You dated him with the purest of intentions. You were seeking love, companionship and fulfilment – much as you assumed he was. Months later you started noticing some disturbing traits – possessiveness, constant checking in on you and out-of-control jealousy. Now as you try to escape the relationship, you realize that he isn’t going to let you go so easily.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, over 3 million people in the United States are victims of stalking each year. The majority of these victims know their stalker. Youth aged 18-24 are the most likely victims. So how do you prevent yourself from being a statistic and protect yourself from a potentially dangerous situation?
Recognize the Early Signs
As a partner, a stalker can be very controlling and possessive. He may want you to account for every minute of every day. He will call you constantly even if you are out with the girls. Other times, he might just show up to “check up on you”. You may start to feel embarrassed about how often your phone rings that you may simply find it easier to not go out without him. Abusive men often try to isolate their partners from everyone – including their family and friends. They may become enraged when you “disobey” them.
End the Relationship
The sooner you escape a possessive man, the less likely you will suffer months and years of stalking and legal action. The longer you stay with him, the more difficult it will be for him to accept that the relationship is over. (For a true story of just how terrifying ending a relationship with such a man can be, read Ann Rule’s book Mortal Danger). Be firm and decisive. Don’t let him sweet-talk you back into his life. Controlling men can be very manipulative and charming and will promise you grandiose things – including that they will change.
True, not all stalkers are going to be jealous ex-boyfriends. Either way, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself and ensure your safety.
- Have an alarm system installed
- Lock every door and keep blinds closed at night
- Remove any shrubbery or landscaping that can be used to hide behind
- Do not respond to any attention given to you by the stalker, this could aggravate him
- Keep detailed records of each contact
- Be aware of what you are throwing in your garbage as it may be riffled through.
- Jot down the license plate number of any car you see following you.
- Get a restraining order if you have grounds to do so
- Get help. If you are genuinely afraid for your safety, contact the police. Keep contacting them until they understand the seriousness of the situation. Get legal aid if you can. Speak with family and friends about it so they can watch out for you.
- Consider getting a weapon and learning how to use it. Even if it just gives you peace of mind.
A stalker will threaten your sense of security and attempt to control you by instilling fear in you. It could get to the point where you no longer feel safe in your own home and you fear for the safety of your loved ones. Don’t let a stalker take away your dignity and sense of safety. Recognize early signs of a possessive man and get out of the relationship before it’s too late. If you have already become a victim of stalking, get support from your local police detachment and tap into some victim resources in your local community.Also, consider hiring a private investigator to accumulate evidence. For more advice on stalking and how to protect yourself, see the National Center for Victims of Crime websit