stalking

Your feelings aren't your crush's or squish's obligation

So this is a common trope in movies and TV shows:

  • A (usually male) character has a crush on a (usually female) character
  • She’s not interested and makes this clear
  • He devotes massive amounts of time and energy to figuring out out to communicate the depth of his feelings to her
  • This is shown as sympathetic
  • With the implication that if she just ~understood~ how he feels, then she’d realize that she should be with him
  • Sometimes this eventually works

This trope is really creepy, and not something you should do in real life, because:

  • Someone can understand your feelings about them perfectly clearly and still not be interested in dating you (or in other forms of emotional intimacy)
  • Feelings are not automatically reciprocated
  • If someone says they’re not interested, that is a decision they get to make. It’s not ok to pressure them to change their mind
  • Grand romantic gestures are only good if they’re welcome. If you’re repeatedly invading someones boundaries and disregarding their consent, that’s not romance, that’s stalking

A couple of examples:

  • Fry and Leela in Futurma
  • John and Liz in Garfield

Or, in other words:

  • If she* said no, it doesn’t mean you need to find a perfect new way of expressing just how you feel about her.
  • She probably knows.
  • That doesn’t mean she has to reciprocate. Her feelings matter, and they don’t have to match yours.
  • She can understand perfectly well that you want her, and still be uninterested.
  • You can’t just rub your feelings on her and hope they stick.
  • (*Likewise with other gender configurations. The target of this kind of thing is almost always female in the media, and more often than not in real life. But people of all genders do this to people of all genders, and it’s never ok. Stalking and romantic coercion don’t become ok when they’re done in ways that subvert gender stereotypes)
  • (This is also the case for forms of non-romantic intimacy. Your desire to be someone’s best friend is not their obligation.)

tl;dr: If someone says no to dating you, or to other forms of emotional intimacy, it’s important that you take no for an answer. Trying over and over to ~explain how you feel about them~ will not magically cause them to reciprocate. They can know perfectly well how you feel, and still not feel the same way. Stalking, harassment and other forms of attempts to coerce intimacy don’t become ok when you have strong feelings.

youneedacat:

realsocialskills:

lexsplosion:

clatterbane:

Strong Glial Character: youneedacat: Social skills for autonomous people:…

soilrockslove:

youneedacat:

Social skills for autonomous people: stripesweatersandwaterbottles: realsocialskills: aura218: nichtigen:…

stripesweatersandwaterbottles:

lexsplosion said:

In general, if you are convinced that you know better than the person that you’re talking to what their own thoughts, feelings, and motivations must really be—and keep insisting that they’re just too sick or don’t have the insight to understand what their REAL thoughts, feelings and motivations are—you need to go away and stop hurting people who are already having a rough enough time.”

This this this this this. Also pretty terrified the person who abused me wants to be a therapist. :(

realsocialskills said:

It scares me too. I wish this was the first time I’d heard about an abuser wanting to become a therapist.

Therapy is so important for so many vulnerable people. And there are abusers who take advantage of that. It’s terrifying.

youneedacat said:

One of my long-term abusers, someone who has not seen me since 1996 but has participated in cyberstalking extremely recently to this day?  Became a therapist.  She was working on her psych degree when I first met her, and even then already believed she had the right to fuck with people’s lives, act like she knew them better than they knew themselves, etc.  But it wasn’t even as benign as that.  She enjoyed inciting drama and friction and tension between people.  If there was not a problem she would create a problem because she got off on people having problems.  She would even lie to create problems — she has lied multiple times, blatantly, not misremembered but outright lied, in the course of her cyberstalking and defamation campaign against me.  And I’m far from the only person she’s targeted.  She’s also set up situations where she’s deliberately triggered people who were fairly psychologically stable to begin with, and induced symptoms of mental illness so that she could take on a long-suffering martyr caretaker role (that is the only explanation I can imagine for some things I’ve seen her do).  And she’s a therapist, and that scares me to death.  I am afraid for her patients.

some indications that a facebook profile might be fake

Some people use fake facebook profiles to stalk or harass other people.

Here are some things that are red flags for a fake profile:

Having very few friends:

  • Most Facebook users friend mostly people they know in person, or friends of friends
  • If someone doesn’t friend anyone they know, it’s suspicious - it’s possible that they don’t know anyone because they aren’t actually a real person.
  • That’s not an absolute indicator. While it is unusual, some people create Facebook profiles in order to interact with strangers. (Some of those people use pseudonyms in order to maintain their privacy. That’s not the same as a fake account).
  • It’s also fairly common for people to friend people they know and people they don’t know. People who do this usually have a lot of Facebook friends.
  • People who friend strangers generally friend a lot of strangers. If they’re only friending you and a couple of other people, that’s suspicious. It suggests that the account is about getting access to you, rather than finding people to talk to.
  • This is particularly the case if they still have very few friends weeks after friending you.

Having suspicious clusters of friends:

  • If there are six people who are all friends with each other and each profile has hardly any other friends, they may all be fake profiles created to make the primary fake profile look more realistic
  • Being a person who friends strangers but has few friends is suspicious in itself. A cluster of people who have hardly any friends is *extremely* suspicious.
  • This is particularly the case if the accounts were all created at around the same time
  • (Again, especially if some of the accounts are claiming to be college alumni in their 20s - it’s very unusual for people who really are in that group to create a profile *after* college. If a whole cluster does that, it’s suspicious).

Undue interest in you:

  • If someone is showing way more interest in you than would be expected between strangers, it’s suspicious
  • It’s an indication that the person talking to you might be someone you know who you don’t want to talk to. (Especially if they’re using unusual idioms you associate with that person).
  • Also if they seem to share *all* of your interests and have very few interests that you don’t share.
  • Especially if they’ve joined hard-to-find groups that you created.
  • It’s a red flag for other things too; people who decide that you are emotionally close before you’ve actually established a relationship are dangerous.

Claims about college that don’t match their profile

  • People who went to college almost always have friends from that college.
  • This is particularly the case for people in their 20s.
  • If someone claims to have gone to a school and has no or very few friends from that school, it’s suspicious.
  • (It’s not an absolute indicator).
  • If you call the alumni office, you can ask if a person with that name ever went to that school, and they are generally willing to tell you.
  • If the alumni office tells you that no one by that name went there, it’s a very strong indicator that the account is fake, especially in combination with other factors.

Pictures:

  • People usually post pictures of themselves on facebook.
  • It’s suspicious if they don’t.
  • Particularly if they post pictures of other things
  • (But not an absolute indicator - some people do this for innocent reasons, or to protect their privacy)
  • If their pictures seem unduly familiar, or have unusual objects you recognize, take that seriously. Even if you’re not sure why it feels that way.

Another thing about Facebook

Facebook is an environment with confusing boundaries. It’s easy to inadvertently cross lines on Facebook. Almost everyone ends up inadvertently violating boundaries on Facebook that they would never violate in person.

But not all boundary violation on Facebook are like that. Facebook can also be used for stalking. Serious stalking. Not semi-cute awkwardness like commenting on too many things.

Facebook can be used to harass people. It can be used to try to force contact. It can be used to track someone’s movements. It can be used to find out who the victim associates with, and then to try to use those people to get to them.

If you are Facebook friends with both an abuser and their victim, this can hurt the victim. It can, and often does, result in you accidentally giving information to the abuser that it is dangerous to the victim to have. This is the case even if the victim has blocked the abuser.

(For instance, photos of the victim that you post or comment on can show up in the abuser’s news feed.)

If you’re close to someone who is extracting themself from an abusive relationship, and they ask you to unfriend their abuser, it’s important to take that request seriously.