Coping with Stalkers: Psychopaths, Narcissists, Paranoids, Erotomaniacs

Uploaded 3/2/2013, approx. 8 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin, and I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited.

Today we will discuss stalkers.

Stalkers are not made of one cloth, some of them are psychopaths, other stalkers are schizoids, narcissists, paranoids, or an admixture of these unsavory mental health disorders.

Stalkers harass their victims because they are lonely, or because it is fun, these are latent sadists, or because they cannot help it, they are clinging, co-dependent, or for myriad different other reasons.

Clearly, coping techniques suited to one type of stalker may backfire or prove to be futile with another.

The only denominator common to all bullies is their pent-up rage.

Stalker is angry at his or her targets and hates them. He perceives his victims as unnecessarily and churlishly frustrating.

The aim of stalking is to educate the victim and to punish her, hence a catch-22 of coping with stalkers.

The standard and good advice is to avoid all contact with your stalker, to ignore him, even as you take precautions.

But being evaded only inflames the stalker's wrath and enhances his frustration. The more the stalker feels sidelined, ignored, and stonewalled, the more persistent he becomes, the more intrusive, and the more aggressive.

So what to do?

It is essential, therefore, to first identify the type of abuser you are faced with.

Start with the erotomaniac. This kind of stalker believes that he is in love with you, and that regardless of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the feeling is reciprocated.

In other words, he believes that you are in love with him.

He interprets everything you do, or refrain from doing, as coded messages confessing your eternal devotion to him and to your relationships.

Erotomaniacs are lonely, socially inept people.

They may also be people with whom you have been involved dramatically, your former spouse, a former boyfriend, or even a one-night stand. They could also be colleagues or co-workers.

The best coping strategy with an erotomania is to ignore him. Do not communicate with him, or even acknowledge his existence.

The erotomaniac clutches its straws and often suffers from ideas of reference. He tends to blow out of proportion every comment or gesture of his loved one.

So avoid contact. Do not talk to him. Return his gifts unopened. Refuse to discuss with him anything, or discuss him with others. Delete his correspondence.

Then there is the narcissistic stalker.

He feels entitled to your time, attention, admiration, and resources. He interprets every rejection as an act of aggression which leads to a narcissistic injury.

He reacts with sustained rage and vindictiveness. He can turn violent because he feels omnipotent and immune to the consequences of his actions.

Your best coping strategy with a narcissistic stalker is to make clear that you want no further contact with him and that this decision is not personal.

Be firm. Do not hesitate to inform him that you hold him responsible for his stalking, bullying, and harassment, and that you will take all necessary steps to protect yourself.

Narcissists at base are cowards and are easily intimidated.

Luckily, they never get emotionally attached to their prey and so they can move on with relative ease.

Then there is the paranoid stalker. This is by far the most dangerous of the lot.

He lives in an inaccessible world of his own making. He cannot be reasoned with. He cannot be cajoled.

He thrives on threats, anxiety and fear. He distorts every communication to feed his persecutory delusion and enhance his anxiety.

The paranoid's conduct is unpredictable and there is no typical scenario. But experience shows that you can minimize the danger to yourself and to your household by taking some basic steps.

If at all possible, put as much physical distance as you can between yourself and the paranoid stalker.

Change address, phone number, email account, cell phone number, enlist the kids in a new different school, find a new job, get a new credit card, open a new bank account. Move states if you have to.

Do not inform your paranoid ex about your whereabouts and about your new life.

You may have to make painful sacrifices, such as minimize contacts, even with your family and best friends.

And even with all these precautions, your abusive ex is likely to find you, furious that you have fled and invaded him, raging at your newfound existence, suspicious and resentful of your freedom and personal autonomy.

Violence is more than likely to ensue.

Unless deterred, paranoid former spouses tend to be harmful, even, in some cases, lethal.

So be prepared.

Alert your local law enforcement officers. Check out your neighborhood domestic violence shelter.

