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The greatest discovery of any generation
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Stalking/Domestic Violence

On this page:
Stranger stalkers and violent neighbors | A law unto themselves | Selfishness, charm and the monster within | Handling it yourself | Should I leave him? | Handling the police and lawyers | Stalking solutions | Safe Room | Getting your bearings back | Further Resources

 If you are in immediate need of assistance with a stalker go to Pyramid of personal safety, Five Stages of Violent Crime  and the Stalking Solutions pages to get some basic tips on how to protect yourself. If you think a situation might be heading towards stalking read the profile of potential rapists, abusers and stalkers. Contact the police, get a lawyer, get a restraining order and get in contact with the local women's crisis center for immediate help.

Stalkers and domestic violence abusers rely on two main components.

           First isolating and confusing people with their earlier behavior.

           Second, people not being willing to go as far as they will.

They will twist and turn the insides of your mind until you don't know which way is up and when you try to reassert yourself in order to get your life back, or displease them in any way, they will punish you.

A punishment nobody deserves, regardless of what they may have convinced you.

Stranger stalkers and violent neighbors
Basically there are two kinds of stalkers. One is the nutcase that you just happened to cross somehow. Often these kind of crazies will react so strongly over a minor or imagined incident that it can become life threatening. When you encounter a reaction that is way out of proportion to the event, your best advice is to back away immediately. You do not wish to engage these kinds of people. In most situations avoiding getting involved in dangerous situations  is not as difficult as most people think it is. Self-defense is a very simple issue, that is until emotion and pride get mixed into the equation. Simply backing away before it goes too far is, by far, the safest strategy. Do not try to tell him off, get the last word or tell him what a jerk you think he is, such behavior will usually just paint a target on your chest. You're dealing with a nut case, what you want to do is de-escalate the situation, not give him an excuse to go off on you.

If someone is enough of a mad dog to want to contest you over your right to be on a certain street corner, let him have it. The world is a big place, you don't have to be on that street corner. What you need to recognize is such a person is enough of a fruit-loop to think that a such a small incident is indeed a matter of life and death. That is a person is so twisted out of shape and angry with the world that you are just another target to him. Someone to vent his anger on and prove his power. There is nothing the average person can say to such a person that will have any effect except to encourage further bad behavior, bad behavior that can -- and will -- escalate if you try to handle it yourself instead of beating a hasty retreat.

Such a person will often proceed to stalk and harass you if he can find out where you live or if you are in the area frequently. Fortunately, many of the ways and means to prevent burglary and robbery will keep you safe from such a person until he finds someone else to vent his spleen on. And sooner or later, they always find someone else to harass...especially if you prove to be too tough of a target.

The worst kind of these is when such a person is your neighbor. In all honesty, if you find yourself living next to someone, the best answer is to move. However, that is seldom the answer people want to hear. Quite often such people will engage in unacceptable behavior (e.g. constantly parking a commercial truck in front of your house) and when you attempt to fix the issue, it turns into a confrontation.

Call the police immediately. Do not retreat into your home and hope the issue will go away. These people live for the feud and as far as they are concerned you fired the first shot by being rude enough to complain about their obnoxious behavior. Quite often, their behavior that you tried to discuss with them is illegal and if brought to the attention of the authorities it begins to create a paper trail you can use in your favor. Even better, such people are often engaged in domestic disputes, so have no hesitation about calling the police if you hear a domestic disturbance occurring. Establishing a police knowledge of these people is import because what will often happen is that they will start to stalk you and vandalize your property. Remember such people live by the feud and have no compunction about destroying your property in revenge for the perceived wrong you have done to them. Once again, many of the same tactics that work to prevent property crime work to warn away such people. Consult the police for tips to help protect your property from vandalism as well as tips that you can do to assist them in making a case against your neighbor in the event of vandalism. Finally, get an attorney. Don't be afraid to sue, because they certainly won't be.

In many ways, dealing with the threat of these kinds of stalkers is much easier than dealing with the other kind. That is the abuse and/or stalking by an intimate or ex intimate. Quite often the kind of people who do these act are one in the same, but if you think it is dangerous and complicated dealing with an annoying neighbor, it is far worse being involved with such a person or having broken up with one.

A law unto themselves
A fundamental point, that both defines the problem and you must never forget is: Stalkers/Abusers think of themselves as laws unto themselves.

That is to say that no laws, no social standards, no standards of behavior and no motivation other than "themselves" dictate their actions. As such, what would deter a normal person won't even phase them. Normal "laws" of conduct are like cobwebs to them, nothing more than minor inconveniences, not something that stops them from getting what they want.. Their wants, their feelings, their emotions, their needs and -- most deadly of all -- their pride are the only law they follow. In fact, to them, it is the only law that exists and they will go to no ends to enforce that law. If such a person cannot manipulate you, then they will beat you...and then they'll make you feel guilty for it.

In their own childish minds, they are gods upon this earth and no mortal (you) has the right to deny or hurt them.

Unfortunately, as they consider themselves laws unto themselves, what they consider denying or hurtful, is unpredictable. On the receiving end of their behavior it seems that almost anything can set them off. To someone outside their spells and/or someone who is not emotionally dependant on them, their behaviors are obviously wrong and manipulative.

Selfishness, charm and the monster within
Recognize that you are dealing with a selfishness that borders on pathology. Everything they do is oriented on themselves, their gain and their control over you. And if they feel that they have ever lost that control over you, then they will go to almost any lengths to get it back. We say almost any lengths, because while they can be stopped short of killing you, you cannot do it alone. What you must realize is that the stalking/abuse is just another form of control over you.

