How to Handle A Stalker?
Over the years, many people who sought self defense training with us reported being stalked by an ex-partner, obsessive neighbor, or someone they didn’t know. I can only imagine how scary it might feel when you are being watched and observed by a random person or by a person you expected to have parted ways with. The first question I would ask myself is, “what is this person’s red line”?
The numbers are significant;
One in every 12 women will be stalked during her lifetime.
One in 45 men will be stalked during his lifetime.
1,006,970 women and 370,990 men are stalked annually.
The average duration of stalking behavior is 1.8 years.
It can be a terrifying experience, and it’s important to take it seriously and understand the motivations behind this behavior in order to deal with it effectively:
Stalkers often see themselves as victims when faced with rejection, whether it’s real or perceived. They may believe they’ve been led on or toyed with, and their fear of abandonment prevents them from reasoning. As a result, letting them down easily is nearly impossible.
Stalkers can be obsessive in multiple aspects of their lives, including their romantic inclinations. Their thought patterns often become repetitive and all-consuming, causing them to neglect important daily responsibilities such as sleeping, eating, and working.
Stalkers often blur the lines between reality and their fantasies. They may feel entitled to their targets, convincing themselves that they’re destined to be together or that they have a right to control and possess them.. Some may even create imaginary details about their nonexistent romantic relationship and convince others that it’s true. This can be particularly dangerous in cases where the stalker becomes obsessed and fixated on their victim, leading to more extreme and dangerous behaviors.
Stalkers often lack the ability to recognize and respect the feelings and boundaries of others, displaying narcissistic tendencies. They may struggle to cope with rejection, embarrassment, shame, or loss and justify their actions with phrases such as “If I’m suffering, so should you” or “If I can’t have you, no one can.” This becomes especially problematic when they’ve previously had a romantic relationship with their target.
Stalking behavior can escalate over time, and it’s important to take any stalking behavior seriously and seek help as soon as possible. This may include reporting the behavior to law enforcement, seeking support from friends and family, and, most importantly, learning how to defend oneself in case stalking turns into a physical assault. The way I see it, a stalker probably gathered intelligence about their victim and would know to assume when would be the best time to strike, should they choose to attack. On average, it takes 6-9 minutes for police to arrive at the scene. That is too much time to feel helpless if you can’t fight.
Stalkers are often motivated by a desire for power and control over their victims. This can stem from feelings of rejection, abandonment, or a need for revenge. Stalkers may also have delusions or a distorted view of reality, which can cause them to believe that their behavior is justified or that they are in a romantic relationship with their victim.
In some cases, stalkers may have experienced trauma or abuse in the past, which can contribute to their stalking behavior. Mental health issues such as personality disorders, substance abuse, or bipolar disorder can also be a factor in stalking behavior. When dealing with an unstable personality, it is wise to expect unreasonable behavior from them and equip yourself with the right skill set for self-sufficiency in case you are forced to defend yourself.
Stalkers are known to use manipulation as a powerful tool to feed their obsession, especially when it comes to an ex-partner. Some common tactics they use to lure their victims back in include guilt-tripping, inventing emergencies to elicit sympathy, making empty promises to prolong contact, resorting to blackmail even if it’s far-fetched, playing on their victim’s insecurities and making unfounded accusations, twisting their words to suit their agenda, and giving expensive or elaborate gifts with strings attached, such as saying “After all I’ve done for you…” It’s important to recognize these manipulative tactics and not fall for them, as they can lead to dangerous situations.
Identifying Stalkers: Common Characteristics
Contrary to popular belief, stalkers are not the stereotypical socially inept individuals lurking in the shadows. In fact, stalkers can be charming and appear normal, making them difficult to identify. However, there are certain characteristics that many stalkers share, as listed in the stalking handbook. If you notice these traits in someone pursuing a relationship with you, it’s important to think twice. Don’t be fooled by common misconceptions about stalkers being socially undesirable, as these traits can manifest in anyone.
Here are some of the traits you need to pay attention to:
Overwhelmingly passionate (Intensity)
Refuses to take responsibility for their own emotions or actions
Needs to exert control over others
Socially inept or uncomfortable
Self-identifies as a victim of society, family, or others
Resistant to accepting “no” as an answer
So what can you do?
Take Action – Hope is NOT a strategy.
If you believe you are being stalked, it’s important to take it seriously and take action. Inform the stalker clearly and firmly that you want them to stop contacting you and keep records of any communication. If the behavior continues, seek help from the police or a legal professional who can help you obtain a restraining order.
Limiting the amount of personal information you share publicly, such as on social media, can also be helpful in preventing stalking. Stalkers often use this information to track their targets and fuel their obsessions.
Learning Krav Maga is empowering. This can give you the skills and confidence to protect yourself physically if necessary. Taking a self-defense class or learning self-defense techniques can be helpful in building your confidence and feeling of empowerment.
Change you Travel Routes
To increase your safety, consider altering your regular routes of travel. If feasible, try to adjust your daily routine to make it more difficult for anyone to track your movements.
Building a Support System
Building a support system of trusted friends and family members can also be crucial in dealing with a stalker. Letting them know what’s going on can help you feel less alone and provide you with emotional support.
Lastly, prioritize self-care. Dealing with a stalker can be stressful and traumatic, so it’s important to take care of yourself physically and emotionally.
Next week, I will write more about the different kinds of stalkers and the approach you should take to avoid / handle them.
Do something amazing,