Stalker Psychology

Uploaded 5/19/2011, approx. 3 minute read

My name is Sam Vaknin. I am the author of Malignant Self-Love, Narcissism Revisited. Abused by proxy continues long after the relationship is officially over, at least as far as one of the parties is concerned.

The majority of abusers get the message, however belatedly and reluctantly.

Yet there is a minority of abusers, the more vindictive and obsessed ones, who continue to hunt and hunt their ex-spousers for years to come.

These are, of course, the stalkers.

Most stalkers are what the scholars Zona and Gerberth call simple obsessional, or as Malignant Path put it, the rejected ones.

They stalk their prey as a way of maintaining the dissolved relationship, at least in their diseased minds.

They seek to punish their quarry for refusing to collaborate in the charade and for resisting their unwanted and ominous intentions.

Many of them are erotomaniac. Such stalkers come from all walks of life and cut across social, racial, gender and cultural barriers.

They usually suffer from one or more co-morbid personality disorders. They may have anger management or emotional issues, and they usually abuse drugs or alcohol or both.

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. They have high IQs, advanced degrees, and they are middle-aged.

This has been proven in studies such as Maloy and Gothar in 1995 and Morrison in 2001.

Rejected stalkers are intrusive and inordinately persistent. They recognize no boundaries, personal or legal. They honor no contracts, and they pursue the targets for years.

They interpret rejection as a sign of the victim's continued interest and obsession with them.

They are therefore impossible to get rid of.

Many of them are narcissists and thus lack empathy, voluminence and immune to the consequences of their actions and suffer from serious cognitive deficits in a deteriorating reality test.

Even so, some stalkers are possessed of an uncanny ability to psychologically penetrate other people.

Often, this gift, which I call cold empathy, is abused and put in the service of their controlled sadism.

Stalking and the ability to mete out justice makes them feel omnipotent, powerful and vindicated.

When arrested, they often act the victim and attribute their actions to self-defense and to what they call righting wrongs.

Stalkers are emotionally labile and present with rigid and infantile primitive defense mechanisms, splitting, projection, projective identification, denial, intellectualization and narcissism.

These type of stalkers devalue and dehumanize their victims and thus justify the harassment or diminish it.

From here, it is only one step to violent conduct.

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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.

Coping with Stalkers: Psychopaths, Narcissists, Paranoids, Erotomaniacs

Stalkers come in different types, including erotomaniac, narcissistic, paranoid, and anti-social or psychopathic. Coping techniques suited to one type of stalker may backfire or prove to be futile with another. The best coping strategy is to first identify the type of abuser you are faced with. It is essential to avoid all contact with your stalker, but being evaded only inflames the stalker's wrath and enhances his frustration.

Paranoid Stalker Ex

Abusive ex-partners often resort to lies and half-truths to cope with the pain of separation. They may also resort to self-delusion, which can make them dangerous. The only viable coping strategy is to ignore the abusive ex and take necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family. Avoid all gratuitous interactions, and do not collude or collaborate in your ex's fantasies and delusions. If your ex is paranoid delusional, he may be very dangerous, and you should take steps to minimize the danger to yourself and your household.

Abusive Ex Leverages Children Against You

Abusive ex-partners often use their children to manipulate and control their former partners. They may co-opt their children into aiding and abetting their abusive conduct, using them as bargaining chips or leverage. The abuser may emotionally blackmail the children, threatening to withhold love and affection if they do not comply with their demands. The abuser may also pervert the system, using therapies, marriage counselors, mediators, court-appointed guardians, police officers, and even judges to pathologize the victim and separate them from their sources of emotional sustenance.

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.

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.

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.

Contract with Your Abuser - Part II

To negotiate with an abuser, it is best to co-opt their prejudices and pathology by catering to their infantile emotional needs and complying with their wishes, complex rules, and arbitrary rituals. It is useless to confront the abuser head-on to engage in power politics. To move the abuser to attend couple or marital therapy, tell them that you need their help to restore your relationship to its former warmth and intimacy. Gradually, try to free the rigid edges of your sex rules.

DANGER: Paranoid Ex

To minimize the danger of a paranoid ex, it is important to put physical distance between yourself and them, change contact details, and not inform them of your whereabouts. It is also important to be prepared for violence and to alert law enforcement officers, check out domestic violence shelters, and consider owning a self-defense weapon. Paying attention to unusual patterns and events can help identify if a paranoid ex is monitoring you. It is important to teach children to avoid the ex and report any contact. Appeasing the ex is futile, and it is important to use the law to obtain restraining orders and ensure they spend time in jail.

Abusive Ex: Tell Your Children the Truth!

Parents who have been victims of abuse should not attempt to present a balanced picture of their relationship with their abusive ex-spouse to their children. Children have a right to know the truth about the overall state of affairs between their parents, and both parents have a moral obligation to tell their offspring the truth. If spousal abuse is wholly or partly to blame, it should be brought out into the open and discussed honestly with the children. The child should be brought up to insist on being respected by the other parent, on having him or her observe the child's boundaries and accept the child's needs and emotions, choices and preferences.

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