Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Primary Types of Stalker (Stalker Typology) - Part 1

Stalker Typology

The importance of defining the typology of your stalker

Whether as a means of identifying who the stalker is; or post-identification as a means of determining the course of action to be taken, identifying the stalker’s typology is extremely important.


The next series of articles explore the four recognised types of stalker. A future post will explore the motivations that drive each stalker typology.

I will also elaborate upon each of the typologies along with relevant case studies in a future post.

In Q1 2011, upon the escalation of the obsessive behaviour of my stalker, my advisors counselled that a key step for my family and I would be to have my stalker's typology independently assessed. As my advisors and I began the process of determining the typology of my stalker, we examined amongst other evidence and source materials, the research of eminent academics with recognised expertise in stalking, cyberstalking, erotomania and sadistic harassment. This research; in conjunction with his behaviour pattern towards a prior victim; and in turn my family and me, proved decisive in determining his particular typology - and thus a proposed method of resolution.

In addition to these recognised academic experts I have taken into consideration my own experiences and those of many other victims and survivors, along with anecdotal evidence provided by skilled experts in the fields of criminology, law, psychology, psychiatry and domestic violence. Appropriate references are quoted at the end of each article.

One of the preeminent and globally recognised academic experts whose research I refer to extensively is Chartered Forensic Psychologist Dr. Lorraine Sheridan, BSc(Hons), PhD, CPsychol, MIPD.
Dr. Sheridan writes: 
”Understanding what motivates different types of stalkers is key to understanding the nature of stalking behaviour. My research has identified four basic stalker types.”

The following data on Stalker Typologies is taken from works and data of Dr. Lorraine Sheridan and Dr. Julian Boon. It encompasses research covering over one hundred actual stalking cases. 

Stalker Typologies

The below four tables provide a brief synopsis as to Dr. Sheridan and Dr. Boon's Stalker Typologies including relative occurrence, defining characteristics, advice / follow-up actions and high-risk warning characteristics.










References and Resources

Friday, 24 August 2012

Am I really being cyberstalked.....???


How do I determine whether I am being cyberstalked?

The following factors (or combination thereof) are traits that characterise a true stalking episode (whether cyberstalking or "traditional" spatial-stalking).

Please note that these are indicative factors of a cyberstalking campaign, however the absence of one or more of these traits does not indicate that you are not the victim of cyberstalking (or spatial stalking):
  • Intentional malice;
  • Obsession;
  • Vendetta; 
  • Repetition;
  • Distress;
  • Financial (or other) demands - for example, the demand of reinstatement of employment or the demand for the termination of another relationship;
  • Premeditation;
  • Lack of legitimate purpose (notwithstanding that cyberstalkers will often believe that they have a just cause or righteous purpose);
  • Attacks that are extremely personal;
  • Vexatious threats;
  • Blatant disregard for warnings to cease and desist (even by Police or other regulatory bodies)


If you think that you may be being cyberstalked and referencing the above checklist to your current experience further confirms this, then please take action.

Statistically, your cyberstalker is extremely unlikely to cease and desist without strong and well co-ordinated intervention.


Recommended Preliminary Action

Note

Two symptom commonly reported by victims of all forms of stalking are:
  1. The feeling of being powerless; and
  2. The inability to make a decision that previously would have seemed simple to make.

These symptoms are commonly shared by victims irrespective of their age, professional background, or socioeconomic circumstances. So in the first instance please endeavour to share your dilemma with at least two trusted friends or family members.


Priority Actions

  • Find TWO trusted friends or family members to confide in
  • Ask them to read up on how best to support a victim of stalking or cyberstalking (there are lists of reference sources throughout this site)
  • Report the matter to your local Police constabulary
  • If you feel you may be in imminent danger - dial 999 (in the United Kingdom) without delay
  • Prepare a detailed diary and keep copies of all evidence (screenshots, copies of texts or emails etc) of each and every incident that has formed part of the cyberstalking campaign
  • Seek qualified professional advice. Three good starting points are to:
  • Report the matter to your doctor and ask them to note the date you first reported this to them 
  • Find an experienced lawyer
Note: Many lawyers will claim to know how to assist you however relatively few UK legal practitioners have substantial experience in taking action under the Protection from Harassment Act . Chambers & Partners is a good starting point when seeking to find appropriate legal counsel. The National Stalking Helpline, the Network for Surviving Stalking  Action Scotland Against Stalking or Protection Against Stalking may also be able to make suggestions of appropriate legal counsel for you to speak with
  • Find a qualified and experienced IT professional to undertake a thorough inspection of all of your technical hardware (mobile telephones, PC's MAC's, iPads, PDA's etc)
For more detailed advice on post "diagnosis" intervention, read Okay so I am being cyberstalked - what can I do.....? 



