Stalking is Abuse: How to Recognize it and Deal with It

Stalking is Abuse: How to Recognize it and Deal with It

Several years ago, I was abused and harassed by an ex-boyfriend in a long distance relationship. I know it sounds absurd. One would think that just deleting your email address and changing your phone number should be enough aside from the obvious (blocking on social media, etc.). But those who stalk can be quite clever, and you probably aren’t their first victim. (I know now I wasn’t his.)

People who go off the handle when it comes to controlling another learn over time what works and what doesn’t, and how to get away with it. This is why they end up quickly knowing how to do sneaky things based on experience, such as immediately creating sock accounts on social media, or finding ways to skirt around being blocked or restrained from speaking to you.

If you find you have an abusive person on your hands who is stalking you – call the police. Talk to your friends, family, and employer, and take the wind out of the sails of the person from doing any damage to you by taking their power away. The few times I saw my LDR ex, I was abused. From afar I was tormented online and over the phone. Unbeknownst to me, he had bugged my personal computer to webtrack me. He had gained enough information about me over a period of time to try and cause trouble with my family and friends. These are tips based on what I had done, that hopefully will help you if you are in a similar situation.

Auntie Ozanne’s Tips to Combat Stalking & Harassment

1. Tell the abuser to stop. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, it has to be done. Your words, especially documented in an email are golden if you have to proceed with pressing charges. Make it clear under no uncertain terms that you are ending your relationship/friendship or the contact that you have with them, and to stop contacting you. The words police use are to cease and desist. The retaliation will very likely happen, but you must tell yourself also that you are going to refrain from speaking to them ever again.

2. Document. Keep a log of the abuser’s behaviour, and include correspondence in text or emails on paper or electronically so that if you need to submit them to the police as evidence, they are there as proof. This is especially so when you tell your abuser to stop. The police need to see that you’ve made this clear. Document again, dates and times if the harassment continued after that date. Document the times you spoke with the police, who the officer was, what your file number is, and what was advised. Don’t give your abuser any leverage when they are contacted by police. If the police discover that you have continued to respond to them, even with, “I said leave me alone!” it is still renewing contact. If they send messages from newly created accounts on social media, screenshot, delete, block, and document again.

3. Talk with friends and family. Your abuser may be so bold as to contact them to tell them anything to get in touch with you. Common tactics include informing them that they suspect you are suicidal, using drugs, or in any kind of trouble to put fear in to your loved ones. The most dreaded is the possibility of character-damaging to isolate you from those you respect. This is especially hard when none of your family or friends even know about the person you're speaking of. Make it very clear to all friends before this damage can be done that you are perfectly fine and well, and to be on the lookout for ploys to get them in touch to give up your new contact information. In my case, all of this had happened, and I had even taken it a step further to confide in my employer. (He knew where I worked and threatened to send my boss "pictures of my boobs" - no pictures of my breasts exist, however it wouldn't have stopped him from finding a pair from someone online of similar size and trying to make me look foolish.) Having all my bases covered so that my abuser could not cause trouble was necessary, and took his power away.

4. Don’t retaliate or get anyone else to retaliate. You must think ahead to any possible court case that will have information shared to determine who was at fault or who may be causing mischief. Your abuser even wants negative attention, believe it or not. If they can’t have you in a positive way, they will settle for you in a negative way. So sitting back and watching you go nuts trying to figure out how to stop them is in fact, a bit pleasurable for them. They know they’ve done something that got to you, and the focus you have is all on them.

My one personal tip that I wish I had done that I will pass along to you is:

5. Reset your phone and reformat your computer. If your abuser was able to handle your devices or access your computer at any time while knowing them or dating them, do not put past the possibility that they may have put a spy program on your computer or were jailbreaking your phone or tablet. These things will not come up as threats or viruses and can be undetected. Save your photos and contacts, and simply wipe your devices clean to save yourself the headache of being followed around online and having your personal information compromised.

I know it sounds hard to hear, especially if someone stalking you was once your partner, but they might not have loved you. Stalking is about control, and there is no control in love. When someone stalks another, they are looking for a way to boost whatever little esteem they have in order to get you to fear and do as they say thinking it will make them feel stronger.

Oddly enough, stalking is not about the victim as an act of vanity. It’s about them, the stalker, as they are the one committing the crime. There are underlying mental health issues that have nothing to do with the victim. Research the options you have in your jurisdiction for support. No abuse whatsoever should be tolerated. Recognize some signs that abuse is going to lead to stalking.

