Stalkers–they are not a joke

17 Feb

We all make jokes about stalkers, but the reality is…they are not funny.  There is nothing funny about being the victim of a stalker, and today, thanks to laws regarding stalkers, a little bit more can be done before it turns lethal, than in the “old days.”  I remember my own first exposure to being the victim of a stalker–I was told that until he broke the law (i.e. attacked me, destroyed property, broke into the house, etc.) there was nothing that could be done.  I was terrified, and it went on for over a year before he finally was arrested after an incident at another victim’s house.  Yeah…a serial stalker…wasn’t I lucky?

In my case, the stalker wasn’t someone I really knew, like an ex boy friend or something, but rather just someone I knew slightly.  During the time period in which I was being stalked, I didn’t even know who he was, having never seen him other than in silhouette in the dark.  His thrill, as it turns out, was in making his victims afraid.  He was good at it, I might add.

But today, stalking has been brought to public light, and it isn’t tolerated or brushed off like it once was.  There are laws to protect the victims and law enforcement takes it much more seriously before there is an attack.  It’s a good thing too, because some stalkers do turn violent.  Sometimes it has lethal consequences.

What brought all of this to my attention was a conversation with a young friend.  She’s currently being stalked via the internet and in person by an ex boyfriend.  While she was talking about it, she talked about when she had been dating him and he would frequently drive by his ex girlfriend’s home and work, to see what she was doing.  He was doing this with his new girlfriend in the vehicle with him! In her case, youth and a rather naive approach to human nature was working against her.  She honestly didn’t see it as a warning sign and most likely thought it was a huge joke when it was going on, failing to see its more serious side.

The reality is that when someone is behaving in that manner with the previous relationship, even after starting a new relationship with someone else, is a HUGE warning flag.  Apparently, in this young woman’s case, her parents never thought to give her any advice about dating and what kinds of things are “warning flags” to tell you to steer clear of someone.  Being pro-active is a huge asset in protecting yourself from someone with a history of abuse, stalking, being excessively controlling, etc.  If you don’t get deeply involved with someone like this, there is a much better chance that you won’t become their next victim.

While in my case, I’m looking at it from the female perspective, not all stalkers and “psycho ex’s” are male.  I’ve known of some pretty freaky incidents in which the woman was the stalker and the assailant, but this advice works for either gender.

  • Pay attention to how they talk about their ex’s.  Excessively negative comments, a verbal fixation on the person, or blaming them for everything that went wrong are all bad signs.  The reality is that you are very likely to be an ex someday with this person if you get involved with them.  Do you want to be talked about in that manner?
  • Pay attention to how they react to their ex’s, especially if it was a marriage or other relationship with children.  Are they controlling?  Is there a lot of verbal confrontations?  Are there continual accusations of any kind?  Do they feel a need to frequently “check up on them?”
  • Pay attention to their fixations on their ex.  Do they know where they live and work?  Do they frequently haunt those locations for no reason at all?  Do they seem to be “spying” on them?
  • Pay attention to their social networking relationship with their ex’s.  Do they use the websites to make unpleasant remarks or accusations?  Do they have a lot of aliases?  Do they use multiple email addresses?  Do they frequently have to change their email addresses for some reason?  All of these can clue you in that the person may be stalking or pushing the line of stalking with their ex.
  • Find out if there have been charges pressed against them in regards to domestic violence or abuse.  Even if the charges were dropped, these too can be warning flags.  If one or more ex’s have an order of protection or restraining order against them, the warning flags just became neon colored too.  These court orders are not easy to obtain in most states, and if he or she felt the necessity of obtaining one, there well may be a reason.
  • If they have children from a previous relationship, find out what kind of visitation and custody arrangements they have.  Parents who are court ordered to have supervised visits, no contact with their children, or other restrictions placed on them as to when and how they can see their children beyond the area’s norms is another warning flag.  While custody can be a tricky area, and there are other reasons, if there are no reasonable explanation for the unusual custody/visitation requirements, it may be due to inappropriate behaviors that indicate there may be a problem with how they perceive their ex.

Paying attention can go a long ways towards protecting yourself from the stalkers and other negative behaviors that can result from the dating scene.  No one wants to deal with the aftermath of a stalker, whether it is a stranger who has targeted you for some unknown reason or an ex husband who is so angry that he resorts to stalking for revenge.  It isn’t funny, and it isn’t a “normal” behavior pattern either.  Stalkers DO turn violent on occasion, and no one wants to be the victim of violence.  Even if you survive, it hurts.



2 Responses to “Stalkers–they are not a joke”

  1. morezennow February 17, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    My ex-husband stalked me. When I was going through my divorce I had to get a restraining order because he called me at work and said he was coming there to kill me. I was terrified. When the day of expiration came up I didn’t want to renew it because he had manged to stear clear of me and I didn’t want to revive his interest. The day after it expired he showed up at my workplace. I had to get the manager to kick him out, even though the boss-man wasn’t on my side (I said either he goes or I do? Who’s going to run the pharmacy? I think you better choose wisely.) And he showed up in my neighborhood, called me, etc. I then showed up at his workplace and in front of his boss (he worked for the USPS and they don’t take kindly to domestic violence or any kind of violence) I told him he is ti never come near me, call me, et al or I was going to get another restraining order. That finally backed him off, he didn’t want to lose his precious job.
    Thank you for the post. It reminds me of how I took my life back and left the scumbag loser in the dust. I wish I would’ve had your advice before I married the creep!!!

    • giascott February 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

      Unfortunately for most of us…the advice comes AFTER the fact. You aren’t alone in dealing with post-breakup/divorce stalking either. While usually we hear of women as the victims, it’s not always the case. Once, I had hired a woman for a part time job, and she told me she was on parole, and since it wasn’t likely to affect her job, I was fine with that. When talking with her parole officer, I was a bit surprised to discover that she was on parole after nearly killing her ex-husband–she had stabbed him 17 times. I would have never guessed that she was capable of that kind of violence either. I have to admit, I wasn’t sorry when she found a full time job and quit!

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