Additional Resources

So what is Harassment?

The Definition of Harassment

Wikipedia describes Harassment as:
The word is based in English since circa 1618 as loan word from the French (word) harassment, which was in turn already attested in 1572 meaning torment, annoyance, bother, trouble [1] and later as of 1609 was also referred to the condition of being exhausted, overtired.[2][3] Of the French verb harasser itself there are the first records in a Latin to French translation of 1527 of Thucydides’ History of the war that was between the Peloponnesians and the Athenians both in the countries of the Greeks and the Romans and the neighbouring places where the translator writes harasser allegedly meaning harceler (to exhaust the enemy by repeated raids)

What is interesting, is that the English, French, Green and Roman etymology of the word "harassment" is one that any victim of stalking or cyberstalking (ipso facto, a victim of harassment) will understand intimately:
  • Torment
  • Annoyance
  • Trouble
  • To exhaust by repeated raids

The UK legal definition of harassment is found in The Protection from Harassment Act 1997

The Act simply says:

Section 1 - Prohibition of harassment: 
(1) A person must not pursue a course of conduct:
(a) which amounts to harassment of another; and
(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other. 

Further, "course of conduct" is defined by the Act as:
Section 7 - Interpretation of this group of sections: 
(2) References to harassing a person include alarming the person or causing the person distress. 
(3) A “course of conduct” must involve conduct on at least two occasions.

So in simple terms, harassment can be defined in the UK context as:
"Any two or more incidents which cause alarm or distress to another person, or which a reasonable person ought to know might cause that person alarm or distress."


For further information, please also see:

Cyberstalking Victim Resources - Defining Harassment

Stalking Victim Resources - Defining Stalking

Cyberstalking Victim Resources - Defining Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking Victim Resources - Anti-Stalking Laws in the UK

Victim Resources - The Methods Used by Cyberstalkers

So what is Cyberstalking?

So what is Stalking?

The Most Common Methods Employed by Cyberstalkers

Okay so I am being cyberstalked - what can I do.....? 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

How big is the problem of stalking in the UK.....? (Part 3)

Defining the size, scope and impact of stalking from a victim's perspective

One common theme in current stalking and cyberstalking research is the significant impact that stalking has on society as a whole, particularly:
  • Its victims
  • The friends, family and extended networks of its victims
  • Society as a whole
  • The criminal justice system
  • The health care system
  • The perpetrator of the stalking incident/s themselves
This article continues to summarise of some of the most significant impacts of stalking and cyberstalking - particularly within the UK context

Stalking devastates lives

  • One third of victims said they’d lost their job or relationship or had been forced to move because of the stalking 
  • 98% of victims reported emotional effects due to stalking. These included: 
  • Anxiety 
  • Sleep disturbance 
  • Anger 
  • Depression 
  • Paranoia 
  • Agoraphobia; and 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder


Stalking has massive economic consequences for its victims

  • One half of the victims said they’d lost out financially due to stalking 
  • One third said they’d paid for repairs to damage inflicted by a stalker 
  • One fifth said they had paid for legal advice 
  • Stalking results in serious financial and social losses for its victims 
  • One half of all victims change their telephone numbers 
  • One half give up social activities 
  • One half saw their performance at work affected 
  • One third relocated homes 
  • Others gave up friends and family, or changed their identity 
  • Many victims changed or replaced their car and installed security systems


Stalking isn't taken seriously enough

  • One half of victims reported being told they were being paranoid or over-reacting when they confided to friends and colleagues about their stalker 
  • 57% of victims said they didn’t go to the police when their stalking problem started for fear of being ignored or laughed at 
  • One sixth of victims said they were told they were lucky to receive such attention 
  • One third of victims said that prior to being stalked, they’d thought that only mentally ill people were responsible for stalking 
  • One half began to feel they were going mad or perhaps imagining the stalking (this rarely occurred where family, friends and the police took the victim seriously from the outset)


