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Stalked: Get Help

Uploaded 11/2/2010, approx. 4 minute read

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

You are a victim of abuse. You are being mistreated repeatedly and frequently. Your health is endangered, maybe your life.

What to do?

Well, your first fallback option is your family. They are, in many cases, though by no means always, your natural allies. They can provide you with shelter, money, emotional support, and advice. Don't hesitate to call on them in times of need.

Your friends, and to a lesser extent your colleagues and neighbors, will usually lend you a sympathetic ear and will provide you with useful tips.

Merely talking to them can not only ease the burden, but protect you from future abuse.

This is because stalkers and paranoid thrive on secrecy, and they abhor public exposure. They fear it.

Regrettably resorting to the legal system, your next logical step, is bound to be a disappointing, disempowering, and invalidating experience.

Watch my video titled Pathologizing the Victim.

In a 1997 review paper titled Stalking Victims' Problems with the Legal System and Therapeutic Considerations, Karen Abrams, M.D., wrote, law enforcement insensitivity toward domestic violence has already been well documented. Police often feel that, as opposed to serious crimes such as murder, domestic issues are not an appropriate police responsibility.

Private misconduct should not be subject to public intervention, and because few cases result in successful prosecution, pursuing domestic violence complaints is ultimately futile.

This sense of futility reinforced by the media and the courts may be transmitted to the victim.

In cases involving ex-lovers, continues Karen Abrams in her article, the police may have equal difficulty in being sympathetic to the issues involved. As in the case of Mrs. A, society often views stalking as a normal infatuation that will eventually resolve itself, or as the action of a rejected lover or a lovesick individual, more to be empathized with than censured.

Victims often report feeling that the police and society blame them for provoking harassment or for making poor choices in relationships. Authorities may have particular difficulty in understanding the woman who continues to have ambivalent feelings toward the offender.

In terms of the laws themselves, there is a history of ineffectiveness in dealing with crimes of stalking. The nature of the offenses themselves makes investigations and persecution difficult because surveillance and phone calls often have no witnesses. Barriers to victims using civil actions against tokens include dangerous time delays and financial requirements. Temporary restraining orders or peace bonds have been used most commonly and are generally ineffective, partly because law enforcement agencies have limited resources to enforce such measures. Even if caught, violators receive at most minimal jail time or minor monetary penalties.

Sometimes the offender just waits out the short duration of the order. Persistent, obsessed stalkers are usually not deterred.

Still, with all these caveats, it is crucial that you document the abuse and stalking and purely report them to the police and to your building security.

If your stalker is in jail, you should report him to the wardens and to his parole officer. It is important to resort to the courts in order to obtain restraining or cease and desist orders.

Keep law enforcement officers and agencies fully posted. Don't hesitate to call upon them as often as you need to. They are public servants. It is their job.

Hire a security expert if the threat is credible or imminent. You are well advised to rely on professional advice throughout your prolonged and arduous disentanglement from your paranoid and stalking ex.

Use attorneys, accountants, private detectives and therapists to communicate with him. Consult your lawyer or if you can't afford one, apply for a pro bono lawyer provided by a civic association or your state's legal aid.

Ask your attorney what are your rights, what kinds of legal redress you have, what safety precautions you should adopt and what are the do's and don't do's of your situation.

Especially important is to choose the right therapist for you and for the children. Check whether the therapist has any experience with victims of stalking and with the emotional effects of constant threat and surveillance, with fear, humiliation, ambivalence, helplessness and paranoid ideation.

Stalking is a traumatic process and you may need intervention to ameliorate the post-traumatic effects it wreaks on the victim.

Join online and offline groups and organizations for victims of abuse and stalking.

Fear support is critical. Helping others and sharing experiences and fears with other victims is validating and empowering as well as a useful experience.

Realizing that you are not alone, you are not crazy, that the whole situation is not your fault, helps to restore your shattered self-esteem and puts things in perspective.

Social services in your area are geared to deal with battering and stalking. They likely run shelters for victims of domestic violence and abuse for instance.

