Stalking Behavior (dot com), on a page about how to identify if you are the victim of a stalker, lists several signs which are good indicators of stalking behavior:
There are several signs that are good indicators of stalking behavior. It is also important to consider the intensity of such behaviors.
1. Persistent phone calls despite being told not to contact in any form.
2. Waiting at workplace or in neighborhood.
4. Manipulative behavior (for example: threatening to commit suicide in order to get a response to such an “emergency” in the form of contact).
5. Sending written messages: letters, emails, graffiti…
6. Sending gifts from the seemingly “romantic” (flowers and/or candy) to the bizarre (dog teeth, a bed pan, a blood soaked feather) (Dietz et al. 1991b).
7. Defamation: The stalker often lies to others about the victim (claims of infidelity, for example).
8. “Objectification”: The stalker derogates the victim, reducing him/her to an object — this allows the stalker the ability to feel angry with the victim without experiencing empathy (Meloy and Gothard, 1995).
There are many other definitions and discussions of what stalking is, but they all pretty much say it is “the willful, malicious and repeated following and harassing of another person.”
I do not believe that I am now, nor have I ever been, a stalker.
I have been accused of stalking. More than once, based on more than one situation, and it’s been happening for years. Generally, when the full truth of the situation is understood, the idea that I had been stalking is set aside as a misunderstanding.
For example, in relation to my recent confrontation with someone who accused me of stalking a friend of theirs and threatened my life, the ‘victim’ had created a vicious lie about me which (especially since the lie painted me not only as a monster but a manipulator and deceiver, making any defence I made fall on deaf ears) had gotten out of hand and driven her friends to want to take my life. The recent incident and accusation originated this way:
In my last few conversations with the “victim,” last February, we discussed that she wanted to remain friends but we agreed that things were complicated and difficult and I was the one who said we shouldn’t try to be friends or see each other for a time. We agreed that I would make contact again after a week (which was the last time I saw her), a month (which was the last time I spoke to her), and a year, if only to check in that she was alright. (If you’re someone aware of the situation who doesn’t believe that she agreed to my making contact again after a year or so, you should probably read that book I put together to document the facts for people like you, where you can see emails she sent and chat logs of conversations we had where that was explicitly stated.) So, per our prior agreement, which was repeated in our (if not our last, then our next-to-) last conversations, I sent a one-time communication to her that did not involve my presence, nor threaten future communication, but only offered a final open door in case she wanted to re-open communication, and which included the final vestiges of her physical presence in my life (since I thought it better to return them to her than to throw them out, in getting them out of my life).
Except that, since the people in her life had been lied to about how we came to no longer speak to each other, my communication was met with as some sort of hostile action. Really, it was a book and a CD and a pin and a ~25-word poem, and I didn’t deliver it myself since I had the idea that there had been rumors and lies said about me and wasn’t sure how I’d be received. So I guess that’s #6 above, but one such activity, with the person’s prior consent, in over a year? Maybe you should ‘consider the intensity of such behaviors.’ I made no prior attempts at contact, and have made no further attempts. I have never threatened her or intended harm, nor even wanted to communicate with her if that was not what she wished, but still I am branded a stalker. I can produce written evidence that we discussed our breaking off contact and then checking in again after about a year, but when I do so, I am a stalker?
I say I am not.
Or when an ex- of mine disappeared without a trace and couldn’t be found by any normal means, and I just kept wondering where she’d disappeared to, what had happened to her, and kept looking for her once in a while over the course of several years, I was also branded a stalker. The last I’d known, we were still friends and there was no reason not to locate and/or contact her. Trying to locate a person… that isn’t on the list above, and it isn’t covered by most of the definitions of stalking, although I suppose that some mention that stalkers ‘try to get information about their victims,’ so perhaps that’s where the idea came from. Well, and I did, whenever I thought I had a lead, or towards the end in trying to come up with leads, send written messages such as letters and emails, which is #5 above. And I’m pretty sure that until the day I finally located her, none of them ever reached her.
Oh, and once I’d located her we went back and forth in email for a couple of days, catching up and (me) explaining that I’m not really a stalker, and we haven’t communicated since until she saw my post about being threatened the other day and sent me an IM asking me about being a stalker again. I happened to have accidentally left my computer logged in all night/day, so I didn’t see it in time to respond directly or try to explain myself. So I’m making this post. I may post again on this subject, as I’m getting tired now. I wanted to say more, but in the first story, I still feel the need for discretion, for her sake, even though she’s clearly spread damaging and hurtful lies about me, and in the second story… well, I’m just getting too tired to go into it all again. I’m going to bed.
And if you think I’m a stalker, or have ever been a stalker, you probably don’t know the whole story, and I wish you’d ask. I’m not. Mostly I’m alone, with a lot of spare time.