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Stalking Explained by an Online Psychologist

online psychologist

In April 2024, a limited series called Baby Reindeer took Netflix by storm. It became one of the few shows ever to score 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. But it’s not its cinematic quality that had people completely enamoured and glued to their seats. It was the fact that it was the real-life story of someone’s stalker and abuse experience. But also that the lead role was played by the victim himself (something any online psychologist will tell you must’ve been a harrowing experience).

The comments and feedback regarding the show made one thing very clear: the majority of people were amazed at what stalking was really like. The story told by Richard Gadd wasn’t anything like the slow and dangerous descent into madness as mostly portrayed by Hollywood.

People seemed to realise, once again, that the liberties taken by the movie industry had led them down a path of false information and a complete misconception. Therefore, this article will attempt to dispel any wrong perceptions, explain the pathology of stalking, and offer tips on dealing with such an experience.

Shocking Stalking Statistics

Whenever we watch these shows or documentaries, we all seem to assume that these extreme types of situations only happen to celebrities and a few of us unlucky “normal” folk. But the latest stalking statistics (which have been steadily increasing over time, by the way) will shock and astound you. 

Roughly 7.5 million people are cyberstalked every year. Of that 7.5 million, 67% are stalked in person as well. Not only does the stalking take an incredible emotional toll on someone. But it truly impacts your everyday functioning, with stalking victims reporting an average of 5 or more days of work lost as a direct result of the stalking.

Ultimately, roughly 46% of stalking victims also end up being the victim of a violent crime at the hands of their stalker. Scarily, of the stalking cases that actually end up in fatalities, 54% were reported to police where nothing was done. Stalking is done by and perpetrated against both men and women. However, statistics show that most stalkers tend to be men, with women being the stalked (women being 4 out of every 5 stalking victims, to be exact).

Why Do People Stalk?

One of the most important things that the show Baby Reindeer has highlighted is that stalking is extremely multi-dimensional. With most victims knowing their stalker in some way, it can even be difficult to pinpoint precisely where the stalking actually began. 

Stalking in itself is also not a mental disorder but a behaviour that can be symptomatic of a variety of mental disorders. So, you can understand why the act of stalking can be such a difficult concept to truly get a grasp on. The following are just some motivations that can drive a stalker, according to an online psychologist:


Even these delusions themselves can be brought on by a variety of things. These can include a disorder like Erotomania, where a person truly believes someone is in love with them – whether they’ve actually met them or not. 

There are also those whose minds can concoct entire relationships that never existed. Or have some strange belief that the person actually wants all their attention. This, despite possibly having gone as far as approaching the police for assistance to make it stop. 

Sadistic Urges

It can be hard to believe that such people are among us, but some get a kick out of hurting others and seeing them suffering. When it comes to stalking, it’s not so much physical but continuous mental and emotional torment that gives the perpetrator the sadistic pleasure he/she craves.

Struggling to Let Go

To some, it can be tough to let go after a relationship comes to an end. This can be due to the grief of losing their vision of the future simply being too great to bear. Or it could be that a breakup triggers old traumas or feelings of abandonment that can quickly escalate into a situation and behaviour that even the stalker never considered they could be guilty of.  

An Over-identification

This is when someone can relate so much to a person that it becomes a very warped and twisted situation in their mind. If you ask an online psychologist, they will also tell you that this often occurs with celebrities. 

Either the individual overidentifies with the image presented by the media. Or the perpetrator will overidentify with a character the person has played. In the last instance, the stalker cannot recognise that the person is not actually the personality or character portrayed on screen.   

Substance Abuse

It doesn’t take an online psychologist to tell anybody what devastating effects substance abuse can have on someone’s mental state. In some instances, it can also trigger underlying mental disorders that have just been waiting in the gene pool. 

Or it can even have such dire consequences that it triggers psychosis (in some cases permanently). This type of abuse can also have people see, hear, experience, or believe all sorts of things about a person that is not based in reality at all.

Lack of Impulse Control

This is something that you’ll often find in certain mental disorders, personality disorders, and, sadly, in many sexual offenders. They simply cannot control any impulses or urges. These are people who will say and do things on a whim. 

For example, when someone might find someone walking down the street attractive, they won’t necessarily act on it, while those with impulse control issues might. If you constantly have an urge or desire to be close or near someone, yet you lack impulse control, you’ll quickly end up with a stalker on your hands.

Prone to Obsessive Behavior

There are also many reasons why certain people can have obsessive personalities. They could be suffering from a disorder, mental disability, past traumas, and much more. In these instances, the person’s obsessive behaviour is not just related to the person being stalked; there is a clear pattern throughout their life.

They tend to fixate on things and invest extreme amounts of time and energy into them. The person who ends up being stalked is just another obsession in their lives.

Societal Outsiders

Sadly, some lack any type of social skills. Whether it’s interacting with others or reading standard social cues – for some reason, it’s a skill that’s completely absent. These people can be perceived as the “oddballs” of society. They’re incredibly awkward, and an online psychologist will often hear someone complain about an individual who seemingly just “can’t get the message”.

That’s because they honestly can’t get the message. So, for someone who struggles to understand or conform to society’s expectations and conduct, it’s pretty easy to fall down the rabbit hole of stalking without even realising it.

Anger and Rage

It’s a scary thought, but some people are simply driven to stalker behaviour by incredible rage or anger. This can encompass a variety of things. It’s the person wondering, “How dare he/she leave me?!”. Or the person who can’t deal with the rejection, “How dare he/she not want me?!”.

It can even extend to things much broader than adoration and romantic inclinations. It can be jealousy over someone’s life, “How dare he/she have X, Y, Z, and I have nothing?!”. Or even political agendas, “THIS person is going to ruin our country!”. Anger and rage are powerful motivators with a wide range of root causes and can easily end in tragedy. 

The Different Types of Stalkers

As you can see from the abovementioned, many things can motivate a stalker’s behaviour, and we’ve merely scratched the surface. Based on these motivations, stalkers can be classified into the following categories:

  • Rejected Stalker
  • Predatory Stalker
  • Incompetent Suitor
  • Resentful Suitor
  • Intimacy-seeker
  • Political Stalker
  • The Professionals (these are the people who made a career out of stalking and can range from private investigators to hitmen)

Can Stalkers be Rehabilitated? 

Since stalking is generally a behaviour triggered or motivated by something, it is actually possible to treat and even cure a stalker (if the stalking doesn’t form part of a severe personality or mental disorder).

The treatment can include actual rehabilitation (when there is substance abuse involved), psychotherapy, medication (in the case of underlying disorders), trauma counselling (to remove specific triggers such as abandonment or rejection), etc.

Reach Out to an Online Psychologist

Baby Reindeer conveyed the incredibly nuanced context of stalking and how it can often be difficult to truly understand what is happening to you until it’s too late. 

If you would like to dive further into this topic. Or, if you suspect that you or a loved one might have or are currently going through a stalking situation, we’d be more than happy to assist and give guidance, as well as provide the necessary referrals when needed. You can either pop us an email at Or complete the form below, and a highly skilled online psychologist will be in contact with you soon:

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