No one really wants to be the target of someone else’s obsession. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict who will become the focal point of obsessive-compulsive behavior, but there are ways to recognize the signals of such behavior, such as:
- A level of persistence that is inappropriate.
- A disturbing attachment to symbols (mementos, photos, etc.).
- Behavior that is unpredictably intrusive, violent or abusive.
- Behavior that is inappropriately possessive.
Any or all of these are signals that should not be ignored. They can indicate that you may be dealing with a person capable of becoming a dangerous stalker.
What can you do to protect yourself if you suspect you are being stalked? Here’s what experts recommend: First, contact local law enforcement authorities and ask for a restraining order. Second, make certain that the harassment allegations are officially noted in police records. Third, keep detailed records of all incidents and tape-record, videotape or photograph encounters. Lastly, inform your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers not to give out personal information about you to anyone – and, if you’re employed, tell building security about your situation and provide them with a photo or description of the individual who is stalking you.
At home, make certain your security system is always armed. Try to vary your daily routine and don’t go out walking alone. It’s also a good idea to get a second phone line and number – one that is unlisted in any directory and will not be disclosed by the phone company. Keep your original phone number and use an answering machine to screen and record calls. Giver your new number only to trusted family and friends.