Maybe you’ve been “love-bombed.” Has anyone you’ve dated moved too far too fast, phoning all the time with flattery and showing up on your doorstep bringing gifts, and after two dates is already talking about marriage? Was it thrilling – or scary?
We are fortunate that our culture now acknowledges manipulative behavior – even when it looks like love — as abuse, and our eyes are open to phenomena such as malignant narcissism, personality disorders and online scams that leave victims broke and disheartened. One of these abusive techniques, “love-bombing,” was invented and named by a cult that seduced people into joining by being overly attentive and friendly, gradually convincing people to give up their former way of life and surrender their money, property and freedom. Especially vulnerable were those living joyless or friendless lives, or who felt life was pointless or unfulfilling.
But those first few months of a new relationship, when it’s a joy to meet, to text constantly, to be overwhelmed with delight that someone has chosen you or you’ve found a new special friend or exactly the church or group you’ve dreamed of, that promises you so much, how do you know you’re not being bewitched or brainwashed?
Social Media’s Emotional Abuse
Social media have given us new forms of interaction permitting strangers to access our lives and feelings. We now have “ghosting” and “catfishing” and “revenge porn,” “cyber bullying,” “online stalking,” “shaming” and “creepshots.” Saying no to smiling cult members handing out leaflets in the street is easy compared to being catfished – which might require you to shut down most or all of your social media connections or accounts, or result in public humiliation.
Nobody wants that, but for love we will risk it. Those who want power over you are experienced at finding people so starved for attention or romance or “the answers” that they can be love-bombed into relationships with narcissists, scammers or extremist groups. “I don’t know how they drew me in,” people say, or “They made me feel important.”
Technology seems like magic. How easy it is now – through words alone — for one group of people to love-bomb others, or “demonize” others until we and our posse will endorse stupid beliefs like “All Republicans are racists” or “The media is the enemy of the people.” Arising from this kind of idiot discourse are rumors such as “Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez belongs to a witch coven that casts spells on Donald Trump 24/7.” As technology grows more magical, these kinds of accusations will multiply. As “beliefs” and “feelings” displace facts, more people will believe occult forces are at work.
You will know the difference between the magic of being romanced and being psychologically manipulated because manipulators try to isolate you and occupy every spare minute, and seem to know your thoughts or hopes. They will message that they are your only true friends or true love, that the rest of the world including your family and friends, the people you thought loved you, and even servers at restaurants, are hostile or ignorant of the real meaning of life, and have no idea of how special you are and how much love and honor you deserve.
Between Magic and Psychology
One nice thing about the New Age is that no New Ager forces others to think a certain way. People have their viewpoints, but can choose them ala carte. You can be a fond follower of the teachings of Louise Hay or a yogi or Seth or Jesus Christ, or all of them; or be a wholehearted practitioner of kabbalistic numerology who won’t make a move without it, but that’s your choice and you are never stuck with it, and there’s no “one right way.”
The other side of the coin is that you may not force anyone to believe as you do, nag anyone to buy or read or sit through what they don’t care for, or join an organization. No New Ager suggests isolating yourself from family and friends, or quitting the job that keeps you independent – unless, of course, you want to. While New Agers might say that the universe will then feed and keep you, they don’t promise to do it themselves.
And no one in the New Age will give you a basic book or pamphlet and say that you must believe every word, or believe every word uttered by the person in charge. And the New Age does not promote suspicion or hate but considers all things and people – not only you! – with a loving eye and mind.