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Are You Being Stalked? 19 Ways to Protect Yourself From a Stalker

Written by on January 2, 2009 in Psychology Tips with 33 Comments
Ways to Protect Yourself From a Stalker

If you’re being stalked, make sure people know where you are all the time. (image by dontcallmeikke via flickr).

If you’re being stalked – even if you think you’re being stalked – start with these 19 ways to protect yourself from a stalker. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

These tips for stopping stalkers and surviving stalking behavior will help you cope with an angry ex-husband or obsessed boyfriend.

First, remember that stalking covers a wide range of behaviors…

“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 for stopping stalkers and coping with stalking behavior. For more tips, read If you’re Surviving a Stalker: Everything You Need to Know to Keep Yourself Safe.

What Do Stalkers Do?

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.

If you’re being stalked, you may receive unwanted:

  • phone calls
  • text messages
  • messages left on social networking sites (My Space, Face book)
  • notes left on their car
  • flowers left at their home
  • an awareness that they are 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 Protect Yourself From a Stalker

  1. 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.
  2. Do not respond to your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife’s pleading, romantic, nostalgic, flattering, or threatening e-mail messages.
  3. Return all gifts he or she sends you when you’re coping with a stalker.
  4. Refuse your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife entry to your premises. Do not even respond to the intercom.
  5. 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.
  6. Do not answer your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife’s letters.
  7. Do not visit the stalker on special occasions, or in emergencies.
  8. Do not respond to questions, requests, or pleas from the stalker, forwarded to you through third parties.
  9. Disconnect from third parties whom you know are spying on you at his or her behest.
  10. Do not discuss your abusive ex-husband, ex-wife, or stalker with your children.
  11. Do not gossip about the stalker.
  12. Do not ask your abusive ex-husband or ex-wife for anything, even if you are in dire need.

More Ways to Cope With and Stop Stalking Behavior

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).

Don’t discuss your personal affairs with the stalker

When you are forced to meet the stalker, do not discuss your personal affairs – or his.

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, any strange event, any weird 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 stop 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.

If you’re in an abusive relationship – or you’re trying to leave an abusive man – read How Do You Leave an Abusive Relationship? One Step at a Time.

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.


33 Reader Comments

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  1. Laurie says:

    Hi Nancy,

    That is freaky, that someone from so long ago would suddenly reappear in your life! It must feel unsettling and scary.

    I think contacting a victim’s center is a really good idea — you should do it right away! And, call the police. I don’t know if you had a restraining order against your stalker 12 years ago, but it’s probably worthwhile to check in with them.

    It might also be a good idea to invite a friend or family member to stay with you for a few days, or for you to stay with someone at their place. And, think about getting a dog. When my purse was stolen, the police told me that a dog is the best home alarm system you could get.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. Anika is right, though – it’s good that you know your stalker is back in your life. Better to be aware than ignorant.

    Let us know what the victim’s support center advises.

    Blessings and safety,

  2. anika says:

    in a sense you are “lucky” she has called you directly as that could later be used as evidence should it get that far- i have/had a sick obsessive stalker who used other people to harass-(he was my ex boss!!) -why they were so easy to manipulate to do his bidding i will never know-my guess is that he massaged their ego in some way….., it made me feel even more vulnerable as i felt very isolated with this tactic –anyway change your number and record everything as its easy to remember how you feel but not the facts! inform those that are closest to you and when/if you have enough evidence take it to law enforcement-in the mean time try and pack your days with meaningful things to distract you entirely….

  3. Nancy Withrow says:

    Forgive me; I am not commenting on the previous question but rather seeking help. Please assist me! I was a victim advocate for 22 years. One of my clients became safe and well… She became a volunteer and a part time employee with my agency. She subsequently cyberstalked me, made contact with my elderly parents, impersonated me online and made vague threats to break into my home. My employer (at the time) fired her and made clear she should have no contact with me. I have not heard from her since then. I no longer work there. That was 12 years ago; last night I received 3 calls from her. Although I did not know her identity I told her in no uncertain terms; ” I don’t know who you are or who you are attempting to reach; you must have a wrong number. I consider your calls to be harrassment; do not contact me again”. I called my cell phone carrier and blocked that number from callimg me for 90 days. Today I did an internet search on the phone number and discovered she was my stalker from 12 years ago. I am so freaked out that someone from so long ago would contact me. I changed my email password and intend to contact a victim’s center to create a safety plan. I also recontacted my phone carrier who warned me of “snooping”. I am a hetrosexual female. My stalker is female. We never had a relationship other than professional. I feel so upset and vulnerable. Please advise… Thank you in advance for any asistance.

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