Resources for Victims of Stalking
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Why am I being stalked?  

Stalkers can be put into a number of different categories based on the motivation of their stalking behavior. Any individual stalker may or may not fit neatly into the categories presented here. The sections that follow are intended to give stalking victims more information on the typical motivations, personality characteristics, and behaviors of different types of stalkers. Furthermore, this portion of the site gives women knowledge that they can use to prevent the negative consequences of stalking and better predict the behaviors of a stalker.

Types of Stalkers

      Rejected Stalker
      Resentful Stalker
      Predatory Stalker
      Intimacy Seeker
      Incompetent Suitor
      Erotomaniac and Morbidly Infatuated

Rejected Stalker

Motivation
(a) Begins to stalk after their partner (romantic or close friendship) has ended their relationship or indicates that he or she intends to end the relationship.
(b) Wants to be in a relationship with the victim again or seek revenge on the victim. The stalker's goals may vary, depending on the responses of the victim.

Personality
(a) May have high levels of these personality characteristics:
- narcissism
- jealousy
(b) May have:
- feelings of humiliation
- over-dependence
- poor social skills and a resulting poor social network

Stalking Behaviors
(a) Is often the most persistent and intrusive type of stalker.
(b) Is most likely to employ intimidation and assault in pursuit of their victim. A history of violence in the relationship with the partner is not uncommon.
Duration and Criminality
(a) This type of stalker is typically the most resistant to efforts aimed at ending their stalking behavior.

back to top of page

Resentful Stalker

Motivation
(a) Wants to frighten and distress his victim.
(b) Stalks his victim to get revenge against someone who has upset him.
(c) Views his victim as being similar to those who have oppressed and humiliated him in the past.
(d) May view himself as a victim striking back against an oppressor.

Personality

(a) Is often irrationally paranoid.

Victim Characteristics
(a) Stalks victims that may have upset him directly or are representative of a group at which he is upset.
(b) May stalk someone he knows or a complete stranger.

Stalking Behaviors
(a) Can be the most obsessive and enduring type of stalker.
(b) Is the most likely to verbally threaten his victim.
(c) Is one of the least likely to physically assault his victim.
Duration and Criminality
(a) Is likely to stop stalking if confronted with legal sanctions early on. The longer the stalking continues, the less effective legal sanctions are likely to be.

back to top of page


Predatory Stalker

Motivation
(a) Stalks his victim as part of a plan to attack her, usually sexually.
(b) Is motivated by the promise of sexual gratification and power over his victim.

Personality
(a) Often has poor self-esteem and is sexually deviant.
(b) Often has poor social skills, especially in romantic relationships.
(c) May have lower than normal intelligence.
Victim Characteristics
(a) May stalk someone he knows or a complete stranger.

Stalking Behaviors

(a) Usually does not harass or try to contact his victim while he is stalking her. He is unlikely to provide any kind of his plan to attack the victim.
(b) May engage in behaviors such as:
- Surveillance of the victim
- Obscene phone calls
- Exhibitionism
- Fetishism
- Voyeurism (Peeping Tom)
- Paedophilia/hebephilia
- Sexual masochism and sadism
- Paraphilic asphyxia

Duration and Criminality
(a) May stalk for a shorter period of time than other types of stalkers.
(b) Is more likely to have prior criminal convictions, most often sexual, than other types of stalkers.
(c) Has a high potential to commit sexual assault.

back to top of page

Intimacy Seeker

Motivation
(a) Seeks to establish an intimate, loving relationship with his victim.
(b) May believe the victim is in love with them. This is a delusion.
(c) Believes that the victim may be the only person who can satisfy their desires.
(d) Believes the victim is an ideal partner.
(e) Is not a would-be lover. He already loves the victim.
(f) May interpret any kind of response from his victim, even negative responses, as encouragement.
(g) May believe the victim owes him love because of all he has invested in stalking her.
(h) Is very resistant to changing his beliefs about his victim's love for him.

Personality
(a) Is often a shy, isolated person.
(b) Often lives alone and lacks any sort of intimate relationship in his life. He may never have had an intimate relationship.
(c) Likely to have a mental disorder such as:
- Schizophrenia
- Erotomania
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Victim Characteristics
(a) May stalk acquaintances or complete strangers.

Stalking Behaviors
(a) If he recognizes he is being rejected by the victim, may become threatening or violent.
(b) May engage in behaviors such as:
- Writing letters to the victim
- Calling the victim on the telephone
- Sending the victim gifts
(c) May become jealous if his victim enters or continues a romantic relationship with another man.

Duration and Criminality
(a) Is among the most persistent type of stalker, harassing longer than any type except the rejected stalker.
(b) Is usually unresponsive to legal sanctions because he views them as challenges to overcome that demonstrate his love for the victim.

back to top of page


Incompetent Suitor

Motivation
(a) Is motivated by a desire to start a romantic or intimate relationship with his victim.
(b) Is impaired in his social skills and courting skills.

