Common signs of Stalking behaviour
Stalking behaviour can manifest itself in a number of ways, and it isn't always immediately apparent. Hollyoaks character DS Gavin Armstrong is a good example of the ways that stalkers can subtly manipulate and work their ways into the lives of their victims, and as a detective sergeant, Armstrong is also able to take advantage of his position of authority.
In the clip above from Hollyoaks, we are able to see the number of tactics used by DS Armstrong to get to his victims.
The tips below can help you recognise the signs of stalking behaviour, and links for further support can be found at the bottom of the article.
Have you ever been the victim of a stalker?
As mentioned, it's not always obvious when somebody is exhibiting stalking behaviour, but here are some clues...
People who have the potential to develop into stalkers almost always display intense body language - whether this is prolonged eye contact or overwhelming affection. Although this can be very flattering at first, it is something you should be incredibly wary of, as this can quickly unravel into something much darker, such as possessiveness and jealousy.
Unexpectedly showing up
If someone you know unexpectedly shows up at your home, school or anywhere else you happen to spend a lot of time, this can be a warning sign. Often, stalkers will continue to do this even after you have told them not to. It can be a difficult situation because although their behaviour is unsettling, part of you might feel flattered that they are showing such an interest. Be extremely wary and trust your gut instinct.
Knowing Too Much Information
A stalker will often spend a lot of time researching you; this can be anything from looking into what you've posted online, to investigating where you tend to hang out. Alarm bells should ring if this person reveals personal information about you before you've even divulged it to them.
Do you find that this person asks way too many questions about photos you've posted online, messages you've sent people, who you've been talking to or where you've been spending time? Stalkers will often want to control aspects of your life and can behave in an extremely jealous manner. This can develop into an unhealthy possessiveness very quickly, so keep your wits about you.
If you anger a stalker, they may lash out or grab you in an aggressive manner, or they may simply display body language which makes you feel that if you were to challenge them or walk away, they could be potentially violent. As stalkers want you all to themselves and do not like to see their victims as independent people, any sign that you may be 'abandoning' them can trigger this behaviour.
Stalkers may come across as delusional individuals. They may express feelings that you are their soulmate, or perhaps that only you hold important information that they need, and they will not back down even after being clearly told that this is untrue. These delusions can become more intense over time, so it is a good idea to break off your connection with them as early on as possible.
What can I do?
If you think you are being stalked, or are worried someone else is, here are some useful contacts...
- Call 999 if you feel you or someone else is in immediate danger
- Contact the National Stalking Helpline on 0808 802 0300 for advice
- Check out the Victims' Information Service for local help and support. If you are in Scotland, additional support is available here
- Seek support and advice from Victim Support
For more support and advice on stalking, check out the Channel 4 support page.