When people talk of stalking, they always imagine a random stranger or acquaintance who suddenly becomes obsessed a la SRK in “Darr” and starts doing OTT (over the top) crazy things to ‘make you theirs’. But in reality, stalking is much more dangerous and subtle than that.
I was in a relationship with this guy for seven years. At first, everything seemed alright. He seemed a tad bit ‘possessive’, but that was a given I guessed, thanks to growing up on desi Bollywood masala blockbusters. This kind of behaviour seems normal for a 90s kid until they grow up and realise it isn’t. I was 18 when I met him and brushed off his behaviour as him just being possessive.
He knew all my passwords, and he would randomly check my phone when I was in the bathroom, which I would find out only later. He knew where I was all the time even when I hadn’t told him. He would know my every move, and for some stupid reason, it didn’t seem that creepy to me. I met him on the internet and even before we met, he seemed to know it all – how I looked, where I studied. Me being the dumb woman I sometimes can be, never took it seriously even after he told me this when we met.
It never felt like ‘stalking’ because when you think of stalking, you think of something far more serious and creepy, even if this is creepy enough already. He never did anything with the information he had; he just let me know about it randomly. Later, we met, we dated, and it was in the second year of our relationship that I realised that by enabling his stalking, I had also enabled and allowed him to abuse me emotionally all the freaking time.
His behaviour grew more aggressive as time passed. He would get drunk and make me feel like shit. He would pass random comments, and when I questioned him, he would feel hurt because I had ‘misunderstood his intentions’. I slowly began losing friends because ever since childhood, I’ve always had more guy friends than girls. He would pretend to be okay, but make snide comments about it. Soon, it progressed to him getting drunk and cussing them out by secretly taking their numbers from my phone. Imagine my confused state when I couldn’t understand why my friends weren’t talking to me all of a sudden. Thank god he never knew I was bisexual, lord knows how he would’ve reacted to that.
I still put up with it because by then, I was so far in that I didn’t know how to get out. That’s how emotional abuse works; they make you believe you are nothing without them. But finally, one day it was just enough for me. I wanted more from life. I wanted something different, and I knew I deserved to be treated better. On top of all this, he had even begun taking money from the few friends I had left and had never paid them back. They only told me about this after I left him.
I finally found the strength to text him that I never wanted to see his face again and that it was done. He knew I wasn’t kidding. First, he tried to placate me, and then he verbally abused me. When I had no shits to give, he began cursing my family and friends. But it was when he went as far as even to threaten their lives that I had had enough. I went and complained to the police and had an FIR filed against him. Getting calls from the police set him right for a while, even though he tried to pull his craziness later on.
The creepiest thing about this whole situation was that my best friend’s ex-girlfriend had never met him. I had moved on and found a new relationship, a happy one. But he had got in touch with her and milked her for information about my new boyfriend and me for two whole months without her or us realising what was happening. When we found out, it was the breaking point, probably for him too. That was the last stunt he tried pulling off, and it was two years ago.
Today, I have graduated, completed my education and have a kickass job as a reporter at a leading newspaper. I am also happily married to that great guy I was dating. It took me a long while even after breaking it off with him and filing an FIR to feel safe, especially when it came to the safety of my friends and family. I would have random anxiety attacks thinking of when, where and how he might harm them.
Two years have passed, and he has not gotten in touch with anyone I know. I know he’s going to surface again someday, but this time, I’m not scared.
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