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Advice needed on how to deal with an ex who harasses and has started following/stalking(25 Posts)
MNetters, may I ask for your advice? I am so sorry this is a long post, apologies in advance. The Background: 9 months ago, I ended a 6 year relationship. I'd been increasingly unhappy for the last 2-3 years, had counselling, dropped to about 50 kg, and realised that I did not love this man, let alone want to marry him and have kids (we were engaged for around about 3 or 4 years). When I ended it, he did not take it well. The usual tears and begging, texts all day and night, then sulking, huffing and puffing, then anger. He seemed mostly angry that I had 'done this to him' and he had 'no say', which strikes me as a control issue.
We rented together- the day I moved out was the last day I spoke to him (3 weeks after I'd broken up with him- I'd been staying a girl friends' in the interim). The reasons I gave him when I broke up were: I don't love you, and I don't want to marry you, and I don't want to have children with you. The reasons I didn't say out loud include: the EA, the utter fury and anger at the tiniest possible thing (there was a queue in Tescos, for example- it led to him being banned from the shop), the misogyny, the racism ('white women who date black men are w** meat', and he thinks anyone on benefits should be put down), and the sexism. Every day seemed to bring a new example of inappropriate hatred and fury, he would rage against everyone and everything, red face, clenched fist, spit at the corner of his mouth, veins popping out. I just, couldn't take the level of anger over such small things. If he was angry with me, he wouldn't speak to me for days and would lie on the sofa, arms folded, hoodie pulled over his head so he 'wouldn't have to look' at me. It could last days, to a week or more. He also used to spend 15 hours plus playing computer games, while I did the 'wife work'. He used to be a soldier and I think he had PTSD, which he refused to get help for (as only 'weaklings' did, and he 'didn't believe in it').
On the day of moving out, he called me in a furious rage, as I had 'taken all the bowls!' (all the crockery was mine, so yeah, I took it), and he left about 8 voicemails, each more threatening than the last ('if you don't respond to me, you'll be sorry'), text messages- then he threatened to trash the flat that we rented so I wouldn't get my deposit back (I'd paid for it as he'd been unemployed for the majority of the time we lived in that house). So I called the police and logged the incident (he didn't damage it, in the end). They advised me to change my number, so I did. I blocked his emails. He doesn't know my new address, number and can't email me. I thought that was it.
Fast forward to yesterday, when I came off the train and felt something pulling at my shoulder. It was him. I haven't seen him for 9 months and I jumped. My heart was racing and I felt shaky and sweaty. I ignored him. This made him angry. He was yelling, pulling at my sleeve and would not leave me alone. He walked alongside, and in front of me. I asked him to go away, to leave me alone, and he wouldn't. As I came off the train station, he followed me. He followed me all the way home, which I had to walk past as I don't want him to know where I live. All the time, demanding to know why I broke up with him (!), and saying he 'won't go away until I give him answers'. I told him to f* off (cos the polite, 'go away and leave me alone' wasn't working), and he refused, saying he could do what he wanted. I told him this was being weird and stalk-ery, and he just kept on. I walked straight into my local gym, which has a fob system, so only members can get in, and it's covered in CCTV. There were no shops or cafes open, and he would only have followed me in anyway. I stayed there and called the new bf to come get me, as I was too scared to leave in case ex was lurking outside.
Police are coming on Thursday morning to speak to me. I think I want to see if I can get some kind of harassment/restraining order? So my question is, what would you do? Am I over reacting? (he has this way of making me feel like I'm being overly dramatic, when I don't think I'm a very dramatic person at all)- am I valid in feeling like this? and how do I stop the 'Oh my god, is he going to be at the train station again?' feelings. I think he must live very near me, so he would use the same station, and I don't have a great deal of flexibility in not using it, as I have to be at work for certain times etc. Do you think the courts would give me a restraining order? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?
Thank you if you made it to the end of this post.
You are absolutely NOT making a mountain out of a molehill here!. This is a serious matter.
I would give these people a call, today if at all possible.
The National Stalking Helpline has been established by Network for Surviving Stalking, Protection Against Stalking and Suzy Lamplugh Trust. It is the first national helpline to specialise in providing information and guidance to victims of harassment and stalking as well as their friends and family.
Their number is 0808 802 0300
You are absolutely not overreacting.
Talk to the police, take their advice
Do not contact him at all about anything. Zero contact.
Keep all his emails and texts. With emails you can divert to a separate folder so you don't see them unless you want to
You have a good chance of getting a restraining order but just be aware that in itself won't keep you safe. Be aware of your personal safety and don't be walking alone at night for example.
