Stalking might make for a good, edge-of-your-seat thriller. But in real life, it’s far from entertaining. Stalking can seriously disrupt the victim’s life and make them live in fear. The question is. Why in the world do people stalk other people? What is their motivation?
There’s usually one motivation and there are many types of stalkers to fill the role. It’s so important to know why people stalk and what you can do if someone is stalking you.
Stalking statistics are terrifying
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, one in 45 men is stalked every year. That comes to about 370,000 men. For women, it’s much worse. Over 1 million women are stalked every single year. And one in 12 women will be a victim of stalking at least once in their lifetime.
Stalking is a big problem. But why do some people stalk?
What is stalking?
Stalking is a pattern of behavior enacted by one person over another individual. The intention of stalking is to harass, intimidate and terrorize the individual.
Why do people want to harass, intimidate and terrorize someone else? There are several different types of stalkers, and understanding each one helps to answer this disturbing question.
The domestic stalker
The most popular type of stalker is the domestic one. This means they stalk a former spouse.
The lust stalker
Lust stalkers can become quite dangerous. These are the types who can become serial rapists and even murder their victims.
The rejected stalker
Unrequited love is hard to live with, but some individuals really have a hard time coping with this rejection. As a result, they turn to stalking, convinced that they love the other person. What’s worse, they’re convinced the other person still loves them.
Stalking a celebrity
Celebrities also have to deal with stalkers, like Catherine Zeta-Jones, David Letterman, Kiera Knightley, and others. Usually, it’s an obsessed fan or a delusional person who believes they actually love the celebrity.
Stalking a politician
Stalkers who go after politicians can both agree or disagree with their victim.
The revenge stalker
Sometimes, people who feel offended will “get back” at an individual by stalking them.
As you can see, there are many different types of stalker and they all have a different motivation to stalk. No matter what the type, stalking is a form of harassment, intimidation, and terrorism.
While there are at least six types of stalkers, many of them share similarities. For one thing, they’re usually in their 40s, and they tend to be either unemployed or not working enough.
But don’t mistake them for high school dropouts. These people tend to have at least a high school degree and maybe even a college degree.
And you better believe stalkers are smart. In fact, they tend to be more intelligent than other criminals. As we’ve already seen, most stalkers are men, but some women fall into this behavioral pattern, too.
And yes, they share these similarities with their male counterparts. A lot of the time, stalkers are delusional.
The mind of a stalker
According to a licensed professional counselor and author of Confusing Love With Obsession, John Moore, “The stalker is usually an isolated and shy person, who lives alone, lacks any type of important intimate relationship — not just sexual, but friends or family, too. There’s also a narcissistic personality disorder and very low self-esteem. The stalker feels that they’re the most important person in the world.”
It goes without saying that stalkers are not reasonable people, but they are persistent.
Victims can experience stalking behavior for years, if not for decades, despite repeated pleas to be left alone. And perhaps one reason for this is because authorities have notoriously ignored calls from victims.
However, this shouldn’t prevent you from speaking up if you’re a victim of stalking, too.
How to break free if someone is stalking you
When someone is stalking you, you have to tread carefully. Upsetting a stalker is the last thing you want to do. Threats are something you want to avoid. They’re not always serious, but you should always take them seriously. So, how can you break free if someone is stalking you?
Spread the word
You don’t want to keep this problem to yourself. Tell everyone you can that you’re being stalked. This includes your family, friends, coworkers and anyone else you trust, or who you come into frequent contact with.
*Gently* confront your stalker
You should never be blunt and say something bold and sudden like “Stay away from me.” Or, “I never want to see you again.”
Instead, be gentle and firm with them, letting them know that the situation isn’t right for you, or that you’re not ready for it. If this doesn’t do the trick, move on to the next step.
Contact the police
Consider filing a police report, or a restraining order. Just take legal action. It can help you create a paper trail that’s traceable and helps you stay safe.
Protect your privacy
With social media, smartphones and the internet, it’s very easy for clever stalkers to hack your accounts and track your whereabouts. Protect yourself by protecting your privacy. Change all your passwords and pin codes for email accounts, banking accounts, etc.
Go through your browsing history and clear away any traces of your credit card history. You should also go to your frequent online stores and delete any cards you have in their database.
If you use social media, avoid sharing your location. This will make it more difficult for your stalker to find you. You can also ask your friends to not post or tag you in their social media accounts. In fact, just avoid social media altogether.
You can also go into your phone’s Privacy settings and disable all location services or remove certain apps that use it. If you believe your stalker has hacked your phone, try restoring it to its factory settings and then, set it up as though it was a brand new device.
Dealing with a stalker is scary, but you shouldn’t have to live this way – not for one minute. Let people know what’s going on, protect your privacy and get help from law enforcement and the legal system. It’s time to enjoy your life again.