What if an American is stalking you?
They fall in love with you and want to be always there ... Sounds romantic? - Not! They invade your personal life against your will, start spying on you, threaten you and your loved ones. Where is the line between falling in love and real danger and sometimes mental illness? The first criminal offense of stalking was made by the Americans in 1992. Canada, Australia, Great Britain, and the EU countries followed the US example.
In 2006, psychologist Brian Svalbard of San Diego State University conducted extensive research into the behavior of stalkers. The results were stunned, 13% of men and 32% of women fall victim to persecution and in most cases such people are harassed by someone they know.
«Stalker"(Stalker) - a new term, although descriptions of rejected partners and individuals with mental disorders, claiming to become lovers and aggressively pursuing and imposing themselves, can be found in fiction, for example in the novel Louisa May Alcott with the successful name" The Long Death Pursuit of Love " (A Long Fatal Love Chase), in the collection of court decisions of Richard Dunn 1840, in the literature on psychiatry of the XIX century, devoted to erotomania, and more recently in the literature on domestic violence. At first, in the media, stalkers called people with mental disorders who intruded into the lives of celebrities uninvitedly.
There are different forms of stalking, or obsessive pursuit. There is web stalking when you are being harassed over the Internet. There are also offline pursuers - those who stand under the windows, go through the courts, write letters to the authorities, through social services and the courts select children, set fire to the car, make quite tangible everyday nasty things, attack, threaten with murder. And can do all this at the same time or gradually moving to more severe blows.
One of the dangerous features of stalking is that it is disguised as normal, legitimate everyday situations. Just think, a suffering lover, a former husband, some kind of stupid classmate, a dismissed employee - what to take from them? Shook and subside.
If you understand that the only thing that a stalker seeks is a feeling of power, everything becomes not so simple and optimistic. Power does not happen much, and therefore, the pursuit of another person, in order to feel this power, can go infinitely far.
Where does stalking begin?
- As a rule, it all starts suddenly. The person changes dramatically in their attitude towards you.
- He / she, regardless of your protests and demands, violates boundaries and invades your privacy. Typical examples: night calls, intrusive messages, sudden arrivals, being stalked on the street, breaking into your home, trying to communicate with your family and friends to discuss you and your life.
- Allows himself unacceptable behavior (dirty abuse, deliberate slander, hooliganism, damage to property, dissemination of defamatory information).
- Shocking with antics and makes inadequate demands.
- You are very worried about even the thought of communicating with this person.
- The actions of another person in relation to you are intrusive, regular, threatening. Sometimes they last for years.
- There is information that this person has already pursued someone earlier.
In real life, understanding does not come immediately, painfully and for a long time, sometimes creating a real danger to life. The reason for this delay is ourselves: our best sides, our openness and respect for people. Normal human reactions to the stalker only worsen the situation. Do not think that natural victims or some particularly naive and weak people fall under the scope of the stalker. At this place can be absolutely anyone.
Myths and Reality
The myth that this is a temporary conflict
Why do we think so? We confuse stalking and ordinary conflict. All our life experience shows that any quarrel ends sooner or later. We are accustomed to, that after a strong release of emotions, the conflict goes into decline. The parties calm down, make peace, and then life goes on as usual.
Act: acute conflict or patient waiting.
The stalker will not calm down if your reactions become aggressive or emotional. The more you resent, the more he feels the excitement. Even if you try to start stalking a stalker in the hope that such a treatment is being treated similarly, these attempts are doomed to failure and only provoke him, will give additional reasons for invading your life. The paradox is that your patience will produce exactly the same effect.
Stalking is not a conflict, but a destructive system of relations. The longer you play the role of a victim, the stronger the pursuer holds on to you.
The myth of the possibility of dialogue
Why do we think so? In normal human communication, it is common to give each other credibility. The closer a person is and more confidential communication, the more this loan: we are ready to suffer something unpleasant for the sake of all the good things that bind us.
