The Top 5 Signs of a Stalker: Do You Have a Stalker?
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, more than 1 million women are stalked every single year, that comes out to mean that about 1 in every 12 women will be stalked at some point in her life. Also, 370,000 men are stalked every single year, that’s 1 in 45 of them (contrary to common belief, stalking is not exclusively a male-on-female phenomenon, women stalk men as well).
Stalking doesn’t usually escalate to the point of physical violence, though there is a decent chance that it can happen (that alone is reason enough to take action if you believe you’re being stalked); the most devastating effect of stalking is the psychological trauma that it causes on the victim that results in a significant decrease in quality of life and mental wellbeing.
1. By far the biggest indicator that someone is a stalker is their inability to take “NO” for an answer. You tell them to leave you alone, they don’t, you tell them to stop calling, they don’t, you tell them to stop coming by your workplace, they continue, you tell them to stop sending letters/flowers/candy/etc., they don’t. This isn’t just stubbornness, it’s delusion: they think you don’t mean it, or that they can get you to change your mind eventually if they just keep it up long enough.
2. They HATE not being in control of some or every aspect of you and your life, and they especially hate it if you’re romantically involved with someone other than them and they can’t get you to leave that person (or get them to leave you). The idea that you may be seeing and sleeping with someone else utterly enrages them.
Also, control over who you talk to, how you spend your time, where you go, what you wear, etc. is something they will yearn for. You may notice that they insist on you telling them where you go, what you’re doing, who you’re talking to, what time you’ll get back home, etc.
3. They hack into, or try to hack into, your e-mail account. This is a new one, before it would’ve been them reading your mail and going through your trash, now it’s more likely to be your e-mail and/or Facebook or MySpace accounts. The easiest way to check on this is to contact your e-mail provider and ask them to check and see if anyone has been trying to guess your password (they’ll have records of all login attempts)–if you think they may have already gotten your password, try changing it and waiting a while and then contacting your provider and asking them to check. Another sign is if they mention something that they could only know if they had read a private e-mail or Facebook message of yours. They may slip up and say this around one of your friends, so be sure to ask them about it.
4. ‘Chance’ encounters at work/school/etc. that obviously aren’t by chance, it’s obviously not a coincidence even though they want you to think it is, it just happens too frequently for it to be a coincidence anymore. This is especially true if it’s obvious that they must have had to go quite a ways out of their way to make the encounter, such as if they live 20 miles away and they don’t have any other good reason to be where they are when they ‘run into’ you.
5. Phone calls that won’t stop. Initially they’ll talk to you, or try to, and after you’ve hung up on them and refused to talk to them enough, they’ll move onto hang-up calls or just calls where they sit on the other end of the line, listening and breathing into the phone. Remember, it’s when there’s behavior that’s obviously causing you distress, that they know you don’t want, but continue with it anyway that really puts them into the stalker category.
Oftentimes, stalkers will block their number (*69) thereby making it difficult to determine if it’s them or not and also making it so that you can’t use it as evidence of stalking when you go to the police (stalking is illegal in every single state, though different states define “stalking” differently). There are services that can be used to unblock blocked numbers, some of which are free of charge, see my resource box below for more information about those.