17 October 2011

Deadly obsessions

You're being followed and you're receiving anonymous letters and gifts. You're confused – this only happens to celebrities, right?

Being stalked by an obsessive fan seems to come with the territory if you're a celebrity, but it happens to normal people as well.

Several years ago, actress Uma Thurman sued a man for contacting her over a period of two years, during which time he told her that he'd kill himself if he saw her with another man. David Beckham has also been the target of an obsessed stalker who tried to breach security to get to him. And then there's the case of Rebecca Schaeffer, a young American actress who was stalked and killed by Robert John Bardo in 1989. It was reported that he obtained her home address from a private detective.

  1. The attraction phase, when a person has an overwhelming attraction to another person. The suitor becomes dependent on the romantic interest.
  2. The anxious phase, when a commitment has been made by both parties or when the suitor creates the illusion of a commitment and/or intimacy. At this stage, the suitor may begin to question the other person's fidelity or may fear abandonment.
  3. The obsessive phase, when there is an unhealthy attachment to the person. Obsessive and controlling behaviour starts to occur and eventually takes over the person's life. The person being controlled ends the relationship. Hereafter, the obsessed person's thoughts remain with the other person and neurotic, compulsive behaviour often ensues.
  4. The destructive phase, when the relationship is totally ruined. This is considered the most dangerous phase, because the person may now suffer from deep depression owing to the collapse of the relationship. Feelings of anger can result in a desire to seek revenge.

  • Someone who has been rejected by a spouse or lover and who seeks revenge. This stalker believes that the two of them are meant to be together.
  • The intimacy seeker who intends to establish a relationship with his "true love", even though it's against the other person's will. Intimacy seekers are delusional in thinking that their quest would be successful.
  • The incompetent suitor who doesn't take rejection in his stride. When rejected, he usually stalks the victim, hoping that his behaviour would change the victim's mind.
  • The resentful stalker who expresses his anger, because he feels that he has been humiliated or treated badly by the victim. This stalker wants to have control over the victim.
  • The predatory stalker who sometimes chooses a victim randomly. This stalker gets absolute pleasure from gathering information about the victim. He fantasises about a possible assault and may have been convicted of sexual assault in the past.

  • contact the victim by telephone;
  • send letters and e-mails to the victim;
  • enter the victim's premises;
  • appear at the victim's workplace; or
  • follow the victim around.


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