Mind of a Stalker

The definition of a stalker is: a person who harasses or persecutes someone with unwanted and obsessive attention. Understandably, the emphasis in this definition is on the ‘victim’ of stalking. In this post, however, we will try to understand the stalker’s mind.

There are two kinds of people who ‘stalk.’ There is the stalker who has never been in a relationship with the person he or she is stalking. And of course there is the stalker who has been in a relationship with the person being stalked. Stalkers can be of either gender, don’t be misled by my photo, it’s not just men who stalk.

Now on the surface of this, it would seem that the stalker’s main objective is to ‘hurt’ and ‘harass’ the person being stalked. According to the people being stalked this is exactly why the stalker is stalking.

Stalking can and does create fear, worry, paranoid feelings, hyper-alertness, and a whole bunch of other self-protective activities. In short, it is never a pleasant feeling knowing you are being stalked by someone, especially if you don’t know him or her.

But this is not the whole story. To understand the mind of the stalker, we have to go deeper. The psychological objective of the stalker is to have or control someone he or she cannot have or control. The words ‘have’ and ‘control’ are our clues.

Stalking is an effort to possess the object (person) of desire or need. It’s really about obsession, possession, and control. Let’s look at the two types and see whether we can deepen our understanding of this problem.

Stalkers who have never been in a love relationship with the person they are stalking. These individuals are obsessed with the person they desire like most stalkers. The difference is, they have never been in an intimate love relationship with that person. They may have met or not at all. They may know the person they desire or not at all.

The point is, they are working off a ‘fantasy’ about the person being stalked. This type of stalker imagines things about the person he or she stalks. They may create an elaborate set of obsessive thoughts, feelings, or even actions they take that incorporate the person they are stalking.

Since fantasy is more dominant than fact, this type of stalker is a little scarier to most people. Not much reality behind the stalker’s efforts to possess in fantasy what the stalker cannot have in reality. These individuals are usually troubled by a painful history of disappointment in people.

Stalkers who have been in a love relationship with the person they are stalking can be further divided into: stalking while in a love relationship and stalking after a love relationship. When someone stalks while in a love relationship, the stalker is trying to resolve a feeling of insecurity by controlling his or her lover.

This commonly happens to very insecure people who are fearful that a lover is lying or ‘cheating’ behind their backs. They are hoping to could catch their lover doing something wrong to confirm their suspicions. This kind of insecurity and control always forecasts trouble for a relationship.

Stalking after a love relationship is over involves a difficulty with separation that the stalker is trying to manage with obsessive efforts to remain in contact or connection with the lost lover. These individuals are struggling with extreme separation anxiety that makes them feel like a ‘part of them’ is loss now that the relationship is over.

This stalker has not yet accepted and/or grieved the end of the relationship he or she has ‘needed’ for irrational reasons. Something like, I need you to feel better about me. The objective being, possessing you to feel good about me. My self-esteem should never depend upon your love for me.

Stalkers at first glance may appear scary and unpredictable, but ultimately once you understand their psychology, they are rather sad and insecure lovers who need help to advance their ability to love and receive love.

Comments? Welcome. Dr. Tom Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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