Television and other things in our culture have a habit of making it look like stalking is something normal that people do in dating. The TV will show someone that is scorned, and they will have accidental meetups and if their affection isn’t given right to them, they think that the person is playing hard to get. The truth is, this is not love and even when people look at this unrealistic idea of love, these things are not wanted, and they are scary to the person on the receiving end.
When people try these things, they sometimes confuse love with obsession and control. They think if they want something then they should harass the person or threaten them to be with them. Most of the time, people are stalked by partners that they have been with before.
Here are some signs you are being stalked:
Hang Up Calls
Do you get phone calls or messages from numbers that are unknown or blocked or someone breathing on the other end of the phone without saying anything? Do you have someone that is always looking at your social media or checking out your email to see what you are doing? If this is happening to you then you should be afraid because this is something that is not uncommon. People will be stalked often, and they should not ignore that this is happening because the person could be dangerous.
This person is already violating you and going past your boundaries and you need to be alert to what is going on around you. Always do what it takes to stay safe.
If someone is constantly driving by your house or school just to see you, ask them not to. A stalker might try to make you think that they are just checking in on you, but the truth is, they will do this even after you ask them to stop. This can begin to intimidate you or make you feel overwhelmed.
Information on You
Does this person make you feel like they are interrogating you because they ask so many questions? Do they want to know your schedule or any information that they can get from you so that they can find out where you are or where you have been? Do they ask your friends for your whereabouts? Do not give them information because this might increase their bad behaviors. Get help.
Getting gifts from someone can be great but if you have a stalker that is using gifts to try to get your love, this can be a bad thing. Accepting gifts from someone might seem okay at first but a stalker will do this over and over to get attention form someone they are wanting to be with. If you are responsive to your stalker, they will think you want to be with them, and this will form an unhealthy relationship.
Does your stalker seem to be everywhere that you are, and they tell you that they had a feeling they would see you? The truth is that they do not have gut feeling, they are falling you. They might stalk you online or have you tracked.
Everyone is on different comfort levels and when it comes to where you are, chances are that you need to make sure you are comfortable with sharing where you are. Not everyone will respect your boundaries and if you feel violated when someone is tracking where you are, you need to make sure you are protected. Here are some ways:
- Change your passwords to all of your accounts.
- Turn off location apps.
- Erase your history on your computer.
- Check your bank account often.
- Reset your phone.
- Set up an emergency number on your phone.
Damage or Threaten
If your stalker has behavior that is obsessive, you need to let someone know. If they want to know where you are all the time and they are not respecting you, chances are they are stalking you. This can happen even in your relationships.
Some stalkers will destroy your property in order to try to control you and they will physically attack you. Any damage needs to be reported to the police right away.
Threatening behavior does not have to become violent for you to report it. If someone is being violent with you physically, emotionally, or mentally, report them.
Sometimes if you break up with someone, they will talk about you and put you down. They will spread false rumors about you and then will say online how much they love you. They will do whatever it takes to provoke you and to get your attention.
Online stalkers will publish things that hurt you and put you down and even share information about you that is private.
Here are some ways to prevent online stalking:
- Use screen names that are clean.
- Take personal information off of your profile.
- Take personal information from people finder.
- Don’t give out your address or phone numbers.
- Document any weird messages you get.
What to Do if Being Stalked
Being stalked can be scary and if you have a partner that is doing behavior that is obsessive or controlling or you feel that you are being stalked, pay attention.
Pay attention to what you feel and if you feel unsafe for any reason, seek help. Make sure you do not let this get out of control.
Do not accept the behavior of someone that is stalking you. People will act different because they love someone sometimes but if this person is stalking you, you need to know that you cannot fix them and that you need to be firm and keep yourself safe.
No matter what kind of evidence you have, keep it. Stalking is hard to prove so make sure you keep screen shots and emails that they have sent you.
Tell your family and friends that someone is stalking you so that they can watch out for you.
There are victims that are in a sanctuary that will give resources to people that are being stalked. Check out sights like womenslaw.org for more information.
Make a Plan
Always have a safety plan to get out of a situation if it gets dangerous.
If you have something going on in your life and you are being stalked, contact the police right away.
When you think you are being stalked, you can give yourself power to be safe. Keep a record of the stalking and keep your evidence. Call the stalking resource center at 800-FYI-CALL if you need help.