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Protective Operations and Understanding the Psychology of Stalking

When working a protection operation there is always a potential for stalking to occur. Believe it or not there are likely high profile figures being stalked in which the stalker never acts on their impulses. We will discuss the five types of stalkers in this article. Keep in mind the beliefs are that of the stalker not necessarily the intended target or your principal. For instance the stalker in his or her mind may have a relationship with an individual when no actual relationship has occurred. The difficulty is you may have no idea who the stalker is so when a potential stalking incident occurs you must take and retain notes with whatever method you choose. Here are the identified types of stalkers you may encounter.

The Rejected Stalker: Rejected stalking arises in the context of the breakdown of a close relationship. Victims are usually former sexual intimates; however family members, close friends, or others with a very close relationship to the stalker can also become targets of rejected stalking. The initial motivation of a rejected stalker is either attempting to reconcile the relationship, or to exacting revenge for a perceived rejection. In many cases rejected stalkers present as ambivalent about the victim and sometimes appear to want the relationship back, while at other times they are clearly angry and want revenge on the victim. One such case is of Dr. Amie Harwick, a popular therapist and author. Her ex-boyfriend was lying in wait for her to arrive at her Hollywood Hills home where he subsequently threw her over her balcony to her death.

The Resentful Stalker: Resentful stalking arises when the stalker feels as though they have been mistreated or that they are the victim of some form of injustice or humiliation. Victims are strangers or acquaintances who are seen to have mistreated the stalker. Resentful stalking might arise out of a severe mental illness, but not always, when the perpetrator develops paranoid beliefs about the victim and uses stalking as a way of ‘getting back’ at the victim. The initial motivation for stalking is the desire for revenge or to ‘even the score’ and the stalking is maintained by the sense of power and control that the stalker derives from inducing fear in the victim. Often Resentful stalkers present themselves as a victim who is justified in using stalking to fight back against an oppressing person or organization. This could be the case of Alison Parker and Adam Ward (Reporter and Cameraman respectfully) who were killed, live on television, by a former colleague and reporter who in his reporting career had made complaints against news stations and was ultimately kicked out of the station by security.

The Intimacy Seeking Stalker: Intimacy Seeking stalking arises out of a context of loneliness and a lack of a close confidante. Victims are usually strangers or acquaintances who become the target of the stalker’s desire for a relationship. Frequently Intimacy Seeking stalkers’ behavior is fueled by a severe mental illness involving delusional beliefs about the victim, such as the belief that they are already in a relationship, even though none exists (erotomanic delusions). The initial motivation is to establish an emotional connection and an intimate relationship. The stalking is maintained by the gratification that comes from the belief that they are closely linked to another person. In the case of Chris Cornell of the band Soundgarden, he was pursued at many concerts by a female that considered him a soul mate. At one time she accused him of plagiarizing her lyrics and on another she claimed to be a mother of one of his children. Some of her targeting was also directed towards his wife.

The Incompetent Suitor: The incompetent suitor stalks in the context of loneliness or lust and targets strangers or acquaintances. Unlike the Intimacy Seeker, however, their initial motivation is not to establish a loving relationship, but to get a date or a short term sexual relationship. Incompetent Suitors usually stalk for brief periods, but when they do persist their behavior is usually maintained by the fact that they are blind or indifferent to the distress of victim. Sometimes this insensitivity is associated with cognitive limitations or poor social skills consequent to autism spectrum disorders or intellectual disability. In the case of Christina Grimmie her stalker just felt like he was meant to be with her.

The Predatory Stalker: Predatory stalking arises in the context of deviant sexual practices and interests. Perpetrators are usually male and victims are usually female strangers in whom the stalker develops a sexual interest. The stalking behavior is usually initiated as a way of obtaining sexual gratification (e.g., voyeurism targeting a single victim over time), but can also be used a way of obtaining information about the victim as a precursor to a sexual assault. In this sense the stalking is both instrumental and also gratifying for those stalkers who enjoy the sense of power and control that comes from targeting the usually unsuspecting victim. Justin Bieber was a target of a prison fantasy, in which a prison inmate, a buddy, and a nephew concocted a plan to castrate Bieber with shears and keep the part as a souvenir.

In reality don't get caught up on the types of stalkers just keep detailed notes and information on potential stalkers. Especially when you start running into them again and again. Of course any threats made should be noted and reported. There are so many examples of stalkers that the types of stalking may just blend in together. Keep your principal safe.

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