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Mental health consequences of stalking, and how to cope

A new study documents high rates of post traumatic stress, anxiety and depression among stalking victims. Experts offer suggestions on how to deal with a stalker. Number One: Notify the police. Number Two: No contact.

Stalking distress goes unnoticed, on BBC.co.uk

Link supplied by a Lovefraud reader.

 



13 Comments on "Mental health consequences of stalking, and how to cope"

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  1. Tea Light says:

    The report actually came out in 2005 but as someone who has been stalked for 8 months now I found it’s findings very validating. The rates of anxiety, depression, PTSD and even suicidal ideation are very high amongst those who have been stalked. Ironically stalking was finally made a criminal offense in my country the month that I began to be stalked.

    The report and the forensic psycholigist David Cantor ( who did a lot of offender profiling for the UK police) baseball gives the same advice that Donna , regular authors on LF and the
    Also the feelings of panic and despair at the intrusions are best minimised by being organised and pro-active. Log everything. No contact. Tell the police. Tell your employer, family and friends.

    My abuser user his equally disordered mother as a third party to get past my call blocking today and to try and manipulate me back into contact with him. I hung up on her.

    Any LFers being stalked, take care out there. Peace and love all.



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  2. blossom4th says:

    Thanks for posting this article Donna!Stalking is so much more serious than many people realize.Unless they’ve been through such an experience,they cannot imagine the psychological affects it has on the mind!And they may feel they’re helping to calm the victim by minimizing what is happening,but it’s no favor at all.The victim is living through terror and needs support and validation~~not to be made to feel that it’s just a matter of hypervigilence!As has already been brought out,keep records and involve the police.And secure your home!



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  3. OpalRose says:

    This is very helpful – thank you. I did experience intense angst from being stalked by my spath mother both before and after moving out of her house. At one point she had 3 people try to break into my own house when she knew I would be home alone. I called the police – the older police woman laughed at me, but the younger police man would occasionally just drive by my house during the day and that helped me so much when I would see the police car go by.

    I am sad and angry but validated when I see the high percentages of various effects stalking has – violent stalker episodes, PTSD, hyper vigilance, suicidal ideation. I have had all of those.

    It was when I found this site and recognized finally that my mother was a spath, that I was able to slowly shed my angst and grow into being an individual with rights and being a separate human being.

    Do you have any idea how precious this knowledge is to me ?? Thank you !!

    My stalking situation with her resolved after I had moved several times, went no contact and she found other targets. I must say when she passed away in 2003, there was a huge sense of relief. I send support to all those who are still dealing with this heinous behavior.



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  4. Tea Light says:

    OpalRose, the article was really useful yesterday for me when I was in despair and also furious that my stalker had his mother call me. I’m glad it spoke to you too . Wishing you a peaceful future.



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  5. IAfraud says:

    I experienced stalking for 4 years in person and in the courtroom (civil lawsuits). The only reason I’m not having issues with him right now is that he is serving 23 years in prison due to crimes he committed against me and my children. He was charged with stalking 5 times and violating the order of protection 23 or 24 times, among other charges.

    When it was time to prosecute his 5th stalking charge the prosecutor struck a plea deal with him for 2 years to run concurrent with time he was already serving. I wrote a victim impact statement expressing that the plea deal was an outrage and felt like yet another punch in the stomach to me. It was his 5th stalking charge and I was the victim all 5 times!

    The judge didn’t accept the plea deal and scheduled it for trial. I then wrote a letter to the prosecutor demanding that he turn the case over to the state prosecutor’s office because I felt there would be no justice for my family from his office.

    The case was taken over by a state prosecutor. When I arrived at our first appointment she told me that when she is prosecuting a case as severe as mine the victim is usually no longer alive to tell their story.

    I probably suffer from a form of PTSD, but not severe. I don’t have nightmares, however I do have a hard time trusting people. I have been told loss of trust is very common after being victimized.

    I knew the stalker’s goal was to force his way back into my life and terrorize me. From the beginning I refused to live my life in fear and vowed to live as normal of a life as possible, refusing to allow him to control me. I have had much success with that goal.