Consider owning a gun for self-defense or, at the very least, a stun gun or mustard spray. Carry these with you at all times. Keep them close by and accessible, even when you are asleep or in your bathroom.

Erotomaniac stalking can last many years.

Do not let down your guard, even if you haven't heard from him, for a while.

Stalkers leave traces. They tend, for instance, to scout the territory before they make their move.

A typical stalker invades his or her victim's privacy a few times long before the crucial and injurious encounter.

So is your computer being tampered with? Is someone downloading your email? Has anyone been in your house while you were away? Any signs of breaking and entering, missing things, atypical disorder or even too much order? Is your post being delivered erratically, some of the envelopes having been opened and then resealed? Mysterious phone calls abruptly disconnected when you pick up?

Your stalker may scout your home, sitting in a vehicle opposite your doorstep.

If some of these signs exist, your stalker must have dropped by and is monitoring them.

Notice any unusual pattern, any strange event, any weird occurrence.

Someone is driving by your house morning and evening? A new gardener or maintenance man came by in your absence? Someone is making inquiries about you and your family?

Maybe it's time to move on.

Teach your children to avoid your paranoid ex and to report to you immediately any contact he has made with him.

Abusive bullies often strike where it hurts most: at one's children.

Explain to your children the danger without being unduly alarming. Make a distinction between adults whom they can trust and your abusive former spouse or ex whom they should avoid.

Ignore your gut reactions and impulses because they are often misleading. Sometimes the stress is so onerous and so infuriating that you feel like striking back at the stalker.

So don't do it. Don't play his game.

He is better at it than you are and is likely to defeat you.

Instead, unleash the full force of the law whenever you get the chance to do so.

Restraining orders, peace bonds, spells in jail, and frequent visits from the police tend to check the abuser's violent and intrusive conduct.

The other behavioral extreme is equally futile and counterproductive.

Do not try to buy peace by appeasing your abuser. Submissiveness and attempts to reason with him only whet the stalker's appetite.

He regards both as contemptible weaknesses, vulnerabilities that he can exploit.

You cannot communicate with a paranoid because he is likely to distort everything that you say to support his persecutory delusions.

He has a sense of entitlement. He has grandiose fantasies.

You cannot appeal to his emotions or reason he has none, at least no positive emotion.

Remember, your abusive and paranoid former partner blames it all on you. As far as he is concerned, you, recklessly and unscrupulously, wrecked a wonderful thing that you both had gone.

He is vengeful, seething and prone to bouts of uncontrolled and extreme aggression.

Don't listen to those who tell you to take it easy. Hundreds of thousands of women paid with their lives for heeding this idiotic advice.

Do not take it easy. Do not count down. Do be hypervigilant.

Your paranoid stalker is inordinately dangerous and, more likely than not, is with you for a long time to come.

Finally, there is the anti-social or psychopathic stalker.

Though ruthless and typically violent, the psychopath is a calculating machine out to maximize his gratification and personal profit.

Psychopaths lack empathy and may even be sadistic, but understand well and instantly the language of carrots and sticks.

So your best coping strategy is to convince your psychopath that messing with your life, or with your nearest, is going to cost him dearly.

Do not threaten him. Simply be unequivocal about your desire to be left in peace and your intentions to involve the law should he stalk, harass, or threaten you.

Give him a choice between being left alone and becoming the target of multiple arrests, restraining orders, and worse.

Take extreme precautions at all times and meet him only in public places.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Erotomanic Stalker

The erotomaniac stalker believes they are in love with their victim and will go to great lengths to prove their devotion, including making legal, financial, and emotional decisions for the victim without their consent. They ignore personal boundaries and intrude on privacy, and may even force themselves on the victim sexually. Coping strategies include ignoring the stalker, not responding to any communication, returning gifts, and avoiding any contact with the stalker. Any contact with the stalker is seen as a sign of love, so it is best to avoid them completely.