Stalker masterly uses this credit. For example, she constantly expresses a desire to communicate, talks about how good your relations could be and how everything is ruined now (of course, because of your fault). And we get hooked. Again and again we take the manipulation of the dialogue.
Action: search for compromises, attempts to reach an agreement.
Stalker does not communicate, and imposes a role in your game. And no matter what you do, he is only busy with this game. There is simply no communication as such. This whole situation is a vicious circle and you will walk endlessly in a circle.
The myth of feelings
Why do we think so? Some of us are afraid to be rejected or to be insignificant in someone's eyes. This is the most painful thing that sooner or later will have to admit, when faced with a stalker. It is especially hard when the one who was yesterday the closest, beloved and dear one is pursuing.
Action: to expect that a stalker has a special interest, affection or love for you, simply expresses them in such an inadequate way.
Reality:the stalker has no special feelings towards the object - neither good nor bad. He has a need to feel power, excitement, attention. In short, use the object for your own satisfaction. Of course, the more active the object reacts, the more interesting it is to play with it. This causes frightening bouts of “warmth”, when a stalker suddenly begins to confess his love, devotion, and offers to forget everything.
The myth of the moral and psychological strength of a stalker
Why do we think so? Stalker is strong because it breaks all the rules, goes beyond the limits of what is permitted. While he is taken by surprise, baffled, violates our rights, challenges our abilities, our importance, we gain experience of our failure.
Feeling the superiority of the stalker, we really lose to him. His actions make us flee, hide, make excuses, endure a disrespectful attitude. Behave like people who have lost human and civil rights, like slaves or criminals.
Act: assume that the stalker is a strong overwhelming personality.
As a rule, stalkers have a weak personality type, which quickly accumulates internal tension and badly needs to be defused. He wants to be “caliph for an hour” again and again, to feel the power, strength and soundness. Stalking is a moral and psychological pressure that gives the persecutor to feel like a worthy member of society at the expense of suppressing and exposing the supposedly less worthy.
The myth of distance and safety if we are attacked on the Internet
Why do we think so? The Internet is often felt as a kind of separate space. It seems that everything that happens there will remain. The situation does not seem so real - only words-words-words and emotions, we do not consider it necessary to fear seriously.
Act: expect that the Internet will not go further.
БMost cases of web-stalking go offline and end in quite tangible troubles: attacks, damage to property, unwanted contacts with the victim's surroundings for the purpose of intimidation, striking a person's reputation, his business and friendly ties.
“I am a judge. You are outlawed. I am the law". To such thoughts stalker comes through impunity. He considers himself entitled to judge us, our life, our personality. Decides how and what we should do, how to live.
In a number of countries, many potential persecutors have already lost this illusion of impunity, and with it courage.
The first to introduce criminal punishment for stalking in the United States.
In 1990, California passed a law against persecution. At the same time, the law prescribed the definition of stalking - “conscious, committed with malicious intent and repeated persecution and anxiety to another person”.
The adoption of these laws was largely influenced by the murder of actress Rebecca Schaeffer. For three years, she was chased by a fan, Robert John Bardo. And in 1989, he came to her house and shot the actress. He was given a life sentence. Then similar laws appeared in Canada, Australia and Belgium.
In 2007, in Germany, amendments to the Criminal Code were adopted, providing for punishment for prosecution. Stalkers in Germany can lose their freedom for up to three years. In Scotland, the stalking law came into force in 2010 year. In England and Wales, stalking became a criminal offense in 2012.
In addition to the laws in many countries there are public organizations involved in helping victims of stalkers. in the UK there is The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, which has set up a national hotline to support persecution victims.
If you know that someone is being pursued, it’s worth:
- To listen.
- Show support.
- Do not blame the victim for the crime.
- Remember that each situation is different and the motives of the pursuer are different.
- Find someone you can talk to about the situation.
- Take steps to ensure your own safety.
- I wish good luck to everyone!
Your consultant in the world of psychology Dr.Liza