If you have ever had the experience of being stalked, you may have developed a “new normal” in which to live. The stalker may be an ex-spouse or friend. In my case, my ex-spouse started stalking behaviors shortly after we separated at the end of 2012, and continued on through the years. When it first started, I would notify the police, who wouldn’t do anything but tell me to deal with it in court, and help me safety plan. It didn’t help that he had a history of gun violence and had made threats on my life.
The stalking started with unwanted texts and phone calls. When I initiated “low contact” to its fullest, he started reaching out to our child through text. Our child was not really into texting or answering his phone if he was busy or didn’t want to talk, it didn’t matter who it was. When our child didn’t respond immediately, he would text repeatedly, like 20 times in a row. He even sent police to our home over it!
When texting stopped being effective for him, he moved to showing up at places where he knew we would be, or thought we might be. It started with stores, and my granddaughter’s ball games (he wasn’t there with anyone or to watch anyone). Once we obtained a restraining order, he would violate that by showing up at the kids schools. He once traveled three hours to show up in violation of the order!
There was a time when a bedroom window of the room I had occupied at my parents home was broken during the night with a stick. Weird things would be sent with the kids, and hateful notes making demands of me.
More recently, my phone number has been given out with his name, so that I get unwanted texts from others with his name on them. Even stranger, Little AoA’s number has been given to medical providers of his mother, so Little AoA gets unwanted doctor appointment reminders from others, even after I called the doctor and told them it was a child’s phone.
I thought I was going crazy, or being over-sensitive to the behaviors. I remembered when we were married, he use to “warn me” that he had spies all over town, and he would know what I was doing and who I was with, ALL THE TIME! I believed him, as he had lived in our small town his entire life.
My life has adapted to being stalked. I travel for work now, so I can’t easily be found at work. I am required to let him know of child doctor appointments, so I wait until the next day to text him and send receipts (not that it matters, because he doesn’t respond and doesn’t pay his portion). If we take a vacation, I wait until being very close to crossing a state line to let him know. I don’t post my whereabouts on social media if I am somewhere he could get to easily. At stores, I scan parking lots for his vehicle. This was started by Little AoA, when she started getting really nervous after he “showed up” at places without notice.
People who work with the kids have been made to feel uncomfortable by him “showing up” as well. One person was very close to getting a restraining order for her safety and peace of mind. Another person has seen him driving around her house. This has lead me to be very protective of people who help the kids. Unless it is a doctor, to which the dad has rights to know about, it stays private. Our friends are precious, and deserve peace.
These are just some of the ways that stalking can alter a life. If you are being stalked, of know someone who is being stalked; know that you are not alone. You are not going crazy. If it is your friend, you may think he or she is being rude or difficult, when actually their focus may be on safety.