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Love bombing refers to a cult recruitment tactic, in which a cult overwhelms potential recruits with "love", giving the feeling that their emotional and social needs will be met by joining the cult. Cult watchers often included love bombing as one of the features that may identify an organization as a cult.
History of the term
The term originated with the Children of God, and was later adopted by the Unification Church (a.k.a. "the Moonies"). The term has passed into general usage to refer to other cults which employ similar tactics (although most cults themselves never use the term).
As many potential cult members come from broken homes or are socially awkward or sexually frustrated, love bombing is effective in giving them a sense of belonging through identification with and subservience to the cult, and conversely reinforcing their internalized belief that "the world" apart from the cult is a hostile place from which the cult is a haven.
A "love bomb" is a purported weapon that the US military attempted to develop sometime in the 80s or 90s as a relatively "peaceful" way of disorientating or demoralising enemy troops. The bomb was intended to contain a collection of pheromones and other chemicals designed to make the enemy soldiers incredibly horny, and thus turn gay, preferably on each other.
Love bombing is a psychological technique often used by domestic abusers, including psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists at the start of relationships. Whether the abuse is physical, verbal or merely psychological, the abusers will all too frequently resume the love bombing when their partner begins to show signs of planning to leave. Abusive parents will also use this tactic when they fear their children moving away and ceasing to take care of them.