Have you ever had a friend tell you that they were being stalked? You may not have thought that this was a serious thing at the time, but the truth is that it can be severe and dangerous. Keep reading for details on stalking and what you can do to prevent it.
What is stalking?
Stalking occurs whenever a person repeatedly does things that another person is upset by or afraid of. Much of the time, this includes contacting them many times a day, following them around, or even threatening them. These activities make the person being stalked feel like they are being targeted and harassed.
Here are a few examples of stalking that a person may experience:
A stalker will contact someone multiple times a day. This could be online or over the phone.
They will often turn up at the same places.
They will follow a person much of the time.
They will ask around about their victim and talk to their friends.
They may start to threaten the life of the person they are stalking, as well as other people in the victim’s life.
They might damage the property of the victim or break into their home.
There are different types of stalking, including a stalker that you don’t know very well or one you previously dated or were in a relationship with. Some stalkers will simply want to scare you and watch you, while others intend to hurt you.
You can watch this video for further details on the different types of stalkers:
Three elements of stalking
There are three common elements associated with stalking, which are usually present when a person is affected by a stalker.
While what is considered stalking changeslegally, according to its state, these elements are an example of what is common.
The behavior the stalker exhibits seems threatening to a person.
The behavior of the stalker seems like it would be dangerous for a victim’s loved ones.
The stalker engages in activities that seem to scare and affect the victim psychologically.
In some cases, an individual will fear for their lives and the people around them.
What causes stalking?
You should understand that it is not your fault if you are stalked. A stalker may be stalking you for a few reasons.
One is because you rejected them. If you were dating someone and you broke up, or a person wanted to date you, and you said no, this might be a reason they choose to stalk you.
In some cases, a person may not know they are stalking you. They could be oblivious to social norms and unknowingly be crossing boundaries that everyone is expected to follow.
Another reason is that they feel like they are in love with you. In some cases, you may not know the person stalking you, or you may have only seen them a few times or casually know who they are. However, they feel like if they stalk you, you may become interested in them.
Early signs of intimate partner stalking
There are a few things to look out for to determine if your partner may be a stalker. These early signs of stalking behavior may help you prevent being stalked by someone.
They don’t respect your boundaries or when you say no.
They feel like you owe them things.
They are ill at ease around people.
They don’t take responsibility for their mistakes.
They get jealous of everything and everyone.
They seem to be obsessive about many things.
They seem to be in love with you too quickly.
They lie to you.
They do whatever it takes to get their way.
If you note any of these signs of stalking behavior in your partner, you should do what you can to sever ties with them. You may also want to start to write down all the things they have done that concern you and try not to be by yourself for a few weeks after the breakup.
Moreover, let someone know where you are at all times if you cannot have someone with you. You should never ignore a tendency for stalking behaviors in a person, as they could become severe, even if they seem minor.
Also, amajority of people that have been stalked, both men and women, were afraid that they would be physically harmed because of their stalker.
What are the effects of stalking?
Stalking affects can vary significantly from person to person, depending on the extent of the stalking they had to endure.
When you are wondering about what stalking is, you may not be thinking about how it can get violent, and in some cases, even result in sexual assault or death. These are the most severe effects, but there are others too.
At first, a person may not know they are being stalked, but they may become paranoid and no longer trust people after they start to notice.
They might also have to change their behaviors to try to stay away from their stalkers. This can be difficult to do and will call for some planning on the victim’s part.
In the most serious scenarios, they may even have to move to a different city or state in an attempt to get away from a stalker. This can get expensive and may not work.
If you are being harassed through your cell phone, you might no longer want to use it. The device could cause you anxiety whenever you see a call or a message.
Many victims seekmental health support because of the stalking they are going through. In some instances, they may have started to exhibit symptoms of a mental illness because of the stalking.
For instance, they could have an anxiety disorder, depression, sleep conditions, eating disorders, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Anytime you need the help of a mental health professional, you should work with a therapist to address stalking psychology and learn all about what stalking is.
