Other Long Term Effects Of Stalking?

Simply Simon

MyPTSD Pro
I have been verifiably stalked by at least three people.

The first was my abusive boyfriend, who used stalking as a means of intimidation and control. It was often very severe, and it also lasted a really long time--maybe eight months or so. It got to the point where I just assumed I was being watched as long as I was either in a public place or on the first floor of my house, although I remained paranoid that I was somehow being watched at all times, regardless of viability.

The third time I was stalked, I was stalked at my college by a student I barely knew, and it was extremely intense but relatively short-lived. I had gotten worlds better with my symptoms just by being in a completely different region of the country, but this set me back drastically. Although I was only stalked for maybe a month, it was so intense that I once woke up to my stalker stroking my face in my dorm room. I had a professor who would escort me to class whenever she could, and he was banned first from my workplace and then from my dorm building after making an insane scene (including shouting violent threats when I told him to leave). It was so high-profile that all of the professors were literally whispering about me in the hallways. One of my (well-meaning but seriously misguided) professors literally grabbed me by the arm one day to tug me aside and ask what was really going on. Look, it was just really f*cked up, is what I'm saying, and it made me into a public spectacle at seventeen years old in a really small school.

The second time I was stalked, I have no idea how long it had been going on. It took me a couple of months at least to put together the pieces that I was being followed. He was a guy I was dating in the loose sense of the word (it wasn't a relationship), and it finally came together for me that he was always magically minutes away from where I was, wherever I was. He would somehow be right near my neighborhood if I wanted to hang out, and I lived 20+ minutes away from him. I essentially ex-communicated him when I figured out that he was clearly just hanging around my neighborhood/school/wherever. I never found out how deep that went.

In any case, I say all of this as context for what I've been thinking about a lot lately: what exactly are the long-term effects of having been stalked? Does anyone else experience the sort of paranoia and quasi-delusional thinking that I seem to have?

If you have PTSD, paranoia and anxiety are basically a given, and I was paranoid and panicky before I was stalked. For example, when I was about eight years old, I had a really bad panic attack while walking my dog around the block, because I seriously thought the UPS guy was following me and was going to kidnap me (which, by the way, made me much less believable a year or two later when someone really did try to f*cking kidnap me on my street). I also had strange delusional ideas from a very young age that I was being constantly monitored ala The Truman Show, something that still occasionally pops into my head as some sort of habitual hold-over from youth.

All that being said, when you actually are stalked, especially when you already have this serious paranoia, I think it's a game changer, and I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

I've noticed that any time I become close to a male in any way, I suddenly start wondering in daily life if that person is watching or following me. If I have a male in my life whom I trust but who for some reason I feel might be a threat--because of a disagreement or fight or anything--I start wondering if they're following me. And the feeling that I'm being followed/watched reaches ridiculous proportions. I feel like they're watching me sleep, shower, go to work--everything I do.

I worked at a gas station where there were cameras everywhere. There were eight or so that I could watch as an employee, but there were something like eight more that were only accessible by my boss, who had some seriously unstable psychological problems (which was obvious to pretty much anyone who knew him at all). I found this environment unbearable, because I actually knew I was being watched. He liked to call the store (from home, where he watched on his phone or tablet) to comment about what I was doing or not doing at any given time, and he seemed to like to get me to run around like a rat in a cage just for the fun of watching it. This didn't seem to really affect my co-worker, who worked the opposite shift, but it seemed to drive me slowly but steadily insane. It bothered me from the outset, and by the time I quit, I was terrified to work in another place with cameras everywhere. I don't even like using ATMs at the bank because of the camera. It just feels so oppressive and crazy-making to me.

Okay, so, this is a much longer post than I anticipated, but I'm hoping to hear from other people who have PTSD and have been stalked. I'll be especially interested to hear if other people had PTSD before being stalked and if it made a difference to their symptoms, as I feel it did with mine.
 

Anrish

MyPTSD Pro
I'm sorry you had to go through this @Simply Simon - and I'm also proud of you because you wrote it all down. You did a great job doing so.

I was stalked by my former boyfriend - he checked on my social media, he asked my sister, my friends...it was sickening. And he grabbed every chance to see me. When friends of both of us celebrated a birthday, marriage...he always showed up and tailed me all the time. He still blamed me for just ending all contact and said all the time he had been worried about me - but he also began to badmouth me, to isolate me again. He also got my new address from former friends and my smartphone number...and began to text me.

