These tips on how to deal with a stalker will help you stay safe and protect yourself – whether you are being stalked by your ex-boyfriend, ex-husband, a former coworker, or someone you recently met online. Even if you only suspect you’re being stalked, you need to know how to deal with stalking behavior.
“Thank you for these tips on surviving life with an angry man,” says Tory on 7 Ways to Survive Life With an Angry Man – When You Can’t Leave. “I lived with my ex-husband for seven years before I finally found the courage to get away from him. The problem is now my ex is stalking me. He showing up at my work, he’s following me when I run errands on the weekends, and he makes angry phone calls in the middle of the night. I know he’s stalking me and I know he’s a controlling and angry man, but I don’t know how to deal with him stalking. How can I protect myself? I don’t want to have to move to a new city because my kids are established here. But of course I want us to stay safe! I think my ex-husband could really hurt us. What can I do?”
The best way to deal with an ex-husband stalker is to learn what stalking is and how to protect yourself from stalking behavior. Your ex may not stop at “just” stalking you; he may target your family, your children, boss, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. Stalkers hope to isolate you socially and force you to come running back. An ex-husband who is obsessed with stalking you wants to communicate that he still “loves” you, is still interested in you and that, no matter what, you are inseparable.
If your ex is stalking you, you may receive unwanted:
- phone calls
- text messages
- messages left on social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
- notes left on your car
- flowers left at your home
- an awareness that you’re being followed
- being continually stared at by another person
When you’re being stalked, you may feel like you’ve lost control over your life. You’ll probably be forced to change your routine and behaviors. It’s not fair and it’s not right, but it’s the way it may have to be until your ex-husband decides to leave you alone.
“Your angry ex-husband may cope with the pain and humiliation of separation by spreading lies, distortions, and half-truths about you and by proffering self-justifying interpretations of the events leading to the breakup or divorce,” says Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited.
How is your ex-husband stalking you?
Write down everything your ex-husband does – especially if nobody else is around to witness his behavior.
In this article, you’ll learn how to deal with a stalker from an ex-wife whose ex-husband stalked her for years. She shares her best tips on how to protect yourself from a stalking ex-husband. I also share tips from an expert on ex-husbands who stalk their former wives.
The most important thing is to get in-person help when you’re dealing with an ex-husband who is stalking you. You can’t fight this dragon – or go on this adventure – alone. Not if you want to survive.
How to Protect Yourself From an Ex Who is Stalking You
Stalking includes watching you, being near you, or hanging around your work, school, or home. Stalking involves a persistent course of conduct or actions by a person – obsessive behavior – for the purpose of getting power and control over you. When you’re being stalked, you feel scared, out of control, or harassed. Stalking can involve threats or innuendo; the stalker generally tries to intimidate or induce fear in you.
1. Contact the police and a lawyer immediately
Most areas in Canada and the US have some sort of anti-stalking laws. The laws vary – and so do the abilities of the police to protect you from an ex-husband who is stalking you. However, the more documentation you have that shows your ex’s stalking behavior (screenshots, records, etc.), the more likely you’ll get help.
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Seeking out a Restraining Order against your ex-husband is also a good idea, as it gives you another barrier for protection and another legal option if your ex keeps stalking you. A Restraining Order also means that your ex-husband has been notified by an outside authority to stop stalking you and leave you alone. This way, he can’t claim ignorance or a misunderstanding.
Read What You Need to Know When You Call a Shelter or Safe House if you need to leave your home, but don’t know where to go.
2. Tighten the security and privacy settings on all forms of social media
Block your ex on all forms of social media. It’s also important to take a screenshot of the social media’s page showing the block. For example, when you block your ex-husband on Facebook, take and save the screenshot that proves you are trying to stop him from following you.
Also, reset your privacy settings on every social media account you have – including LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. To protect yourself from digital stalking, you need to make sure you cover all your online accounts. Allow “Friends Only” and get rid of any social media accounts you don’t absolutely need to have. This will help you deal with an ex who is stalking you – especially if you remember to reset all your passwords for your emails, websites, financial information, and even your library accounts.
Turn off the location on all your social media accounts and phone apps. Your location doesn’t have to be shared in your online space, especially since knowing your location will help your stalking ex-husband find and harass you.
Change or remove all your personal information on social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn – including your profile picture. Delete all types of information, such as your places of employment, relationship status, vacation destinations, etc. Screen, block, or do not accept any new followers or friends on social media. Your ex-husband may create multiple accounts to get in contact with you, so be very careful about who you let follow or add you to their accounts.
