You have a feeling deep in your gut that something is not quite right. However, you brush the behaviour off as harmless because you assume the person is lonely, desperate, or just having a hard time accepting that you broke up with him. Learn about the signs you are being stalked!
|SEE ALSO: Unethical Behavior in Children|
What Being Stalked Means
Stalking is far from harmless. There are many cases where “harmless” stalking escalated into bodily harm or even death for the victim. No one really knows the reason stalkers behave the way they do. What they do know, however, is that this type of people is unpredictable and you never know when they’re going to snap.
One minute they’re sending you flowers, the next they’re threatening to take your life. Stalkers are ticking time bombs and they will explode on you at any time. If you think you are being stalked, but not quite sure, here are some tell-tale signs of a stalker:
The perpetrator pops up everywhere. You glance over your shoulder in the checkout line and you see your ex-boyfriend peeking at you from the next aisle over. If you see him again in the library, and then at the mall, you can be certain it’s not a coincidence. The perpetrator is intentionally following you and watching your every move.
You’re subjected to repeated, unwanted communication. Stalkers won’t take no for an answer. No matter how many times you tell them to stop calling, emailing or texting you, they will keep doing it. These people will use any method available to contact you. They may even hack into your social media accounts to gain access to your personal information.
You’re receiving unwanted gifts. Stalkers refuse to accept the fact that you don’t want to be with them. In an effort to change your mind, they resort to sending roses and candy to your home or job, or leaving teddy bears and love letters on your porch. Some even go so far as to leave dead animals or other gross things on your doorstep.
You are being threatened physically. One of the scariest signs of being stalked is having someone who makes you fear for your safety. When the stalker gets tired of being rejected, he may threaten to harm you. When it gets to this point, it is only a matter of time before the stalker follows through on his threats. Statistics show that one in every five stalking incidents involves violence or threats with weapons.
Perpetrator is threatening to commit suicide. If other methods fail, a stalker will try to manipulate you by threatening to commit suicide, to emotionally blackmail you into giving them a chance or not leaving. This type of stalkers is the most dangerous. If he is willing to kill himself, he will have no problem taking you with him.
How to Protect Yourself if You Feel You Are Being Stalked
If you recognize any of these signs, then you are being stalked; take action to protect yourself. If you brush it off, it will only get worse. Stalkers are persistent and they won’t take “no” for an answer.
Call the cops. While the police may not be able to do anything at first, simply making them aware of what’s happening can help. If the station already has records of you reporting a stalker, you are likely to get a faster response time whenever you call the cops. When you talk to the police, don’t leave out any details. Tell them everything you know about the offender.
Get a restraining order. Once the order of protection is granted from the courthouse, the offender will be barred from having any contact with you. If he violates the order, he will be arrested.
Log everything. Keep records of everything the stalker does. Keep copies of emails, letters and text messages. If he sends you gifts, put them in a bin and store them away. If the gift is something disgusting like a dead rat, simply take a picture of it and put it with the rest of your items. This information will come in handy if you ever need to take criminal action against your stalker.
Stalkers can be females too, and they can possibly be as dangerous. Sometimes a mentally unstable woman would react to a breakup or to cheating in a very dangerous manner. The same signs apply on female stalkers. They would also text and call excessively, follow you, leave you messages and often try to sabotage any new relationships you’re having. If you’ve just left a relationship where the girlfriend exhibited any of the signs of being a stalker, then beware for your safety and the safety of your belongings.
Sometimes, the stalker is not even someone you have personally communicated with. It’s not someone you dated or had a relationship with. A stalker could be an ex-spouse of your new romantic interest, which makes the issue all the more dangerous because you don’t know who they are or what they want. A stalker could also be someone you interact with casually without never really getting personal, like your florist or the supermarket cashier. They might be too shy to approach you so they start developing an obsessive behavior, following you everywhere, watching you, and sending you anonymous gifts.
Stalkers are mentally deranged and they can make your life a living hell. If you are experiencing any of the above signs, you are likely being stalked. It can be hard to take action against someone you know or once loved. However, in the spirit of safety, take measures to protect yourself. And if you can’t exactly tell who is directing that much attention at you, it’s also helpful to keep your eyes open and be careful. Inform someone you know. And once you are sure you’re being stalked or followed, inform the authorities.
Read also: The Importance of Learning Self-Control.