How to Protect Yourself From a Stalker
These 20 tips on how to deal with a stalker – even if you only suspect you’re being stalked – will keep you safe. Learn what stalking is and how to protect yourself from stalking behavior.
Stalkers may target your family, your children, boss, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. Stalkers hope to isolate you socially and force you to come running back. A person who is obsessed with stalking you wants to communicate that he or she still “loves” you, is still interested in you and your affairs and that, no matter what, you are inseparable.
Stalking includes watching you, being near you, or hanging around your work, school, or home. Stalking involves a persistent course of conduct or actions by a person — obsessive behavior — for the purpose of getting power and control over you. When you’re being stalked, you feel scared, out of control, or harassed. Stalking can involve threats or innuendo; the stalker generally tries to intimidate or induce fear in you.
“Your angry ex-husband or ex-wife may cope with the pain and humiliation of separation by spreading lies, distortions, and half-truths about you and by proffering self-justifying interpretations of the events leading to the break-up,” says Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited.
Here are his suggestions how to deal with a stalker.
If you’re being stalked, you may receive unwanted:
- phone calls
- text messages
- messages left on social networking sites (My Space, Facebook)
- notes left on your car
- flowers left at their home
- an awareness that you’re being followed
- being continually stared at by another person
The person being stalked often develops a sense of loss of control over their lives and is forced to change their routine and behaviors.
If you’re being stalked by an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, read How to Break Free From a Controlling Relationship.
20 Ways to Deal With a Stalker
- Do NOT contravene the decisions of the system when you’re coping with stalkers. Work from the inside to change judgments, evaluations, or rulings – but NEVER rebel against them or ignore them. You will only turn the system against you and your interests.
- Do not respond to your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife’s pleading, romantic, nostalgic, flattering, or threatening e-mail messages.
- Return all gifts he or she sends you when you’re coping with a stalker.
- Refuse your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife entry to your premises. Do not even respond to the intercom.
- Do not talk to the stalker on the phone. Hang up the minute you hear his or her voice while making clear to him, in a single, polite but firm, sentence, that you are determined not to talk to him.
- Do not answer your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife’s letters.
- Do not visit the stalker on special occasions, or in emergencies.
- Do not respond to questions, requests, or pleas from the stalker, forwarded to you through third parties.
- Disconnect from third parties whom you know are spying on you at his or her behest.
- Do not discuss your abusive ex-husband, ex-wife, or stalker with your children.
- Do not gossip about the stalker.
- Do not ask your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife for anything, even if you are in dire need.
Learn how to take care of yourself.
More Ways to Deal With Stalking Behavior
It’s important to reach out for help if you’re dealing with someone who wants to stalk you. These tips are for information only – they’re not a personal plan to protect yourself from a stalker. Call your police station or women’s advocate organization for help stopping a stalker.
Don’t try to appease the stalker
The other behavioral extreme is equally futile and counterproductive. Do not try to buy peace by appeasing the stalker. Submissiveness and attempts to reason with him or her only whet the stalker’s appetite. The stalker regards both as contemptible weaknesses, vulnerabilities to exploit.
You cannot communicate with a stalker or paranoid because he or she is likely to distort everything you say to support his or her persecutory delusions, sense of entitlement, and grandiose fantasies. You cannot appeal to a stalker’s emotions – he or she has none (at least not positive ones).
If you have to be in conversation with a stalker, learn the Signs of an Abusive Boyfriend. The more you know about abuse, the better able you’ll be to protect yourself from stalking behavior.
Consider taking a self-defence course for women
When you are forced to meet the stalker, do not discuss your personal affairs. Don’t allow yourself to get trapped into talking about his life or personal affairs.
You might consider taking a self-defence for women course, from an organization such as Wen-Do Women’s Self-Defence. They believe that, in a male-dominated society, women’s experience of violence and the fear of violence is typically different from men’s. Therefore, it’s vital for women and girls to have access to self-defence courses taught by women, for women and girls only.
Don’t meet the stalker alone
Relegate any inevitable contact with the stalker – when and where possible – to professionals: your lawyer, or your accountant. To stop stalkers, protect yourself with mediators.
Keep your distance from the stalker
If at all possible, put as much physical distance as you can between yourself and the stalker. Change address, phone number, email accounts, cell phone number, enlist the kids in a new school, find a new job, get a new credit card, open a new bank account. Do not inform the stalker your whereabouts and your new life. Stopping stalking behavior is about making painful sacrifices, such as minimize contact with your family and friends.
Be prepared to protect yourself from the stalker
Alert your local law enforcement officers, check out your neighbourhood domestic violence shelter, consider owning a gun for self-defence (or, at the very least, a stun gun or mustard spray). Carry these with you at all times. To protect yourself from the stalker, keep protection close by and accessible even when you are asleep or in the bathroom.
Protect your computer from electronic stalking
Is your computer being tampered with? Is someone downloading your e-mail? Has anyone been to your house while you were away? Any signs of breaking and entering, missing things, atypical disorder (or too much order)? Is your post being delivered erratically, some of the envelopes opened and then sealed? Mysterious phone calls abruptly disconnected when you pick up? Your stalker may have dropped by and may be monitoring you.
Notice any unusual pattern, strange event, odd occurrence
Someone is driving by your house morning and evening? A new “gardener” or maintenance man came by in your absence? Someone is making enquiries about you and your family? To deal with a stalker, recognize when it’s time to move on.
Alert your family to what stalkers do
Teach your children to avoid the stalker, and to report to you immediately any contact. Stalkers often strike where it hurts most – at one’s kids. Explain the danger without being unduly alarming. Make a distinction between adults they can trust – and your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife or stalker, whom they should avoid. To stop stalking behavior, involve your family.
Ignore your gut reactions and impulses
Sometimes the stress of being stalked is so onerous and so infuriating that you feel like striking back at the stalker. Don’t do it. Don’t play their game, because they are better at it and will likely to defeat you. Instead, unleash the full force of the law whenever you get the chance to do so: restraining orders, spells in jail, and frequent visits from the police tend to check the stalker’s violent and intrusive conduct.
How to deal with a stalker
Read How to Stop a Stalker by detective Mike Proctor. One out of every 12 women and one out of every 45 men in the United States are stalked in their lifetimes.
If you are a victim of a stalker, this book is an essential survival guide for anyone who becomes the target of one of these predators. Mike describes how to identify a stalker, how and why they stalk, what to do if you are being stalked, how to collect evidence, and how to get the criminal justice system on your side. Get as much information as you can about dealing with a stalker.
If you’re in an abusive relationship – or you’re trying to leave an abusive man – read How Do You Leave an Abusive Relationship?
I welcome your thoughts and stories about protecting yourself from a stalker – please share any insights you have, to help other readers protect themselves!
This article was reprinted with permission from “Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited”, by Sam Vaknin.