Stalking

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psychology.student

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Stalking
« on: October 31, 2018, 05:11:13 AM »
Hi,
I am 21-year old female psychology student and I am dealing with a problematic friend. I ended our friendship before summer break because I felt uncomfortable. With the help of my family I also realized that this friend was emotionally abusing me.
We are also in the same class at college, we both study psychology. This year I have noticed that she always sits behind me in the classroom. She stares at me, my notebooks and my phone all the time. In the beginning of this month I noticed her walking around the building I live in. Last week, I started noticing weird things about my apartment. The door was locked only once (I always lock twice), the candle was lit and the heating was on when I came home. Next week the apple cider was missing from my fridge. I realized that the spare key from my apartment went missing. I believe that this friend took the key  on one of her visits and that she comes to my apartment when I am not home. I live alone in this apartment. No one else had the chance to take the key.
I suspected this friend has the dependant personality disorder. I ended the friendship because it bothered me that she always follows me around. Now I can't get rid of her. We can change the locket, but she will continue with sitting behind me in class, staring at me and so on. What should I do?

Thank you for your answers.

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sad_dog_mommy

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2018, 09:21:32 AM »
Oh my gosh!  That is scary.   I am so sorry this is happening to you.    Please change the lock ASAP.   There are wireless video camera systems available (Google Arlo) that might give you piece of mind.   
Sometimes you don’t realize you’re actually drowning when you are trying to be everyone else’s anchor.   

Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.

Unconditional love doesn't mean you have to unconditionally accept bad behavior.

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bgirl12

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2018, 01:38:46 AM »
Tell campus security and go to the police. Sit away from her. Tell the professor of the classes you share and come in after class starts so you can sit away from her. Do not let this slide. Keep your personal belongings away from her so she doesn't steal or copy them. Get an escort home or move. I am not kidding. You may not have anything to fear, but why put up with that? This is your life and you seem to live in a free country. Get others around you to support you. Look up your local stalking laws. Where I live you would have legal right to go to the police and file a report based on what you just wrote here.

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psychology.student

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2018, 07:26:51 PM »
Thank you for your answers.
The police in my country won't do anything if I don't have any proof. They would just laugh at me.
My parents bought the security camera, but they said they will change the lock after one week if there is nothing unusual. They say I just have to accept the whole situation and that I can't avoid her. But it is hard. I want her to be brought to justice.
I am so angry. It's not fair that someone just walks in your apartment and doesn't get punished.
I guess I just have to accept the fact I can't do anything about this friend, no matter what.

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clara

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2018, 01:53:37 PM »
I highly and strongly recommend The Gift of Fear.  The author specializes in helping people in stalking situations and addresses his agency's various approaches in his book.  What might seem like the most intuitive approach actually might not be, and vice versa.  Very worthwhile reading.

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moglow

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2018, 04:13:00 PM »
If she has a key, it's presumed she has the right to enter. Unless she lives there, change the locks - don't wait for permission and dont think you need to explain your choices to anyone.

You can't avoid her or control where she sits in class but you can most assuredly limit or eliminate any personal interaction with her. Do that. Care for yourself first.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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Wilderhearts

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2018, 11:55:18 PM »
Is it possible for you to sit in the back row of class, so she can't sit behind you?  Or as someone else suggested, come in later and possibly sit where you're surrounded by people who could be a buffer.

Another option is to befriend some other folks in your class, so that you have some support.  I find situations where I'm uncomfortable with someone less frightening if I'm not alone so the person can't approach me.  Also, abusive and emotionally manipulative behaviour mostly happens in private, so there's only so much she can do if she can't get you alone.

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TiredOfAntics

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2018, 01:25:47 PM »
Change your email passwords and all other passwords now.    If she's been in your house, she may have learned how to access your passwords.

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psychology.student

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2018, 06:44:39 PM »
Thank you for your help. I now sit in the last row in the class when it's possible. I avoid any contact with her, I don't even look in her direction. The camera is also set in the apartment and will record her in the moment she walks in. The passwords are changed too.
Unfortunately she started following me when I walk to school. I don't believe she's dangerous, but this is really annoying because I need to go to school. And there's only one way from my apartment to school. I don't know why she's walking here, she lives in another part of the town and this location must be really out of the way for her.
Lastly, thank you for the book recommendation. Sounds like interesting reading and I will read this as soon as possible.

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EntWife

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2018, 05:23:40 AM »
I'm so sorry you're going through this! Before I was stalked I never could have imagined how terrifying it is. She might be harmless, but there's really no way to know. And the fact that she's acting with such blatant disregard about your well-being and with such minimal self-control is alarming.

I love the idea of sitting in the back or going to class late. The camera is also a good touch. I highly recommend changing your passwords and turning on 2-step verification where you can. I recommend moving as well.