3. Learn how cops and legal authorities deal with stalkers
In Stopping A Stalker – A Cop’s Guide To Making The System Work For You, Captain Robert Snow offers a comprehensive, practical guide to dealing with stalking from ex-husbands, former friends, and even men you’ve just met.
Snow discusses the 10 types of stalking – from intimate-partner stalking to serial stalking – and shares many celebrity-stalking and other anecdotes from the media and the author’s own experiences. The best part of the book details how to protect personal information from your ex-husband’s stalking eyes and how to respond to unwanted contact before it becomes violent.
4. Record everything your ex-husband is doing to stalk you
Even if it seems like a “little” form of stalking behavior, write it down. Be organized and diligent with your screenshots contacts, notes, photos, and observations. Keep a separate file of all contacts you have with your ex-husband – even if it doesn’t seem like an instance of stalking. Write down all the sightings, dates, and times you interact or see your ex-husband.
Remember that your ex-husband is stalking you, even when he’s being charming and cute. You know him better than anyone…do you trust him? Probably not, if you’re searching for tips on how to deal with a stalker! So don’t stop making notes of your interactions with him.
5. Tell your friends and family that your ex is stalking you
You may feel embarrassed or even ashamed to tell your friends and family that you’re being stalked by your ex-husband, but you have to notify them. Telling them about your ex’s behavior will help keep them and you safe – and it’ll keep the children safe, too.
Tell your close friends and family members not share your information with your ex. Tell them how dangerous your ex-husband is, and that he can use seemingly innocent information to stalk and hurt you. Advise them to document everything your ex does to them – especially if he starts stalking them as well. Make them aware you may need to leave a place or event quickly if your ex-husband shows up, and that you may need to contact the police in such an event.
If you’re being stalked by an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, read How to Break Free From a Controlling Relationship.
6. Limit contact with people who don’t take stalking seriously
Your friends and family know your ex-husband – and may even be related to him. They may dismiss your concerns, and say your ex would never stalk you. If your friends and family don’t take your concerns seriously, then limit everything they know about you. Don’t include them in your life and activities, even if it feels rude or painful.
Remember that if your friends and family don’t take your ex’s stalking behavior seriously, they won’t respect your need for privacy, safety, and not being talked about. Limit what they know about you so you can protect yourself. This will help you deal with your ex’s stalking behavior.
12 Quick Tips for Dealing With an Ex Who is Stalking You
These additional tips on how to protect yourself when an ex-husband is stalking you are from Sam Vaknin.
- Do NOT contravene the decisions of the legal or justice system when you’re dealing with an ex-husband stalker. Work from the inside to change judgments, evaluations, or rulings – but NEVER rebel against judgements or ignore them. You will only turn the system against you and your interests, which will make it easier for your ex to stalk you.
- Do not respond to your abusive ex-husband’s pleading, romantic, nostalgic, flattering, or threatening e-mail messages.
- Return all gifts your ex-husband sends you. Don’t be afraid to be rude!
- Refuse to allow your ex into your home or work. Do not even respond when the intercom buzzes or the doorbell rings.
- Do not talk to your ex on the phone. Hang up the minute you hear his voice. Make it clear to him, in a single, polite, firm sentence, that you are determined not to talk to him.
- Do not answer your abusive ex-husband’s letters.
- Do not visit your ex on special occasions, or even in emergencies.
- Do not respond to your ex-husband’s questions, requests, or pleas – even if he sends messages through your friends and family. This is still stalking, even when the messages don’t come directly from your ex.
- Disconnect from third parties (eg, family, friends) if you know or even suspect they’re reporting your activities back to your ex-husband.
- Do not talk about your ex-husband with your children. Don’t tell them what your ex is doing, or how you plan to deal with his stalking behavior.
- Do not talk about him to anyone.
- Do not ask your ex-husband for anything, even if you are in dire need.
Learning how to protect yourself from the man you once loved is painful and difficult. But you have to remember that he isn’t the man you fell in love with. Remember that you’re searching for tips on how to protect yourself from an ex-husband who is stalking you…and you can’t let your guard down.
9 Ways to Deal With Scary Stalking Behavior
It’s important to reach out for help if you’re dealing with an ex-husband who wants to stalk you. These tips are for information only – they’re not a personal plan to protect yourself from a stalker. Call a police station or women’s advocate organization for help protecting yourself from a stalker.
1. Don’t try to appease your ex-husband
You may feel like the only way to deal with your ex’s stalking is to try to buy peace. It doesn’t work, and it’ll backfire in the long run. Submissiveness and attempts to reason with your ex-husband will only make him stalk you all the more. He sees your attempts to appease and make peace as contemptible weaknesses, vulnerabilities to exploit.
