Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

Stalkers come from every walk of life and every socio-economic background. Virtually anyone can be a stalker, just as anyone can be a stalking survivor.  There are some general categories that stalkers fit into.

Remember: Even though there are general categories of stalkers, that does not mean that every stalker will fit neatly into a category. Stalkers can have any characteristics and come from any type of background.

Rejected Stalker

Motivation: This type of stalker begins to stalk after their partner (romantic or close friendship) has ended their relationship or indicates that they intend to end the relations.  This type of stalker wants to be in a relationship with the survivor again or seek revenge on the survivor.  The stalker's goals may vary, depending on the reponses of the survivor.

Personality: This type of stalker may have high levels of narcissism and jealousy.  This type of stalker may also have feelings of humiliation, over-dependence, and/or poor social skills and a resulting poor social network.

Stalking Behaviors: This type of stalker is often the most persistent and intrusive type of stalker and is more likely to employ intimidation and assault in pursuit of their survivor.  A history of violence in the relationship with the partner is not uncommon.

Duration and Criminality: This type of stalker is typically the most resistant to efforts aimed at ending their stalking behavior.

Resentful Stalker

Motivation: This stalker wants to frighten or distress their survivor and often stalks their survivor to get revenge against someone who has upset them.  This type of stalker views their survivor as being similar to those who have oppressed or humiliated them in the past and may view themselvves as a survivor striking back against an oppressor.

Personality: This type of stalker is often irrationally paranoid.

Survivor Characteristics: This type of stalker often stalks survivors that may have upset them directly or are representative of a group at which they are upset.  The survivor may be someone that the stalker knows or a complete stranger.

Stalking Behavior: This type of stalker can be the most obsessive and enduring type of stalker.  This type of stalker is most likely to verbally threaten their survivor and is one of the least likely to physically assault their survivor.

Duration and Criminality: This type of stalker is likely to stop stalking if confronted with legal sanctions early on.  The longer the stalking continues, the less effective legal sanctions are likely to be.

Predatory Stalker

Motivation: This type of stalker stalks their survivor as part of a plan to attack them, usually sexually, and is motivated by the promise of sexual gratification and power over the survivor.

Personality: This type of stalker often has poor self-esteem, poor social skills (especially in romantic relationships), and may have lower than normal intelligence.

Survivor Characteristics: This type of stalker may stalk someone they know or a complete stranger.

Stalking Behaviors: This type of stalker usually does not harass or try to contact their survivor while they are stalking.  This type of survivor may engage in behaviors sucyh as: surveillance of the survivor, obscene phone calls, exhibitionism, fetishism, and voyeurism.

Duration and Criminality: This type of stalker may stalk for a shorter period of time than other types of stalkers and has a higher potential to become physically violent with the survivor.

Intimacy Seeker

Motivation: This type of stalker seeks to establish an intimate, loving relationship with the survivor and may believe that the survivor is in love with them.  This is a delusion.  The stalker believes that the survivor may be the only person who can satisfy their desires and sees the survvior as an ideal partner.  The stalker may interpret any kind of response from the survivor, even negative responses, as encouragement and may believe the survivor owes them love because of all they have invested in stalking the survvior.  This type of stalker is very resistant to changing their beliefs about the survivor's love for them.

Personality: This type of stalker is often a shy and isolated person and often lives alone and lacks any sort of intimate relationship in their life.

Survivor Characteristics: This type of stalker may stalk acquaintances or complete strangers.

Stalking Behaviors: If the stalker recognizes they are being rejected by the survivor, they may become threatening or violent.  This type of stalker may engage in behaviors such as: writing letters to the survivor; calling the survivor on the phone; or sending the survivor gifts.  The stalker may become jealous if the survivor enters or continues a romantic relationship with another person.

Duration and Criminality: This type of stalker is among the most persistent type of stalker, harassing longer than any type except the rejected stalker.  The stalker is usually unresponsive to legal sanctions because they view them as challenges to overcome that demonstrate their love for the survivor.

Incompetent Suitor

Motivation: This type of stalker is motivated by a desire to start a romantic relationship with the survivor and is impaired in his social skills.

Personality: This type of stalker may be cut off from the survivor's feelings and believe that any person should be attracted to them.

Survivor Characteristics: This type of stalker usually stalks acquaintances, but may stalk complete strangers.

Stalking Behaviors: This type of stalker typically engages in behaviors such as: repeatedly asking for dates even after being rejected; repeatedly calling on the phone; and trying to hold the survivor's hand or kiss the survivor.

Duration and Criminality: This type of stalker stalks for shorter periods, on average, than any other type of stalker and has likely stalked others in the past.  This stalker will usually quickly stop stalking if confronted with legal action or after seeking counseling.

Erotomania and Morbidly Infatuated

Motivation: This type of stalker believes that they are loved by the survivor even though the survivor has done nothing to suggest this is true and may have made statements that they do not and never will love the stalker.  The stalker reinterprets what the survivor says and does to support their belief that the survivor loves them and makes the imagined romance with the survivor the most important part of their life.

Personality: This type of stalker may suffer from acute paranoia and/or delusions.

Survivor Characteristics: This type of stalker usually chooses survivors of a higher social class.

Stalking Behaviors: This type of stalker repeatedly tried to approach and communicate with the survivor.

Duration and Criminality: This type of stalker may sometimes respond well to psychological treatment and is typically unresponsive to threats of legal action short of time behind bars.  Without psychological treatment, they are likely to continue stalking the survivor after they are released.