When my daughter was a baby, I used to take her out to the small playground where she slept in the sun in her pram and I used to read a book. One day, a man with a small child sat on the next bench and started a conversation – nothing unusual, things about the kids and I participated rather reluctantly.
We talked for about 20 minutes and I left. The next day I was headed towards a supermarket not quite near my home with the baby in the pram. Halfway, I felt strange uneasiness and turned round. A few meters behind me there he was, the same man with his sweet little boy.
He was surprised to see me and started talking about coincidences in life. I tried to shake him off, but I had to go and get the stuff I needed and he said he was headed in the same direction.
In the supermarket I tried to hide from him, but he seemed to find me at every corner, and while I went out with so much stuff, he had bought two French loaves. He had no intention of leaving me and I had no option but to head back home.
He asked me why my husband didn’t do the shopping and I made the crucial mistake of telling him he was in hospital. And then he went on about his disastrous marriage and how he had the child just for the week and he was divorcing his wife and blah, blah, blah.
It was a strange feeling – like I was dealing with a mentally unstable person, so I lied I was going to visit a friend and went into the entrance next to mine, climbed to the fourth floor and looked out of the corridor window. He waited in front for about an hour.
My baby was hungry and she was crying. Finally, he went away and I got home safely. To my surprise, the next morning when I looked out of the window, he was sitting on the bench in front of my entrance with a broad smile, his boy playing near and that was the day I didn’t go out. Then, there were many days like these. I have no idea how he had found out which apartment was mine, but he started leaving notes at the door and presents and flowers. True story.
I had a friend in the police and told him about him. I don’t know what happened, but he disappeared. For a while. A few months later, I changed flats and went to live in a neighborhood 20 kilometers away.
No, not because of him, but because of the lower rent. Three years had passed when one day, coming back with my daughter from the kindergarten, I saw him. He was walking around the blocks, looking at balconies like a madman. He had found the neighborhood, but I was sure there was no way he could have found my block, floor and apartment.
I was in panic, but then he disappeared again. A few months passed and then I saw him talking to a woman from my entrance. In the evening, she called me and told me my brother (I don’t have one) had lost my new address and was asking about me, using my first name (he never knew my family name) and the poor woman assisted him and told him exactly which my balcony was and what time I got back from work.
He was there. Everywhere. Everywhere I went, with a man or alone, but I moved about mostly with male friends out of fear, but he was there – at the places I worked, at the places I met up with friends, at the kindergarten, at the market, on the bus… he was there, smiling like crazy and looking at me with puppy eyes, believing I would someday come to my senses and love him… or what?
I changed the country. Not because of him, but three years of that, on top all I was going through, was too much.
I always try to approach a topic from personal experience and that was not a pleasant one. Stalking is a nasty business for the receiving end and for the stalker it can be painful or satisfying, depending on the kind of stalker we are talking about.
I’m sure most men and women have experienced the unpleasantness of being an object of constant following. How that man had managed to find me miles away in times when Internet and mobile phones were not what they are now, is beyond me, but with time, I have found out that a stalker, male or female, can be extremely creative.
I had several others and every time there is this spooky feeling that your life is not yours anymore. The purpose also varies, depending on whether you have had some relationship with them, or if they are random people you meet and who seem normal. At least at the beginning. Truth is, there is a certain degree of mental issues in both cases.
Stalking is “repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.”
Remember: stalkers never see themselves as stalkers, but as victims!
In a large research carried out almost 10 years ago, of 3, 5 million cases of stalking, one third of the abusers were doing it out of spite and anger, one third were seeking control, and one third had severe mental illnesses, which were unlocked to a lesser degree in the first two groups, too. These people do not suffer hallucantions or delusions, but rather serious conditions like depression and personality disorders.
A very big percent of those, especially the ones who seek to control the victim’s life and are not domestic stalkers, they are extreme narcissist and they gain satisfaction from collecting information about you and controlling your life through fear. These are less likely to go to extremes as physical violence because losing the victim would mean losing the pleasure of exercising control.
