What may start as you or your partner snooping through each other's phone may end in unwanted visits from them at work or even a violent crime!
In fact, therapist Jessie Shepherd joined us and said 61% of stalking cases involve a current or prior intimate partner. She adds, on average someone will stalk a victim for 1.8 years (it is not going to just go away).
So how do you know if you're going down the slippery slope of stalking, or if you're being stalked?
Signs (and remember, don't confuse these signs with love!): Looking through the phone; hyper-sensitive to who is calling or texting; calling others and communicating with them without your knowledge; and trying to isolate you.
What can you do about it?
- Communicate to reduce misunderstandings.
- Try to understand why they feel the way they do (insecurities, past distrust).
- Stop snooping altogether.
- Set up times to talk and discuss uncomfortable situations/ communications.
- It's not okay to shut you off from others; continue to keep friends and family as supports.
Worsening signs: Unexpected appearances (home, work, where you are hanging out); unwanted gestures (text messages, phone calls, letters, emails, hangups, gifts, items, overactive on social media accounts); harm (spread rumors, damages car/possessions, violent gestures or threats, threat of suicide).
What to do:
- Trust your instincts: If it feels like stalking, be direct and safe.
- Set up boundaries with no excuses: be direct and unwavering.
- Social Media/Online: Change all passwords, turn off location on apps, monitor bank account, factory reset phone for spyware, set up an emergency SOS on phone, document all correspondence.
- Document everything: keep a log of all interactions.
- Get supports: inform friends and family of the situation.
- Safety planning.
- Call law enforcement.
National Center for Victims of Crime: 855-4 VICTIM (855-484-2846).
Or call 911 or local police department.