Why stalking is not flattery

There is nothing romantic about someone who is unwilling to leave you alone, in fact, it is not only scary, but illegal.

According to the American Psychology Association, stalking is defined as the following:

“a pattern of following or observing a person in an obsessional, intrusive, or harassing manner. The pursued individual is typically a partner from a failed intimate relationship but may be a mental health care provider, a public figure (see erotic delusion), or other person of interest to the stalker. Stalking may involve direct threats, the intent to cause distress or bodily harm, and interpersonal violence. In the United States, laws against stalking vary from state to state. See also domestic violenceintimate partner violence.”

In other words, stalking is unwanted contact and surveillance by an individual toward another.

Although there is no universally agreed upon typology, in “A Study of Stalkers”, Mullen et al. (2000) profile stalkers as the following:

The Rejected stalker: follow their victims in order to reverse, correct, or avenge a rejection (e.g. divorce, separation, termination). Attempt to re-establish control over their former partner and reverse the degradation of being rejected.

The Resentful stalker: make a vendetta because of a sense of grievance against the victims – motivated mainly by the desire to frighten, intimidate and distress the victim.

Intimacy seekers: seek to establish an intimate, loving relationship with their victim. Such stalkers often believe that the victim is a long-sought-after soul mate, and they were ‘meant’ to be together.

Incompetent suitors: their initial motivation is not to establish a loving relationship, but to get a date or a short-term sexual relationship. Sometimes this insensitivity is associated with cognitive limitations or poor social skills consequent to autism spectrum disorders or intellectual disability.

Predatory stalkers: spy on their victim in order to prepare and plan an attack – often sexual – on the victim.

Keith E. Davis (2006, p.329) also explains stalkers’ three main motives shown in a study:

  • Desire for revenge or mistreatment or rejection
  • Pursuit of an unrequited love
  • Desire to degrade the victim (where the victim has not mistreated the stalker)

Keith E. Davis (2006, p.330) also states that “the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour”. Some stalkers suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and cannot process a polite rejection. In fact, some stalkers take this as a test and react with redoubled effort. 

It is wrong to believe that a relationship needs to take place before stalking happens. It is also wrong to believe that stalking only happens to famous people. It is also wrong to believe that only men stalk women.

Stalking can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any given time. It can happen to a co-worker, a professional contact, a friend, a casual acquaintance, a former partner or a total stranger. Stalkers can be delusional and suffer from various mental health disorders. Some may have never met their victim, yet get fixated on wanting to be a part of their victim’s world by violating their privacy through engaging in persistent harassing and stalking behaviour. This could range from frequently making unwelcomed communication, such as: unwanted phone calls, assault, social media messages (see cyberstalking), unwanted attention, sending gifts, persistently following someone, interfering or damaging their property, watching or spying on someone, identity theft, showing up at the victim’s home/workplace and/or loitering around somewhere frequented by the victim.

Stalking is not a ‘one-off’ crime. It is a series of incidents which when taken in isolation can appear insignificant and trivial, but when put together, they become more sinister. 

The impact stalking has on victims can be profound. These could range from physical health (fatigue, insomnia, headaches, heart palpitations), social life (isolation), psychological well-being (post-traumatic stress disorder, denial, confusion, frustration, self-medication, depression, anxiety, flashbacks, paranoia) and other effects such as on work (poor performance, changing careers), living situation (relocation) and dropping out of school.

Lamber Royakkers (2006) describes stalking as “a form of mental assault, in which the perpetrator repeatedly, unwantedly, and disruptively breaks into the life-world of the victim, with whom they have no relationship (or no longer have).”

To learn about narcissists and stalking please feel free to head to Dr Ramani’s channel:


If you are being stalked or know someone who is, please take measures.

Restrict social media posts and check privacy settings, have NO contact with the stalker, collect evidence, reduce the possibility of others inadvertently providing information to the stalker or access to the victim, increase personal protection, improve home security, protect personal information and REPORT it.

To report a stalker

Please call 999 if you or someone else is in immediate danger. Contact your local police if it’s not an emergency

National Stalking Helpline
Telephone: 0808 802 0300  
Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4pm (except Wednesday 1pm to 4pm)





Published by Metacog

Psychology related topics.

One thought on “Why stalking is not flattery

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