The response to stalking by the British Police

  • No marked differences were seen between UK based and USA based victims in terms of the police response they reported, and their views concerning the police. Given legislative and practical policing differences between the two nations, this may be considered surprising. It has been known for some years however, that stalking is an international phenomenon and victims in many countries report very similar experiences 
  • 42% of all victims reported their stalker to the police 
  • Of these, 61% said the police were ‘very helpful’ 
  • 40% were satisfied with the Crown Prosecution Service 
  • The majority of victims whose case did not reach court cited insufficient evidence as the primary reason 
  • Some victims noted that their stalker was an extremely manipulative individual who was able to convince the police that the stalking was a non-existent or trivial matter 
  • Many stalkers made counter-allegations of stalking 
  • Victims felt that overall, the police in the UK were sympathetic towards the needs of stalking victims, but could benefit from training or guidance on the nature of stalking and the many tactics employed by stalkers 
  • Victims felt that arrest was the best police response to stalking. However, many noted that arrest, charges, a restraining order and even jail failed to stop their stalker 
  • Many victims noted that police responses should be tailored to the needs of individual cases, given the fundamental differences between different types of stalkers



Starting and ending stalking

  • Victims were asked what they believed triggered the stalking: 
  • Half of the respondents cited rejection (most often the rejection of partners or potential partners) 
  • The next largest group said they had no idea why they were being stalked, followed by those who cited jealousy (romantic or general), arguments (usually with strangers or acquaintances), and finally, mental illness in the stalker
  • From those cases where the stalking had ended, no clear pattern was detected as to the most effective ways of curtailing the activities of stalkers
  • The largest proportion of victims whose stalking had ended said this was due to the delivery of a police warning (one in six) 
  • However, a similar proportion said their stalking had only ceased when they moved to a secret location
  • The largest proportion simply did not know why the stalker had stopped. For this reason, 18% of all victims did not know whether they were still being targeted
  • Similarly, there was no clear pattern between how far a case had gone through legal channels and whether the stalking had ended
  • Some stalkers stopped after a police warning or a solicitor’s letter, or after an injunction or restraining order had been imposed. Others did not 
  • Being jailed stopped some stalkers but not others
  • Stalkers are not a homogenous group
  • Because different stalkers will have different motivations for stalking, they will react differently to the imposition of various sanctions
  • 40% said that from the perspective of victims, stalking never ends
  • Even if a stalker appears to stop the stalking, many victims noted that there is no guarantee that it will not resume



What stalking victims want

  • Victims want to be taken seriously by the agencies - to be believed. This was their principal wish
  • Victims want to see an increase in awareness so that the general public take stalking seriously, and to erode stereotypes (e.g. that only celebrities are stalked or that stalkers are ‘sad’ but harmless individuals who are seeking a romantic relationship)
  • Victims want practical help and practical advice, such as: advice on collecting and preserving evidence, how to change telephone numbers and routines, security advice, help with CCTV or personal attack alarms, advice on available legal responses, advice from psychologists, referrals to other agencies
  • Many noted that there are different stalker types and expressed hope that any advice would recognize this fact. For instance, a violent ex-partner stalker would require a different intervention to a non-violent delusional stalker
  • 80% wanted stalkers to be tagged



I trust that this post has proved helpful to you. If you are a victim of stalking or cyberstalking, one impact of this post will be the realisation that you are not alone. Stalking and cyberstalking are clearly all too prevalent crimes in the UK. I will be posting more in the coming days re victim's responses and what you can do to survive after becoming the target of a stalker, however in the meantime you may find "Okay so I am being cyberstalked - what can I do.....?" a useful resource.

I also recommend initiating contact with the National Stalking Helpline either by telephone on 0808 802 0300 or by email advice@stalkinghelpline.org 

As always, if you feel that you may be in imminent danger, please dial 999 (in the UK) without delay.


If you have any feedback or comments please contact me via my website www.andrewsteelesmith.com

Thanks for stopping by - and stay safe!

Best


Andie Steele-Smith



Reference Sources

  1. British Crime Survey 2004 - Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey Sylvia Walby and Jonathan Allen - Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate March 2004
  2. University of Leicester Research into Stalking in the UK and the US - September 2005 (in conjunction with the Network for Surviving Stalking)
  3. Hoffmann, J. and Sheridan, L. (2008). Stalking, threatening and attacking business representatives. In Meloy, J. R., Sheridan, L., and Hoffmann, J. (Eds.). (2008). Stalking, threatening and attacking public figures. New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Flatley, J. et al (eds.) (2010). Crime in England and Wales 2009/10. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/10.

