What goes on in the mind of a stalker? 

Psychologists say there are two types of stalkers: Those who become obsessed with someone they were once romantically involved with and those who pursue a perfect stranger – or someone they met maybe once. 

Behavioral expert Dr. Helen Fisher says that when a person stalks a former partner, the obsessive behavior is linked to over-activity in the brain’s reward centers. That’s what makes romantic stalkers focused, obsessed, and impulsive. All they can think about is getting their former love back. They’re like addicts - but their drug of choice just happens to be their ex. 

So, what about the people who stalk a perfect stranger? According to a recent study, most “stranger-stalkers” have some sort of psychiatric personality disorder. They become increasingly obsessed with their target. They also see every brush-off as a “rejection” – and the more often they get rejected, the less control they have over their impulses. And these days, it’s not just celebrities who get stalked. 

According to the Department of Justice, somewhere between 3 and 6 million people are the victims of stalking every year, just in the US. Most victims are stalked by someone they know. And these days, all someone needs is your cell phone number, a computer, and a little know-how about how cell networks work, they can track you down anywhere on the planet. That’s why you should never post your address, phone number, or check-ins online. 

If that ever happens to you, save emails, texts, and voicemails of every encounter, and keep a detailed log of the stalking. Then call the National Center for Victims of Crime at 800-FYI-CALL. Or try the website www.victimsofcrime.org.