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.