Types of Stalkers
In part 1 of this series we established that stalking is about power and control and in part 2 we discussed the behaviors commonly associated to stalking but, there are also different types of stalkers. Stalkers come from all different backgrounds and have different personalities. They are, by their nature, obsessive and dangerous individuals. Researchers have developed general classifications of stalkers that can be useful for understanding what the heck is going on in a stalking situation, however, it is ideal to have a properly trained professional conduct a threat assessment on these characters. Our reason for sharing this info with you is that certain characteristics can alert investigators and assist them in assessing threat and safety planning.
One commonly used typology to classify stalkers identifies them by their relationship to the victim. These are either intimate or non-intimate as defined below:
Intimate – A former relationship exists between the stalker and the victim. There is most likely a history of abuse, such as domestic violence. In these cases the stalker is often trying to reestablish a relationship that the victim has tried to end.
Non-intimate – The stalker has no relationship with the victim. The stalker chooses the victim after a very brief encounter, or after simply observing the victim at some place. In these cases the victim is usually unable to identify the stalker when they first become aware that they are being stalked.
Another widely accepted typology is based on the stalker’s motivations, these types include:
Simple Obsessional – This is the most common type of stalker. This type is usually male and the victim is an ex-spouse, former intimate partner, or a former boss. With the simple obsessional stalker, the stalking often results from the stalker feeling that the victim has mistreated him (or her) in some way.
Love Obsessional – This stalker is a casual acquaintance or a stranger to the victim. Love obsessional stalkers start a campaign of harassment to ensure that the victim is aware of his or her existence. This type often stalks celebrities or public figures but they have also been known to stalk non-celebs.
Erotomania – This stalker falsely believes that the victim is in love with him (or her) and that, if not for some external obstacle, they would actually be together. Creepy, we know. The Erotomania type selects a victim who is rich and/or famous, or is in a position of power. In this situation, the stalker may pose a risk to people who are close to the victim because close relations may be perceived by the stalker as being “in the way”.
False Victimization Syndrome – This is a very rare type of stalking that involves an individual who consciously or subconsciously wants to play the role of a victim. This stalker makes up a complex story where they claim to be a victim of stalking. In these cases, the would-be victim is the actual stalker, and the alleged offender is really the victim.
Stalkers often exhibit behaviors from more than one of the typologies we’ve described here. These categories should be treated as an overview for your general info, not a substitute for a thorough threat assessment. Regardless of the type of stalker you’re dealing with, you should always be mindful that a stalker may be capable of killing their victim. This is some serious stuff. Stalking is not a game of cat and mouse, it is often a precursor to more violent acts. We really can’t stress enough that any person who suspects that he or she is being stalked should report all contacts and incidents to local law enforcement as soon as possible.
Stalking victims should document every incident as thoroughly as possible, including keeping videotapes, audiotapes, screen shots of texts and snaps, voice mail messages, photos of property damage, letters/emails received and any objects left by the stalker. It is also highly recommended that victims keep a journal to document all incidents, including the time, date, and other relevant information for each interaction.
We hope our stalking series has provided you with a greater awareness and ability to recognize stalking if it happens to you. Feel free to let us know how we did and always… stay vigilant friends!