She’s made all the mistakes, so you don’t have to…Ask Erin is a weekly advice column, in which Erin answers your burning questions about anything at all.
I have a cyberstalker, threatener, and harasser. He has held me mentally hostage for months, threatening to ruin my life with lies and defamation if I stopped being in his life. He has been using heroin (and other drugs) for at least 15 years, and has some untreated mental health issues as well.
When we met he was sober and in recovery, and he was a very different person, it seemed. When he fell in love with me and began to fixate on me, and obsess about me as much as he did about heroin, it fell apart.
I've decided that full no-contact is the best strategy, along with some protection, of course (blocking him, etc.). Despite many months of no contact, though, I still get a range of emails (from new accounts he creates to evade my blocks) with various threats, blame, and professions of eternal love.
I'm not the first person he's done this to and surely won't be the last, but I'm wondering if there's anything I can do to minimize the damage he's doing to my head. (I've been letting him live rent-free up there for far too long!)
His friends all told me, "He's an addict; he'll lose interest in you quickly!" But sadly, that hasn't seemed to be true.
Any ideas or insights? Thanks and Happy 2017.
Well, first of all, your no communication/response strategy is the best. And the fact that he continues to contact you, although you have made it clear that you don’t want him to do so, is legally stalking.
Thankfully, stalking laws have come a long way in the past ten years. As I took a peek into this, I learned that it is indeed a felony crime, under U.S. criminal law, to stalk a person through telephone, the Internet, or U.S. mail. There is further legislation in place that varies from state to state.
The Stalking Resource Center has a lot of helpful information about federal and state laws and what you can do to protect yourself.
Keep a record of any and all attempts at contact that he makes or has made. The fact that he has made threats is of great importance regarding the law. Those threats are illegal.
While I have empathy for anyone struggling with addiction (I’ve been there), it is not a reasonable excuse for his behavior.
You are right in your assertion that he has been living rent-free up in your head for far too long. Find a good therapist who can help you sort through the natural anxiety that is accompanying this situation. Keep friends and family aware of any and all harassment or threats. And, don’t hesitate to report this. Regardless of whether or not these are empty threats, this has gone on far too long.
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