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Stalking, Obsessions & Unwanted behavior. As virtual communication grows it will get worse. (9570 hits)

Stalking: Why do Men and Women Stalk Each Other?

"...stalking is still very misunderstood by the public, the courts and law enforcement."

Revised: January 01, 2009

By: Michael G. Conner, Psy.D

If you want to know something about stalking, then prepare yourself to be surprised. Here are some research findings. Women stalk men nearly as much as men stalk women. Men and women also stalk each other in similar ways. Men stalk more at night and women stalk more by day. Nearly 3 out of 11 people who break up will begin to feel or think they are being stalked. On any given day, about one out of a thousand people may feel like they are being stalked. A true stalker can't stand to be ignored. If they can't have your love they will settle for your anger and hatred. The worst thing you can do is respond and interact with someone who may be stalking you. Why do they feel this way and what can you do about?

Despite a growing body of research in the past five years, stalking is still very misunderstood by the public, the courts and law enforcement. For practical purposes there are three types of stalking. Relationship stalking occurs when a couple breaks up. But that is not stalking in a legal sense. It just looks like and feels like stalking. Obsessional stalking develops because of the way the couple interacted and the way they broke up. Obsessional stalking is a psychological problem that has many causes but in general it is the result of an "on again" and "off again" relationship as was well as a "desire and fear of a relationship" in one person and "fear of separation and loss" in the other. The childhood of at least one these people is usually emotionally barren or emotionally abusive. Delusional stalking occurs when a mental disorder causes the person to become obsessed or fixated on some unsuspecting person because of what amounts to a medical condition. In some cases a severe psychological obsession becomes delusional. The delusional stalker becomes irrational and fixated on people like movie stars, a public figure, a co-worker or even a former intimate relationship.

Nearly 90% of all college students who break up will engage in what is called "unwanted pursuit behavior". Pursuit behavior includes writing notes, giving gifts, making phone calls, contacting friends, following the person or intruding in their life. This can border and easily cross the line and become an obsession. What researcher’s find interesting is that pursuit behavior is normal. If Jane dissolves a relationship with Bob, then it is very common for Bob to pursue Jane as a means to restore the relationship. Researchers call this a "relationship repair mechanism." Some people and even the courts mistakenly call this stalking.

For some men and women it is an especially difficult task to transform a deep s*xual and emotional bond into a mere friendship. People with traumatic childhoods involving death and loss of a loved one have an especially difficult time. The person being "dumped" will usually have the hardest time because they are either surprised, hurt or they are made to feel like their life and reputation is ruined. Human beings have not found healthy ways to just stop feeling. They act to feel better in the moment and tend to disregard or minimize the consequences and impact of their behavior on others. Drugs and alcohol are certainly not solutions and make matters worse.

There are differences between the way men and women stalk each other. More men than women engage in bolder forms of pursuit such as showing up at a doorstep late at night "just wanting to talk". Men are less afraid to sneak around someone’s house to see if their girlfriend is with someone else. Women generally do their stalking by day or in public.
Posted By: Marta Fernandez
Friday, August 12th 2011 at 9:50PM
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