A few weeks ago, I received an email from a young man who’s being stalked by his ex-girlfriend. His situation was the impetus for the stalking series I’m currently writing. The first two articles, Female Stalkers, Part 1: What is Stalking and Can Men Be Stalked by Women? and Female Stalkers, Part 2: Checklist of Stalking and Harassment Behaviors, are more research intensive.
This third post is a real life, ongoing example of a young man who did the right thing by ending an unhealthy relationship with a supremely troubled young woman and is now being victimized, stalked and harassed by her as a result.
His story is a good example of what happens when a man acts against his own best interests and self-preservation instincts because he feels sorry for his female predator. Here’s Josh’s (*not his real name) story:
Hi Dr Tara,
Let me start out by saying that your blog helped me get out of a year-long relationship with a BPD girl in August 2010. I am 24 years old.
I was so emotionally traumatized by her, that I skipped town and moved back in with my parents multiple states away, for a few weeks. By an extremely lucky coincidence, I just happened to be in between jobs and at the end of the lease on my apartment. This girl exhibited 95%+ of the qualities you describe on your bog. Within a week of finding your Shrink4Men website, I got up and left.
Fast forward to October, I moved back to the city where I’d been dating her (got a job offer there, plus many of my best friends are in the area). She continued to be friends with my “friends,” being on her best behavior with them, so that they honestly thought I was crazy for how I felt about her. When I told my friends my side of the story, the majority of them took my side right away. Unfortunately, two of my “closest” friends took her side! I couldn’t believe it.
She creatively found ways to run into me, even though my friends were doing all they could to run interference (per my countless requests.) Why some of them continued to be friends with her is beyond me. I’m probably partly to blame for continuing to be friends with these guys. The few times I couldn’t avoid seeing her, I was mostly civil, not cold or callous, but not affectionate by ANY means.
Here’s the worst part: A few weekends ago, after I had drank so much that I stopped recording ALL memory (aka 100% blacked out), I woke up in bed with her the next day. I can’t believe how ridiculously STUPID I am for doing this and it’s happened more than once. As expected, each time I’ve tried to break contact with her again results in parasuicidal threats. She’s even sent me pictures of her cutting herself. I saved them and will gladly hand them over to law enforcement if they need to get involved.
It’s almost as if my memory is so terrible that I forgot how dangerous this girl is. Now, she knows where I live, knows where I work, and has even made references to showing up at those places. She once said “I could have showed up to your apartment, showed up to your work, but I didn’t!” as if she deserves credit for not doing that!!!
Here’s my plan:
- For the next few weeks: NO drinking. Maybe begin allowing 1-2 drinks over the course of the night after that, but for now, NO drinking. That is what got me into this mess again.
- No contact. She’s been blocked on Facebook since August and it’s time to re-block her from my mobile phone service.
- I’ve been at my current job for 4 months and since I’m not fully attached, I’ll start job hunting elsewhere in the country. This could get really bad and I want to have a solid exit strategy.
If you ever get the chance to read this email, thank you so much. Sometimes we just need to get the words out,and talk to someone. I don’t have anyone else to talk to about this. I can’t bring myself to admit to my close friends/family that I’ve been seeing her again, albeit in a drunken stupor.
Before I could reply, I received the following message from Josh less than 24 hours later:
Sorry for blowing up your inbox, but I have an update.
The simple action of sending you that email convinced me to really put my foot down and take action. I ignored her calls all day. She finally was so “worried” (aka pissed off that she was being ignored) that she drove to my apartment. She got here and started ringing the doorbell over and over again, knocking on the door, yelling, etc. My female housemates were home and, luckily, weren’t too upset, but were more entertained.
I explained the situation to them and, after the girl sent a couple more texts about killing herself, ramming her car into mine, etc., I decided to call the police (first time for me). Multiple cop cars showed up and by the time they got here, she had tried to hide, although her car was still pretty easy to find and her hiding spot was pathetic, so the cops found her. I now have a specific phone number and case # to reference if she ever comes on my property again. Apparently, the cops gave her a stern talking-to and told me she wouldn’t be coming around any more. I wish I could believe that though.
Long story short, she emailed late last night saying she’s extremely mad at me, but “cares for me so much” and she’s ready to talk to me when I am. Which is obviously never.
Thanks again for everything you do.
Here’s my reply:
Wow, good for you for standing up to her abusive, manipulative, criminal garbage by calling the cops. Stalking is a criminal offense and she is stalking you. So much for the police officer’s stern talking to, however, given that she’s already harassing you again. Although, it’s amazing that they responded the way they did, but they should have cuffed her right then and there.
Do not reply to her emails/texts. Save any and all correspondence. When you accumulate enough of her crazy threats in writing, take it to the police with your case number and get a restraining order. Then, if she contacts you again or arranges to “accidentally” run into you, have her arrested. I’m so tired of women getting away with this nonsense. I don’t care what their issues are. They have no right to harass and abuse others—even if you’ve slept with her recently.
I think it’s a wise decision to cool it on the drinking. You need to be strong right now and, clearly, drinking to excess leaves you in a vulnerable state. Men who take advantage of women in a drunken state are called date rapists, by the way. I think you can say the same of your ex, however, in her mind she probably views taking advantage of your drunken state as you giving her mixed signals. Love those double standards.
As for your “friends” who are friendly with her, I’d cut them out of your life. They’re not friends; they’re enabling your ex by giving her access to you. Be forewarned, in order to get your attention, she may start having sex with one or more of them, which is actually punishment enough for whichever one of your “friends” is sucker enough to be her “white knight.”
Protect yourself and stay safe.
