Stories of Stalking: Part 1
I used to love her. At least I thought I did. Being manipulated feels a lot like love if you've never experienced the real thing before. And I hadn't.
We met the summer after my junior year. She was gorgeous, the kind of girl who could hook you with just a glance. Every guy was fighting for her attention so when she set her sights on me, I snatched her up.
We started dating shortly after we first hung out, and a whirlwind romance followed. I spent all my free time with her, and if we weren't together, we were texting.
Two months into the relationship, one of my friends started dropping hints that he was concerned. I was ticked at first. Seriously, man? I thought. Why wouldn't you be happy for me? She is the best thing that's ever happened to me!
My friends said she was controlling and manipulative, but I didn't want to hear it. I couldn't imagine my life without her. What would I do with all my free time? Not to mention…she was hot.
I stayed in the relationship for another 3 months, but eventually, I started to see what they saw. Maybe it wasn't normal that she insisted on knowing where I was all the time. Maybe it wasn't right that she would scream at me for suggesting we hang out with other friends.
Breaking up with her was the hardest thing I had ever done. Deep down, I feared that I was making a mistake. Maybe what I had with her was as good as it was going to get. And I really did care about her...
But in the end, my pride and sense of right and wrong won out. It wasn't a healthy relationship, and I needed out. I knew I would never be able to break up with her in person. She would talk me down in a second. So I texted her and tried to ignore the flood of texts she sent back. I took a deep breath and texted back, "I'm serious. We're done."
I shut my phone off and fell asleep, trying to drown out the confusing emotions swirling around me. When I woke up, my nightmare began.
She was at my house, pounding on the front door. Screaming obscenities, she demanded to be let in. I did the only thing I could think of: grabbed a bag of clothes and slipped out the back door. I called one of my friends (thank goodness he was still willing to talk to me) and headed over to his house.
When I got there, we took my phone out and blocked her on everything. In the 15 minutes it took me to get to his house, she had called me 9 times and sent 28 messages. I thought blocking her would solve that problem, but when I got home, I saw a note lying on the floor just inside the front door. "I will f***ing kill you," it said. My face went white, and I dropped the note. She didn't mean that literally right?
The next week was awful. I faked a stomach ache in every class I shared with her. I ate my lunch in the bathroom to avoid seeing her. If I slipped up and happened to pass her in the hall, I shuddered at the pure venom in her eyes.
She left notes in my locker and on the windshield of my car. I worried she'd do something to my vehicle, so I started catching rides to school with friends. I feared it would never end.
One day, when I got home, I opened the front door to see her sitting on my couch. How had she gotten in? I froze when I saw a gun sitting on her lap. She held it up to me, backward as if offering it to me. "Here," she said with no emotion in her voice. "Either you do it or I will. I can't take this anymore." I didn't know what to do, but I feared she would shoot us both. So I snatched the gun out of her hand and ran into the other room to call the cops.
Finally telling someone what was going on was the best decision I ever made. I was terrified. I thought they'd laugh at me or tell me I was crazy. Girls don't stalk guys... Right? But turns out it does happen, quite a bit actually. Especially in the aftermath of a breakup. They told me threatening suicide is one of the more common tools of a manipulative abuser. I had no idea; I just didn't want either of us to get hurt.
Looking back, I wish I would have told someone sooner. For weeks, I lived in a constant state of panic, checking over my shoulder every chance I got. I never knew where she would show up or what she would do. I tried to handle it by myself, thinking eventually she would give up. Now I know that stalkers rarely give up. Stalking usually escalates until someone gets hurt or gets help. My advice? Take the second option.
If you have a stalker who continues to cause you significant fear, get help today. You can call 1.800.770.1650 for the Iowa Victim Service Call Center or 911 if you're in immediate danger. You deserve to live a life free from violence and fear.
-The above story is a fictional account of the real-life crime of stalking.-