Profile of a Stalker

The Stalker Profile Breakdown

  • 1/3 ex-spouses or lovers
  • 1/3 acquaintances
  • 1/3 strangers

There are certain traits which stalkers seem to have in common. Typically the stalker is an unmarried white male. Stalkers are frequently rejected lovers and often are chronic failures in social or sexual relationships.

Stalkers will not take no for an answer. At the bottom of their heart they still believe that the victim will eventually "come around". Because they have little sense of self or identity if they are rejected, they feel as if they have nothing. Consequently, as long as the continue pursuing their victims, the stalkers can convince themselves they haven't been completely rejected yet.

Stalkers display an obsessive personality. In addition, stalkers also may have another psychological or personality disorder, such as erotomania, paranoia, schizophrenia, and delusional thinking.

Stalkers are above average intelligence. They will often go to ingenious lengths to track down a victim, or obtain information they're looking for. In addition, stalkers many times use their intelligence to throw others off their trail. For example, a stalker in Florida allegedly tapped into his victim's telephone line and then called himself in an effort to make it look as though the victim was harassing him.

Stalkers are usually loners. Most stalkers don't have any relationship outside the one they are trying to reestablish or the one they have imagined exists between them and their victim.

Stalkers don't display the discomfort or anxiety that people should naturally feel in certain situations. Normal individuals would be extremely embarrassed to be caught following other people, going through their trash looking for information about them, leaving obscene notes and other inappropriate behavior displayed by stalkers. Stalkers however, don't see this as inappropriate behavior, but only as a means to gain the person's love.

Stalkers often suffer from low self-esteem, and feel they must have a relationship with the victim in order to have any self-worth. Some stalkers believe that if they can attach themselves to famous or important people some of this fame and importance will transfer to them.

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Threatening Behavior Of A Stalker

  • Many stalkers end up threatening their victims. They are more likely to threaten if there was a prior intimate relationship with the victim.
  • In a national survey (Melroy 1996) three fourths of those who threatened were not subsequently violent toward the person.
  • Threats are more likely to be carried out if made face to face rather than on the phone or in writing (Dietz, 1998)
  • The more specific the threat, the more likely it is to be carried out. (Dietz, 1998)
  • People who send threats anonymously are far less likely to pursue an encounter than those who sign their names. The person who provides their true name is not trying to avoid attention; they are seeking it.
  • Threats that are introduced late in a controversy are more serious than those used early (deBecker, 1997). That is because those used early likely represent an immediate emotional response as opposed to a considered decision to use violence.
  • When a person threatens, the person must be evaluated for their violence potential in general, not just evaluated for the likelihood of carrying out the threat toward the specified victim.
  • Ex-wives are at a higher risk for violence by stalkers.
  • Believing that a stalker will act as we would is a dangerous myth.
  • Stalkers who are more likely to kill are often associated with the following:
    1. Mental disorder
    2. They believe themselves unique
    3. They identify with other stalkers
    4. They keep a diary of their behaviors
    5. They research their victim
    6. They may purchase a weapon

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