Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Inside the Head of a Stalker

Stalkers maintain persistent thoughts and ideas about their victims, often for years.  Forensic psychologists have identified three types of stalking: obsessional, love obsessional and erotomania.  The most common is the simple obsessional stalker.  The victim of this type usually knows his/her stalker well and was in some form of relationship with him/her. For example, an ex-spouse, ex-lover, friend, former boss or a co-worker.  The obsessional activities begin after the relationship has ended or is headed in that direction.  The stalker often perceives that he/she was wronged by the victim.  The motivation is to mend the relationship or to seek some type of retribution.  Domestic violence cases involving stalking are mainly under this category.  The love obsessional stalker is a stranger or casual acquaintance of the victim.  A love obsession or fixation on another person with whom they have had no personal relationship describes this type of stalker.  Not only does the love obsessional stalker attempt to live out his/her fantasies, he/she expects the victim to play an assigned role of loving them back with devotion and adoration.  The motivation is to make the victim aware of his/her existence and then expects the feeling to be returned.  When the stalker fails to establish a relationship, the harassing begins.  The last category is erotomania.  A delusion in which the stalker believes the individual of his/her love, loves his/her back.  They study their victims, often from afar. They are commonly referred to as celebrity stalkers or obsessed fans.  The stalker believes that the victim is a perfect match and that they are destined to be together forever.  This is not based on sexual attraction.  The stalker fantasizes more about a spiritual union and/or romantic love.  The victim is usually of higher status.  Even though the victim may have been contacted, the delusion may be kept a secret.  The strongest predictors of violence by a stalker are a history of substance abuse, history of previous violence and history of mental illness.  Additional characteristics are access to the victim or to the victim's family, possession of weapons, suicidal tendencies and high degree of  possessiveness or jealously. Although, the less of a relationship prior to the stalking the more mentally disturbed the stalker is.  Some stalkers have personality disorders by a pervasive abnormal pattern of behavior related to thinking, mood, personal relations and impulse control.  Specifically, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, dependent or obsessive compulsive disorder characteristics. However, not all stalkers meet the criteria for any specific or serious psychiatric disorder.  Elements in common for stalkers are the stalker's relationship with the victim, the stalker's motive in pursuing the victim and the stalker's behavior.

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