Paradoxically, psychopaths are egomaniacs without pride. Their shamelessness, lack of boundaries and hunger for control often leads them to relentlessly pursue individuals who don’t want them, and who repeatedly reject them. Normal human beings not only don’t desire to stalk others because they have boundaries, but also they would feel too deeply embarrassed and humiliated to continue pursuing individuals who have rejected them over and over again.
This common sense logic does NOT apply to psychopaths. In fact, like in the movie Fatal Attraction and many other films about disordered creepy individuals, psychopaths ESPECIALLY pursue those who don’t want them. Not only directly, through stalking and cyberstalking, but also indirectly, by manipulating other individuals under their control to stalk and harass the targets who have rejected them.
Being social predators driven by the need for power and control, psychopaths can’t take rejection. Like with any predatory behavior, observing, following and stalking the prey is part and parcel of what psychopaths do. Sometimes their harmful behavior is opportunistic, as is the case with serial killers who seize the moment–and their victims–without observing them for an extended period of time in advance. But very often psychopaths plan their actions cold-heartedly and methodically in advance: and not only as they pertain to violent crimes, but also as they pertain to getting anything they want: your money, your body, your heart and/or your life.
At the beginning of the relationship stalking behavior may seem romantic. It’s presented under the guise of not being able to be away from you; needing you all the time, wanting you. However, this constant attention masks the predator’s main intent: to control you and isolate you from others. Consequently, even in the most pleasant and blinding phase of a relationship with a psychopath–the honeymoon phase–dangerous individuals exhibit predatory behavior and traits.
After the victim ends a relationship with a psychopath, this behavior is likely to escalate into downright stalking. This happens for the reasons I have explained in previous articles:
1) psychopaths, being control-driven individuals, can’t take rejection
2) psychopaths, being control-driven, also don’t like to relinquish control over their targets
3) psychopaths, being control-driven, want to WIN. To them, winning means catching their targets into their spider’s nets and destroying them
4) psychopaths, being control-driven, want to exact vengeance and intimidate those who no longer worship them, want them, or obey them blindly.
Notice that the common denominator that explains psychopathic behavior is the fact that psychopaths need to be IN CONTROL. They are principally motivated by the need to exercise power over others. Stalking behavior is a common strategy that psychopaths use to intimidate their non-compliant victims and an effort to punish them and regain control. For their victims, this is particularly difficult to deal with because stalking laws vary from state to state and because stalking–particularly cyberstalking–is very difficult to establish under the current laws. Generally speaking, one must establish a pattern of stalking as well as harmful intent and threat to safety: all from the same source/stalker. Since stalkers can be very stealthy and know how to erase their traces, reroute their IP address and easily get new email addresses, it’s not easy to take legal action against a psychopathic (cyber)stalker.
However, I’d advise victims to keep all the emails and evidence of (cyber)stalking and share it immediately with the authorities, their therapist, their friends and others. The more evidence is out there which pertains to the harassment, the better your chances become for taking effective legal action against the psychopath and even putting him in jail for his crime. I’m including below some additional helpful information about stalking laws from the National Center for Victims of Crime.
Claudia Moscovici, psychopathyawareness
Dangerous Liaisons: How to Identify and Escape from Psychopathic Seduction
Analyzing Stalking Laws (information from the National Center for Victims of Crime)
Stalking is generally defined as a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a
reasonable person fear. The crime of stalking is defined differently, however, in all 50 states, the
District of Columbia, and on tribal and federal lands.* When analyzing your stalking statute, please
consider the following elements and issues:
Course of Conduct
A course of conduct is typically defined as one or more intentional acts that evidence a continuity of
• Is your state’s law “course of conduct” language inclusive of all behaviors that stalkers employ,
such as using surveillance technology (e.g., GPS-equipped cell phones) or enlisting third parties
(e.g., family and friends) to stalk on their behalf?
• How many acts are required to satisfy the course of conduct element? Would a single,
threatening posting on a social networking Web site satisfy the element?
States categorize the crime of stalking as either general intent crimes or specific intent crimes. A stalker
commits a general intent crime when the stalker intends the actions in which he engages. In states
categorizing stalking as a general intent crime, the prosecution does not have to prove that the stalker
intended the consequences of his actions. Conversely, when stalking is a specific intent crime, the
stalker must intend to cause the result of his actions (typically the victim’s fear) to commit the crime of
stalking. Specific intent stalking statutes may be more difficult to prosecute.
• Is your state stalking statute a general intent or specific intent crime?
Standard of Fear
Some states require that the defendant’s behavior cause the victim actual fear (which usually requires
the victim to testify as to her feelings or change in lifestyle due to the stalking). Some states only
require that the behavior would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Some states require both actual
fear on the part of the victim and proof that a reasonable person would also feel fear.
• What standard of fear does your stalking statute require?
Copies of all state criminal statutes (as well as the federal statute and some tribal codes) can be found at http://www.ncvc.org/src.