Stalkers are common characters you see in many TV shows and movies. However, their depictions on-screen can be far from the truth. Fictional stalkers make good entertainment, but real ones make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe – especially when they won’t stop harassing their targets.
When dealing with a stalker, don’t take matters into your own hands or you’ll risk getting yourself hurt, or worse, do exactly what they wants. In the interests of your own safety, it’s best to hire a private investigator so the stalker can be identified and brought to justice.
Although you can’t face a stalker alone, you can try to see things from their perspective to make yourself more aware. By understanding their motives and methods, you’re able to spot them earlier and contact the property authorities much sooner.
Obsession is the main motive that drives a person to become a stalker. Stalkers are often socially alone or lack important intimate relationships, so when they’ve found someone that sparks their interest, they need to make their presence known almost every day. They feel entitled to make calls, send gifts, or physically follow their victims without their consent.
Although their actions look harmless at the surface, they can cause serious psychological damage to their targets. People who are constantly stalked can get paranoid and fear for their lives. They can even develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Stalkers will do whatever they can to ensure that their targets don’t escape their grasp. However, they’re well-aware that their actions are considered socially unacceptable so they usually move with caution. In order not to get caught initially, they usually approach their victims when there are witnesses. They can also introduce themselves under a different name or anonymously. The moment they get to know their targets, they’ll start harassing them by doing the following:
- Calling or sending them emails immediately after meeting the person
- Become clingy and sometimes forceful when wanting to meet
- Become seriously upset or aggravated if they don’t meet the person
- Create false connections with their victims (i.e. “I’m the brother/sister/friend of so-and-so…”)
- Follow them around from a distance
- Send threats if constantly ignored
In serious cases, stalkers can become violent and physically hurt or abduct their victims.
Types of Stalkers and Their Behaviors
Stalkers are difficult to identify at first. They’re often the kindest, nicest, and most charming people in the crowd. However, they can be categorized once their behaviors start showing up. The different types of stalkers include:
- Incompetent suitor – Stalkers who sense they’re entitled to have a short-term sexual relationship with those they’re attracted to. They stalk for brief periods, but their behaviors are persistent. They stay indifferent or blind to the distress of their victims.
- Intimacy seeker – Stalkers who are transfixed in having an intimate, loving relationship with their victims. They believe that they’re “meant-to-be” with their targets.
- Rejected stalker – Stalkers who are the results of a divorce, separation, or termination. They attempt to reconcile with their past relationship or “correct” the rejection by extracting revenge.
- Resentful stalker – Stalkers who feel like they’ve been mistreated or are the victims of some form of humiliation or injustice by a person or organization. They use stalking as a means of “getting back” at their targets. Their sense of power and control induces fear.
- Predatory stalker – Stalkers who don’t desire to have a relationship with their victims, but rather, find pleasure in gathering information about them and fantasize about assaulting them physically. Their fantasies often involve sexual practices and interests.
- Cyberstalker – Stalkers who use computers and other electronic devices to facilitate their stalking.
- Group stalking – Two or more stalkers pursuing one target.