DANGER: Paranoid Ex

Uploaded 6/21/2011, approx. 5 minute read

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

The paranoid person'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 your paranoid ex. Change address, phone number, email accounts, cell phone numbers, and list the kids in a new school. Find a new job, get a new credit card, open a new bank account.

Do not inform your paranoid ex about your whereabouts and about your new life. You may have to make painful sacrifices, such as minimize contact for a while with your family and friends.

He may be following you, or watching them.

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

Violence is more than likely, unfortunately.

Unless deterred, paranoid former spouses tend to be harmful, in extreme cases even 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. You never know when it's going to reappear.

Keep these accessories close by and accessible even when you are asleep or in the bathroom.

A rotomaniac stalking by paranoid exes can last many years.

Do not let down your guard even if you haven't heard from him for a long period of time.

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

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

So pay close attention to detail. Is your computer being tempted with? Is someone downloading your email? Has anyone been to your house while you were away? Any telltale signs of breaking an entry? Missing or misplaced things?

A typical disorder? Or too much order? Is your post being delivered erratically? Some of the envelopes having been opened and then resealed? Are there any mysterious phone calls? Broccoli disconnected when you pick up?

If the answer to any of these is a resounding yes, your paranoid ex must have dropped by and must be monitoring you.

So 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? Is someone making inquiries about you and your family?

So 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 them.

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

Explain the danger to the children without being unduly alarming. Don't transform this into a horror movie. Just make sure they are cautious. Make a distinction between adults they can trust and your abusive former ex whom they should avoid.

Ignore your gut reactions and impulses. Sometimes the stress is so onerous and so infuriating that you feel like striking back at the stalker. Don't do it. Don't play his game. He is better at this game 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. Get obtained restraining orders. Make sure he spends spells in jail. Ask the police to visit him frequently and to check his violent and intrusive conduct.

There are many laws against harassment and stalking on the books. Use them.

The other behavioral extreme is futile and counterproductive.

Do not try to buy peace by appeasing your abuser. Submissiveness and attempts to reason with your paranoid ex only whet his appetite.

He regards your submissiveness as contemptible weakness, a vulnerability that he can exploit.

You cannot communicate with a paranoid because he is likely to distort everything you say to support his persecutory delusions, his sense of entitlement and his grandiose fantasies.

You cannot appeal to a paranoid ex's emotions. He has none, at least not positive ones.

Remember, your abusive and paranoid former partner blames everything on you. As far as he is concerned, you, recklessly and unstructurally, racked a wonderful thing that you had going.

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

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

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

How long and how it all ends depends on a few factors out of your control, but luckily it also depends on many factors that are under your control.

Make the best of it.

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