Psychopathic Bully and Stalker

Stalking is a crime and stalkers are criminals, yet the horrid consequences of stalking are often underestimated. Many criminals, and therefore many stalkers, suffer from personality disorders, most prevalently the antisocial personality disorder, formerly known as psychopathy. Psychopaths regard other people as objects to be manipulated, in instruments of gratification and utility. The best coping strategy is to convince the psychopath that messing with your life or with your nearest is going to cost him dearly.

Narcissist's Victim: NO CONTACT Rules

Professor Sam Vaknin advises victims of narcissism and psychopathy to maintain as much contact with their abuser as the courts, counselors, evaluators, mediators, guardians, or law enforcement officials mandate. However, with the exception of this minimum mandated by the courts, decline any and all gratuitous contact with the narcissist or psychopath. Avoiding contact with the abuser is a form of setting boundaries, and setting boundaries is a form of healing. Be firm, be resolute, but be polite and civil.

Mentally Ill: Bail Out, Save Yourself - Not THEM!

Mentally ill people often emotionally blackmail others into becoming their rescuers, and once they have, they want to infect them with their illness. This is because they want to share their pain and feel accepted. However, mentally ill people do not want to be helped, and they have strong resistances and defenses against healing. Therefore, it is important to harden your heart and walk away from mentally ill people to save yourself.

Avoid Mentally Ill: No Families, Relationships

Mentally ill people want to be normal, but it is a lie that therapists and psychologists tell them that they can be cured and lead a normal life. Mental illness is a lifelong condition that is part of a person's identity and cannot be cured or healed. Mentally ill people should be managed, regulated, and isolated to prevent them from causing harm to themselves and others. Instead of seeking normalcy and intimacy, mentally ill people should focus on their areas of high functioning and accept their limitations.

Stalker Psychology

Stalking is a form of abuse that continues long after a relationship has ended, with the majority of abusers getting the message. However, a minority of abusers, the more vindictive and obsessed ones, continue to stalk their ex-partners for years to come. These stalkers are typically lonely, violent, and intermittently unemployed, but they are rarely full-fledged criminals. Contrary to myths perpetrated by the mass media, studies show that most stalkers are men, have high IQs, advanced degrees, and are middle-aged.

Narcissist and Psychopath Coping Strategies: Conflictive Posture

The conflictive posture is a way to avoid conflict with a narcissist or psychopath by minimizing contact and insisting on boundaries. It involves demanding reasonably predictable and rational actions and reactions from the abuser and respecting one's own emotions, needs, wishes, and priorities. The abuser creates a shared psychosis with the victim, but it is important not to buy into it and to involve law enforcement or officials if necessary. It is also important to share the story with others and not make excuses for the abuser.

Narcissist and Psychopath Coping Techniques

The video discusses techniques for coping with narcissistic and psychopathic abusers, including mirroring their behavior, frightening them, luring them, and threatening to abandon them. The most recommended technique is to refuse all contact with the abuser, except for the minimum mandated by the courts. The video also advises watching another video in the series that deals with warning signs and identifying marks to avoid abusive relationships. All techniques should be pursued legally and with caution, as they can backfire and provoke the abuser into violence and aggression.

Abuse By Proxy

Abusers often use third parties to control, coerce, threaten, stalk, tempt, seduce, harass, communicate, or manipulate their targets. They use the same mechanisms and devices to control these unaware instruments as they plan to control their ultimate prey. The abuser perverts the system, and therapists, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and judges end up upholding the abuser's version and helping him further abuse his victims. The victim's children are the abuser's greatest source of leverage over his abused spouse or mate.

Narcissist: Set Firm Personal Boundaries!

Personal boundaries are essential to protect oneself from abusive behavior. It is important to set boundaries clearly and communicate them to others, including the consequences of violating them. It is crucial to enforce boundaries consistently and involve law enforcement or friends and colleagues if necessary. One should be vigilant, doubting, and not gullible, and expose the abuser to their collaborators.

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