You don’t have to be a movie star, or wealthy, or extraordinary in any way to become the target of a stalker. There is no way to predict who will become the focal point of a stalker’s obsessive-compulsive behavior, but there are ways to recognize the signals of a potential stalker’s behavior.
- His or her level of persistence is inappropriate to the relationship.
- He or she is overly attached to symbols of the relationship (mementos, photos).
- He or she is violent or abusive during the relationship.
- He or she is uncontrollably jealous or possessive after the relationship is over.
- He or she demonstrates obsessive behavior, such as making increasingly demanding or threatening phone calls, or shows up unexpectedly at places you frequent.
Any or all of these are signals that you may be dealing with a person capable of becoming a stalker. Your relationship with that person may have nothing to do with a romantic relationship.
So what can you do to protect yourself if you are stalked? Here’s what the experts recommend:
- Contact local authorities and ask for a restraining order.
- Make sure the harassment is officially noted in police records.
- Keep detailed records of all incidents.
- Whenever possible, record, videotape or photograph encounters.
- Warn family, neighbors and co-workers not to give out personal information about you to anyone.
- At work, have visitors and calls screened. Tell building security about your situation.
- Secure your home and make certain your security system is always armed.
- Vary your daily routine and don’t walk alone.
- Don’t post your personal information or any plans on a social network site.
Being stalked can be a terrifying experience. Your local police and social service agencies should be able to direct you to additional sources of help should it ever happen to you or someone you care for.