  5. Harris, J. (2000). An evaluation of the use and effectiveness of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Home Office Research Study 203.
  6. Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (Eds.). (2002). Stalking and psychosexual obsession: Prevention, policing and treatment. Chichester: Wiley.
  7. Joint Committee on Human Rights (2003b). Third Report, Scrutiny of Bills: Progress Report, HL 23/HC252 2003/04. London: HMSO. [includes scrutiny of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004]

  8. Protection Against Stalking
  9. The Network for Surviving Stalking
  10. Suzy Lamplugh Trust
  11. Bocij, Paul. Cyberstalking : Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family. Praeger Publishers, 2004. (ISBN 0-275-98118-5) 
  12. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) PRACTICE ADVICE ON INVESTIGATING STALKING AND HARASSMENT
  13. Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 - Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime (2nd Edition) Edited by: Rupert Chaplin, John Flatley and Kevin Smith July 2011 HOSB:10/11
  14. Cyberstalking in the United Kingdom - Analysis of the ECHO Pilot Survey (2011) published by the University of Bedfordshire in conjunction with the Network for Surviving Stalking

How big is the problem of stalking in the UK.....? (Part 2)

Defining the size, scope and impact of stalking from a victim's perspective


One common theme in current stalking and cyberstalking research is the significant impact that stalking has on society as a whole, particularly:
  • Its victims
  • The friends, family and extended networks of its victims
  • Society as a whole
  • The criminal justice system
  • The health care system
  • The perpetrator of the stalking incident/s themselves.

This article provides a summary of some of the significant and accepted impacts of stalking and cyberstalking - particularly within the context of the United Kingdom


The impact of stalking on its victims

  • 40% of victims are forced to move home or job as a direct result of their stalker's unwanted attentions
  • 72% of victims said they’d received unsolicited phone-calls 
  • 67% of victims said they’d been spied on 
  • 62% said their stalkers had threatened suicide 
  • 19% said their homes had been broken into 
  • 18% said they’d been sexually assaulted 
  • 15% said their pets had been abused 
  • 12% said their children had been threatened with violence
  • Many stalkers don't stop until the victim takes drastic evasive action
  • Stalking often ends in the death of the victim
  • Stalking is a significant cause of suicide
  • Virtually all victims of stalking suffer severe emotional and physical effects
  • Financial losses to victims of reported stalking cases in the UK have ranged between £20 to £4Million
  • A staggering 94% of victims have to make major changes in the way they live, which can mean altering their appearance, giving up work, installing security devices or changing their physical location 
  • The same victims reported that only 8% of their stalkers had suffered similar significant life changes 
  • This was despite the fact that 22% of stalkers had legal proceedings brought against them or else were detained under the Mental Health Act
  • Accordingly the study found that stalking has more profound negative effects on its victims than it does on the perpetrators / stalkers

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

How big is the problem of stalking in the UK.....? (Part 1)

Defining the size of the crime of stalking in the United Kingdom (2012)

The following two articles will provide some statistical and anecdotal evidence as to the size and impact of the stalking phenomenon in the United Kingdom. At the time of writing, stalking has not as yet been adopted as a specific, stand-alone crime by the UK criminal justice system. However it will be defined as a stand-alone criminal offence in November 2012. Currently, the crime of stalking in the UK is technically known as the crime of harassment.

Whilst statistical analysis has been conducted purely in relation to the UK, statements provided to me by a large number of stalking and cyberstalking victims globally, provides anecdotal evidence of similar trends in other jurisdictions.

These articles consider and comment briefly on the following aspects of stalking, cyberstalking and harassment in the UK:
  • Prevalence
  • Occurrence
  • Statistical observations
  • Gender observations
  • Economic costs to stalking victims
  • The many and varied impacts of stalking on its victims
  • Commonly recognised obsessive character traits of stalkers and cyberstalkers
  • The occurrence of stalking of victims friends, family and associates by the perpetrator
  • Typical start and end points of stalking campaigns
  • Priority requirements for victims (as defined by victims)
  • Societal responses
  • Statistical observations on the response of the UK Police to stalking

