I am deeply troubled due to a lady stalker who somehow reaches everywhere I go and stands for hours below my office just to see me and smile at me. She was once a regular supplier of certain office material but I have stopped dealing with her after she sent me strangely intimate WhatsApp messages that made me very uncomfortable. I have blocked her everywhere but I can’t stop her moving around the city. I am very perturbed with this eerie behaviour. What should I do?
Ans. The first thing you need to do is file a police complaint for harassment. You are well within your right to do so. Her need to stalk you could indicate her continued desire to get some face time with you. Stalkers typically find solace in the company of those they pursue and they feed off any intel and or new data that emerges about the person they are hankering after.
You must also keep a record of the Whatsapp messages exchanged between you both by storing the screenshots and exporting the chat as a .txt file using the Whatsapp app so a detailed time log is also maintained of who said what to whom.
This may sound a tad reactive but you are better off playing it safe at this point rather than playing it out. Doing nothing is also quite literally doing something. While the necessary precautions are taken, you must also try and understand what may perhaps be going on through your stalker’s mind. A stalker hunts for social points of entry for some give-&-take to take place between you’ll and get their high or their fix from you.
Stalkers commonly suffer from very low self-esteem which is what makes them particularly resilient to any efforts to make them leave. They are in search of some form of psycho-sociological cushioning backed with an illusion of familiarity that they often nurture in their minds. A stalker may want to feel like he is a part of something far bigger or more interesting than his/her individual lives. This is also what makes them dangerous very often.
Sometimes it is downright impossible to convince certain people to acknowledge the difference between being ‘friendly’ and ‘overfamiliar’. How much is too much? Who gets to decide? Since they boundaries are unclear, you need to be extremely clear in what you do and say. Socio-emotional boundaries vary between societies, cultures, genders and even age groups widely differ and change over time. There are many unspoken rules about respecting a person’s space and privacy (which is why you won’t see two strangers stand uncomfortably close to each other – breathing into each other’s faces).
Not everyone may be familiar with these common rules of social interchange and relationships. This needs to be appreciate before one may say that ‘there is a long-standing plot and foul play motive’ currently. There are many people who grow up under secluded and sheltered circumstances. They may not be taught about the value of maintaining certain personal boundaries between people.
Social etiquette isn’t everyone’s forte. Your discomfort is understandable but it’s not something you can merely write about to me and expect to disappear with ‘positive and happy thoughts’. This is a very real problem that you’re going to have to either learn to accept or you’re going to have to move swiftly to nip this in the bud by involving the relevant authorities. So, what’s it going to be? This is your decision to make since you’re the one getting affected by it. See a counsellor if there are any latent emotions that you need help working through. There is after all a fine line between admiring someone and then – this type of stifling and forced inclusivity that borders on being inappropriate and creepy.