Personality
(a) May be cut off from victim's feelings (lack of empathy) and believe that any woman should be attracted to him.
(b) May have lower than normal intelligence.

Victim Characteristics

(a) Usually stalks acquaintances, but may stalk complete strangers.

Stalking Behaviors
(a) Typically engages in behaviors such as:
- Repeatedly asking for dates, even after being rejected.
- Repeatedly calling on the phone.
- Trying to hold the victim's hand or kiss the victim.

Duration and Criminality

(a) Stalks for shorter periods, on average, than any other type of stalker.
(b) Likely to have stalked numerous others in the past.
(c) Will likely stalk numerous others in the future.
(d) Will quickly stop stalking if confronted with legal action or after seeking counseling.

back to top of page

Erotomaniac and Morbidly Infatuated

Motivation
(a) Believes that he is loved by the stalking victim. He believes this even though his victim has done nothing to suggest it is true, and may have made statements that she does not and never will love him.
(b) Reinterprets what his victim says and does to support his belief that she loves him.
(c) Makes the imagined romance with his victim the most important part of his life.
(d) Believes that the imagined romance will eventually become a permanent union.

Personality
(a) May suffer from one or more of the following psychological problems:
- Acute paranoia
- Delusions
(b) These psychological problems may be the result of numerous forms of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder.

Victim Characteristics
(a) Typically chooses a victim of higher social status.

Stalking Behaviors
(a) Repeatedly tries to approach and communicate with their supposed lover.

Duration and Criminality
(a) May sometimes respond well to psychological treatment with drugs and talk therapy.
(b) Is typically unresponsive to threats of legal action or legal action short of time behind bars. Without psychological treatment, he is likely to continue stalking his victim after he is released.

back to top of page

Anyone can be a Victim

     Ex-Intimates
     Friends and Acquaintances
     Professional Contacts
     Workplace Contacts
     Strangers
     The Famous

Of those surveyed, 86% of Texas women report being the victim of stalking at some point during their lifetime. Nearly 15% of those women report experiencing some fear for their safety or the safety of their family as a result of their victimization. Every part of the state of Texas exhibits this pattern of the incidence of stalking. Since these figures do not include cases involving victims under the age of 18, they are likely to be substantial underestimates of the true number of women who were stalked each year in Texas.

Ex-Intimates

From Long-term Relationships

(a) Women who previously shared a romantic relationship with the stalker.
(b) Ex-intimates are the most common type of stalking victim. Seventy-one percent of Texas women who report being the victim of stalking indicate that their stalker was a current or former intimate partner.
(c) 76% were physically abused while still in the relationship with their former partner.
(e) 29% report being sexually assaulted by the stalker.
(f) Ex-intimates are likely to be between 18 and 29 when the stalking starts.
(g) Most were pursued by their stalker for at least one and a half years. Over a third were pursued for two years or more.
(h) Ex-intimates are 4 times more likely to be physically assaulted and 6 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than women who are not stalked by a former romantic partner.
(i) They are exposed to the greatest range of harassment methods, such as:
- Repeated phone calls
- Persistent following
- Threats of violence
- Actual violence
- Sexual assault
(j) Ex-intimates are subject to very persistent stalking.
(k) They are often the object of severe jealousy from the former partner who stalks them.
(l) Ex-intimates are among the most likely to seek help from law enforcement and counseling services.

From Shorter, Dating Relationships
(a) Ex-intimates are less likely to be the victim of violence if stalked by a former dating partner than if stalked by a former long-term partner.
(b) May inadvertently encourage stalking behavior by accepting dates even though they see no future in the relationship because of fear of hurting the man's feelings.
(c) If they try to end the relationship, the man will typically react in a childish, pathetic manner. This may make the victim feel guilty and lead her to agree to some kind of continuing relationship with the stalker. Again, this decision may inadvertently encourage the stalker to continue his behavior.
(d) Ex-intimates are among the most likely to seek help from law enforcement and counseling services.

back to top of page


Friends and Acquaintances

(a) The victim may be stalked by an intimacy seeker or an incompetent suitor motivated by a desire to start a romantic relationship with the victim.
(b) They may be stalked by a resentful stalker, typically a neighbor, who may be involved in a disagreement with the victim about something such as noise, the location of a tree, or pets.
(c) The resentful stalker's grudge may escalate to:
- personal threats
- complaints to law enforcement and local government
- property damage
- theft or killing of pets
- letters or notes on the victim's car or house
- breaking into the victim's house or apartment
- watching the victim's movements
- physically assaulting the victim
(d) The resentful stalker also may target the victim's family and friends
(e) Law enforcement involvement is difficult when the resentful stalker is a neighbor because their residence is in such close proximity to the victim.
(f) Many victims move to a different location as a way to avoid the stalker. Although this action may seem drastic, it is most often an effective solution.