Background

  • Stalking type behaviours can at first glance seem normal and ordinary, however, when they are repeated they can be menacing and cause alarm and distress to the victim. When seen in context they are usually sinister and constitute harassment
  • Irrespective of whether a victim experiences significant alarm and distress, the motivation behind stalking is always sinister and often displays criminal intent
  • Stalking is a crime of power, control and intimidation
  • Stalking in any form, irrespective of the typology and/or motivation is abhorrent and an infringement of the victim’s fundamental human rights
  • Some noted mental health professionals believe that stalkers can be treated, given the right context, however it is difficult to persuade most stalkers to undergo psychological or psychiatric analysis as they don't believe that they are doing anything wrong
  • The stalker’s view of reality is typically so distorted that they see themselves as lone heroic figures, spurned lovers or wronged employees battling for justice
  • Any reaction to the unwanted abusive advances of a stalker only provides gratification to the stalker and thus serves to reinforce the stalking behaviour


Stalking and harassment

Stalking and harassment is behaviour:
  • That is intended by the perpetrator
  • That is repeated by the perpetrator
  • That is unwanted by the victim 


UK crime reference and general stalking statistics


  • 8% of women and 6% of men are stalked every year
  • 19% of women and 12% of men have experienced stalking or harassment at some point in their lives
  • 70% of domestic violence homicide victims were stalked
  • 1 in 5 women will be victims of stalking at some point during their lifetime
  • 1 in 10 men will be victims of stalking at some point during their lifetime
  • The average number of people directly affected in a stalking case is 21. Such persons included: the victim's children, the victim's partner's parents, strangers, the victim's neighbours, and the victim's work contacts
  • There are an estimated 250,000 new stalking cases reported in the UK every year
  • On average a victim experiences over 100 incidents before reporting it to the police - in other words, those cases that are reported to the Police are usually extremely serious and already representative of a sustained attack
  • 37% of cases of ‘aggravated stalking’ (stalking with violence) against women were carried out by ‘an intimate’
  • 59% of cases of ‘aggravated stalking’ (stalking with violence) were carried out by people known to the victim 
  • 7% of cases of ‘aggravated stalking’ (stalking with violence) were carried out by a stranger
  • 45% of stalking offenders turn violent
  • Over 50% of stalking starts before the victim leaves the home
  • The average age of victims at the start of a stalking campaign is 33 years
  • Methods of stalking include defamation of character and identity theft
  • Typically, stalkers will employ a diverse range of tactics and will only very rarely engage in a single stalking activity


Conclusion

The next article will particularly deal with research based evidence of the impacts of cyberstalking and stalkings attacks / campaigns; along with societal responses and the typical responses of the UK Police and the UK criminal justice system.

Please feel free to contribute to the discussion and/or to ask questions or ask for assistance via the comments section below, or privately and confidentially via the contact page on my website www.andrewsteelesmith.com 


I hope that this post has been of some assistance to you. Stay strong!

Best regards

Andie Steele-Smith


Reference sources and further reading

  1. British Crime Survey 2004 - Domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking: Findings from the British Crime Survey Sylvia Walby and Jonathan Allen - Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate March 2004
  2. University of Leicester Research into Stalking in the UK and the US - September 2005 (in conjunction with the Network for Surviving Stalking)
  3. Hoffmann, J. and Sheridan, L. (2008). Stalking, threatening and attacking business representatives. In Meloy, J. R., Sheridan, L., and Hoffmann, J. (Eds.). (2008). Stalking, threatening and attacking public figures. New York: Oxford University Press.
  4. Flatley, J. et al (eds.) (2010). Crime in England and Wales 2009/10. Home Office Statistical Bulletin 12/10.

  5. Harris, J. (2000). An evaluation of the use and effectiveness of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Home Office Research Study 203.
  6. Boon, J.C.W. and Sheridan, L. (Eds.). (2002). Stalking and psychosexual obsession: Prevention, policing and treatment. Chichester: Wiley.
  7. Joint Committee on Human Rights (2003b). Third Report, Scrutiny of Bills: Progress Report, HL 23/HC252 2003/04. London: HMSO. [includes scrutiny of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004]

  8. Protection Against Stalking
  9. The Network for Surviving Stalking
  10. Suzy Lamplugh Trust
  11. Bocij, Paul. Cyberstalking : Harassment in the Internet Age and How to Protect Your Family. Praeger Publishers, 2004. (ISBN 0-275-98118-5) 
  12. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) PRACTICE ADVICE ON INVESTIGATING STALKING AND HARASSMENT
  13. Crime in England and Wales 2010/11 - Findings from the British Crime Survey and police recorded crime (2nd Edition) Edited by: Rupert Chaplin, John Flatley and Kevin Smith July 2011 HOSB:10/11



Monday, 13 August 2012

Gaslighting: A form of abuse and manipulation used by sinister cyberstalkers


Gaslighting is a sophisticated manipulation tactic which certain types of personalities use to create doubt in the minds of others. It is sometimes used (whether consciously or unconsciously) as means of control and manipulation by stalkers and in particularly by cyberstalkers.