Thanks for the response! I’ll most definitely get everything together to start building a case against her.
As for cutting out the friends, I know what I need to do. It’s hard to make such big changes and be okay with being labeled as “weird” or abrasive. She barely exhibits any of the craziness around her/my friends, but I know that I need to do what needs to be done and start cutting them out, regardless of what they think of me. It’s time to make big changes to improve my life.
The most important thing about your site for me is knowing I’m not alone. I thought it was me, my own shortcomings, my fault. Your site opened my eyes to what normal relationships are meant to be like.
A police report with a reference number documenting her crazy behavior ought to be enough to convince your friends that this young woman is 6 french fries short of a Happy Meal. If they don’t believe you, show them the report. Her behavior is nuts. If she shows up again, call the cops.
A couple days later, Josh replies:
Things have gone from bad to worse. Really, really bad. She showed up at my work yesterday (stalk much?) and had been waiting for over an hour for me to come out. I saw her car about a half block away, quickly turned away and started walking in the other direction. She parked right in front of the entrance, bawling her eyes out, just as all my co-workers were starting to leave. The second I made any mention of leaving or calling the police, she mentioned that she left her apartment for good and she was ready to end her life. I hate myself for doing this, but I let her sit in my car to talk (it was freezing and I didn’t want to damage my reputation at work because of her behavior).
Basically, she said if I don’t date her, she has no reason to live, and told me exactly how she planned on killing herself right then and there. She also had a scarf around her neck that she tried on multiple attempts to strangle herself with. I swear I feel like I’m dealing with a 14 year old love-crazed girl. As if a relationship re-kindled on suicidal threats would work? I absolutely hate this girl. However I can’t just watch someone kill themselves. Apparently, it’s a weakness of mine that I don’t know when someone is 100% serious about a suicide threat.
I was finally able to get her out of my car after 3 HOURS of talking her out of suicide and she started running after my car. At this point, I had no idea what to do so I kept driving. I got to a stop sign and put my head out the window and she was yelling “KEY.” She lost her key in my car. We looked for 45 minutes to no avail. Her car was parked in front of my work, locked, with all her belongings inside (purse, apartment keys, etc.)
I wanted to bring her home, call one of her roommates, tell them to come let her inside. She said if I took her home, she’d get a specific knife, put it by her bedside, and either use it that night or the next morning. I sure as hell didn’t want to bring her back to my apartment. So we had a standoff, with long periods of both silence and screaming back and forth in my car.
By 5am, I was light-headed from not having eaten since lunchtime yesterday, I caved. I brought her to my apartment and I passed out. Last night was one of the worst nights in my entire life. We finally found her key today after I missed most of the work day. After I dropped her off, I told her I’d talk to her after she started seeing a therapist. Don’t get me wrong, I have no intention of actually dating this girl. I just wanted to buy myself some time.
At this point, I really think she needs to be committed to a mental institution. She no longer fears dying and is constantly thinking about committing suicide. I have never hated someone so much in my entire life for what she is putting me through. I feel the urge to run. I’m disappointed in myself for how I handled the situation, but it’s really hard to know what to do when someone is making these threats. I feel like last night traumatized me to some extent.
I also think I need to start getting close friends/family involved. This is extremely hard to go through on my own.
Call the cops. Give them your case number. Tell the officer what happened, that you don’t know what to do and you’re afraid she’ll harm herself. Tell them you’re afraid of this woman and want a restraining order. You have grounds. If she kills herself, it’s not your fault. Furthermore, she’s unlikely to follow through on her suicide threats.
Many BPDs use suicide threats to manipulate others. When one of them successfully suicides, it’s typically an accident (e.g., they took one too many pills, cut a little too deep or miscalculated what time you’d arrive on the scene to find them and take them to the hospital). Call the cops and let them take her to an ER psych ward for an evaluation. This isn’t your problem unless you continue to choose to make it so.
Call the cops.
I haven’t heard from Josh in over two weeks. I wonder if his ex harassed him into dating her again, if he called the cops or if she’s still stalking him? I sent an email to check in on him, but haven’t heard back.
The Moral of the Story
The second you feel sorry for someone like Josh’s ex, they will use it to manipulate you. They prey on your sympathies and use your human decency against you. The biggest mistake Josh made was feeling sorry for this woman or, rather, giving in to his feelings of pity for her. It was also a mistake for him to become so intoxicated that she was able to take advantage of him and basically date rape him. Once you let this type of person back into your life; you have to move heaven and earth to get them back out, so it’s better to give them no access at all and this includes “being friends.”
Furthermore, Josh isn’t making use of his available legal protection. When you have a police department that’s actually willing to do something about female perpetrated stalking, call in the troops. The second Josh saw her car parked outside of his office, he should’ve gone back in the building and called the cops. Period. I’d bet anything his ex had her car key tucked away on her person somewhere the entire time they were looking for it and the entire time she was holding him hostage in his car.
When you’re dealing with someone like this, your mantra needs to be: Not my problem, not my problem, not my problem. Even if she’s making suicide threats, it’s not your problem. You’re not a mental health professional. What’re you going to do about it? Don’t let yourself be emotionally blackmailed; call the cops, let them assess the situation and if that means she’s involuntarily committed to a psych ward for a few days, so be it. If she’s truly suicidal, that’s where she needs to be. If she’s not really suicidal, it’s a fitting consequence for her abusive behavior. Even if she does harm herself; it wouldn’t be Josh’s fault. Any self-harm she inflicts is on her and her alone.
I understand this becomes complicated when the Crazy in question is the mother of your children, but you should still call the police and report these behaviors. It just may be the leverage you need to get custody.
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Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.