My experience from talking to the police is that it's best to have documentation telling her that her attention is unwanted. If you have an email where you tell her, "Leave me alone. I don't want you in or near my appartment. I don't want you near or talking to me." Then you'll have documentation that you didn't "lead her on" (which is what my stalker accused me of doing). Keep any emails she writes in reply and take them to the police.

But you need to make sure you're safe first! Can you stay with family or friends until you get your locks changed? Can you drive to school, walk with a friend, or car-pool? Is there a spot on your walk where others are around so you can stop to take a photo of her following you?

Like I said, some stalkers are harmless, but some are extremely dangerous and either way stalking can cause PTSD so you need to keep yourself safe!
"Boundaries ensure that the consequences of a person's actions land squarely on his/her shoulders." -(I wish I knew who originally wrote/said this!)

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openskyblue

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2018, 12:10:06 PM »
Unfortunately she started following me when I walk to school. I don't believe she's dangerous, but this is really annoying because I need to go to school. And there's only one way from my apartment to school. I don't know why she's walking here, she lives in another part of the town and this location must be really out of the way for her.

This is very concerning. It's not just stalking, it's also an act of intimidation. I think Zen Warrior's suggestion about the email is a good one, and you may want to forward your email to campus security. I'd recap that you reported this girl's behavior (including date), you have installed a camera in your home, and are changing the locks. Also, include that she is now following you to school daily, despite living across town. Be clear that you find this frightening and you are concerned for your safety. By doing so, you put it on record with campus security that you brought this issue to their attention in writing, something that will make them more likely to pay attention (since there is now a legal record of your complaint).

I'm with others who have posted here: You should take every precaution to protect yourself before anything happens.

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psychology.student

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2018, 06:26:11 PM »
The situation is getting really terrifying. Everyday after the class I wait for her to leave the classroom before me, so she wouldn't walk behind me on my way home. For the last two school days (last thursday and now monday) she waited in the hall or outside the school for me to come past her. When I did, she started to walk behind me. On thursday I went to the toilet to escape from her and today I called my mother and told that I'll meet her in 5 minutes. I managed to escape, at some point she stopped following me, but it was a terrifying experience.

The problem is that I can't tell her to leave me alone - she's my schoolmate and she could just say that she was just going her own way and didn't follow me. And I haven't got any letters or e-mails from her as a proof.

The worst thing is that I sometimes think whether these situations are merely a coincidence. I don't even know if I could believe myself that she's doing all of this on purpose. Also my family and my friend too don't know if she's really stalking me or is this all just a coincidence. The whole situation is just absurd. But my guts are telling me to be afraid. In my country, we have no laws against stalking and I can't go to the police without the proof. Should I tell my schoolmates about the situation? I'm afraid they wouldn't believe me since she's been really nice to them for the last two months.

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openskyblue

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2018, 07:25:29 PM »
I would recommend trusting your gut. If you haven't changed the locks on your apartment, you should do so immediately. Also, you might want to change your route when you leave class or when going home. Go in the opposite direction or to the library or student hall or some other place with a lot of people. Or take a taxi home for a while.

If she is still following you home, you can do an old trick my policeman uncle taught me when on the street and feeling anxious about someone: Turn around and look the person following you straight in the face and wait until they walk past you before proceeding. This lets the person know that you are aware they are there and that you are on alert. We tend to look away from things that threaten or frighten us, especially as women.

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EntWife

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2018, 06:10:12 PM »
The worst thing is that I sometimes think whether these situations are merely a coincidence. I don't even know if I could believe myself that she's doing all of this on purpose. Also my family and my friend too don't know if she's really stalking me or is this all just a coincidence.
This is one of the reasons stalking is so detrimental and why I'm still suffering from PTSD from being stalked a decade ago. Her behavior is NOT normal. It's happening too frequently to be a coincidence. It doesn't matter that you're in the same school - there aren't any other students following you everywhere so why is she?

When I first talked to the cops they told me to start documenting. Keep an email or a notebook with you at all times for this reason. Whenever she's around write down the time, date, and situation (such as, "following me home"). When I did this it helped me see that there was NO way it was all a coincidence - It was happening more frequently than I'd consciously realized. And when I took it to the police they took it seriously.

I've used the tactic OpenSky mentioned - I didn't know cops recommend it, but it really works! There are always multiple exits and routes. If she's following you, turn around and change your route. Don't go anywhere alone and private.

I can't tell you how many people minimized my experience with my stalker ("he's harmless"). Even after he carved my name into one of his many guns. There is really no way of knowing which stalkers are harmless and which are dangerous, but all are detrimental to the psyche of their victims. After 4 years of being stalked I met 6 women who accused my stalker of rape.

