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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Masochistic Personality Disorder (Masochism)

Masochists have been taught to hate themselves and consider themselves unworthy of love, leading to self-destructive behaviors. They avoid pleasurable experiences and seek suffering, pain, and hurt in relationships. They reject help and render attempts to assist futile. Masochists tend to choose people and circumstances that lead to failure and avoid those that result in success or gratification. They adopt unrealistic goals and generate underachievements, leading to rage, depression, and guilt.

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.

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