Last Updated on September 15, 2023 by Lori Pace
Three years ago, your ex was looking at your Instagram and accidentally double-tapped on one of the photos. You now know that they were snooping. However, they might want to delete their social media accounts or change their Instagram handle to “randomperson2841”. While one incident is not enough to be considered stalking, repeated actions do. So, what to do if my ex stalks me?
Stalking involves inducing fear. Stalking is any unwanted contact that makes you fearful or makes you feel threatened. It often occurs from people you know, and more often former romantic partners.
What Counts As Stalking and How to Recognize My Ex Stalks Me?
Stalking by an ex-partner isn’t as innocent as looking at their social media profiles. And stalking is itself a serious matter. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) was conducted by the Center for Disease Control and reported that one out of six women had been stalked in their lifetime. The stalkers were often made aware of victims and, in 66.2% of cases, the stalker was a former or current intimate partner.
Stalking refers to unwanted, repeated behavior that is connected with harassment or intimidation. This behavior could include stalking, following victims, waiting in public for them, spying on them or monitoring their online activities.
My Ex Stalks Me in Person
A stalker in person is anyone who makes you feel unsafe or has a pattern of unwanted contact. You can be scared by stalkers by either clearly threatening to harm you or using subtle, but frightening methods such as letters or gifts. You can be savaged in person by:
- Following your steps
- Waiting for you, and then showing up uninvited
- You spying
- Non-consensual communication initiated
- We will call you often
- Unwanted gifts sent to you
- Property damage
- Threatening to use violence against you
Cyberstalking refers to the use of technology for stalking you. This form of harassment uses email, social media and other digital communication methods to stalk you. Many stalkers are former partners and are more bold behind the covers of the internet than in real life. Their behavior can escalate to dangerous levels.
They may use this new power to send you disturbing messages, sometimes several times per day. The content is often more disturbing than anything you would say in real life. It is alarming that stalkers can harass people from different accounts, without you knowing who they are. Cyberstalking is when you get:
- Unwanted emails sent to you
- Unsolicited texts and DMs
- Harassing and threatening you via social media
- Monitoring your internet and computer activity
- Tracking your location
- Logging into your social media accounts
- Receiving offensive, inappropriate or explicit photos and videos
- Harassing, stalking, or harassing family members, friends, and colleagues
- You can use online media to incite others to attack you
The Impact Stalking Can Have on You
You can be affected by stalking. There will be a feeling where you’ll have the need for a change in your work or residence if the stalker is an ex partner. You might feel unsafe in your familiar surroundings as a victim. Sometimes, this impression can stay with victims long after harassment ends.
If you are a victim to stalking, you may experience a variety of psychological and physical symptoms.
Mental Health Effects
- Frustration and anger
- Shame and guilt
- Fear is a constant companion
- Concentration is difficult
- Trouble sleeping
- Panic attacks
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Physical Health Effects
- Stress-induced hypertension
- Weight fluctuations due to eating issues
- Pre-existing conditions worsening
- Breathing difficulties
- Heart palpitations
Why My Ex Stalks Me?
We all wish we could spot a stalker. A socially awkward outcast who lives in their basement with their computer, is unable to talk to other sex members, and probably has no friends.
Although it can be easy to fall for the stereotypes of stalkers, they don’t need to fulfill any of the criteria you would expect. There is no way to determine if someone is a stalker, or which partner will turn into one after a relationship ends. A stalker is someone who is outgoing, well-spoken, charming and outgoing, even during a relationship.
They may be motivated by a desire for a resurgence in a relationship or a psychotic identification with their victim. Stalking can become harassment depending on the motivations of the stalker. Sexual harassment is the most common form.
The Motivation For Stalking an Ex Partner
Many times, stalking starts after a breakup. However, the reasons that people stalk others are different.
- Controlling Tendencies – Many stalkers are controlling in many areas of their lives, including their romantic relationships.
- Feelings of Entitlement – Many stalkers feel their ex-partners belong to them.
- Rejection – Stalkers view themselves as victims.
Common Traits of a Stalker Ex-Girlfriend/-Boyfriend
There is no clear pattern. After a breakup stalkers may call, email, and text you multiple times. However, this isn’t a sign of harassment and doesn’t necessarily mean that it ends there. If they don’t like your response to their advances, they may become more aggressive. This is when many stalkers have some common traits.
- Obsessive compulsive and controlling
- They are irresponsible in taking responsibility for their actions
- Unable to accept “no” as an answer
- Feel better about mood changes