Gaslighting is defined by Wikipedia as:
A form of psychological abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory and perception. It may simply be the denial by an abuser that previous abusive incidents ever occurred, or it could be the staging of bizarre events by the abuser with the intention of disorienting the victim. 
The term "gaslighting" comes from the play Gas Light and its film adaptations. In those works a man uses a variety of tricks to convince his wife that she is crazy, so that she won't be believed when she reports strange things that are genuinely occurring, including the dimming of the gas lights in the house (which happens when her husband turns on the normally unused gas lamps in the attic to conduct clandestine activities there). 
The term is now also used in clinical and research literature

Spatial stalkers can and do use gaslighting as a means of mind control and abuse of their victims (for example constantly stealing or moving items belonging to their victim), however the use of gaslighting by a spatial stalker often involves risk (of discovery). However as with many other tactics deployed by cyberstalkers, gaslighting can be employed with relatively little risk of detection or detainment by the perpetrator.

Gaslighting is a tool of intimidation and extreme harassment used to ill-effect by the most sinister of cyberstalkers and internet trolls.

Whilst gaslighting has been acknowledged as a form of abuse, manipulation and harassment for many years, it has only recently been acknowledged as a particularly sinister form of abuse in incidences of cyberstalking. Generally speaking, in order for gaslighting to occur within the context of a campaign of cyberstalking, the campaign will have been a prolonged one. Whilst there is not a great deal of detailed research available on gaslighting, anecdotally it is quite clear that is becoming a preferred tool for particularly sinister, controlling and manipulative stalkers and cyberstalkers.

The use of gaslighting indicates extreme sociopathic behaviour.

In simple terms, it is beyond the average person's ability to conceive the use of such sinister, manipulative and abusive tactics.

In extreme cases of gaslighting by a cyberstalker, the perpetrator will actually write publicly (for example on Twitter) "predicting" what the victim will do next - then following this up with further "confirmatory" writing, once their "prediction" has become reality.
Gaslighting is just one of the many weapons in the arsenal of personalities hell-bent on having their way, even if it means doing so by subtle and covert means of conning others. One of the most important points I make in all my articles, books, and other writings about the narcissistic and most especially, the aggressive personalities, is that they will do whatever it takes to secure and maintain a position of advantage over others. And some of the most effective means at their disposal are tactics that conceal their malevolent intent while simultaneously prompting their “target” to accede to their desires.Dr George Simon, PhD

A full downloadable copy of the movie Gaslighting is available courtesy of The National Film Archive
http://archive.org/details/Gaslight_1940

How do you know if you are being gaslighted? 

The following (albeit non-exhaustive) are common signs of gaslighting. If you are a victim of spatial stalking or cyberstalking and answer "yes" to several of the following, seek the opinion in the first instance of a trusted friend, confidant or counsellor. Thereafter consider seeking medical and legal advice:

  1. Constantly 2nd guessing yourself
  2. You feel emotionally trapped and imprisoned by your stalker - and yet you cannot explain quite how or why to your family and friends
  3. You feel like you stalker/cyberstalker is constantly one step ahead of you - almost as if they are predicting what you will do next
  4. Persistent dull sense of inexplicable confusion
  5. Constantly find yourself apologising for your actions to those closest to you (professionally, personally and socially)
  6. If you find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses
  7. You know something is terribly wrong, but you can't place your finger on what exactly is wrong
  8. You have trouble making simple decisions
  9. Persistently asking yourself, "Am I over sensitive?"
  10. Your personality has been changed dramatically and inexplicably by the stalking from confident to under-confident; from relaxed to tense; from creative to fuzzy-headed and incapable of creativity
  11. Lacking in peace and hope
  12. You start doubting your abilities generally
  13. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don't have to explain or make excuses
  14. You find yourself withdrawing and becoming more and more isolated socially - even from close friends

Useful Links and References






Counselling Resource Psychology, Philosophy & Real Life | 8 November 2011 [Dr George Simon, PhD]


I trust that this post proves helpful to some of you.