Hopefully the police will come through for you.
Has he been in trouble with the police before - arrested or incarcerated? Has he been violent towards you or anyone else?
I only ask because if so, then I am not sure a restraining order would be helpful. If he has no regard for the law, a piece of paper isn't going to stop him if he wants to hurt you. In fact it may fan the flames.
Do you think he wants to hurt you? What are your instincts telling you?
Not sure if you are up for doing a bit of reading but I think this book would be extremely helpful to you and your situation: The Gift of Fear
I'm sorry you are going through this, it sounds awful. Keep your wits about you and trust what your instincts are telling you.
Also can you tell your employers about the situation and ask them for some flexibility around your hours for the time being? Or could you change your routine a bit - so stay at a friend / BF at random times of the week, to throw him off the scent of your normal routine?
You have done the right thing .you have not over reacted at all .
Please take all the good advice you have been given above , especially about the stalking helpline .
If he appears at the station today , please do not leave the station. Go into the ticket offices where there will be staff and CCTV. Phone the police and tell them your ex is threatening you and you are scared to leave .
Thank you all for the advice. I called the Stalking Helpline but it was engaged, so I will keep trying. I also called the British Transport Police, (as it happened on a railway station) and they will investigate. The Met Police are also involved (as it then moved off the railway station). I have told my boss, and he is understanding. I will have a look at the book, Gift of Fear.
He has been in trouble with the police before, many years ago, under suspicion of murder (it wasn't anything to do with him, and he wasn't charged- it was a suicide but it was unfortunate that ex had been in a punch up with the poor guy the day before he killed himself, and therefore was suspect). Apart from that, no, he hasn't been violent or been in trouble before. He's very smart, and charming, and educated, and so I think he would be good at making his argument seem very reasonable.
Good advice re: ticket office, Kr1stina. I am quite worried about the commute home tonight, as though he might pop up like a whack-a-mole.
I don't think he wants to physically hurt me, but I do think he wants to 'punish' me somehow. I am staggered that 9 months on hasn't calmed his anger at all. I am worried that the police will go to his place of work (I know where he works) and speak to him, and that will cause a backlash on me, as it will make him furious.
Happy International Women's day, indeed!
Hi Klone, how are you today? Did he turn up last night? ( at whack-a-mole)
Well I haven't seen him since Monday, which is good news. I do seem to have developed a weird thing about people walking up behind me quickly, makes me jump, and also about men suddenly appearing at my side (as commuters tend to do). I reported it to the British Transport Police and we are trying to schedule a time for them to take a statement properly, playing phone tag with them. Two female BTP officers turned up at my flat yesterday at 10pm, which rather scared the shit out of me when the buzzer rang. But they were very kind. I feel a bit jittery, and feel more prickly than usual. Managed to have an argument with new bf about the washing up, which was a bit ridiculous.
I'm glad to hear that the police are on the ball .
I think you are right that he wants to punish you . But please don't think that he can't make your life hell without actually hitting you . Because he can .
I know someone who was stalked by her very clever, smart charming and educated ex . He harassed her for years and was clever enough to not do anything to get caught . He never hit her but he made her life a misery in many ways that I don't want to post about here.
She moved house and jobs several time to get away from him . It didn't work
Finally she moved countries and got a new identity just to be safe from him .
This is potentially very serious. I'm not saying this to scare you , but to get you to see that you are not over reacting and you need to try to nip this in the bud NOW. You do NOT have to put up with this .
Do not speak to him, email him or reply to his texts . Do not contact anyone he knows asking him to stop. Do not get your brother to have word with him . Have NO CONTACT at all .
Do not speak to him, email him or reply to his texts . Do not contact anyone he knows asking him to stop. Do not get your brother to have word with him . Have NO CONTACT at all
YY to this.
Please, please order that book I recommended. There is a section in there that describes your situation EXACTLY. It will help you to get your head around what is happening, and how to handle it. Even if you buy it only for that chapter, its worth it (but I would suggest reading the whole book when you can. Its brilliant)
I think you are doing brilliantly by the way. Your head is screwed on and you seem to be dealing with a horribly scary situation very well. Keep posting
An update - A DC was assigned to my case, and after making various statements and forms, DC came to see me today and said there were two options. 1) DC goes an makes an arrest now, under 'assault' or 2) DC goes to have a 'chat' with ex tomorrow and issues a warning about the harassment act. Tells him not to have any further contact with me, and that his behaviour is unacceptable. If the ex does anything weird again, then it's straight forward arrest, and then to court the next day. Generally, if I see ex again, then to call police immediately. I am so, so, so glad that I reported the first time ex went bonkers to the police (9 months ago, when I moved out of the flat, when ex threatened to destroy the property we rented together so I wouldn't get the deposit back) because they need 2 instances of harassment in 12 months for it to count as 'Harassment'. Which I have, because I logged it with the police all that time ago. Thank goodness. Apparently harassment and stalking is high on the government's agenda, which I did not know. However, now that I know the police will pay ex a visit tomorrow, I am quite stressed that this will trigger another bout of crazy from him, and I feel a bit 'butterflies in the tummy' in a bad way. I have visions of him lying in wait for me, ready to pounce with his explosive, self justified anger.
