- Mental Health
How to deal with the emotional stress of phone and internet stalking by an unknown stalker- it's natural to be afraid
Stalking can be in many forms, and stalking via phone or internet is one of the commonest. Many articles discuss how to deal with stalkers. This article discusses how to deal with the emotional stress that someone who is dealing with phone or internet stalking faces.
As someone who has been constantly facing this kind of stalking, I can understand what you must be going through. Stalking can cause severe emotional distress, trauma, fear, helplessness, etc. I want you to take a deep breath, and take comfort in the fact that you are not alone, and you will get through it.
You may be thinking, "Why me, of all people? What did I do to deserve this?"
The answer is, nothing. Remember how kids used to get lice in their hair back in pre-school? Think of stalkers like that lice. The kids did nothing to "deserve" it, but they got it any way- and they got rid of it too.
You did nothing to deserve it. You don't deserve it. But you are going through this anyway, and you will come out stronger. The problem is the stalker's, not yours. You're perfectly fine.
My heart beats rapidly whenever I see a text/call/email
That's fine, that's the normal reaction. What you can do to deal with it is close your eyes and take deep breaths. Remind yourself that it's just a text/call/email, they are not there in front of you, they can't hurt you, you are safe. Keep breathing in and out. Drink some water. Talk to someone, get a hug.
If it helps, when you see a new text/email, first calm yourself down, and then read it, slowly, maybe in the presence of a friend or family member.
But I don't want to react like this, I don't want to give him the satisfaction of getting under my skin!
Remember that he can't see you- he doesn't know how you are reacting. So do not blame yourself if he "gets to you", it's the normal reaction. Let your mind and body react the way it needs to in order to deal with this and feel ok again, do not blame yourself for reacting that way. Just make sure you have a healthy way of dealing with it.
I feel like I'm out of control.
You're not. Try to look at it this way: Your stalker is obsessed with you. He/she is constantly bothering you. So in a way, it's like you are in control of them!
But I feel like my life is out of my control- they are controlling it!
No they are not. They are only disrupting your life and peace for a few minutes. You probably worry every day, but you are still living, breathing, eating, drinking, singing, watching tv, being online, playing games, talking to friends, cooking, cleaning, doing boring old laundry... They can do NOTHING to control your life. Remember you are in control of your life, no one else. It's up to you how much power you give to them. You can either crawl under bed and cry for hours, or you can get help and brush it off in a few minutes. You're in control of yourself, not them.
I'm so scared.
It's natural to be scared. Read articles on how to deal with stalkers, consider the legal action that you may take, do everything that you need to do to protect yourself.
As for the instant fear you get when you see a call/email/text, just try to tell yourself that they are not in front of you at that moment- you are safe.
If it makes you feel better, call someone you trust and tell them about the call/email/text, and tell them your exact location.
I feel helpless.
You're not helpless. There are things that you can do- you can ignore them, you can take legal action, etc. You can get professional help to deal with the stress too. Your friends and family are there for you. You are never alone, and you're never helpless, even if it may seem that way sometimes.
In fact, your stalker is the helpless one. He/she is helpless and bound to his/her obsession for you- and not seeking help to deal with it.
When will this stop?
I wish I could tell you. It will stop, it may take months or years. You have to be patient. The good thing is, over years you will get somewhat used to dealing with it, and if you seek professional help, it will make things easier.
They are wrecking my life. I want revenge.
It's natural to be angry and feel like this. But don't. It's dangerous, it won't solve anything, and it's not worth it.
I want to answer back and yell at them.
Don't. Stalkers don't understand rejection. Any form of communication encourages them. You have to absolutely ignore them.
Remember that yelling won't make them stop, it will only encourage them. And you will react- you will give them the satisfaction of seeing they are getting to you.
If you have to, talk to yourself as if you're talking to them, even though they can't hear you, or write in a journal, but don't publish it anywhere.
Stalking and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Stalking is known to cause PTSD. It is very important that you recognize when you have PTSD, and seek professional help to recover from the traumatic effects of stalking. Here are some of the common symptoms and signs that you're suffering from PTSD:
- Flashbacks and nightmares
- Rapid heart beat or pounding of heart, sweating, rapid breathing etc. when reminded of the event
- Avoiding places and people that remind you of the trauma
- Losing interest in activities, feeling detached, emotionally numb
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Hyper vigilance, and easily startled
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
Stalking is traumatic and distressful, so make sure you have the knowledge, resources and support system to deal with it.