WITH A STALKER
We all want to
be loved. It's not so wrong, but some people are willing to go to extremes
to get that love. We call these people stalkers. [Scroll down to meet
an admitted stalker.]
Roughly 1.4 million people are stalked every year in the U.S. The results
of stalking range from the annoying [persistently receiving loads of email
or letters] to the intrusive [being secretly watched or followed] to the
most severe [kidnapping and/or murder]. Psychiatrists divide stalkers
into four different categories:
1. Simple Obsessional stalkers account for 60 percent of stalking
cases. They're usually men and their targets are women with whom they
had a previous personal, professional or romantic relationship. The stalker
associates his victim with his own sense of self-worth. He'll utter expressions
like, "You are my life." And he means it.
2. Love Obsessional stalkers are mostly made up of men who develop
an obsession or fixation on a stranger, a very casual acquaintance or
a celebrity. They account for 30 percent of the stalking population.
3. Erotomania constitutes eight percent of stalking cases and typically
consists of female stalkers who have other mental problems. This type
of stalker is love obsessional with a twist -- she actually believes her
victim knows and loves her.
4. False Victimization Syndrome accounts for two percent of stalking
cases. It is perhaps the most frustrating and demented. The stalker seeks
attention by insisting and fantasizing that their victim is actually stalking
them. Meanwhile, they'll adopt the style and personality of their
victim in an attempt to be like them, even going so far as buying the
same car or same type of house. These people are most often same-sex stalkers
(anyone seen Single White Female?).
We found a guy who falls into the Simple Obsessional category. We asked
what made him tick - here are his candid confessions. [For obvious reasons,
he's chosen to remain anonymous.]
So, what makes you a stalker?
Stalking, per se, is a crime, and I don't think I've taken it to that
level. I just get obsessive a bit with girls I like, and other things
- I'm sort of an intense person. I think love is obsessive in its true
form. It's overwhelming. Nowadays, people are more cynical about attraction
and such, and single-mindedness can be disconcerting.
How many people have you stalked?
This is difficult to recall. I mean, I've followed cute girls around a
bit, just to see what they're about. And I've spent more-than-casual amounts
of time at their places of work and the like. But where normal sort of
flirtatious behavior becomes actual "stalking" is, again, debatable. Anyway
- a bunch, I guess.
How do you stalk them? Like, what kind of stuff do you do to stalk
As above, just, er... [heh] Nonchalantly following them around for a while
and watching them at work and play. Perhaps asking people about 'em. Maybe
going so far as to find out where they live or work, if I don't know.
Then, uh, sometimes placing myself in the way of coming into contact with
'em. Or, at least in the way of seeing 'em, if I'm not comfortable with
What's the craziest thing you've done in this context?
I have waited outside of people's houses or other locations where I expect
them to be for hours to see what they're doing or to confront them. These
sorts of things only really happen in established relationships though
- confirming stories my girlfriend tells if I've a reason to distrust
Why do you stalk?
It's an obsession/compulsion at its most - and just curiosity - at its
least intense. An example of the latter is just wondering what a cute
girl does, y'know? Who she hangs out with, if she goes to school, how
she goes about her day...It's an interest in people, really, and how they
live their lives, coupled with the prospect of some time spent looking
upon an attractive lass. Field work. The former is a consuming need for
me, generally, to know if I'm being lied to, which happens a great deal,
I fear. It's the same thing - a jealousy, I guess - that compels people
to hire private investigators to follow their spouses. Having no money,
however, for such things and preferring to do my own legwork, on a certain
level I become the investigator.
When did you start stalking?
I think it began as soon as I noticed girls, which was early for me. It
seemed one should take a systematic approach to the thing and find out
about the object of one's affections. I compiled dossiers on girls in
sixth grade, though I think it began much earlier than that even.
When you started, did you know you were crossing the line?
Once more, the line is too tenuous to know when it's being crossed. I've
gotten differing reactions from the same girl at different times about
the same thing. And, certainly, different reactions from girl to girl
- some are flattered, some afraid.
If you're not stalking anymore, how did you stop?
Well, I don't do it - if I do it - so much nowadays 'cause there's a
very charged atmosphere. People fear violence and are very sensitive to
what they see as oppressive attention. I don't even walk on the same side
of the street as other people at night if I can avoid it - both men and
women - in my city!
What are your opinions on stalking?
Seriously invading people's privacy and hounding them against their wishes
is uncool, without a doubt - you know, people who JUST WON'T GO AWAY
against your specific wishes. But, also, there's a bit of over-sensitivity
to harmless interest in someone.
Lastly, what do you do for a living?
I'm on disability for mental illness.
by Melissa Plaut, NYC