Friday, January 9, 2015
Obsession and Stalking Behavior On Line
"Is this guy for real? Would he really harm me?"
"Should I be worried for my daughter?"
"I think he is just love-lorn and not a danger. What do you think?"
It is not just movie stars that are targeted, with Facebook having lots of personal photos for the world to see. Where once stalkers might have obsessed over a photograph of a movie star, a personal photo of someone without fame may not experience this frightening behavior.
Threats in writing, often made anonymously, continue, since the subject often fears detection via computer tracing. These can be typed and mailed and the resources expended to track the sender are measured against the nature of the threat. Obviously, a threat to a high ranking government official will be taken more seriously than that made to someone, personally, without exposure.
Threats made to businesses, while anonymous, if they have substantial sample, can yield not only a profile of the subject (writer) but the identity.
We all reveal ourselves by our words.
But what of those who appear to become Facebook 'stalkers', or profess great love to the recipient? Known to the recipient, the Facebook, or cyber stalker may use phrases like,
"If I can't have you, no one can..." or the lesser, "If I see you with another guy, I'll kill him", which may appear less threatening, since:
a. It puts a condition upon the threat ("if I see...")
b. It may be interpreted as flattering to the recipient.
In assessing such a threat, we seek to enter into the subject's subjective language, to see how he views himself, the recipient, and the "guy" that may be with the recipient.
This is where the gender neutral pronoun "person" can become important.
"You're the only girl for me. Every other person just doesn't do it for me. I've dated other persons since we broke up, but I will never stop loving you. You're the only girl for me."
Rather than be flattered, the recipient should consider the language used.
The obsessive behavior may be due to what the language is hinting:
All that he dated were "persons", that is, gender neutral. She was a "girl", gender specific.
What the recipient should consider is that obsessiveness is not a compliment. The subject may have severe mental health issues. He is signaling that he is not able to be sexually aroused by others, only her. With others, he may be impotent. This might cause the subject to become angry. The sentence, "if I can't have you, no one can" should be taken very seriously. If impotency is noted within the language, the unhealthy obsession's motive may emerge.
Assessing a threat level should always side on caution, but such things as impotence can increase anger. When rapists are treated with certain anti-depressants, they can become impotent, which may increase rage, as the rape is both a violent and a sexual attack.
Parents are well warned to keep an eye out on the internet connections of their children. Deceptive people prey upon adults as well.
The more one writes, the more we may know of their true intentions, and, perhaps, some serious mental health issues prompting the obsessive behaviors.
Stalking is frightening, and online or "Facebook stalking" is as well.
Take threats seriously, and look carefully at the language. Legal remedies can, sometimes, 'wake up' a stalker who has been living "in his own mind", that is, making things much bigger in his mind than ever were in reality, and "cold water" thrown on him might help. If you write back to him, make your rejection short, without qualifying language such as "I think..." and "perhaps...", which could leave him with "hope."
Make it short, but also polite. There is no need to anger someone unnecessarily.
If this does not work, be prepared to take legal steps, including a court order. If the subject has a job and some responsibilities in life, he will not appreciate the notoriety and may apologize and back down. If you are forced to go this route, take screen shots of the correspondence. This is not only useful testimony, but can counter any claim that you "led him on", since your rejection response is short, strong, and polite.
Of course, if the subject is deranged, and does not have responsibilities (like a job) and has "nothing to lose", your affidavit to the court becomes the wall of legal protection from the stalker, and not all subjects care about what the law says. This becomes time for local police involvement.
The "local" will be not only your "local", but the stalker's local law enforcement. Oftentimes you will find caring officers who will contact the subject's local law enforcement for you, and get information on the subject. At times, the subject will be known to local law enforcement and they may know if a verbal threat to "stay away" is enough, or if more drastic efforts are needed for protection. They are your best resource.
Not all internet obsession is romantic.
Whether it is a picture you have posted, or a blog entry, or (and this happens more frequently than we might realize), you are in the news, for whatever reason, you may become the target of someone's obsessive behavior.
When a child goes missing, for example, the "groupies" will emerge, often in hostile, anti-police standards, appearing sympathetic with the parents, but are seeking relevancy and importance through the pain and anguish of another. They may seek to create an "us versus them" scenario where the subject "understands you" and "police are not helpful", with the need to create a unity via "bad guy" mentality. (a typical tactic by demagogues, who need a "Hitler" to fight against, truth be damned).
The subject may appear caring and concerned until you do not respond quickly enough, or do something that reminds them of their inconsequential status.
We all need to feel needed, but the stalker takes this to a level that is dangerous.
Although the movie was about as awful as could be, "Girl Gone" highlighted this phenomena with "groupies" following a missing person's case, injecting herself into the case, and quickly snapping a "selfie"for relevancy.
If you become a target, for whatever reason, of a cyber-stalker, seek professional advice first, and if necessary, professional intervention.
Truthful, harmless kind people think everyone else is truthful and harmless and kind. It is not the reality.
If it is your business under threat, everything must be documented and saved.
If it is your children, there are still lots of fun activities that can be done, live and in person, rather than online.
Remember: playing online video games links the outside world with your children. "Mine Craft" and playstation games put strangers, who may be posing as 12 year olds, in touch with your children. Remind them to never share personal information. Google Earth shows the world your home, and even, perhaps, your vehicle.