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Below you will be presented with several definitions concerning stalking phenomena.

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talking is defined as "the willful, malicious and repeated following and harassing of another person" (Meloy, 1998).



Types of Stalkers:
Zona and colleagues (1993) have delineated three types of stalkers which are as follows:

Simple Obsessional:
A prior relationship exists between the victim and the stalker which includes the following:
Acquaintance, neighbor, customer, professional relationship, dating, and lover
The stalking behavior begins after either:
The relationship has gone “sour”, or
The offending individual perceives some mistreatment
The stalker begins a campaign either to rectify the schism, or to seek some type of retribution

Based on the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 4th ed. (DSM-IV, 4th ed.)
The central theme of the delusion is that another person is in love with the individual
The delusion often concerns idealized romantic love and spiritual union rather than sexual attraction — “a perfect match”
The object of affection is usually of a higher status and can be a complete stranger
Efforts to contact the victim are common, but the stalker may keep the delusion a secret
Males, seen most often in forensic samples, come into contact with the law during misguided pursuits to “rescue” the individual from some imagined danger. Females are seen most often in clinical samples

Love Obsessional:
Similar to the erotomanic individuals:
The victim is almost always known through the media.
The delusion that the victim loves them may also be held
The erotomanic delusion is but one of several delusions and psychiatric symptoms — this individual has a primary psychiatric diagnosis
These individuals may be obsessed in their love, without having the belief that the target is in love with them
A campaign is begun to make his/her existence known to the victim


Current Definitions:  A more recent categorization has been developed by Mullen and colleagues (Mullen, Pathe, Purcell, and Stuart, 1999).

Mullen et al. (1999) delineated five categories of stalkers based on motivations and context:  rejected, intimacy seekers, incompetent, resentful, and predatory.


The Rejected:   

* As a result of a relationship dissolution (i.e. estrangement, disruptions, break-ups) from an ex-partner (but inclusive of a parent, friend, or work associate) this type of stalker can be observed desiring a mixture of reconciliation and revenge.

* This individual often experiences feelings of loss, frustration, anger, jealousy, malevolence, and depression.

* The Simple Obsessional subtype given above closely approximates this type of stalker.


The Intimacy Seeker: 

* These stalkers pursue an intimate relationship with an individual perceived as their true love, but their attentions are not wanted by the object of their affection.

* The type of stalkers who fall into this category often have a delusional disorder (i.e. erotomania). Those who represent "intimacy seekers" may suffer from other disorders (i.e. schizophrenia, mania) or hold morbid infatuations.

* Erotomania and Love Obsessional best represent this category.


The Incompetent:  

* These intellectually limited and socially incompetent individuals desire intimacy, but the object of their affection does not reciprocate these feelings.

* They often lack sufficient skills in courting rituals.

* They may also display a sense of entitlement: believing they deserve a partner, but lack the ability or desire to engage in subdued, preliminary interpersonal relations.

* Another aspect of these stalkers is that they may have had previous stalking victims.

* Unlike the intimacy seekers, those in the incompetent category do not view the victim as having unique qualities; they are not infatuated with the victim -- only attracted, and do not assert that the affection is mutual.


The Resentful:   

* The goal of this stalker is to frighten and distress the victim.

* These stalkers may also experience feelings of injustice and desire revenge.


The Predatory:

* The power and control that comes from stalking a victim gives these stalkers a great deal of enjoyment.

* The stalker often strives to learn more about the victim.

* The stalker may even mentally rehearse a plan to attack the victim.

* Most of these stalkers are diagnosed paraphilias and, compared to the previous four categories, they were more likely to have histories of sexual offense convictions.


Other definitions are as follows:

False Victimization Syndrome:

This occurs when an individual attempts to convince others that he or she is being stalked through the invention of claims made to re-establish a failing relationship and/or gain attention (Zona, Palarea, and Lane, 1998).

Individuals who exhibit these characteristics may also fit the criteria for histrionic personality disorder (DSM-IV, 1994): demanding to be the center of attention, shallow expression of emotions which shift rapidly, and speaks in a manner that is overly impressionistic and lacking in detail.

    * This is not to be confused with situations where a stalker claims to be a victim of stalking.  Oddly, sometimes a stalker will feel victimized by the person he or she is stalking.  This is referred to as projective identification.  In other words, the stalker's rage at being rejected (and other unconsciously disowned stalking-related attributes) is "projected" or "put" into the true victim, so that the true victim is now perceived by the stalker to have this rage (attributes/behaviors) and directing it back, hence stalking the stalker.

    * A notable problem with the False Victimization Syndrome (FVS) is that it wastes valuable resources.  More importantly, FVS is rare and the few cases that do occur should not undermine the reporting and investigation of legitimate stalking cases.

    * A conceptual model that categorizes false allegations was developed by Mohandie, Hatcher, and Raymond (1998).  Three types of false victimization syndromes are delineated.

    1. a. Hysterical paralysis:  An example of this would be converting a psychological distress into physiological problems.  There are often secondary gains to having a paralyzed limb, such as not having to participate in a stressful or frightening event.

        b. Munchausen:  An individual intentionally creates or feigns physical or psychological symptoms in order to assume the sick role.

        c. Munchausen by proxy: The intentionally produced or feigned physical or psychological symptoms in another person, such as a child, under one's care and indirectly assuming the sick role.

   2. Known perpetrator: 

        a. Single event

        b. Multiple event (stalking): 

    3. Unknown perpetrator: 

        a. Single event: 

        b. Multiple event (stalking)

    The last two categories are similar, save the obvious difference that one involves claiming to have known the perpetrator and the other involves stating that the perpetrator is unknown.  Also, these last two types entail more complex motivations and sophistication of procedures by the false victim than the other types (1a, 1b, and 1c).

    The characteristics that classify FVS type 2 and 3 similarly are

    * multiple situations over time when the victim has been alone with no witnesses and is approached by the suspect;

    * major incidents begin as noncriminal contact, but then advance quickly to criminal contact;

    * the victim reports these criminal contacts based on what has been learned from the media or someone known to the false victim who has reported these occurrences;

    * and claiming to have received injuries, letters, phone calls, threats, followed, or chased.

    Given the fact that authorities will be assessing the veracity of stalking victims' claims, having a written documentation of events, saved evidence, and available witnesses makes gaining support and assistance less problematic.   For an example on how to document stalking events, see the Logbook.

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