back to top of page

Professional Contacts

(a) Typically work in helping professions such as:
- Health care providers
- Lawyers
- Teachers
(b) Professional contacts are more likely to be stalked by all the different types of stalkers.
- Stalkers are most likely to be intimacy seekers, incompetent suitors, or resentful stalkers.
- Rejected stalkers may pursue these victims after a professional therapeutic relationship is ended.
- Patients, clients, and students of these victims may also become sexually predatory.
(c) They are also likely to be sexually harassed by their male stalkers.

back to top of page

Workplace Contacts

(a) Stalkers may be supervisors, fellow employees, service providers, clients, or others who show up at the victim's workplace.
(b) Almost half of stalkers show up at their victim's workplace.
(c) Victims are typically stalked by resentful stalkers or rejected stalkers, but may also include intimacy seekers and incompetent suitors who target a fellow employee as the object of their affections.
(d) Stalking behaviors directed at victim may include:
- Sexual harassment
- Physical and sexual assaults
- Robberies
- Homicide
(e) The United States Justice Department found that in the U.S. between the years 1992 and 1996 over 2 million people were the victims of violent crime in the workplace.
(f) This included:
- 1.5 million assaults
- 51,000 rapes
- 84,000 robberies
- Over 1000 homicides
- Disgruntled employees, usually resentful stalkers, are responsible for most workplace homicides.
(g) They usually have a history of poor job performance, a high rate of absenteeism, and a record of threats and confrontations with people in the workplace they resent.
(h) Victims often do not tell their co-workers or supervisors about the person who is stalking them because they fear reprisals from the stalker or feel embarrassed sharing such personal information with others in the workplace.

back to top of page

Strangers

(a) Are victims who are not aware of any prior contact with the stalker.
(b) Are victims who are typically of high status in their community or social group.
(c) Are most commonly stalked by intimacy seekers and incompetent suitors, but may also be stalked by sexually predatory stalkers or resentful stalkers.
- These stalkers may hide their identity from their victims at first, and reveal it after stalking their victim for some time in order to get closer to them.
- Although intimacy seekers are less likely to physically assault their victims than other types of stalkers, they are just as likely to make verbal threats.
- Victims may be initially flattered when stalker approaches them and respond politely. They may even agree to go on a date with their stalker, after his many requests.
(d) This can have the unintentional effect of encouraging the stalker, leading him to believe that the victim loves him as much as he loves her.
(e) Sexually predatory stalkers typically stalk their victims for shorter periods of time.
(f) They may perpetrate a range of acts against the victim, including:
- sexually abusive behaviors
- obscene phone calls
- rape
- sexual murder
- Resentful stalkers select a stranger as a victim because the victim is identified by the stalker as somehow representing a group that they dislike.
(g) Their goal is to intimidate and instill fear in their victims.
(h) Their stalking behaviors may include:
- destruction of the victim's property
- verbal threats
- harassing phone calls
- physical assault, although this occurs only rarely

back to top of page


The Famous

(a) Famous victims are prominent public figures.
(b) They are typically stalked by incompetent suitors, the erotomanic, or resentful stalkers.
(c) Famous victims may be stalked by a number of different stalkers and a number of different types of stalkers at the same time.
(d) Some of these stalkers have not had intimate relationships in their lives or may suffer from the delusion that they have a romantic relationship with their famous victim.
(e) It is uncommon for stalkers of famous people to be violent toward them.
(f) When violence does occur, it is usually because the stalker has been persistently rejected or realizes that their victim does not love them or want a relationship with them.

back to top of page

The Effect of Stalking on its Victims

(a) 93% of stalking victims indicate that being stalked had a significant negative impact on their personal relationships.
(b) Of those victims currently in romantic relationships, 71 % indicate that being stalked created conflict in their romantic relationships, most often reporting that their current romantic partner was jealous of or intimidated by the stalker.
(c) 63% of stalking victims reported conflict in their friendships as a result of being stalked. The conflict was most often created by victims' unwillingness to attend social events where their stalker might be present and friend's frustration because they believed the victim was not doing enough to deter their stalker.
(d) Nearly 38% of stalking victims reported losing time from school or work as a result of being stalked. Some indicated that they had changed jobs or transferred to another school to escape the always-present terror they experienced.
(e) Most stalking victims reported that they were at a loss about what they could do to end their victimization. Most of the tactics they tried seemed to make matters worse.
(f) Many of the victims reported living in perpetual fear that something might push their stalker over the edge and lead him to physically assault, sexually assault, or even murder them.

back to top of page