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