You cannot communicate with an ex-husband who is stalking you because he’s paranoid. Why? Because he will distort everything you say to support his suspicious delusions. Your ex has a sense of entitlement and grandiose fantasies – that’s why he’s stalking you. You cannot appeal to a stalker’s emotions or sense of compassion.
If you have to talk to your ex-husband, read these Examples of Verbal Abuse in Relationships. The more you know about abuse, the better able you’ll be to protect yourself from stalking behavior.
2. Consider taking a self-defense course for women
When you are forced to meet the stalker, do not discuss your personal affairs. Don’t allow yourself to get trapped into talking about his life or personal affairs.
You might consider taking a self-defence for women course, from an organization such as Wen-Do Women’s Self-Defence. They believe that, in a male-dominated society, women’s experience of violence and the fear of violence is typically different from men’s. Therefore, it’s vital for women and girls to have access to self-defence courses taught by women, for women and girls only.
3. Never meet your ex-husband alone
Ask your lawyer, counselor, divorce mediator, accountant – anyone involved – to take care of all discussions with your ex-husband. Know in advance if you have to have contact with the stalker, and always have someone else around (preferably a professional who is aware of how to deal with stalking behavior from ex-husbands).
4. Always keep your distance from your ex
If at all possible, put as much physical distance as you can between yourself and the stalker. Change your address, phone number, email accounts, cell phone number, enlist the kids in a new school, find a new job, get a new credit card, open a new bank account.
Do not tell your ex-husband about your whereabouts and your new life. If you want to stop your ex’s stalking behavior, you must make painful sacrifices…perhaps even including having minimal contact with your loved ones, family and friends.
5. Always be alert and prepared to protect yourself from the stalker
Make your local law enforcement officers aware of changes in your ex-husband’s stalking activities. Check out your neighborhood domestic violence shelter, consider owning a gun for self-defense (or, at the very least, a stun gun or mustard spray). Carry protection with you at all times, even if you think your ex would never stalk you in certain places. To protect yourself, keep your protection close by and accessible even when you are asleep or in the bathroom.
6. Protect your computer from electronic stalking
Is your computer being tampered with? Is someone downloading your e-mail? Has anyone been to your house while you were away? Any signs of breaking and entering, missing things, atypical disorder (or too much order)? Is your post being delivered erratically, some of the envelopes opened and then sealed? Mysterious phone calls abruptly disconnected when you pick up? Your ex-husband may have found sneakier ways to monitor and stalk your activities and life.
7. Notice any unusual pattern, strange event, odd occurrence
Someone is driving by your house morning and evening? A new “gardener” or maintenance man came by in your absence? Someone is making enquiries about you and your family? Your ex-husband may be stalking you in different ways.
8. Teach your children what stalking is – but don’t terrify them
Every situation between ex-husbands, ex-wives, and children is different. Learn the best ways to deal with your ex’s stalking behavior from a counselor or police officer who is aware of your situation.
At the very least, teach your children to tell you if anything their father does is out of the ordinary in their relationship with him. Stalkers often strike where it hurts most: your children. Explain the danger to your kids without being unduly alarming. Make a distinction between adults they can trust versus adults they need to protect themselves from. Involve your children in your safety plans.
9. Avoid your instinct to get revenge on your ex-husband
Sometimes the stress of being stalked is so painful, frustrating and infuriating that you feel like striking back at your ex’s stalking behavior.
Don’t do it. Don’t play his game. He’s better at it and he will likely to defeat you. Instead, unleash the full force of the law whenever you get the chance to do so. Use restraining orders, press charges against your ex-husband when you can, and allow him to spend time in jail for stalking you. Remember that the more your ex-husband is visited by police and other law officials, the less likely he’ll be to keep stalking you.
Your comments and stories about protecting yourself from a stalker – or an abusive ex-husband – are welcome below. I can’t offer advice on how to deal with stalking behavior, but you may find it helpful to share your experience.
Also, please share insights or information about protecting yourself from ex-husbands who stalk women. Knowledge is power – the more we know, the better equipped we’ll be to protect ourselves.
Help Dealing With Stalking Behavior
Read How to Stop a Stalker by Detective Mike Proctor. One out of every 12 women and one out of every 45 men in the United States are stalked in their lifetimes.
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Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
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If you’re dealing with an ex-husband who is a stalker, this book is an essential. It’s a survival guide for women who are targets of predatory ex-husbands. In How to Stop a Stalker Mike describes how to identify a stalker, how and why they stalk, what to do if you are being stalked, how to collect evidence, and how to get the criminal justice system on your side. Get as much information as you can about dealing with a stalker.
If your kids are having trouble with your separation or divorce, read How to Help Your Children Through a Painful Divorce.