Watch the entire series of 40 videos about these topics.

Domestic violence shelters, courts, the police, your getaway, your relationship with the abuser, with your spouse after the divorce and so on. I wish you luck.

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

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.


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.


Coping Styles: Narcissist Abuses "Loved" Ones Despite Abandonment Anxiety

Narcissists abuse their loved ones to decrease their abandonment anxiety, restore their sense of grandiosity, and test their partner's loyalty. Abuse also serves as a form of behavior modification, as it signals to the partner that they need to modify their behavior to avoid abuse. Coping styles for dealing with abuse include submissiveness, conflicting, mirroring, collusion, and displacement, but some of these styles can be harmful and should be avoided.


Body Language of Narcissistic and Psychopathic Abuser

Abusers emit subtle signals in their body language that can be observed and discerned. They adopt a posture of superiority and entitlement, and they idealize or devalue their interlocutors. Abusers are shallow and prefer show-off to substance, and they are serious about themselves. They lack empathy, are sadistic, and have inappropriate affect. They are adept at casting a veil of secrecy over their dysfunction and misbehavior, and they succeed in deceiving the entire world.


Stalked? Call Police and Law Enforcement!

The rule of thumb for dealing with an abusive partner is to involve the police and law enforcement authorities whenever possible. Physical assault, rape, stalking, marital rape, and cruelty to animals are all criminal offenses that should be reported to the police. Financial abuse is also a criminal offense, and the police must respond to complaints. The police officer on the scene must inform the victim of their legal options and rights, and the officer in charge must furnish them with a list of domestic violence shelters and other forms of help available in their community.


Spot a Narcissist or a Psychopath on Your First Date

There are warning signs to identify abusers and narcissists early on in a relationship. One of the first signs is the abuser's tendency to blame others for their mistakes and failures. Other signs include hypersensitivity, eagerness to commit, controlling behavior, patronizing and condescending manner, and devaluing the partner. Abusers may also idealize their partner, have sadistic sexual fantasies, and switch between abusive and loving behavior. Paying attention to body language can also reveal warning signs.


Stalked? Restraining Orders, Peace Bonds, Courts

Professor Sam Vaknin advises victims of abuse to involve the courts whenever possible. In many countries, the first step is to obtain a restraining order from a civil court, as part of divorce or custody proceedings, or as a stand-alone measure. The difference between a protection order and a restraining order is that the protection order is obtained following an incident of domestic violence involving injury or damage to property. The wording of the restraining order is crucial, and it is important to seek a new restraining order if you have moved.


Abuse Victim as Hostage: Stockholm Syndrome and Trauma Bonding

Abusive relationships require two people to sustain, and the abuser and the abused form a bond and dependence. Society often refuses to tackle this phenomenon, and people, mostly women, remain in abusive households for various reasons. The abuser treats their spouse as an object, devoid of a separate existence and denuded of distinct needs, preferences, wishes, and priorities. The abuser exploits the vulnerabilities in the psychological make-up of their victim, and abusive behavior often indicates serious underlying psychopathologies.


Contract with Your Abuser - Part I

Abuse is a complex phenomenon, and it is difficult to prevent or control the abuser's behavior. Attempts to broach the subject of the abuser's mental health problems frequently end in fights or worse. The delineation of boundaries and reaching an agreement on coexistence are the first important steps towards minimizing abuse in relationships. Personal boundaries are not negotiable, and the abuser should have no say in setting boundaries or upholding them.


Narcissist's Reactions to Abandonment, Separation, and Divorce

Narcissistic abusers often resort to self-delusion when faced with the dissolution of a meaningful relationship. They may adopt a masochistic avoidance solution, punishing themselves for their failure, or construct a delusional narrative in which they are the hero. Some may become antisocial psychopaths, while others develop persecutory delusions and withdraw completely from social contact, becoming schizoids. Finally, some abusers resort to an aggressive stance, becoming verbally, psychologically, and sometimes physically abusive towards loved ones.

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