Psychological Self-Help

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There are so many different kinds of stalkers who stalk for many different reasons.
So, at first, deciding how to cope with a stalker would be very difficult. Often you
don’t suspect that they could become a stalker—they may only seem interested in
talking with you or making a reasonable request for some help or wanting to
compliment your work. Later, you may start to have a little concern when they
request too much help or time. They might want a special meeting with you or they
propose doing a project with you or under your supervision…this action may concern
you because it doesn’t seem like you have encouraged this much involvement. Then
when phone calls begin coming every day or so, you know something is going on
that you don’t want to happen. 
The beginning of stalking can be much more ominous and scary: a former lover may
be seen watching your house and then, perhaps, there are daily calls to see if
someone else is there. It really gets scary if the old lover threatens to “beat up on”
or confront anyone you are seen with. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, such a
situation, especially involving an ex-lover, can be very awkward and even
dangerous. Different stalkers have very different motivations, different personality
needs, and different long-term objectives. Some are very needy, meek, or eager to
please; that may be a nuisance but not likely to harm you. Other stalkers have very
intense needs and motives that you have no way of knowing. Their intentions may
be senseless—even psychotic. They may think you love them when you don’t even
like them. They may hear voices telling them to hurt you.
Obviously, what you need to do to protect yourself depends on the stalker. Since the
stalker may range from being a 13-year-old kid who has never had a girlfriend
before but has a crush on you to being a 46-year-old male who has repeatedly been
arrested for assault and battery on persons similar to you. Your action has to be
different. A simple, clear, firm statement that you don’t have the time or that he
should stop calling you will take care of the young adolescent. On the other hand, it
would be wise to document all phone calls by the criminal, notifying the police of
each one as it occurs (even if he is your ex-husband). Get the local Police
Department’s advice about how to handle the adult making nuisance or threatening
calls. Most of the books and Websites given below offer advice about how to protect
There are several books written about stalkers and how to deal with them. But many
of the authors have had their unique experiences with stalking. Their experiences
may or may not apply well to a stalking crisis you might be in. For instance, one
publication for the general public is by a female psychiatrist (Orion, D., 1997) who
herself has been stalked for 7+ years. The doctor describes herself as having a
terribly distressing experience of “having a long-term love affair (in the patient’s
mind) with a former patient.” The patient became obsessively in love with her…and
the patient believed the doctor was in love with her—a psychiatric condition called
Erotomania. The doctor tried to transfer this demanding woman to another doctor,
but the patient wouldn’t accept the transfer. The almost constant harassment by this
former patient lasted for years…in her office, at the doctor’s home, wherever she
went, everywhere. The doctor tried moving out of state and the patient followed her.
The repeated contacts and confrontations aroused fear and frustration in the doctor;
she tried to go to court for a restraining order. She suffered a lot of professional
embarrassment since many others learned of the problem. Taking legal action she
had to deal with the police and lawyers. The distressing encounters also happened at
work and involved other staff in her clinic. The doctor could not feel safe and secure
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