Even After You’ve Gone No Contact
Tori was tired of being followed by Sean. She tried to tell him she was married, but he kept showing up when she went out for coffee with a friend. He mysteriously appeared in the produce aisle when she went grocery shopping. And then there were the phone calls that she refuses to answer, but even though she refused verbal contact with him, she felt unnerved every time she saw him. She knew his showing up at the same place that she was over and over was not a coincidence.
Tori didn’t know if her ex would ever do something violent to her, but her gut instinct said she wasn’t safe. She’s hired a security system for her house, told the neighbors, and bought a large dog. Outside of hiring a full-time bodyguard, Tori felt she had done everything she could, and yet Sean still should up outside her workplace. She kept asking herself. “Why? Why? Why?”
The truth is that Tori did nothing to attract this unwanted behavior. She made it clear that she was happily married and wanted to move on with her life, but he refused to take no for an answer.
Tori isn’t alone. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, one in six women (1,006,970 women and 370,000 men) are stalked annually in the United States.
According to the Supplemental Victimization Survey (SVS), individuals are classified as stalking victims if they experienced at least one of these behaviors on at least two separate occasions. In addition, the individuals must have feared for their safety or that of a family member as a result of the course of conduct, or have experienced additional threatening behaviors that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.
The SVS measured stalking behaviors as:
making unwanted phone calls
sending unsolicited or unwanted letters or e-mails
following or spying on the victim
showing up at places without a legitimate reason
waiting at places for the victim
leaving unwanted items, presents, or flowers
posting information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
So why do people continue to follow and torment those who have walked away from them? Stalking often goes hand and hand with narcissistic traits and narcissistic people can be charming and manipulative. Sometimes innocent victims don’t realize what they are getting into when they enter a relationship with a narcissist or sociopath.
Here are a few clues —
An Overinflated Ego
Stalking often starts with an overinflated ego which is often the result of hidden shame. Many narcissistic people hide their shame so deeply that they can’t face anything negative about themselves.
Some people can’t take no for an answer and believe they can buy anyone they want. Others find it painful that someone might not want to be with them. And if they imagine they are a legend in their own mind, they think they can win you back.
The problem with all of these approaches is that the narcissist is ignoring someone else’s feelings. No matter how great they think they are, if they force their will on another, they fail to use the principles of love. This brings us to the number one issue when dealing with a narcissist — they have very messy boundaries.
Very Messy Boundaries
Sometimes we hear people saying that the narcissist has no boundaries. The idea of no boundaries is more a problem for those abused by the narc than the narcissist themself. To have no boundaries means to never stand up for oneself or assert your own will in the relationship. If someone does this very long they will lose themself.
A narcissist, on the other hand, has boundaries but they are just very messy and spill over into other people’s boundaries. Remember according to the Boundaries guru, Dr. Henry Cloud, boundaries are not so much a fence as a door or gate that allows you to open or close it. This is your gate but the narcissist fails to respect that gate and treats it as if they own it.
The problem between narcissistic people and their targets is that the target might try to shut a door to their life, while the narcissist shoves their foot in the door. Or in some cases, knocks the door down and enters without asking.
This is where the survivor must assert themselves in order to keep the narcissist outside of their life, once they’ve determined that this person is no longer safe inside.
A Desire to Manipulate
Another reason the narcissist won’t take no for an answer when you leave them is that they want to manipulate you for some reason. They know you don’t want to be in a relationship with them, but they still want to irritate you or cause you some sort of trouble. This could be because they want something from you. The best way to deal with this is to figure out what they want. Is it the affection of the child you share? Or their favorite coffee mug that you refuse to give back. Or do they want money? Once you figure out the reason, you might want to give them whatever it takes to get them off your back and this could also require a good lawyer.
It’s important to note that a narcissist can try to manipulate you for no reason all — simply because they are a bully.
An Attempt to Bully
This is by far one of the most commons reasons people are stalked. Sociopathic people get off on seeing others scared, sad, or mad. This is proof that you want to stay as far away from this person as you can get. This type of stalking is dangerous and could become deadly. If you can get a restraining order, do not waste any time. If you can get a bodyguard, go for it. A person who displays sadistic traits is someone that you never want to play with.
To Make a Fauxpology
There is a rare occasion that a narcissist will attempt to apologize for all they have done in the past. You might even get sucked in by this fauxpology, but if they were truly sorry they would respect your boundaries and not be stalking you. Many women have opened the door to the narcissist because in their hearts they hoped he would apologize but they found out later this was just another form of manipulation.
When a narcissist apologizes they always want something from you. How do we know? A true apology is sincere and it’s about restoring what was taken whether it is a physical object or dignity. A true apology is given on your terms, at your convenience, and is not forced onto you. A true apology comes with some sort of compensation or an agreement for the abuse to never happen again. For an apology to be true, the apologist must be an honest person. If you’ve ever caught the narcissist in a lie, then you know for sure this is not a true apology, but a fauxpology.
Stalking Is a Progressive Sport
The narcissist will try various ways to get your attention to get whatever it is they want from you, but the more you shut them out, the more desperate they will become. Stalking is a dangerous situation because left unchecked, it allows the abuse and violence to escalate.
When a narcissist can’t believe you won’t stay in a relationship with them
When the narcissist infringes on your boundaries,
When the narcissist can't manipulate you into giving them what they want
When the narcissist can no longer bully you,
When the narcissist has offered a fauxpology, yet you don’t respond, they will seek revenge.
The Quest for Revenge
A Narc doesn't care about all the crap they’ve done to you. They don't care if you are scared or hurt. Sometimes your painful emotions will even turn them on. They want to make you respond to them and they will do anything to get your attention. This could be kidnapping your pet, or a child or getting you fired from your job. The narcissist will destroy your reputation and steal anything they can get their hands on. Some might even try the ultimate revenge to take your life. Stalking is a dangerous game and when you are hunted, you must take serious action.
A study in the U. K. found
Stalking behaviour has been identified in nine in 10 murders studied by criminologists as part of research examining a link between the two crimes.
-Source: The Guardian
Maintain No Contact
Once your boundaries have been violated, once you realize that you are being manipulated and stalked, the thing you must do is never interact with the narcissist again. It doesn’t matter whether you see them in public or private. It doesn’t matter if they use snail mail with cut-out magazine letters, or call you, or text you, or send a message through a friend.
Talk to your true friends. Make sure they know that you cannot hear from the narcissist ever again and that they can never send any form of message back. Let them know that you have been abused and must protect yourself.
If you are dealing with a narcissistic stalker, the only way to stay safe is to cut them out of your life completely. If you run into them at the store, act like you don't see them. Don’t look their way or whisper to a friend about them. Go to security or find a safe place to hide until they leave. Then call a friend to take you home and stay with you.
This might sound like extreme advice, but I wish my friend Tori had taken this approach. She was too nice. The narcissist stalked her and she opened the door. Her stalker shot her husband and murdered her in their own home. But there is still hope for you. If you are reading this, you are probably safe right now. Please stay that way.
Cherilyn Christen Clough broke the rules when she started writing about her family’s secrets. Some claim she sold her soul to the devil, but she prefers to think of it as gaining freedom. You can read about her strange childhood in Chasing Eden A Memoir.