Love bombing- It’s not just for religions anymore. It’s a very powerful propaganda technique. Feel like you’ve lost one too many elections lately? Unloved? Ignored?
Be very, very careful:
Does OWS love bomb? From what I can tell, no. OWS is completely passive about who joins them. They do not recruit and they won’t flatter you or make you feel loved. If you ever feel that way at a OWS rally, leave. The only exception was the batsignal. But note that the batsignal was directed outwards to the world. It said “Occupy Earth” because the point is not to exclude anyone. The point of love bombing is to exclude everyone who does not belong to the group. You derive your self-worth and self-esteem from the group and seeing the world as your enemy, not potential friends.
Here’s another, more detailed explanation of love bombing from a former JW. CSTapostate takes you step by step through the process.
Note that the initial love bombing is not the thing that keeps people in the group. Love bombing becomes an effective cult retention technique when a new recruit begins to have doubts. Once you have identified with the group and have taken on the new personality because you have been praised and loved, the last thing you want is to lose that shiny new you and all of the love and acceptance that comes with it. You don’t want to become like the less special people, the less spiritual, less intelligent, less enlightened, less beautiful.
The point is not that you are or are not any of those things. The point is that if you feel that someone can deprive you of your self -worth because that someone gave you that personality in the first place, if you feel like that someone could deprive you of that specialness by deciding to exclude you from the group when you raise questions or express doubts, then you have been manipulated through love bombing.
If you have doubts about the movement or group you are in, one of the ways to discover whether you have been love bombed is to ask yourself if you are allowed to dissent or question and still remain in the group. If you can answer yes, then the group is low control and you’re safe. If your doubts are followed by accusations that you are no longer quite as shiny, creative and intelligent as they thought and that maybe you are secretly a bigot or something equally reprehensible, then you are in a high control group and you should do research about the group before you get in any further.
For example, if you are in the left wing media or blogosphere, do you feel obligated to bash Bill Clinton whenever you’re writing a column or doing an interview thinking that if you *don’t* immediately distance yourself from any sympathies to the Clinton administration you might not be invited back? Did you ever ask yourself why you feel that way? Go on, ask yourself.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions and exercising independent thought. If you feel uncomfortable making independent decisions in a group because you fear you will lose the love, get out.
Postscript: I watched that CSTapostate video again and something hit me that I hadn’t noticed before. He used the example of holidays. JWs separate new JWs from their families by forbidding holidays. CST goes on to describe the messiness of holidays. Families gather in one house and they end up sleeping on floors and everything is kind of messy but that’s Ok because the whole experience is bonding. It brings everyone together. One of the first things JWs tell new recruits is that there can be no family holidays anymore. If you as the new JW recruit can’t give up holiday gatherings, then maybe you weren’t the beautiful, highly spiritual, good association they thought you were. Maybe younger, more vulnerable members of the congregation should limit their contact with you until you’re ready to fulfill your obligations. The WBTS breaks up families and bonding experiences when they love bomb because the WBTS is a high control group.
If you don’t see the similarity to the violent evictions of OWS occupation sites, you haven’t been paying attention. The last thing a high control group wants is for us to get together in one big holiday sleepover where we can find common ground and bond. That’s why Occupiers are made to look dirty, crazy-radical, lazy, disgruntled, sexually promiscuous and indiscreet, and indiscriminate about where they poop. If you start to sympathize with the Occupiers, you will take on those characteristics and you will no longer be part of the group of clean, upstanding American citizens. The most important task that the media had to do during the fall was to make the occupiers as reprehensible as possible in order to discourage the average American who has doubts about the direction that the country is going in to actually go down to an occupation site and meet some occupiers. The high control elements in our society did not want any of us bonding over a campfire song.
If anything, OWS is underlining the seriousness of the situation we are in. The country is in the grip of a high control authoritarian cult.