Today I am writing about relationships. We have all had good and bad relationships. The good ones will hopefully result in a happy, lifelong partnership or marriage. The bad relationships end usually with a mutual agreement to move apart, wishing each other the best. My question to you is_ what happens if the other person does not want to accept this.
What if_ this person decides to stalk you? How do you recognize the signs of a stalker? Did you know that this has affected 3.4 million Americans over the age of 18? Could you be next?
Warning signs to look for after you have ended the relationship:
It usually starts with the phone calls. The endless calls, when the phone rings and you recognize the phone number.
You go to your local stores and they ‘accidently’ run into you and try to start conversation.
You are driving and you look in the rear mirror, only to see that they are two cars behind you.
It is late at night, you look out of your window and their car is down the road parked, engine and lights off, in total darkness.
They call at your house wanting to talk to you, to reconcile the relationship.
You find messages, emails, letters, gifts and small packages left for you.
They start to threaten you and your loved ones.
It makes you feel vulnerable, stressed, fearful and threatened. Your privacy is gone and you have a stalker.
Stalkers have different psyches. It can be the jilted lover, husband or wife. It can be a co-worker, an admirer or friend, a social media ‘friend’. They come from all occupations and lifestyles.
What to do if you have a stalker:
Make sure safety is paramount in your home, check the locks on all doors and window locks work etc. and the phone cable outside is out of reach.
Rally your friends, family and co-workers for help and support.
Keep a journal of all the events
Get an additional phone number and keep it private. You must keep the old number and let it go to voicemail, do not answer it or engage in conversation at all.
If it is an ex-lover, calmly and politely tell them you are not interested. Do not get angry or shout this can acerbate the situation.
Inform the police. Every state has Stalking Laws; I know theUK calls them Harassment Laws, this I know as the police told me I would be one of the first to use it when it passed in June 1997. (It worked too; my stalker was found guilty and now has a criminal record)
Find a network or group in your area to help you.
One of the first options you will be given is an Order of Protection, or a Restraining Order. This can work, but it can also push them over the edge to be violent or make them more determined.
Always before starting a relationship, trust your instincts, if they say run, then run. Never communicate, talk or respond to a stalker. They can become violent and murderous.
I list all the above to help people understand what it means. The word ‘Stalker’ is banded around as a flippant joke, but when it happens to you, it is debilitating and frightening, even those of us who know we are strong and tough!
I took all the advice I could and when it didn’t stop, I was strongly advised by the police that I sell my home and move away, far away…350 miles difference in fact (Which in the UK is regarded as far!). When a police officer tells you he believes your stalker has murderous intent, you tend to make plans to move quickly! It didn’t stop until after the court case. I still received phone calls at my new place of work, but when the Magistrates Court declared him guilty and threatened him with imprisonment. It stopped.
Many celebrities have had problems with stalkers, take for example:John Lennon (His stalker shot and killed him then read “The Catcher in the Rye’ to him while he was dying), Catherine Zeta-Jones, Halle Berry, Steven Spielberg, Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson and Janet Jacksonto name a few.
One last fact for you, National Stalking Awareness Month is in January every year since 2004. I hope this blog helps anyone who has or is experiencing it.
I have included some links below, which you may find both interesting and useful:
www.rainn.org (Domestic Abuse website)
www.safehorizon.org (Empowerment after abuse)
www.ncvc.org (A National Stalking Resource Center)