They should help you alleviate any symptoms that are being expressed and help you learn more about how to protect yourself from a stalker.
Are you being stalked? Here is what to do
When you feel like you are being stalked, you probably need to take a few precautions to protect yourself.
Refrain from talking to your stalker
You may feel like you want to talk to your stalker and tell them to stay away from you, but it may be better to let the police or a lawyer handle this for you.
If a person is stalking someone, they might want to get any reaction they can, and if they know you are upset that they are stalking you, this could make them want to stalk you even more.
Call the police
If you are being stalked and a stalker does anything to threaten you or tries to assault you, always notify the police. Your state may have a law that protects you from certain types of behavior.
Get a restraining order
The police should also be able to help you with a restraining order. This will make it illegal for your stalker to contact you or be near you, and you will be able to call the police if you see them.
Document everything that is occurring
hen you write down events, take pictures, or record videos of what your stalker is doing, this can help you get the restraining order and allow the police to understand what your stalker is capable of.
Besides that, you should press charges against them if you need to since you will have evidence to support your claims.
Tell people you care about what’s happening
Tell everyone that cares about you what is going on. They may not know what stalking is, but once they learn, they can help you stay safe, offer you rides, or even hang out so you won’t have to be alone.
Additionally, they may be a resource that knows where you are at all times if something happens to you. They will be able to alert authorities.
You should try to do most or all of these things when learning more about handling a stalker.
7 ways on how to prevent stalking
Now that you have a better understanding of what stalking is, there’s a good chance you’d like to know more about stalking prevention. Keep these ways in mind as you are out in public, at work, or when dating.
1. You should talk to the people at work about what is happening
Tell people where you work if you feel like you have a stalker. They may be able to change the way the business operates, including getting an alarm or adding more lights to the parking lot.
2. Try not to be alone
You should try not to be alone, especially when walking to your car or from your car. While it may not be possible to be with others at all times, it is necessary to try to be around others as much as you can.
3. Taking self-defense classes is also a good idea
Taking a few classes to improve your self-defense may be an excellent way to prevent stalking. The classes may also help your self-confidence as well.
4. Always be aware of your surroundings
You should pay attention to your surroundings at all times. This is the best way to know if someone is following you or not. It can also keep you alert, so you won’t be surprised if a person tries to walk upon you.
5. Get a personal alarm
They have personal alarms that you can set off when in danger, making a loud, piercing noise.You should invest in one of these alarms, so you can activate it when you feel like you are in danger. The loud sound may cause your stalker to leave you alone.
6. Check your locks
Make sure you lock the windows and doors in your home, as well as the doors in your vehicle all the time.
Keeping your home and car secure may be able to prevent your stalker from breaking into your property. Of course, this will not always be the case since they may damage windows or doors to get in, but it is still a precaution that is worth taking.
7. Call 911 when you need to
Make sure you keep your cell phone with you so you are able to call 911 or the police when it is necessary.
Likewise, consider purchasing a power bank for your phone, so you can ensure that your phone will have enough battery to make a call, no matter what.
Anytime you want to know more about what stalking is, there is plenty of information for you to discover. This issue can be pretty serious and is more common than you may think.
If you are stalked, there are ways you can protect yourself. You should always do your best to prevent stalking behaviors, including not being by yourself when you are outside and informing others about what is going on.
Furthermore, if you are being stalked, you should talk to a therapist for advice on multiple coping strategies that you may be able to see benefit from. You should also make sure that you are recording everything that is happening if you need to get a restraining order or talk to the police.
Plus, you should have your phone with you as much as possible, so you can call the police if you are in an emergency.
There are stalking laws in many states that should protect you, but this isn’t always the case. This is why it is essential to know what stalking is and protect yourself from stalkers.
Be sure to research additional information if you feel like you need to and stay as informed as possible.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.