As always, please feel free to contact me for more information and assistance either below or via www.andrewsteelesmith.com

Stay safe!

Best

Andie Steele-Smith

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Okay so I am being cyberstalked - what can I do.....?

The Common Experiences of Cyberstalking Victims

It never ceases to amaze me the number of similarities between the individual and unrelated cyberstalking attacks experienced by adult victims. Every victim with whom I have spoken echoes amazing commonalities in many aspects - however none more so than in the methodology adopted by the adult cyberstalker.

If you too are a victim of cyberstalking and have read the previous post The Most Common Methods Employed by Cyberstalkers, you will very likely agree with this.

If on the other hand, you are trying to work out whether the carnage surrounding you or your loved one actually equates to Cyberstalking, then I hope that the previous post was helpful in coming to a conclusion one way or the other. Put simply, if you have experienced or are experiencing attacks that involve a significant number of these methodologies, then you are almost certainly the victim of a cyberstalker.

What will set you apart - from victim to survivor - is the strategy that you employ in seeking to defeat your cyberstalker.

Below I have articulated a brief snapshot of the methods that my team of professionals and advisors and I used to thwart the ongoing attentions of my obsessive stalker.

Many of these methods have been employed by my cyberstalker, what can I do?

There are a number of steps that you need to take in order to fight back and defeat your cyberstalker. Most importantly, don't sit back and do nothing - this simply hands victory to the cyberstalker, stalker or troll.

I will post more this week on how best to "fight back" (figuratively, not literally) against your cyberstalker however my high-level hot tips are as follows: 

  • RESEARCH - knowledge is the first step on the way to EMPOWERING the victim. Knowledge of many things will assist including the following:
  • What stalking actually is 
  • The motivation types of stalkers (particularly your own)
  • Stalkers and stalker typology
  • The psychology and frequently encountered mental health conditions of stalkers
  • Who your stalker is (if possible) 
  • Physical security companies and advisors whom can help you 
  • Criminology, psychological and psychological profiling assistance available to you 
  • Your local Police Constabulary and what their stated position on stalking is (including who is the head of the PPU [Public Protection Unit]) 
  • Relevant anti-stalking laws 
  • The local anti-stalking charities and victims support agencies 
  • Who the best legal practitioners in the anti-harassment, anti-stalking and cyber-stalking / cyber-crime spheres are  [I will write more about this in due course however please feel free to contact me via the contact page on my website www.andrewsteelesmith.com for recommendations and suggestions of how to source extremely competent and experienced specialist legal advice]

  • REPORT THE STALKING OR CYBERSTALKING TO YOUR LOCAL POLICE CONSTABULARY. If you feel like you are in any way in imminent danger, dial 999 without delay.....


  • DO NOT APPROACH - no matter what, do not approach your stalker or cyberstalker

  • DO NOT RESPOND - the number one goal of the stalker is to know that what they are doing is having their desired effect on you (their victim or prey)
  • From experience I know that as the victim becomes more desperate for a solution, they will try virtually anything to remove the unwanted attentions of the stalker from their life, but please do not make the mistake of responding 
  • Do not under any circumstances respond or let your stalker know that they are affecting you 
  • This will only encourage and embolden them 
  • Do not initiate or respond to contact from your stalker under any circumstances 
  • Do not fall into the trap of thinking that you may be able to rationalise or negotiate with your stalker. This does not work and often leads to tragic consequences 
  • Many stalkers are sociopaths. You should not try to negotiate with a sociopath. Do not under any circumstances try to reason with your stalker, tempting as it may become 

  • DEVELOP A DIVERSION TACTIC - for me this was largely prayer; talking, sharing and praying through the experience with my family and a set of close and extremely trusted friends
  • It is a known fact that stalking victims often develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or PTSD-like symptoms, so seeking professional psychological / trauma counselling assistance early in the process is extremely important 
  • Do not try to do this alone 
  • Importantly - try to find a technique to allow you to de-stress and temporarily escape the 
  • Surviving stalking is inevitably a marathon, not a sprint 
  • Endurance, persistence, rest, recovery, relaxation, self evaluation, re-centering and inevitably trauma counselling, are all extremely important factors   