  • Preventing you from having friends or family and/or support
  • Refusal to respect your privacy (but especially in personal moments such as using a toilet)
  • Tampering with your personal devices (phone, PC, etc.)
  • Showing irrational signs of jealousy – not just towards members of the opposite sex, but toward you as well
  • Passive and/or aggressive behaviour to coerce you in to doing things only they want
  • Insulting who you are/were or what your values are
  • Hypocrisy – intolerance to accept that you both may have had similar experiences, but yours in their opinion were somehow “wrong” or worse
  • They become clingy and make you feel responsible for their happiness

Light Further Reading:

"In reality, most stalkers do not suffer from hallucinations or delusions, although many do suffer from other forms of mental illness including depression, substance abuse, and personality disorders." -quote from,

Psychology Today - In the Mind of a Stalker

How long it lasts, who is at risk, and what can be done:

StalkingHelpLine.org FAQ

If anyone has any other tips to add or wants to add what they know about stalking, please comment.

*This is a time I'll allow Anonymous posts from users, as this is not a controversial topic, but a personal one that can put someone's safety at risk if found out.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • Another great job Auntie @Ozanne :)

    Basically I do not even allow to be stalked on. How I do that is by simply said not allowing to do so: I do not hand out contact info to every tosser I meet :P I do not publish private or personal info about myself. I do not leave my devices unsecured left. I take my responsibilities in to account and only mine yet. And the best thing to disallow stalking possibilities is by not even having social media such as facebook, twitter, instagram and such. And even if then only with unreal info, which keeps me anonymous.

    But then the stalker could be so desperate to create a fake account with my info on it, even if it's not me. This is possible indeed.

    I am sure there are freaks, who got access to the internet and are looking for me, googling, binging or facebooking for my name and expect an account about me to pop out on some social media and read and know everything about me ;) When I simply remain undetected as there is no account for my real name and the lack of knowledge about me and my personal information :P

    But the internet was never a private place! Every message sent, calls made and other interactions are being reviewed by some sort of Intelligence Agencies. Mind that. Even TV News show about a crime, that has been made, that on the criminals social media status has been found evidence about its intentions actions.

    I know some people are chasing me online but they can not find me. Sorry to disappoint but I have just my privacy to keep. Some others even tried to encourage me to create somewhere a profile on social media. It's just not my thing.

    That feeling is wonderful. Hidden and invisible. I do not stalk for myself but simply prevent being a target for stalkers. Know the difference! It may save your life... somehow... sometime...

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    • Very smart precautions! What do you do then if you being dating someone and they know where you work and who your relatives are to get in touch with if shit hits the fan? That's basically what happened to me. While dating, of course we're going to learn about each other and him knowing where I worked and who my parents were were just natural things to know after time.

      But the rest of it is a true great example. Don't give out your information and limit your social media. More people should take heed!

    • I'm not there yet I guess. I'm not going to date anyone and if I must be contacted, my phone number suffices.

Most Helpful Girl

  • My ex was abusive and I believe he stalked me. I got a new job not long after we broke up and he went around the whole city (it's a large city) to try and find the place I was working. He went into every cafe and asked if I worked for them until he found me. I think he thought it was romantic and then he begged for me back in front of a busy road and my new co-workers. He got down on one knee and people thought he was proposing. It was so awkward. My mum kicked off at me when she found out and said that it was stalking and that he was still trying to control me. That relationship was tough. It's been years but he's still trying to play games with me by adding me on facebook, then immediately blocking me. It's quite sad.

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    • @hannah591 Let me guess, when your relationship started you were promised the world but as time went on it became clear there was a serious manipulation and lying taking place. From there you called him out on it which led to a break up which led to the events you describe here?

      How close am I?

    • I wasn't promise the world, it was a normal relationship in the beginning. He was a charmer. There was serious manipulation and control taking place so I left, but he kept coming to my house, crying and begging for me back, he wouldn't let me leave and then he went round the city looking for me, to try again but I still turned him down.
      I don't know why you're trying to guess what the relationship was like. @med111

    • @hannah591 I am merely using your issue as a way to test something I have noticed a trend of in regards to both sexes. I was curious is all and my curiosity had nothing to do with you personally and simply the dynamics which are becoming more and more common. Call it professional curiosity.

Join the discussion

What Guys Said 12

  • Excellent work. I make it clear that they can do absolutely nothing to me and eventually, they give up unless they're insane people. It happened to me too. Being strong (and if you're not, pretend that you're one) is very important to shatter their hopes. The only threat is that, they'd commit suicide on our name which would lead us to legal issues.

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  • 1. The word, abuse, like bully is getting thrown around like buzz words lately.
    While stalking is bad and illegal, it's not abuse. I know what that feels like.

    2. You failed to mentioned, CALL THE POLICE. That's a no brainer. Seriously, what the hell?
    I called police when my wife felt harassed at home. The cop told me that if you call enough times on the same person (and build up a file), police will arrest them, even if they've done nothing directly illegal.
    So, that's good.

