WHEN OBSESSION TURNS DEADLY
When I am training on stalking, I try to explain obsession with examples that help the attendees understand something that isn’t easy to explain. Most people have been obsessed or overly focused on something during their life time. It could be work, sports, shopping, texting or anything that interferes with personal relationships. If someone says to you, “You spend too much time on____________,” it might be a good idea to listen. People become obsessed with social media and can’t stop checking Facebook or other options.
What about a new baby? I have seen some obsessed parents and grandparents. Obsession with a person can begin by seeing someone, hearing a voice, looking at a photograph or an interaction that brings one person into contact with another person. It begins immediately and the target may not even be aware that an obsession has begun.
I’m sure most people have heard about the teenager who was getting on the school bus and a man who was waiting, saw her and started devising a plan to kill her parents and kidnap her. Thankfully she escaped, but the day the obsession began was no different for the teenager and her parents, but the result was life changing.
Obsession is mental and it is real to the person who is obsessed. That is why it is so difficult to intervene. Think about something you feel strongly about. What would it take to change your mind? There are stalkers sitting in prison who are still obsessed with their target, some of whom were murdered by the stalker. An obsession can begin when someone dies or can continue after a death.
Obsession can begin at any age and can continue for years. A stalker can also re-trigger after many years. One case I was involved with had what I refer to as a 24-year quiet period.
The only time it is certain that an obsession has ended is when the obsessed person dies, and it is confirmed. I have been involved in a case in which the stalker pretended to die and then came back.
Why do stalkers kill? When they don’t get their way, or their target is not responding as the stalker thinks they should. The “if I can’t have you no one can have you,” mindset is real. Unfortunately, there is nothing a person can do to stop another person from becoming obsessed with them. There are options as to how it is handled. I wrote,” Stop the Stalker A Guide for Targets, because there is a lot of information needed, quickly.
Teenagers are being abused by their boyfriends/girlfriends. In a 15-year fatality review study in Georgia, most of the relationships that ended in homicide started when the victim was 13 to 24 years old. Marrying your childhood sweetheart may end well, or it can end in a tragedy.
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month