However, brutal violence and murder are not excluded and we have some heartbreaking examples in history – John Lennon’s murder by a fan, who was angered after having read a biography on the musician.
Then we have the domestic stalker – the ex-boyfriend or girlfriend who have been shown the door. In most cases the mental issues begin to manifest and that is why the door was shut forever in the first place.
The rejected domestic stalkers see themselves as victims and suffer deeply. The pain is like going through the death of a loved one. The only way they know of keeping in touch with the lost person is by stalking them, but seeing them happy, provokes anger, rage and impulsive desire for revenge, after having been told that is has been over for a quite a while.
These stalkers, female or male, are extremely dangerous because they act on the situation out of a feeling of pain and the impulse to get revenge does not end well. Yet, there needs to be some predisposition or already developed mental problem and instability which makes them delusional that they can bring life back into a relationship which is already dead.
The romantic stalker is usually someone who sees a strange object of affection and decides that is the love of their life and get into an emotional haze, believing their love will soon be reciprocated. Of course, the object of affection has no idea that they have to do anything, but exist, and the annoying face is always there, smiling like Penniwise from “It”, scaring the shit out of you and expecting you to love a person with certain personality disorders. Usually, these are people whose personal life is a complete mess and they try to put that mess in order by making someone else’s life a mess and later – a living hell.
“He’s my boyfriend, he knows I love him so much, but he can’t get rid of his girlfriend, I know. We slept together once. I know where he does his shopping, where he works, what time he’s home, when he goes to the gym.
I’m always there for him, he needs my support. I know it.” That was a “friend” of mine who had the misfortune of losing her virginity at 27 to a blind-drunk barman, who was surprised to see her in his bed in the morning.
She lived in this delusion for three years and then she got a restraining order both from him and from me, because she had no one else to talk to, but me. She wouldn’t listen to reason nor to a psychiatrist, and I had no choice but keep her away from my life.
A years ago, she found me on Facebook and her first written words were: “I’m not angry with you. You did something horrible, but I know you are unstable and mentally ill. He got married, but I know he still loves me. I know, because I see how he opens the letters I sent.” Well, no comment here. I blocked her everywhere.
The revengeful stalker presents the biggest threat. Usually, these people believe that something unjust has been done to them or misplace the anger for something wrong in their lives, blaming people who might or, in most cases, might not have any idea of their guilt.
According to physiological research, these stalkers have had a traumatic childhood, resulting g in paranoid disorder and mood disorder, helping them see reality in a twisted and totally distorted way. They are completely capable of committing both homicide and suicide and present the biggest danger.
As terrifying as it may seem, in real life stalkers are not just a threat to your life. They are people with serious issues that need treatment. The fact, that you are not Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Rhianna, Justin Bieber, Mark Zuckerberg or David Letterman, does not exclude you from attracting a stalker, especially nowadays with social media.
Social media stalking is way too popular these days. I’m sure there are people who have caused you quite a lot of trouble in the virtual world and no matter how you block them, they keep popping up under different names and profiles. I know how unpleasant this can be, but it is possible to avoid. However, it also presents danger for children and teenagers.
It’s not that difficult to recognize a stalker, but do not get paranoid too – getting more attention from someone does not exactly mean they are inclined to harm you, it can simply be attraction.
However, if you start receiving text messages at any time of day and night, even when you don’t answer, when you see 38 likes on your photos by someone who contacted you for some professional favour, who you know is there all the time, but does not comment, just watches your life and suddenly knows what time you have been to the park, you should ask yourself: “Who in their right mind would know something even I can’t remember?”
Treating stalkers like villains is one side of the affair. If reported, they are treated. But then again, ask yourself who made these people what they are, because no person was born evil. People become dangerous for others and for themselves after a deep psychological wound and suffering caused by someone else.
-By Geri Decheva