Control comes in many different forms. Such people know how to turn on the charm to convince people that they are not the monsters they really are. After all, they convinced you. This is one of their major weapons and sources of power. When they want something, they can be the height of charm, caring and sensitivity. They can be romantic, knowledgeable, strong and heroic. Basically it's a "glamour" they cast. These people, although so charming, thoughtful and caring at first, do not change into monsters. Like vampires they were monsters all along, but were able to beguile and win your trust before they revealed their true nature. They slowly drew you into their web. As long as you accept them as living gods on earth and cater to their every whim, then you will never see this monster revealed.

These people have years of experience manipulating people and using violence to get their way by picking and choosing their victims. Not only have their successes given them the impression that they can get away with it, but they have learned from their failures. And each time have become more cunning and adept at what they do.

Handling the problem yourself
When it comes to stalkers the most important rule you need to remember is:

DON'T Try to handle it yourself

This is THE most common mistake women make when it comes to stalkers. Bottomline here, if the guy
     a) didn't already know he could take you
     b) was afraid of you and what you can do, and
     c) wasn't pretty sure he could get away with it --

HE WOULDN'T BE DOING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE!

While it is terrifying to believe so, such a person has been studying you like an insect. He knows your strengths, weaknesses, blind-spots, emotional reactions and what lengths you are willing to go to better than you do. That is because he has been studying you, testing you and training you like a dog to react a certain way. And that is no exaggeration, such people are expert manipulators and usually have a long time dealing with you before the problems became this severe. You are playing against a stacked deck already. No matter how confident, self-assured or competent you think yourself, realize that he knows your strengths and weaknesses before hand and is building his strategy around that knowledge. You have been the victim of a prolonged interview that is now escalating.

If he even thought you had what it takes to wait in the shadows near his front door with a shotgun he wouldn't be doing it. Not that we are recommending this course of action, but stalkers do know who not to mess with).

In fact, women who are generally competent and professional in their lives are MORE likely to be stalked! That is because while they are competent and confident in "civilized" dealings with men, this is a situation where the normal social conventions (which provide a significant leveling influence) simply don't exist. Being suddenly cast adrift in shark infested waters is frustrating, terrifying and unknown. And that is exactly what he wants you to feel.

Remember stalkers think of themselves as "laws unto themselves." In order to maintain this delusion they need to operate in isolation. That is to say they need to find people who are too proud to ask for help and will foolishly attempt to handle the problem by themselves. It is the woman's pride, confidence in herself and her abilities -- and her shame for "finding myself in such a stupid situation" that keeps her from immediately seeking outside help.

And those are the very things the stalker is relying on you to do so he can keep on doing what he is doing.

That is why you need to call in the cavalry and as much reinforcements as you can. And that means, police, lawyers, friends and neighbors. Also realize that this situation is going to cost you...self-defense courses, guns and training, lawyers, court fees and possibly moving and changing jobs.

There is no easy answer to this problem. It's a long time coming and it will be a long time going.

Should I leave him?
We are often asked this question from women who are in abusive relationships. They come to us with tails of violence, emotional, mental and verbal abuse and yet are not sure if it really is that bad.

Our advice is simple...if you even have to ask the question, the answer is yes.

If he's hit you, it's bad enough. If he's ever beaten you, it's abuse. If he's ever put you in the hospital, there is no debate, argument or excuse, it is abuse and you need to get out of there.

But don't take our word for it. Go to either a local women's crisis center, free clinic, social services, domestic violence hotline, community counselor or the police, explain the current situation and ask them if it an abusive relationship.

Leaving an abusive relationship is not easy, this is why we heartily recommend getting in contact with the local women's crisis center, abuse counselor and enlist their aid. It will take a lot of work on your part, but there is no excuse for maintaining an abusive relationship.

Handling police and lawyers
**Warning**
Dealing with police and lawyers can be extremely frustrating. If you are being stalked your best defense AND aid is documentation. Caller IDs and recording of harassing phone calls (you can purchase telephone handsets with tape recorders in them) video tapes, audio tapes, logs and records of events, etc., etc., are legal requirements for prosecution. If you don't have them, no matter how severely you are being stalked there is no solid basis for legal resources. Restraining orders, stalking charges (which most states have laws about) and litigation work better with documentation.

Contact the police ASAP and

DO NOT ALLOW THE POLICE *NOT* TO WRITE A REPORT

The police are busy...and like busy people anywhere, they really don't want to increase their work load. And in truth, most situations do resolve themselves without police involvement. However, if the situation does escalate you NEED a paper trail. That is why you need to insist on a written report. Do not expect the police to do the "investigation" for you, present them with a package of proof that a crime is occurring.

Stalking Solutions
Here are nuts-and-bolts steps you can take to help stop stalking

Building a Safe Room
For well under $500 you can build a room in your home that in case someone does break-in you can flee to and remain safe until the police arrive. Building a Safe Room is cheap, easy and can be done in a day.

Getting your bearings back
A book we highly recommend you read if you think you are involved with, are dealing with or have dealt with a stalker or a domestic violence situation is Albert Bernstein's Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People drain you dry

As we mentioned these kinds of people tend to isolate and befuddle you with their manipulations, tricks and violence. Reading this book, especially the Paranoid section will really reveal the patterns, manipulation and hypnosis that you undergo when dealing with these kinds of people. Although this book is written by a psychologist, it is written in an easy to read, fun and easily understandable manner that describes so many of the kinds of people who bring misery into your life.

In addition, while in the United States you can just pick up a phone book and immediately find resources to help with domestic violence and abuse, that is often not so easy in other countries. Andrew Vachss, author and attorney has this wonderful international/cultural women's resources page

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