One of the most relevant concerns of people in this age is the problem of stalking. In countries like the U.S., over 6 million people report incidences of being stalked every single year, where most of the victims were female, even though women are also known to be stalkers. Although the word “stalking” has become part of people’s colloquial vocabulary, it is still a very serious crime, and a problem that has to be dealt with immediately. In order to report stalking and to figure out a way in which you can save yourself from the perpetrator, you have to learn how to identify the signs of a stalker.
People are under the impression that stalking only implies physically following a person’s every move; but that is not the case. In an age of digital communication, sharing information on several online forums is no more an anomaly, which makes cyber stalking a bleak reality. Before we can tell you about the 11 signs of a stalker, you have to understand what stalking actually is.
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Stalking can be defined as a pattern of persistent encroachment of private space and information, which is most definitely non-consensual, leading to a sense of constant fear, exposure, and discomfort for the victim. If you think you are being stalked by a creep, then you are likely to feel afraid and threatened all the time, because there seems to be the constant unwanted presence of someone in your life.
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Here are 11 signs which shall confirm whether you are being stalked by a creep or not.
1. You see a familiar face around your home or your office
You might initially think that is not something to worry about when you see someone over and over again around your house or your workplace. However, it is a problem. Unless they work in your office or unless they are a neighbor, it is not likely that you will see someone over and over again because there are a million people around you, and this is too much of a coincidence, especially if you notice that it is the same person hanging around your usual spots.
2. You start receiving unwanted presents and correspondences
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One of the most telltale signs of a stalker is when you start receiving persistent presents, gifts, letters, e-mails, faxes, and any other form of communication and correspondences from someone that you just met. Not only does this make you uncomfortable, but also inconveniences you to a large extent, making you wish it would stop from the moment you start receiving all these tokens and letters.
3. The said stalker invades your private space more often than not
Some stalkers think it is necessary to invade your private space to get closer to you. For example, if you have just met someone, and they start acting like your old friend, doing things that would not be appropriate for anyone to do except for an old friend, it means they are trying to get abnormally close to you. It is important that you establish your limits right from the start.
4. Stalkers don’t understand boundaries
Even though it is imperative that you establish certain boundaries regarding your personal space, (if it is possible to communicate with a potential stalker that is) it is likely that they will not take heed to your warnings. After you have asked your stalker to stay away, they are likely to try and get closer, increasing your discomfort and feeling of vulnerability.
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5. You might notice signs of damage to your home or property
One of the most disturbing psychological traits of a stalker is that their boldness increases over time, making them do things which help them catch your attention, mostly in an unpleasant way. This might entail minor damage to your property or even your house, such as a destroyed garden, or dents in your car, or stolen personal items.
6. They constantly ask you where you are going and what you are doing
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You might think it a pretty harmless question in the beginning, but after a while, it gets pretty uncomfortable when someone wants to know where you are going and where you are at all times. In case you are unwilling to reveal your destination, tell them you are going home. Should they confront you later about lying to them, you can confirm that you have a stalker on your hands. This also shows that a stalker can be an over-attached lover or a spouse.
7. Someone is going to great lengths to get your personal information
And I don’t mean just your contact number or your address (because sad as it may be, they probably know all that already). Seeking personal information can mean anything, starting from information about your friends and family to your favorite restaurant to the salon you visit for your pedicure. They may get in touch with your friends and family and harass them with questions about you and your personal life.
8. Stalkers usually misuse the personal information they get about you
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Stalkers don’t stalk because they are bored. They stalk because they want to achieve a certain end after all the effort they put in, to ensure that they know every single detail about you, and track your every single move. The purpose is to get your attention and to get you to react to them. When they are denied this, they may lash out by posting your personal information in public places/forums and trying to badmouth you in public. They might even try to spread wrongful rumors about you. Not only is this a gross breach of privacy, but it is also a maniacal tendency which can do you much harm. Also, if they are able to get hold of some of the less consequential information without any effect or reaction from you, then they might try to make matters worse by trying to get access to your more important details.
9. They try to manipulate situations so as to meet with you frequently
The reason why stalkers are so inclined to make your life miserable is so that they can get closer to you and get some sort of a reaction from you regarding their actions. In order to make this process easier and to help them closer to you, stalkers might even manipulate certain situations in your workplace or even in normal everyday situations like grocery shopping or seeking employment in your place of work, in order to ensure that your paths cross so that you have to come into close contact with each other. This is something that you must not, under any circumstance, take lightly. In case they are unable to orchestrate a meeting, stalkers might even try to harm you, or come dangerously close, especially when you are alone and unaccompanied.
10. A close friend or acquaintance starts taking undue interest in you
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Stalkers need not always be strangers or people you barely know. Some of the closest people in your life, because of some sort of emotional upheaval, turn into your stalker, making your life miserable and negating all the goodwill that you shared previously. As mentioned before, some of the most common complaints list ex-lovers as stalkers. However, a close friend, or even your spouse might become your stalker, after some altercation between you, or the development of some feeling. Determining whether someone is a stalker is based on your intuition and the level of discomfort you feel regarding certain relationships in your life.
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11. They over-analyze and over-interpret everything you say
Stalking is almost synonymous with obsession. This means that they hang on to everything you say and do. In case you know your stalker and there are instances when the two of you have to communicate, then one of the most common signs of a stalker is when they over-react to everything you say, find deeper meanings and implications in all your words, and always over-analyze your actions even when it is not your place to do so. This is not only uncomfortable and inconvenient for you, but also frightening, because as a result of their misinterpretation, they might try and harm you.
It is extremely important to identify the signs of a stalker, so that you can take the right action in time. The very first thing you should do is report it to the local authorities, because it is always better to be safe than sorry. You can start by establishing boundaries yourself and giving them warnings, but in most cases, the stalkers are even more encouraged by this. You also have to be very careful about the information that you share online, and the information you choose to share in public. If you find out that you really do have someone stalking you, you have to make sure that all your friends and your family know about them, and also attempt to get a restraining order after taking extra careful measures about your safety.
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