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    • Yes, since it's a no-brainer you'll see I've mentioned it enough times in the second point. And yes, stalking is in fact abuse. Feel free to check any definition if you know how to. Let me guess, you're one of those people who justifies abuse because of your own mistreatment toward others? If so, stay right off my myTake about this. I don't tolerate it, especially in things I write about like this.

  • Good take, Ozanne.

    I would add to #1 that you should make it known that you intend to use the law to its fullest extent if necessary. You will obtain a restraining order and you will prosecute if it's violated.

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    • Good point. Something to include in the kiss off email that says, "Leave me alone... or else".

  • Well written, it's quite sad someone even has the time to stalk someone. To what end? Irritation? Sense of dominance? I can't begin to comprehend the thought process of a stalker.

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    • I know - normal people think that way, but part of the issue is the stalker isn't using their time properly. So, not working, not looking after their kids, all these things take a back seat so they can continue a stalking habit.

  • That sounds like a lot of work. I'd rather just go to court and get a restraining order.

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  • You bring up an excellent point.
    Stalkers can be anyone, and anything can happen. They can be man or woman. Boy or girl. Adult or kid.

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  • Cash, prepaid phone anonymous vpn proxy, sms peeper

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  • Very very nice work; I really appreciate ur effort and find this article so useful for people ^_^

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  • i don't think so

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  • Well there's little to nothing that can actually be done about it. Just accept the fact that one day when you least expect it you'll get murdered. Once you've made peace with that possibility you realize it's not something you have control over so you stop worrying about it and just go on living.

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  • Tip a retired cop I know with 30 years on the LAPD: restraining orders don't work. You'd be amazed how many people get killed by people they put a restraining order on. Be prepared to protect yourself with a burglar alarm and preferably a firearm if you are legally permitted to do so.

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    • I know this is true. People all too often test the waters with their no-contact orders and when they find out that the police will do very little, it only makes it more fun for the stalker to think they just beat the system.

  • Can't you just report it to the police (Stalking is illegal in most countries)?

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    • Usually, you can go to police. But police can be influenced by politics.

    • This was pretty much my case too. Since the stalkER did his damage in the US, my local police told me they could not act on it. They said, "We can't call the US and tell them what to do with one of their citizens from here." So, I made an international call to his local city police, and they said they could do nothing because technically "the crime happened where you are" since I'm the victim feeling the effects of it here. Can you believe this? Neither country would help me. I told them both that. I said the Internet is a melting pot for trouble no matter what country you're in, and you can't help? Both counties said unless there was eminent threat against me physically, they couldn't do anything. More bullshit. Stalking pamphlets are everywhere saying its a crime, but if the police don't have to deal with it, they won't. Both police departments told me my option next was to file a complaint with the Internet provider. Okay, so I did. I called my own provider...

    • They could do nothing based on why I needed help, nor thought it was serious enough to investigate, even though I had a police file on everything. Basically if you allow someone to get to you online, the onus is on the victim to remove their life online, delete email addresses, create new ones, and stay off social media. That is EXACTLY what I was told by my own police. When the Internet gets more scary, maybe more things will be put in place to protect people like me so they never happen to another person again. Five fucking years of stalking and it STILL happens now, only now it's about once every few months rather than 20 times a day.

What Girls Said 4

  • Telling them to stop is sometimes the worst thing to do. They want contact, ANY contact with you. Acknowledging their existence, even to tell them you don't want to do so, is a reward to them, and could lead them into thinking their tactics are working, and cause escalation.

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    • I wanted to make it clear that the initial time of telling them to stop is the only time you are breaking contact on your end. You say it once, preferably in a way that can be traced (ie. email) and then no more. The police will be the first to tell you not to repeatedly tell them to stop as that is exactly what they want, you telling them to "stop". To a stalker, at least you acknowledge them which is the first thing they're after.

  • I know how this feels I've had two stalkers in the past, one was pretty ugly and had to put a restraining order and the other one was just online (on another site, not this one) but he kept making new accounts just to torture me. At first he was really sweet and all (he was still creepy though) but then it got pretty ugly when he started to feel rejected by me.

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    • Online stalking is becoming more and more of a problem. Not very often now are people just parking cars in front of workplaces and physically being there. It's another reason why I'm off Facebook. I'm feel, better knowing that no one can find me, even my ex (who after six years, still makes it known he's found me somewhere).

  • Excellent advice - particularly the bits about documenting your interactions and telling the people around you so that they have your back. I've found that both can be quite difficult to do.

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  • Now I kinda feel bad for being a stalker...

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    • Are you a "stalker stalker" or just a casual cyber stalker (AKA fan girl)? :P

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