  • COMPILE A DETAILED DOSSIER OF EVIDENCE - A detailed evidence log is key to getting the police to take your complaint seriously 
  • Irrespective of whether the Police and Crown Prosecution Service pursue criminal prosecution against your cyberstalker; if either as an alternative, or in addition you determine to take civil action against your stalker, detailed evidence diaries will prove critically important 
  • Note down EVERYTHING 
  • Take screenshots where appropriate 
  • Gather evidence and document absolutely everything
  • Record everything that you are able, whether on camera, video camera, CCTV, dictaphone, digital recorder etc
  • Keep (and back up) ALL emails, text messages, instant chat messages, phone records, voicemails and answering machine messages
  • Keep a diary of every single incident - write it down straight after it happens (irrespective of what the incident is) 
  • It is well worth carrying a notebook or diary with you so as to be able to record everything whilst it is still fresh in your memory 
  • Whenever there is a witness to events, ask them to diarise what they saw/hear/observed whilst it is fresh in their memories. Then ask them to keep one copy and provide you with a copy for your records too  
  • Something that many victims do is complain to the police of how they feel that they are being bombarded / attacked constantly - and yet without clear and unambiguous evidence this is too easy for the police to dismiss

  • PROTECT YOURSELF & YOUR COMPUTER / PHONE /iPad etc - Many stalkers and cyberstalkers use malware and other technically invasive means to keep track of their victims

  • INFORM FAMILY and FRIENDS - It also helps to inform your boss and work colleagues. Ask them to:
  • Keep an eye on you 
  • Keep a lookout / watchful eye for the stalker or cyberstalker and/or his actions 
  • Many cyberstalkers will make contact with your boss or work colleagues using the most plausible and innocent sounding reason for doing so, so informing your colleagues and boss of what is going on in advance will help them to be on the alert - and to be careful in how, what and if they respond to any inquiry that in any way involves you


  • REALISE THAT STALKING OFTEN ENDS IN ASSAULT OR WORSE -  so hope for the best but plan what you will do if the worst thing was to happen to you
  • Rehearse in your mind what you might do if you were approached outside your home, school, place of work etc 
  • If you have practised visualising your response and escape routes in the event of a physical attack then you are far more likely to survive 
  • Take precautions such as varying your routine, not travelling alone 
  • Increase your home and personal security measures as fully as you are able  
  • Install panic alarms within your home 
  • Ensure that you have an advanced car security system installed (if not fitted as standard) including automatic "drive-off" door locks and "home-safe" headlight delays 
  • Acquire and use religiously a personal safety alarm 
  • Acquire and use religiously a personal safety iPhone or Android Appa and GPS tracker. The best-in-class of these notify your emergency contacts with a GPS location so that help can find you quickly in an emergency. I personally use and recommend StaySafeApp however there are a number of other good products available on the market with the UK and the US
  • Seriously consider taking self defence lessons - they may save your life however it will almost certainly act as one of your personal diversion / mental relaxation techniques

  • DO NOT DESPAIR IF THE POLICE DO NOT TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY - Sadly this often happens as stalking and even more so cyberstalking are relatively little understood
  • If the police at first ignore you, demand politely that they document in writing why they have not taken your complaint more seriously 
  • Familiarise yourself with who is the Stalking SPOC (stalking single point of contact) officer within your local police constabulary. Generally speaking the Stalking SPOC will be well trained and will understand both how the Police and the CPS should respond. The Stalking SPOC should also be reasonably well versed in what the victim is going through as a result of the cyberstalking or stalking
  • Keep trying to get the police to listen and take appropriate action. Persevere. Do not be dissuaded 
  • You are within your rights to have a solicitor, advocate or friend present with you at all meetings with the police. Insisting on this is definitely valuable 
  • The police often want to help, but often don't know how or what to do (though thankfully this is changing), so persist until you have been taken seriously and/or found the correct, appropriately trained and qualified police officer within the relevant constabulary to assist you adequately


  • TALK TO THE UK ANTI-STALKING CHARITIES - I found this to be a valuable first-setp when considering what criminal, civil and other remedies I might have against my stalker

Resources and contacts

The following are some of the extremely helpful anti-stalking and anti-domestic violence agencies whom can help you as you start to architect a plan of attack to defeat the sinister attentions of your stalker:

As ever, I trust that this article may provide some level of assistance to victims of stalking, cyberstalking and harassment - and their support personnel. I always welcome your feedback and comments, either here or via www.andrewsteelesmith.com

Thanks again


Best