Shush…Someone is Following Me

You can’t move at ease, you feel like every step you make is being watched and you feel that there is someone behind you. But when you turn to look back, there is no one there, Is this just a feeling or there is really someone following you. Well,  Stalking has been around since then. But today, I’m going to step up a notch so that you will know what goes in the mind of a stalker, their motives, impacts on their victims lives, how to deal with the stalker and what you have to do in case you become a victim.

Before we go further let us describe what is stalking, Stalking is a crime is that is a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment or another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. Stalkers could be men and women alike, Although they said there is an overwhelming number of men stalkers but surprisingly women stalks nearly as men do, it is just unreported. Stalking has been labeled by the Government law as harassment, annoyance, or domestic violence. Stalkers always plunge their victims in fear and terror by following them repeatedly or making contact i.e phone calls, computer communication, letter writing, despite the victims  unwanted contact.

Psychologists group the stalkers into two categories: psychotic and non-psychotic. Psychotic meaning they are having psychotic disorder such as delusional disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder. The non psychotic may exhibit disorders or neuroses such as major depression, adjustment disorder, substance dependence and a variety of Axis II personality disorder (such as antisocial, avoidant, borderline, dependent, narcissistic or paranoid). Some of the symptoms of “obsessing” over a person is part of obsessive compulsive disorder. The non-psychotic stalkers’ pursuit of victims can be influenced by various psychological factors, including anger, hostility, projection of blame, obsession,dependency, minimization, denial and jealousy.

Zona and colleagues 1993 have also described three types of stalkers which are as follows: simple obsession, erotomania, love obsession. The love obsession is a type of stalker that develops a fixation with the person that they have no personal relationship. Their target may be a casual relationship or a total stranger. e.g of this stalkers might be your  schoolmate, a neighbor, or a person that you have just seen in the street, and they want to live out their fantasies. Erotomania is a type of stalker that  holds a delusional belief (a paranoid disorder) that they are being loved by their target, even if it is not expressed. They may be people whom you have been involved romantically ( former spouse, boyfriend, one-night stand) or otherwise co-worker. Sometimes their target or object of affection are well-known person or complete strangers. Simple obsession is a type of stalker who has some previous or current personal or romantic relationship with the victim. These include all intimate partner cases, as well as intimate and casual dating relationships, co-workers, and casual friends. Rejection often triggers this type of stalking. Stalkers turn to threats and violence as a means of reestablishing their control over the victim.

There are other types being described i.e narcissist, erotomania, paranoid. The narcissist feel that they are entitled to your time, admiration, resources. This type of stalker can turn violent. The erotomania is the same as describe above, while paranoid is the far most dangerous among the three. They thrive to cause fear, threats and anxiety to the victim.

In “A Study of Stalkers” Mullen et al.. (2000) identified five types of stalkers: Rejected stalkers, Resentful stalkers, Intimacy seekers, Incompetent suitors, and Predatory stalkers. The Rejected stalkersdivorce, separation, estrangement, break-ups, termination). resulting from a dissolution of a relationship. pursue their victims in order to reverse, correct, or avenge a rejection (e.g. Resentful stalkers goal is to frighten and distress the victim. in pursue of vendetta, because the stalkers experience feelings of injustice. Intimacy seekers pursue an intimate relationship with an individual perceived as their true love or soul mate, but their attentions are not wanted by the object of their affection. The incompetent suitors are pursuing their victim because this man had been rebuffed  after asking a woman for a date, so then he begin to stalk in hope that his persistent behavior will change the woman’s mind. Predatory stalkers spy on the victim in order to prepare and plan a sexual attack. They are motivated purely by the desire for sexual gratification and power over their victim. This type of stalker is sexually deviant.

The effects of stalkers on their victims are immense, Studies shown that stalking is a psychological terrorism. The victim may experience a post traumatic stress disorder, fear, depressedmood anxiety, sleep disturbance, such as nightmares, fatigue, appetite disturbance, suicidal thoughts, and various somatic complaints such as headache, indigestion, and nausea. Victims may feel this, because they felt that the stalker is in control and that they are powerless. Stalking effect is really damaging.

If you are being stalked by stranger or someone you know, I would personally advice you to report it to the local authorities. Next, learn means on how to protect yourself physically i.e study martial arts or any self-defense like yours truly or always carry with you any protective materials like pen knife, or  a pepper spray like what my friend told me. Protect one’s privacy i.e don’t give your numbers, address etc to untrusted people, have your cellphone line open at all time in case the stalker cut your phone lines. Get a post office box and used it in all your correspondence. Document every contact attempt, do not get into the pattern of being angry or too nice to strangers, lastly which is important try to seek a support group, they can give you support and they will build an opportunity for you to meet other people who experience the same. Support groups can also give you motivation how to overcome  the mental obstacles.