The Psychological Impact of Stalking

What is it that drives someone to obsessively stalk someone. While the act itself is not always violent in nature, it does have a significant impact on the mental wellbeing of the victim. For what reason does someone who stalks another person, what is their end game – particularly when you consider that it can sometimes go on for years.

Feeding a desire for control

Most stalkers have already had a degree of connection or communication with their victims before the attention turns ominous and can be considered stalking. Whether it was a short lived professional or platonic relationship, or a failed flirtation that the victim ended, the perpetrator has a sense of aggrievement that can only be fulfilled by exerting some degree of control over the life of the victim.

There is a sense of entitlement that drives the behaviour, that clouds the boundaries of normal societal consent and makes them deaf to rejection. This in turn increases the overall sense of delusion and makes them so fixated that their attentions are both wanted and encouraged that they almost genuinely believe that they are not doing anything wrong.

The anonymity of social media also adds fuel to the methods used to reach their victims. If that victim regularly uses their social media then it weakens the argument against the element of stalking.

Creating fear and paranoia in the victim

So while the perpetrator is gathering in strength, the victim is becoming increasingly fearful and paranoid, looking over their shoulder.

In short, the greater the control exerted over the victim, the greater the victim loses their own sense of control over their own life. Bit by bit this erodes away at the victim’s confidence and wellbeing in so many ways.

Impact on emotional wellbeing

  • The victim begins to question their own grip on reality. Because of the perpetrators own delusion, they are gaslit to such a degree that they begin to question their own perceptions, and can become confused and disorientated.
  • The fear and paranoia are everywhere – from the moment they wake up, to the hours they lie awake in their beds night after night, listening out for intruders.
  • They don’t even feel safe in their own homes. Every time the phone rings, every time there’s a knock at the door, they are constantly alert to the presence of their stalker.
  • They feel increasingly as if they have no sense of control or power over their own life – particularly if they have tried to report the stalking to no avail. This spiralling sense of uncertainty and unpredictability can lead them to seek relief in damaging behaviours and habits, such as excessive alcohol or self harm.

Impact on physical wellbeing

The more the stalking continues, the more the emotional impact plays on a victim’s mind, the more it will have a major impact on their physical health as well.

  • Stress will play out on the body through headaches, stomach and digestive issues.
  • Damaging behaviours will take their physical toll.
  • Anxiety will lead to heart palpitations, sweating and panic attacks.

The legal route you need to take to put an end to a stalker’s campaign can be long tortuous, legal experts Affordable Justice always advices to keep the police updated at every stage. There are a number of different injunctions that can be taken out, and this will depend on whether or not you actually know the victim, or have been linked to them either through family and friends or through work. Working closely with a solicitor will give you a greater sense of control over how proceedings will play out.