote about your son.”
She had seen it on FB.
I was livid. My husband did not even ask me. He just took it upon himself and posted it on Facebook. That was my poem! I shared it with him and he shared it with the world. He deleted it.
My husband’s cousin also tragically lost her son a couple of years ago and my sister-in-law took it upon herself to post this on Facebook to let the family know before her cousin even had a chance to call them herself.
My husband and I walk a lot. My husband’s sister recently contacted me about a post my husband put on Facebook.
She said, “I see you and my brother went for a walk today.”
I asked her how she knew about that. “He posted it on Facebook,” she said.
I understand that Facebook is a good way to stay connected to family and friends and (in my husband’s case) total strangers.
I now hate Facebook. It has become so annoying and not private.
Am I wrong for feeling angry about these violations of my privacy?
It’s like it’s taken over the world.
– Private Wife
Dear Private: No, you are not wrong. Your husband either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care to understand, what it feels like to you when he violates your privacy.
I am so sorry he has made these choices, which range from annoying you to wounding you deeply. Call him on it every single time until he gets the message. Furthermore, you seem to have a sister-in-law who enjoys leaping over boundaries. Be extremely judicious about anything you choose to share with her.
I agree that Facebook is annoying, intrusive, and often destructive to relationships.
I’ve said before – I’ll say it again – that jumping off of that particular platform was one of the smartest things I’ve done in recent years. (Although I do genuinely miss learning about various milestone moments in people’s lives.)
Dear Amy: Regarding the question you received about what to do with blank notecards and occasion cards received from charities – my local Meals on Wheels likes to give their recipients cards for special occasions. They will happily accept nice cards for those purposes.
Dear LH: This is a great idea.
(You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)
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