Stalkers: The Dangerous, The Confused, The Minions.
By Jessika Endsley
Stalking - we all hear about it, make jokes about it, and think we've experienced it in some form. But how many of us actually understand what is it, how and when it happens, and how to stop it? People may think of "stalkers" as innocent, infatuated women or they think of dangerous, psychopathic men who peek into windows. The statistical truth is that neither of these things are accurate. And that indicative, ghost-like fact that leaves the range wide open should be rather disturbing as should the fact that there are brands of stalkers that completely fall under the professional radar.
Most sites and official warnings are directed towards young females who all apparently need to both hide and protect themselves from stalkers and sexual predators. "Keep your hair short," is even a tip that is seen, as is the idea that wearing any long clothing or jewelry that can easily be grabbed or pulled may be a bad idea. Remember, ladies, your fashion gets you raped or keeps you safe! It's what you wear and whether you're texting on your phone while walking through the parking lot that gets you raped. Unless you follow their tips, you're asking for it. Wrong.
Most male stalkers are not rapists and most stalkers may indeed be female, but this does not matter for men because males who are stalked and therefore afraid to go certain places or answer the door are seen as wimps and pussies (but remember, they aren't allowed to physically remove the female from their place of choice because that's abusive.) They don't have the right to complain. Because in most cases… it's just the crazy ex-girlfriend.
The lonely, rejected stalker
The Rejection type of stalker is someone who has been rejected from entering a relationship, dumped or divorced and cannot seem to let this fact go and move along peacefully with their lives to find another partner. This is common for a week or so in middle-school, but afterwards it becomes obsessive and then stalker-behavior. Most who are reported as rejection-type stalkers have severe Personality Disorders of many varieties and therefore legal repercussions may not end the need for the rejection stalker to end their missions and passion. They may believe that the one they are stalking is just clueless as to their true, everlasting love. These stalkers are often depressed and angry and will do anything to obtain their unwilling lover. Some of these stalkers see themselves as victims. They see themselves as people who have been rejected for an unknown and hurtful reason. They will openly tell others that they are being ignored and they will make a story twist in such a contortionist way that the listener will believe that the one being stalked is a vicious and unempathetic person.
Clueless obsessive stalkers
There are also Clueless stalkers. They are simple, obsessive stalkers; people who like you just a bit too much. These tend to be men and women who believe they have found their true love, but have been rejected due to their lack of social grace. These people may have no clue that their "partner" who, in reality, rejected them, is not interested. Many of these stalkers mean absolutely no harm and have no clue as to the disturbance they are causing the stalk-ee so they misunderstand when they are told to stop their behavior. Quite a few of these clueless stalkers are on the Autistic Spectrum (Neurological) or possibly the Paranoid Spectrum rather than the dramatic spectrum of Personality Disorders.
Other stalkers are addicted to stalking; these are known as Serial Stalkers. Such obsessive people continuously stalk a person of interest, sometimes with and sometimes without harmful intent. These individuals are one of the least personally relatable types of stalkers; they don't know why they do it. Considering they often do not know the person they are stalking, it is rarely abandonment and more of possession and ownership of said individual like a jewel thief may keep a ring as opposed to selling it.
Casual acquaintances tend to be the more predatory, stereotypical stalker. They will be violent in many cases and have no emotional attachment to release in order for them to let go of their stalker behavior. They see, they come, they conquer, and this is why this type of stalker is so dangerous and so easy to make into the prototype stalker for horror films. The idea that someone could see you, and on the spot decide to follow you until they have a violent or sexual (or both) encounter with you can be very disturbing. "Monsters" wear no mask. They look like you. You don't know if they have a delusion or if they just really loved someone who had the same hair color as you. And it doesn't quite matter.
There are the idolizers. Celebrities are professional stalk-ees and paparazzi and fans are socially acceptable stalkers; there is no way around this fact. But what's more interesting is when someone is not a celebrity but is being stalked by someone as if they were. Sometimes it's a friend, sometimes it's someone who just wants to be that person. Imagine someone who is lacking a large piece of their own personality - we don't know how they lost it. It was like a trauma or it could be that they were born without it. They lost their confidence, their sense of self, their purpose. Then they notice something about another person that completely makes up for what is missing from their puzzle; they see it subconsciously. They need that piece and therefore they need that person, who becomes their own personal celebrity. They become a minion.
The type of person who tends to gain these stalkers are highly confident - often slightly narcissistic - misfits. They tend to be emotionally strong, at least outwardly. They stand out in some way that the minion cannot put their finger on, and they quickly become addicted to this person. The idolizer will swoon over this person, often to be rejected, in which case the person will stalk. Often times, the person in mind will become friends with the minion and then…be stalked!
With paparazzi-esque, idolizer stalkers, their behavior is not going to be stopped by rejection or with acceptance. Although they are rarely dangerous, their behavior can be alarming and disturbing not only to the stalk-ee but to friends and family who know about their behavior. They may keep a picture of their own "celebrity" as a computer background, they may follow them home just to see what their home looks like, they may begin dressing like the person or change their appearance. If given the chance, they may steal small items or cut a lock of hair from their "celebrity" which they will often keep in one place - this is their shrine. Much like a poster of a famous singer, or the mimicry of their fashion, the minion-stalker collects pieces of their "celebrity" to feel close to what they can never, ever be.
Because of the fact that this type of behavior is socially acceptable when done by groups of admirers, it can be a bit logically challenging to condemn this brand of stalker and can make one wonder - what other common forms of stalker behavior are actually condoned on a large societal scale but condemned while one-on-one? Psychology and the criminal field should be asking itself this question now. We're watching.