I was mobbed at work and left voluntarily, but the mobbing continued. A bullying expert said it’s now referred to as community-based harassment (CBH). This started about 6 months ago (including mobbing, it’s been 3 years). Even though it hasn’t been that long (it seems like it has), I’ve come up with a list of 5 tips for dealing with the harassment and stalking.
1. Document Everything
If you haven’t already, start keeping a journal. In it, record the harassment and stalking behavior. Capture names, dates, time of day, and any details you remember. Don’t be afraid to ask people their name – I have and they’ve provided them to me. If you don’t get a name, write down what the person looked like – height, build, hair or eye color, etc. Be observant of people and your surroundings. With practice, you’ll get better at observing and documenting.
Similarly, in addition to buying yourself a journal, buy a camera and audio recorder. You can find inexpensive ones (and a wide variety, including spy cams) on eBay. You may want to check with your state about recording people in a nonconsensual manner, but it can help you remember what was said, it may prevent people from saying anything to you (stalkers have a way of knowing whether you have a recorder or not), and it may be helpful if you go to court and it is allowed. Likewise, cameras will help you capture evidence, even if they are just patterns rather than outright harassment or stalking.
I was treated rudely at Starbucks’ drive through one morning. The guy didn’t tell me the total of the bill or to drive around. When I got to the window, he didn’t look at me – at all. I asked him how much I owed, he mumbled it, and I gave him the money – all the while, he never looked at me. He didn’t tell me how much change I got back, didn’t put my coffee in a sleeve, and didn’t say thank you or good-bye. I strongly suspected this was a case of CBH. I wrote a letter to the supervisor documenting what I experienced and attached information about CBH. Please inform people about CBH – the more we talk about it and expose it – shine a light on it – the sooner we can get it investigated.
2. Don’t React
The stalkers seek reaction. It’s not known whether they are paid for this or what other incentive may be offered. So remember, do not react emotionally. This can be hard and sometimes it’s not possible. But try your best to have self-control and consider it a positive thing that you’re working on (a silver lining). Consider emotional reactions as a treat for stalkers – and remember you want to deprive them of this. If you need to, speak to them calmly and factually. No need to be a doormat – you can still stand up for yourself and should.
I try to think in opposites. So, if the stalkers want a reaction, I don’t react. Whatever I suspect they want or “need,” I try to think of how to counter it.
I often get ‘crowded’ at a thrift store I shop at, even when there is plenty of space. One day, I was shopping in the size large section, which takes up 2 aisles. A woman followed close behind – so close she was rubbing up against me at times. I always try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but when I went to the other side of the rack, she followed closely. I looked at her and said, “there’s a whole section of size large” and flung my arms out wide. She told me ‘but you’re going about it so methodically.’ She did get the hint and moved on.
3. Consider Your Own Safety
There is some variation to all of our experiences, but sometimes it can be scary. If you haven’t already, start taking security precautions. It can help to have a security camera in your home. Shop around -look on eBay, shop during a holiday or weekend for sales, do some comparison shopping. You can probably find a home camera for $80 and up. Of course, lock your doors and windows at home and lock your car doors when driving. You may need to lock up or at least hide your evidence or give it to someone for safe-keeping. Consider taking a self-defense course, carrying mace, or keeping items by your side (by your bed, on your car door, etc.). Most importantly, CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE. Switch up the routes you take or the times you go out. Keep planning to a minimum – be spontaneous as you can. If you want to have a little fun, fake them out – leave like your going somewhere and then come back home.
Learn as much as you can about organized stalking. There are books on Amazon written by Targeted Individuals. The one I’m reading now is “My life changed forever” by Elizabeth Sullivan. Check out websites, but, from what I can tell, there is a mis-information campaign out there, so it’s hard to tell fact from fiction. If the information really scares you – consider it might just be false. This whole stalking business is meant to get you annoyed, upset, and frightened. These sites may be set up to do exactly that. I don’t know if the government is involved, if this is a non-consensual study, or if technological weapons are being used – I doubt it, but I have no answers. This is all very bizarre behavior, but I try to deal with what I know and experience.
You may also find books on bullying, mobbing, even counter-surveillance helpful. And, remember, you can provide learning opportunities, too – tell your family and friends (to the extent you feel comfortable), bosses, local businesses, doctors, media, etc.. We need to gain exposure for this topic. Fight through the stigma of being called crazy or delusional – if we suffer in silence, we allow this to continue to harm ourselves and others.
I read something that said to play the radio when you’re not home because anyone working in surveillance needs to listen to everything. So, when I go out, I play the radio to some religious station or the Chinese news!
This is probably the most important concern. This is such a stressful situation. It is traumatic and, if you seek mental health care, try to find someone that can treat trauma. Therapy or medications can be very helpful – try them before ever contemplating suicide. Keep the phone numbers to crisis hotlines handy – write them down and keep them by the phone.
Look into religion or spirituality. I like to meditate and try New Age things like shamanic ceremonies, dancing, chanting, dirigidoo, etc. If you don’t have these kinds of events near you, you could find them on the Internet or buy a CD.
Do you have a pet? Could you get one or visit a shelter?
Think about your priorities in life. Focus on the positive or put things into perspective (it was a virtually stalking-free day). It helps me to think about people who’ve been through worse situations – prison camps, the Holocaust, starvation, sexual slavery, etc.
Try to see the silver lining. For me, I feel like I’m learning more about resilience, composure and restraint, empowerment, and assertiveness. This counters the feelings of low self-esteem that comes with the CBH. Some days are better than others – but remember it’s temporary. Also consider the source – the stalkers are the wrong-doers. Abuse is never justifiable.
Try to have fun with the stalkers. Why not? Who says you can’t? Fake them out. Talk to them if you think you’re under surveillance (or sing to them, blast them with music, etc.) Get defiant, if they do something to you, do it back.
I get stalkers at the gym, where I go swimming. Once, I showed up at the pool during Aqua Fitness. It was hysterical to see a bunch of men in the pool with the older women! (try to visualize it)
I wish you all the very best of luck – I truly do. There is a phrase on one of the movie trailers – if you can take it, you can make it. Please persevere. Namaste.