If he kicks off there's only one thing to do - call the police.
That would almost be helpful because you could call the police and start legal processes to ban from approaching you. Try not to feel too scared, he sounds like all mouth and is unlikely to harm you physically. What a horrible inadequate.
Well done OK, you have done the right thing. I'm glad to hear that the police are on the ball
Did you ever get through to the stalking helpline and if so, was it useful ?
Well done OP! You've done really well. And walking passed your home and going to the gym was really quick thinking and really clever, be really proud of yourself for that.
I think letting the police have a chat is wise. He can't retaliate, because he'll get in trouble. If he even tries, you just call 999.
Well done for all you have achieved.
If he does do a crazy, so what. Don't answer, don't let it, call police ASAP if needed. Be vigilant, avoid known areas and let it settle down.
But do report in the future and don't muck up by answering any texts no matter how nice.
No kids, no reason for contact.
Ack, so, yesterday the police went and spoke to my ex at his home after work. He behaved EXACTLY as I thought he would. Gets 'cold angry' and arrogant and aloof (because he did a law degree so thinks he knows it all) and patronizing. He thinks anyone like police/manual works etc are 'beneath him' and are 'all idiots'. I think he has an over inflated opinion of himself, generally. He always said that his degree was 'worth more' than mine, and that he was smarter than me (I have three degrees, but all in the Arts/Humanities). The police say they call that type of person a 'barratt home lawyer' (I don't quite get that, but still. Assume it means someone who thinks they have rudimentary understanding but doesn't). Apparently he's very unhappy and phoned the D.C to give him a 'piece of his mind'. The D.C told me that if the ex comes anywhere near me, call the police. Also suggested I change my commute (but I can't really, no other options that work when I don't know where my ex lives - I think very near me, literally down the road,- and what train he takes. Assuming he has a 9-5 job like me, there's only a certain number of trains either of us could take). Also part of me thinks 'fuck that! I should be able to take whatever route I want!'. Current bf offers to meet me when he can, but again, what a pain in the bum. I don't want to have to be reliant on a man. And practically, that won't/can't be a long term solution. So, oddly, I feel just as fearful as I did before the police spoke to him, because now I KNOW he will be angry. And sod's law, I'm going to bump into him again. Before last week, I had a very strong premonition that I was going to see him, and lo and behold, it happened. I just...knew. (Am not airy fairy, but I do listen to my inner belief. The one that goes, 'I just know that this thing will happen, whatever it is').
Gosh, OP. I am so sorry about this. You have done really well handling it.
Is there a possibility that you could move? Are you renting? I know you shouldn't have to but the thought of him just a few streets away is awful.
He thinks anyone like police/manual works etc are 'beneath him' and are 'all idiots'. I think he has an over inflated opinion of himself, generally. He always said that his degree was 'worth more' than mine, and that he was smarter than me (I have three degrees
This attitude certainly correlates with someone who 'won't let you ' break up with him, thinks he can tell you what to do, what you're allowed to do and flips that he had "no say" in you choosing to finish with him.
No advice on what you do. It's not fair that you'd feel safer moving. But you know, he probably does realise he'd be in trouble with the police so that might be enough of a deterrent.
The thing with these pricks who reckon they are above the law is that they piss off the police, who will be happy to arrest, charge and prosecute them. This bellend is heading for prison if he doesn't behave himself.
You are doing all the right things. I'm sorry you are having to put up with his crap but hopefully it won't be for long.
What SGB said - pissing off the police is not a good plan , he's an arrogant fool
I think the police meant a barrack room lawyer - a person who likes to give authoritative sounding information on subjects they don't actually know anything about
He can wait a little bit further from the station itself and watch for you to emerge around the same time. If he follows you instead of confronting you, he will find out where you live. Stalkers are very hard to shake. There must be some psychological component in the behaviour. Wd you consider finding a different place to live ?
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