It went for more than two years and he still didn't accept that it was over. I talked to a collague who worked on Stalking cases and she gave me some suggestions. I told him that I would state a criminal complaint against him if he didn't to follow me. I had to tell him several times but it worked out in the end.

The effects were great: the few friends we both had thought that I would be overdramatic - and the friendships ended in the months afterwards. I began to isolate myself even more - in real life and in my online life.

I still have him in in my head - judging me, watching me...and wanting me to act like some porno girl. I'm still scared when I get closer to places where he lives or his family lives - or when I just see the letter combination on a number plate...

Yeah, that's what stalking made out of me.
 
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sapphire

New Here
simply simon - so sorry to hear your experiences
no real advice but you said you would like to hear from others - yes i have a stalker - he is a previous abuser - my brother in law who was my childhood tormentor (age 5 -17 he took every opportunity to sexually abuse me) i left home made a life unaware of his continued infatuation until a few years ago when he was arrested for child porn on a work computer and files of pictures of my life were found by the police - i have taken out an injunction - but no real resolution - i continue to struggle with the knowledge that he is watching - diagnosed with ptsd life is a struggle never feeling safe
 

She Cat

Policy Enforcement
@Simply Simon I was stalked by an ex boyfriend once when I was 41maybe 42. We had been dating, planning on getting married, but his ex girlfriend kept bringing him into court because she had a restraining order on him and she said he kept breaking it and contacting him. Little did I know that I was being used as his alibi.

I caught him cheating on me, and broke it off a few months before we were getting married. I had even bought the dress. Asshole!!! Anyways, he was now with her and he lived 25 miles from where I lived.. But, I kept seeing him around my apartment, driving by. He had no reason to be there. A friend of mine would see his truck around where I lived and would call me and tell me that he was outside my apartment just parked on the street.

Then I would be driving somewhere in the place that I lived and I'd look in my rear view and he'd be there. I finally had enough and took him to court. I wasn't successful in obtaining a restraining order, but the judge warned him. He did eventually did go to jail for a few days for violating his ex girlfriends restraining order though.

At first I was anxious when all of this was happening, but after I brought the asshole into court, I felt like I had gotten my power back. I refused to let him do this to me.

I do have times when I feel I'm being watched, but I don't give into them. I know it's just my mind "going there" and I'm really not being watched. Unsettling but I think normal to a degree....

Don't let the bastards get you down!!!!!!!
 

Friday

Moderator
I've been trying to write this for days :wtf: But I keep tangenting down different rabbit holes of venting (there's one effect!), rather than making a concrete list. So, screw it, I'm just going to toss up a few effects / thoughts on the subject at a time, as I think of them, if that works.

***

PTSD vs Stalking >>> I sometimes think of PTSD as delayed emotional response. Not in total. But as a major piece of it. Reliving shit from a looooong time ago, as if it's happening right now. Stalking, meanwhile, has created the opposite. I'm front loading emotions. Having to think 6 steps ahead in order to do even the most basic of things. ("If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch? You must first... Invent the universe." Kind of thinking ahead. :wtf: Want to make a phone call? Must first go buy a burner phone. For every call. :banghead: And all the steps involved in that process.). Tracing future events and possibilities and running through the emotions of "what if" & "if this, then what?" & "okay so how the f*ck do I?" & "Waaaaaah! :arghh; Motherf*cking cocksucking sonnuvabitch! I don't wanna have to ... <insert swearish rant here> & <insert self pity here> & <insert nuclear future trip here> I give up!!! I hate this! Dammit Che cazzo vaffunculo fai <insert more swearish rant here>"

:mad::devilish::banghead::arghh;:cry::dead:

...All BEFORE anything has actually happened. :facepalm:

Nothing. Has. Happened. Yet.

All just from thinking about doing something that would be considered normal (make a phone call, leave the house, register for school, look for an apartment, apply for a job, make an appointment, etc.) Not even having done it yet. Just thinking about doing it, requires thinking about how to avoid the after effects of having done it. 6 steps ahead. Always. For everything. Because if you're sloppy about it just once? Bam! Oh joy. Thank you, you pestilential puss oozing prick. Get. Out. Of. My. Life.