    It is my hope that anyone who is being stalked can be strong and successful at not allowing the stalker to control their lives and emotions. Don’t be afraid to demand that something be done to stop the victimization. You have a right to be protected by our judicial system, which is in place to protect people from crime.

    You can survive being stalked with minimal mental health consequences. Know that your life is valuable and be strong to stand up for your rights. Don’t settle for the words, “Sorry, there’s nothing we can do”, because there is something they can do.



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    • helen says:

      IAfraud, I have enormous respect for your proactive behaviour. I and my daughter have been stalked by my ex husband for 22 years now. I am exhausted. Just last month he found us after a 12 year break (we had previously changed names, moved etc).

      Can I ask what country you are in? I am astounded that you managed to get your stalker imprisoned for so long. Unfortunately, despite multiple violence protection orders and uncountable breaches, my ex husband has served two short sentence (he has served other prison sentences for drugs, assaulating others etc) but I have just not been able to get a long enough sentence to … breath, heal and sleep. Also, when my ex husband gets out of jail, every time, he immediately and without hesitation starts harassing me again (phone calls, coming to the house, writing letters etc).

      I have just about given up on the system to help and am planning once again to run and hide. I’m 42 and very very tired. If you have any advice, please.I’m desperate.

      Helen



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      • Helen – IAfraud is in the U.S. – Iowa. She will soon be telling her story, and telling people how to deal with stalkers, in a Lovefraud CE webinar. Here’s more info:

        https://lovefraud.inreachce.com/Details?resultsPage=1&sortBy=titleaztitleaz&category=83245517-bc16-4fc4-8367-8baea866b0b5&groupId=f6bebf85-7e2c-47ad-8097-8befc08d59e9



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      • IAfraud says:

        Helen,

        I’m so sorry to hear you have been dealing with this for so long with little success at getting relief. I’ve always said that all I want is to be left alone, which, I’m sure, is what you would like also. I hope you can find a way to reach your goal of living in peace.

        As Donna said, I will be hosting a webinar soon here on Lovefraud. For now, all I can say is stay strong and stand up for your right to live in peace. Document each contact attempt and report each one as it happens. Let the authorities know you will not back down from your rights. You have to keep developing that history with the authorities by reporting everything.

        Get the phone number for the office of your local prosecutor and call him/her every time something happens. I did a lot of emailing with the prosecutor in my county, through his secretary. I also started writing up my own statements each time stalker contacted me, emailing them to the county attorney’s office. Include details of the incident and how it made you feel. This continues to develop a history in your case. It also give the prosecutor a hint of what you are going through. Eventually they will get tired of dealing with this guy too, and hopefully do something more about it. Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

        I hope you can participate in the webinar. I will be talking about the history of my case, individual incidents and how I advocate for my family in order to live in peace.

        We are also still living with this situation. Just this week I was in contact with the Iowa Attorney General’s office because of a stalking conviction the stalker has been fighting since 2011. He has appealed it repeatedly. It’s obscene how many times a criminal can appeal their convictions. Our tax dollars pay for the prosecution side and defense side since he has a court appointed attorney. It’s maddening.

        Take care and be safe.

        Vicki



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      • IAfraud says:

        Helen,

        If you need help right away I would be glad to talk to you. We can get together through Donna if you wish.

        Vicki



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  6. IAfraud says:

    I forgot to mention that the outcome of the trial on the 5th stalking charge ended up being an additional 10 years in prison. Remember, it was originally a plea deal for 2 years to run concurrent, which means no additional time in prison.

    Do not be afraid to stand up for your right to live life without being stalked.



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  7. Tea Light says:

    Opalrose and IAfraud thank you , Opal for your kind wishes and IA for your inspiring attitude. I have received help from a women’s sexual and domestic violence non profit this week. My home and work addresses are on a police register now. That means a fast response if I call them from either address should my abuser stalk me at either. So far it’s been harassment by email , text, and calls and packages. Since I have not responded to anything for two months now his mother calls. So my concern is he’ll appear in person. IA you are right, we must insist on protection and prosecutions. Best wishes both.



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