Being stalked? Dos and don’ts

Dos and donts if you are already being stalked

Do talk with people about what is going on, but do not mention the word “stalking” in your conversations. Because it is likely to backfire. Many people see stalking as something romantic and flattering. A guy who wants to ask you out for dinner and is too shy, so hangs around but does not have the nerve to approach you. A secret admirer. These people will see you as a silly goose who is making a fuss about nothing and perhaps as very much anti-men, too. Many other people associate the word stalking with evil and danger and will see you as the personification of that danger. In most cases, using the word “stalking” tends to drive people away from you. The people who you believe are your friends or who you expect to be supportive towards you, such as close relatives, often aren’t.

Do also tell them to be wary of calls, mails or letters from people who claim to be a friend or have some other connection to you. Tell them that something strange is going on and that you don’t know what to make of it but tell them to be careful, “just in case”. Tell them that for example someone called your boss at your place of work pretending to be HR at your previous employer, except you happened to be on the phone with that person at the same time or that you had enquired with HR at your previous place of work and they said that they had not called at all and had no reason to call either. Something relatively innocent but conveying enough of a warning. Sadistic stalking is one form of stranger-stalking and sadistic stalking have a tendency to want to turn everyone against you. They will not hesitate to approach your friends, colleagues and relatives. If you have alerted them to the possibility, the chances of them falling for it are a lot smaller, but again, do not use the word “stalking” and do not make it into a big thing, just make sure they are aware.

Do not blame yourself for not knowing what to think of what is happening and about perhaps being torn between compassion and anger. The compassion serves to keep your physiological stress level levels down. It protects you, even if it may make you feel, well, perhaps a bit silly at times. The anger emphasises your powerlessness. You can choose to shrug about anything that you cannot change anyway.

Do look after yourself. Do focus on keeping your psychological core whole. If it isn’t already, make yourself and your well-being your number 1 priority.

Controversial dos and donts if you are already being stalked

Do not go to the police. At best, the police won’t do a thing. Because they usually can’t and often won’t. Going to the police will enrage your stalker if he finds out – and you must assume that he will – and may make him retaliate and the fact that the police won’t do a thing will bolster his confidence. Police officers may even retaliate against you too for you having had the audacity to report stalking. Going to the police usually adds to your burden and rarely does anything to assuage your concerns or resolve your situation.

Do not keep a record of what is happening unless you can do this together with at least one other person and unless it makes you feel stronger. It is a standard recommendation, but it ignores the reality. Police officers usually don’t do anything with such records and stalking is rarely prosecuted because it is very hard to prosecute a stalker successfully. That is because it is hard to get solid evidence that will hold up in court and nowadays, with so much hinging on advanced IT knowledge, it is very hard to get others to understand that type of evidence. That’s apart from the fact that IP numbers, just like e-mails, texts, phone numbers, voice calls and voice mail can all be faked nowadays. Your stalker could be routing his communications all over the planet. Keeping a record will gobble up your time and is likely to emphasise your powerlessness. For most stalkers, stalking is more than a fulltime job. Can you handle a file that quickly runs into hundreds of pages?

On the other hand, keeping a record and looking at it from time to time can serve as a reminder that you’re most definitely not going crazy. Also, over time, you become so used to stalking activities that you become used to it. Your boundaries may become eroded and you may be putting up with more and more without even realising it. Because you have no choice. Keeping a record can also serve as a good touchstone, a reminder to keep watching your boundaries. That’s important because it helps you protect your psychological core.

What works against you if you are being stalked

Acting out

The immense stress and powerlessness can cause you to act out. People won’t understand it.

This is why it is so important to make your own well-being your number 1 priority.

Loss of income

Stalking – and certainly hacking – affects your work. You may lose your job or your clients. This can make others conclude that you’ve lost the plot or that you’re no good, professionally speaking. A loser. Many stalking targets do lose their job or are forced to give up their business.

Loss of home

The next step can be that you lose your home. It does not make people take you more serious. If you try to explain how it got to that point, they will barely pay attention, if at all. Don’t even try. You know why it happened and that’s enough. Feed your own psychological core, not that of others. They can look after themselves. You must look after you and shrug about what anyone else may think about you.

Hacking mischief

Don’t be surprised to find that your contact details have been changed when you log into, say, your online tax account. Similarly, important e-mails and other communications may not reach you and if you are the one sending them, may not reach the intended recipient. Nah nah nah nah nah.

Not knowing why stalking occurs

It can drive you crazy to try to wrap your head around what is happening and why. More importantly, others can drive you crazy when they try to tell you that they know why it is happening while they’re clearly clueless. Ignore the fools. Not being able to explain what exactly is happening, let alone why, does work against you. People will perceive it as weakening the authenticity of what you are telling them. So you must be exaggerating. They may even suggest that perhaps you get delusional when under stress? So don’t try to explain. You are not responsible for what someone else out there is doing and you cannot blame yourself for not understanding it. Do you even know who the person is? There you go!

Anger and resentment towards the many people who will let you down

Ignore them. This is much easier said than done. However, these people really are not worth a penny, let alone of your thoughts. Instead, notice who does step up for you when it counts. This can be in small ways and that makes it less noticeable but these small acts of kindness and compassion are valuable. The people who let you down usually let you down in a big way. In a “knife in the back” kind of way. In a “kicking a person lying helpless on the ground” kind of way. These are the people who can really limit your options and cost you dearly so be very careful with regards to who you rely on, no matter how desperate you are. The people who let you down in a big way may be the ones who step forward when nobody else does. You have to ask yourself why they would do that and what may happen if you take them up on the offer. You may find yourself jumping from the fire into the frying pan. So be very careful. Seeing someone else’s powerlessness brings out the worst in some people.