Dammit. I hate emotions. Go away! Go away all of you!!! Leave me alone! Sigh.

Past emotions? Piss off! Future emotions? Bite me. Grrrrr.

(( Okay, this one turned into half rant, but at least it's sort of on point. ))

***

PTSD + Stalking >>> No matter how small the task, if it's within the area of 'being f*cked with' there are now a bazillion steps that "must" be taken in order to avoid it ...OR... somehow coming to the DGAF about it being f*cked with. (OMFG. Bliss.) The steps & the thinking, however equates to a huge overlay of stress, which means spiking PTSD symptoms, which -for me- means avoidance of those things which are kicking up my stress levels, and even more planning (to account for increased symptoms), and even less trusting my own judgment (because my symptoms are ramping up!) Evil. Evil. Circle. Of. Just f*ck it. :banghead:
 
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Simply Simon

MyPTSD Pro
I enjoyed your take on this, Friday. Sometimes I think that if I were only a stronger, more capable person, I wouldn't have to fear stalking. But you seem like a perfectly strong, capable person, and it still gets to you.

My childhood T and I were talking once, and I was talking about paranoia and how other people would think I'm nuts for expecting such terrible things to happen, and she said, "Right, but they DID happen. To you. So it's not really paranoia."

That's how I feel about my stalking issues. I expect to be stalked, because it has happened too many times to write it off as paranoia.

So, THIS is relevant...

My boss called me and my co-worker the other night to talk about the replacement we're getting for the lady who retired recently without warning. The replacement, she tells us, is being moved to our workplace because he was stalking one of the girls at his former assignment to the point that he showed the girl his work password, which was comprised of her complete birth date. Fun!

But I have to say, I'm not terribly worried. I know I'm the perfect target out of the available women, but I'm so sick of being reasonably nice to scumbags, and I've gained enough seniority to tell him to f*ck off if I feel he's trying to cozy up to me. My whole team has my back if I feel uncomfortable. We've already gone through this once, with someone who works nearby constantly showing up to hunt me down. I know my co-workers all look out for me. It's just ridiculous that this new guy hasn't been fired yet. All he's done is paint a target on his back from here on out, so we'll see how it goes. The good and bad thing about where I work is that loyalty and reputation are everything.
 

Friday

Moderator
A friend of mine in law enforcement once said to me that they didn't become a US Marshal, because they had a 'comfortable level of paranoia" in their lives.

This has become something of a lifelong ambition of mine. It seems unattainable right now. I had a brief moment this morning where it all fell away and I could clearly see the tasks I needed to get done and in what order. And then the rest piled on. And it took my legs out from underneath me. And I am just so. damn. tired.

A comfortable level of paranoia just seems like a fantasy.
 

Casey_03

MyPTSD Pro
I can honestly say the stalking I experienced left a much deeper imprint than actual physical abuse. It went on for years, an abusive ex-boyfriend. I remember literally throwing up once after learning he'd hacked into my email. He'd also contacted friends I made overseas. It was really, really creepy and went on for a long time. And a lot of the stuff I didn't even learn about until much later.

The worst part was that people often didn't believe me, or thought I was overreacting. And that just made me more isolated, which is awful in that kind of situation. I also remember how difficult it was to take any sort of legal action. I tried for a restraining order but was told there wasn't enough evidence.

So, for that and other reasons, I just left the country. But even after leaving, I definitely experienced a high-degree of paranoia, and I still do. It's funny you mention your irrational fear of the UPS man -- I had exactly the same thing. I remember actually curling up in a ball once and hyperventilating when a delivery man came, even though I knew I was expecting a delivery. Somehow it still terrified me.

And I would also say that I have a very, very intense reaction to my boundaries being violated. I know that also comes with PTSD, but I attribute it more to the stalking. I NEED major space with people now, whereas I didn't before. Incidentally, that is what caused me to get into so many abusive and borderline abusive relationships, cause I'd go for guys and situations where I'd assume there'd be a lot of space, emotionally and physically. But what I took as emotional space usually ended up being something else entirely, red flags that I stupidly ignored.

The guy who stalked me was also my first serious boyfriend, and the only man I had ever seriously considered marrying and spending my life with. So after he became obsessed with me, I started to seek out guys who didn't really care about me, thinking they'd give me space.

