With 70% of stalking victims knowing their abusers often a stalking circumstance is misunderstood, denied or not addressed due to the familiarity of proximity in the relationship, it is easy to misunderstand stalking. In fact, due to the personal nature of our relationships we often look through our own lenses to the exclusion of what others are experiencing from the same interaction. So why then is stalking so easy to miss and misunderstand?
Anatomy of Slight of Hand
Slight of hand has been around since… well since people have been able to figure out we can manipulate each other six ways from Sunday. There is no aspect of human life this tendency has not touched. I though we would dissect this dynamic a bit to lay the ground work for the meat of the matter when it comes to stalking.
Think of a card trick. You have a number of moving parts and then the human players in the dynamic. The moving parts include:
- The cards (or shell game pieces, etc.)
- The room and environment
- The people ‘watching’ the card trick (I phrase it this way since everyone is more of a participant in these things and less of a passive element)
- The people orchestrating the slight of hand in the card trick
- The subtle elements in the room whether they are noticed or not, they are always there and at the right time always end up being more critical than people realize
Now that we have all the elements lined up then there are a few human considerations which are not to be underestimated. The items I listed above are the ‘highway’ or the means to the destination while the following elements below are more of the car we ride in to reach the destination.
Human Dynamic in a Slight of Hand Process
This aspect of a slight of hand is always much tougher to articulate. While what I have listed is just one list don’t confuse the expression with action being taken. We often get so wrapped up in who things look that we forget there could be numerous other iterations of what is happening in any ‘slight of hand’ dynamic.
So, while I often feel like I am missing something with this list, (I am pretty sure life with a stalker just leaves you feeling that way) it is a solid start. If you are dealing with a stalker in your life then overlay this list with particulars from your circumstance and it may help with the more manipulative/emotional/human dynamic aspects of stalking than the more obvious physical issues of stalking.
- the blindspots (ya, we don’t really know these all the time until they get exposed/used in a manipulation)
- body language
- consciousness: this varies (again we know what we know until we are shown we don’t know)
- empty spaces; think about what you are not focused on… yes, this often means you have to be conscious about what you are focused on and then be aware of what you are not focused on
These elements (especially Blindspots) will vary from circumstance to circumstance and environment to environment. However, there are a few things to keep an eye out for.
Everyone has patterns in their everyday behavior even with variations. This also applies to our relationships. We all have habits with those we love and those close to us. We find our comfort zones and tend to stay there unless shown otherwise. If you happen to find your comfort zone in a space where you have learned to stay flexible, open and have a willingness to
Self reflection is not a natural tendency. Most often it is learned often by necessity or some circumstance or someone external from us. We learn from those situations. If we pay attention to this process we may discovery additional benefits. Those of use who have learned this know the benefits. One of those benefits is being able to see more clearly when there is an attempt at manipulating you, for any reason.
The Desire to See More Than What is There
When you are dealing with a stalking situation, at some point you have to step back and as the question why? and what is really happening here?
You see there is a deep desire to understand difficult to understand circumstances. To the degree the person wants to believe that something has meaning is usually the degree that they will work to create meaning in any given circumstance. There are simply too many possible reasons why a stalker would do what they do.
- A stalking circumstance stemming from a divorce or break up.
- An unspoken obsessive infatuation from one college student to another too fearful of rejection to expose how they really feel.
- An unhealthy focus/obsession of a boss towards a talented subordinate who has decided that they should have what they have instead of cultivating the talent, creativity of a collaboration within a working situation, and the deep trust which could grow if they decided to be the mature one in this scenario.
- A angry attraction of an older woman bordering on hate towards their much older female neighbor who has decided to project their emotional baggage on this person (for whatever reason) instead of getting the counseling they need (for anger management, addiction issues, obsessive behavior, lack of self control, etc.).
- A stalking situation resulting from a friendship of two young people that has suffered a severe misunderstanding which has spun out of control versus working through the issues and allowing space for all parties involved to change and go the next steps in their journey.
- The ex-spouse who still stalks their husband and his new spouse several years after the divorce, frustrated with the challenges of new relationships and their struggles with finding the idealized happiness she is searching for (by the her ideas about what life should be like were a contributing factor to the divorce).
- The junior high school bullies who stalk the new girl in school to and from school for no apparent reason (maybe because she is taller but quieter than the other kids… no idea really) driving her to depression and self harm.
These are just some of the scenarios of stalking circumstance people have had to endure and work through that people have written to us about. As you can see, there are so many reasons why and each of these scenarios have many perspectives and experiences. Stalking is the type of scenario that creates extreme individual experiences for each person involved or close to someone who is dealing with a stalking circumstance.
Because of the intense nature of these experiences combined with the tendency to force each person to do some self seeing (whether they want to or not) people are left with unanswered questions, extreme changes in perspective without the insight needed (at times) to yield wisdom and deeply emotional reactions without necessarily resulting in epiphany needed to bring conclusions enabling additional insights to easily allow someone to move forward in their emotional growth resulting from a challenging circumstance.
You see, the harder reality with circumstance like stalking can often be there may not be any more meaning than some people just will do whatever they please to cause others remarkable levels of pain just because they can. Additional pain is caused by the endless searching on the part of the victims to create meaning from their circumstances only to find out when their abusers were indifferent or callous to their decisions in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong, anyone can come to understand the deeper meaning of their experiences if they make the effort. You just have to be careful about looking to others for this. They may only be the ones who bring the circumstances but that doesn’t make the choice to abuse someone right or good. It just forces a different circumstance.
So you see, there are a number of elements which make stalking hard to see. From the inside of ourselves, our mindset, our attitudes and perspectives to all the external things on our lives as well. If you are dealing with a stalker say something. Don’t kid yourself and don’t let it go. If it feel like stalking it probably is.