Please take your gut seriously and keep yourself safe.
"Boundaries ensure that the consequences of a person's actions land squarely on his/her shoulders." -(I wish I knew who originally wrote/said this!)

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psychology.student

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2018, 06:21:13 PM »
Hi,
Thank you for your advice. The problem is still going on, today I saw this person walking around my block and later she was waiting outside the shop I normally go to at that time. So I didn't go to the shop today.
I befriended some girls in my class. I told them I am being stalked. They are really nice, we go to lunch together and they live near me, so they usually walk me home now, except Mondays and Tuesdays because we don't share some of the courses. One of them also found out by herself who my stalker is and I feel easier now that I know others can notice it too.
Alternating routes and changing the time for lunch is also more or less successful.
It's just hard because this is going on for the third month now. And she's inventing new ways to get in contact with me, for example, the shop.

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Medowynd

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2018, 07:25:39 AM »
You need to report her to campus security.  You have notes from the time she is stalking you.  It may seem inconsequential, but universities are under pressure to keep students and campuses safe.  The thing about this stalker, there is no way to know if she will take action to harm you or otherwise interfere with your life.  Even if they say they can do nothing, insist that a report is filed. 

I have had a stalker in the past, years ago.  I finally got sick of it and reamed him out.  He was a chicken and after me yelling at him, he decided to move on.  Even though he disappeared (he was living with my ex-husband) it took awhile for me to relax my vigilance.

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GeekGirlCarol

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #16 on: December 29, 2018, 01:12:36 PM »
Ask your new friends to come with you to the shop, take a taxi to and from if they can not make it, or look for another shop to go to at different times of the day.

Absolutely trust your gut on this one. The more people you tell the better.

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mayaberry

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2019, 09:31:38 PM »
I agree with everyone else that you need to change your locks, document everything and report her to security - every time it happens if necessary. The thing that alarmed me whilst reading through all the posts, is that she is adapting her behaviour. Yes you have found new friends and have changed your seating arrangements, but as you said she has now just found a new way to bump into you by going to the shop. That to me seems like a sign that she is not going to give this up easily. Some of her attempts have been stopped so rather than giving it up or the fascination with you lessening, she has just become more determined to see you and has thought of new more inventive ways of doing that. That's a worry. You need to take this seriously. I'm sorry that some people around you aren't taking this seriously. This is not normal behaviour. You need to protect yourself.

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psychology.student

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #18 on: February 17, 2019, 05:53:00 AM »
Mayaberry, I agree with you. At the beginning I thought that she would see that I don't want to have any contact with her and she would stop doing this. But it looks like she won't stop. There have been many new incidents in past month. I constantly look behind me when I go home from school and I didn't see her. I always wait for her to leave the school first so she wouldn't follow me. But then I came to the shop and suddenly she was three steps after me. She must have waited somewhere. She went to the shop few steps behind me. She stood behind me when I was taking my yoghurt. She followed me all the way home to my building. I think she didn't even buy anything.
She also went to the exams at the same days as me.
She sat behind me and pushed her phone down the table so I would be forced to pick it up and give it to her. I didn't do it.
Now the new semester is coming and there will be plenty of group work. I'm afraid that she will end up in my group because there usually need to be groups of four and we are only three. She doesn't have anybody and the assistant will put her in our group. I can't work with her. Should I tell the assistant? And what to tell him? Since this is a very unusual story, what if he doesn't believe me and think I'm weird?
I also blocked her on Facebook, but if we work together, I will have to unblock her.
I'm having nightmares about her and I just can't stop thinking about this. I constantly check the cars and people who walk nearby. I just want this to stop. At the police they said they can't do anything and we don't even have campus security.

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mayaberry

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Re: Stalking
« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2019, 07:19:24 AM »
OK, maybe the police can't do anything yet. Stalking laws are terrible generally but you definitely need to keep a record of everything so that, God forbid, if it does get to a point where you can have her charged with something, you have a record of a pattern of behaviour over a long period of time. At that point, they would then take it in to consideration when considering a punishment.
I think you do need to speak to the assistant and explain that you cannot work with this girl. You don't need to go in to huge detail if you don't want to but you should tell them that you have contacted the police about her and that she is stalking you and that it is really important that you are not made to work together. I would hope that they would understand that and be supportive. I think you need to mention the police to them so that they take it seriously and don't just think you've had a bit of a fall out and it's just a small thing that you need to get over. You need to make them see how serious this is.
Does your university have counsellors or a support service for students? Most do. I think you should also go there and get support for this as it is clearly affecting you hugely now. Also, it gives one more layer to evidence if you ever can report her for something.
Keep in touch with everyone here. Your situation is quite concerning.