Wow, I've written a lot more than I intended to here. So it must be a good topic! I've actually never read a book on the subject (or really tried to) but I might now.
 

Rebecca1515

New Here
I have been verifiably stalked by at least three people.

The first was my abusive boyfriend, who u...
I was stalked for a year before he died. I am always watching and everyone is a suspect to me. I can't even have a relationship with my new husband because if it doesn't work out will he become a stalker too
 

Lost At Sea

New Here
I was stalked by an ex-boyfriend who had raped me when I was 18/19. I got a restraining order on him and not even that really worked. He called my dad for years asking for his permission to "court" me. I was stalked again by another ex-boyfriend years later when I dumped him after finding out he was insane. A year after I dumped him he wanted to set a wedding date. Two and a half years after I dumped him he wanted us to attend couples counseling to figure out our problems and was enlisting people from my church and people who worked with us (we both worked on different ships for the same organization) to help him convince me to do it. While all that was going on, I was drugged, abducted and raped by someone else I worked with. I attempted to report it and was actively prevented from doing so. Both the guy who abducted me and another guy from my ship, who I believe also raped me while I was drugged, began stalking me on the ship where it is impossible to escape. The first guy would come to the engine room when I was on watch and just stand there and stare at me, he would wait outside the messdeck so I couldn't get a meal without going through him. The second guy would literally hunt me every morning at 0400 when I got off watch and 9 times out of 10 he found me and it always got physical. When he didn't find me he would come to my room, knock and ask to be let in. There was nowhere I could go to get away from them and I was actively being prevented from reporting what was going on. That intense experience lasted for over six weeks and I think was a large reason of why I have such bad PTSD. It's been over ten years and I still can't even talk about that part of it without having panic attacks and violent back spasms that border on convulsions. Writing about it is much easier than talking about it.

I've kept a very low profile for years. A friend recently told me there is really nothing about me online. I live in constant worry that any one of those guys will one day find me. I used to keep a machete just inside my door just in case. I'm homeless now, living in a spare bedroom, so I can't do that anymore. I carried a very large knife with me on the ships after the fact and had the opportunity more than once to take it out and use it to make yet another guy back off. I eventually had to quit my job in large part because I couldn't bear to keep track of what ships those three guys were on and where in the world they were just so I wouldn't run into them in port. I lived in fear of having one of them get assigned to my ship, or of being assigned to theirs. When it got too much I quit my job and ended up losing my home. I tried for disability but apparently I'm not disabled enough.

Last August I applied for a job that would require me to relocate and the posting said a background check would be required. I wasn't worried about the background check. I don't have anything bad to hide. Then in October I spotted a guy doing covert surveillance on me. I've always been good at spotting undercover cops and PIs and so on and he never knew I made him. A couple of weeks later I posted something on my Facebook, which I assumed they were monitoring, about how I made him, something that wasn't readily apparent to most people but whoever it was would recognize and two weeks after that, as I left a store, I made yet another guy doing surveillance. He knew I made him-he was watching for it- and he didn't back off but instead made a point of looking at what I had just bought. That freaked me out more than anything. I have been in a mess ever since. They know I can spot them individually and I know that if they want to use enough people and cars, I will never be able to make them. So I have had to assume I am always under surveillance. Add to that the fact that my first ex-boyfriend/rapist/stalker contacted me on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and wants to be "friends" and I know he can find me where I'm living right now.

At this moment I've been on the verge of a panic attack for three days. I've had two other episodes like this in the last couple of weeks. I want to run but I don't have any money to do it. I've been planning what I'll do if that ex shows up. I know I can disappear. I've got the hair color picked out. I know where and how to get a burner phone that will be hard for anyone to even find out where I got it. I know more or less where I'm going if I do have to run. I have a new name picked out. I just haven't figured out how to get good fake ID. I literally feel like I'm living on a trigger edge right now. I feel that even posting something here is a risk. What if they hacked my email or got into my computer? I'd like to tell them I don't want that job anymore, but I really do need it and I also suspect that because there is very little record of what has happened to me, they have no idea how their surveillance is affecting me. I'd say I have some serious problems with paranoia, but this is verifiable real.

I wish I could give you some advice, but I really don't have any, especially right now.
 
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