She wrote about his constant phone calls and emails. The threats they contained. How he’d storm her home. Caterwauled at her, through her closed front door. Then through one window and then another window. How she lost her job, because her employer tired of the ex showing up at work, to yell at her. It disturbed other employees.
I was on a bit of a moral high horse, then. Thought Cyber Friend’s posts lacked discretion. Violated Internet Rule #1: keep your private life off the Internet. Weren’t her posts goading him? Taunting him? Putting fuel on the fire, giving him more to get enraged about?
By the way, I received similar accusations from people in my neighborhood, after they learned that The Neighbor declared war on me. Karma?
Of course, my moral quandary wasn’t enough to stop reading the awfulness Cyber Friend described. Who can resist taking a second, then a third look at a train wreck?
Cyber Friend never wrote about her fear, only her frustration and tiredness. The extreme tiredness that comes when you just want something to end, but have to keep going. Trying to hold onto your life, because the awfulness just might never end. I now understand the tiredness she described. Never knowing when my dinner, my sleep, my attempt to go to work, to come home from work, to go grocery shopping, to entertain friends, or to just watch Doctor Who in peace, would be interrupted by a barrage of screaming hatred.
Again, Cyber Friend comprises the nine or ten people I’ve known who’ve been stalked. That’s a lot of people, for a crime people mention in passing. For a crime that we generally associate with celebrities or freak relationships gone horribly wrong. In comparison, I’ve only known two people who’ve had cars stolen. An additional two friends had their homes burgled. A murder witness. One who sidestepped a mugging. One rape survivor.
Or at least, those were the folks willing to talk about their crime experiences. There could be more: most people want to keep mum and forget the experience. Regardless, with my limited knowledge of statistics, it strikes me that the amount stalking survivors surpass other crime victims. It strikes me again that despite knowing so many victims, when The Neighbor began stalking me, I was at a complete loss for getting help.
At that point, I’d stopped reading Cyber Friend’s blog. Had forgotten about her and the others who had been stalked. Which prevented me from drawing on their experiences, to get help. Was there anything in their stories that would have helped me, if I remembered? Nobody talked about how they got their stalking order or restraining order. Just that they magically got the order, and a gun to back it up. Or, took other measures to get away from the stalker.
When I remember their stories, I find solace in hearing how hard they worked to retain their sanity. Their lives. How very tired they were, in the process.
But that’s getting ahead of myself. I still need to describe the events leading up to the night The Neighbor declared war on me. I have the same refrain as any crime victim: If there was anything I could have done to avoid it, I would have. If only I had known.
Frankly, it all reached its ugly head, when The Neighbor. Just. Wouldn’t. Stop. Screaming …
(To be continued.)