We’ve all seen TV reports and newspaper articles about stalkers and how they hound famous celebrities. These individuals spend a lot of time, effort, and resources in tracking down and following their targets, which they often refer to as their “objects of affection.”
However, the actions of a stalker belie any such positive regard because they usually cause anxiety, agitation, and loss of privacy instead. The subject of their obsessions suffers sleepless nights and restricted movement. Stalkers even sometimes cross the line to inflict actual verbal or physical harm.
If you believe that the problem of stalkers is something that only celebrities or famous personalities have to contend with, think again. Many ordinary, private citizens are victims of stalkers. These are usually spurned lovers, ex-spouses, or mere obsessive strangers.
In fact, did you know that more than 1 million women are victims of stalking every year? That’s around 1 in every 12 women. Even men are not spared—it is estimated that 370,000 men are stalked every year. That’s 1 in 45 men. These statistics come from the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Stalking can happen to anyone, so it’s good to be prepared and know how you can protect yourself from stalkers. It may seem daunting to face such a situation, but with proper knowledge, guidance, and support, you can effectively deal with stalking should you find yourself in such a circumstance.
The mind of a stalker
According to experts, the most important thing to understand about the psychology of a stalker is that such an individual is usually lonely or has low self-esteem. They lack meaningful relationships, not just romantically or sexually but even with family and friends.
The danger is when such low self-esteem is coupled with a narcissistic personality. The stalker tends to have an overinflated sense of importance, and becomes very sensitive to perceived rejections or lack of reciprocity in terms of attention. This is why stalkers tend to target celebrities or public figures.
Stalkers get attached to people they have just met or barely know. They then try to catch their attention by sending letters, messages, flowers, or gifts. At the same time, they try to control the subject by following their every move and trying to gain access to their personal lives such as belongings or property.
Types of stalkers
There are actually many types of stalkers, depending on their behavior and motivation. There is the rejected stalker, who may be a scorned suitor seeking revenge for a perceived insult to their self-worth. These are the types of stalkers who are most likely to be aggressive, hostile, or violent.
There is also the stalker who seeks intimacy, acting on romantic fantasies with the object of their obsession. Another common type of stalker is the socially awkward person who does not know how to interact properly with others, especially the opposite sex.
Another dangerous type of stalker is the predator type, who is out for gratification for their sexual or violent urges. These are the types that develop into serial killers, because they go for victims they do not know yet they fantasize and obsess about them.
There are many ways of protecting yourself from stalkers. Once you notice warning signs from a person in your life, be careful and start distancing yourself physically. Safeguard personal information such as your phone number, address, and place of work.
In today’s age of digital media, it is also important to protect data and information in your social media accounts. If you believe you are in imminent threat or danger, contact professionals or law enforcement officials who may be able to help protect you or handle your case effectively.