Did something just move out the window? Did that light just blink? These people went through the truly horrifying experience of being stalked, usually by someone that they knew quite personally. It was beyond chilling, and it required extreme action to gain freedom from these awful people. Content has been edited for clarity.
Content warning: these stories contain disturbing experiences, as well as online and in-person harassment.
"I had just gotten out of a ten-year relationship that had turned sour, and I was pretty protective of my personal time and space. One of the guys in my larger friend group wanted to date me. I told him we could hang out from time to time, but I wasn't looking for a relationship, and I specifically I wasn't looking for a relationship with him. We got along okay, but I didn't love him and I told him that. Pretty soon, he was dominating all my time. If I went out with girls, he would be there. If I went to shows or galleries or carnivals or other family events, there he was. He turned up on my doorstep constantly, and if I faked not being home he would leave notes and gifts on my car. Eventually I had to tell him that we weren't in a relationship, marriage wasn't in the cards, and he could stop thinking up baby names. I started sneaking around just to see my friends.
At some point, he had to move back home out of state to take care of a family issue, and I got blessed peace from him. He was gone for about eight months, during which I insisted on very limited phone contact. When he got back, he found out that I had traveled with a male coworker on a business trip, and he flipped all the way out. The email was four nasty pages long, accusing me of being a gold-digger and that I had led him on. That he had been about to marry me and I had destroyed his whole life. That I had ruined everything. I figured the only way out of this for me was to be an absolute total horrible monster to him, which I was in spades, making sure he knew that I would destroy with fire everything he had ever loved if he even tried to make contact with me again.
It was the usual Nice Guy Manifesto, full of how all this affected him, and his needs, and his expectations, and his wants, and how I was the evil succubus that didn't recognize his Nice Guy self right in front of her. And how could I have traveled (again, it was a business trip) with this guy? Was his bank account bigger? Was he bigger? He mentioned how I had led him to believe we had a future. (I didn't) and how he was willing to trust me again if I just came back to him (I didn't).
Don't fret too much about him. He married another gal not long after this. This was my one and only brush with a Nice Guy, and it was a doozy."
"My mother is so obsessed with being the perfect religious woman. It would be great if she was actually like that away from the public eye. To her friends, she said she wanted a kid because it would make her a good religious woman. But in reality, she wanted a slave that she could manipulate and keep forever, so she wouldn't have to do anything around the house. She was obsessed to the point of not letting me have friends because that would take time away from things I could be doing so she didn't have to.
Around 16 I had to fight to get a bank account, fight to get a job, both of which she routinely took my money from, stating that I would get it back as an allowance (spoiler: I never saw any of that money again) and wasn't allowed to get a driver's license. Thankfully one of the people from her church saw her for what she really was and decided to help me. This person helped me set up a bank account where she couldn't access anything and took me to get my driver's license and gave me their old beat-up car.
Around 18, I made a deposit on an apartment and paid that month's rent with my own money from my secret bank account, then I started packing to leave and she freaked out. She threatened to call the cops because I was her son and she had absolute control over me. I just started walking to the church where my car was parked and put my stuff in it. Then she actually did call the police, because she thought I didn't have a license and I stole a car. The cop was cool and I showed him my license and the person who helped me came down and explained that it was okay for me to use the car. The whole time she was wailing and carrying on about how I was abandoning her and how could I do this to her after everything she has given me. I just hopped in the car and asked the cop to not let her follow me.
I haven't heard from her since, but from what the friend told me, she had a mental breakdown and admitted to all the abuse she put me through, hoping to gain sympathy because she just did what every parent does. They basically kicked her out of her church and her reputation is pretty much ruined. I changed my name and appearance so she has no way of finding me, and if she does, my roommates' dad is a cop and he knows the situation. I like to think I'm pretty safe."
"I was friends with someone in community college. We weren't like super close, but we were like 'group friends', meaning a bunch of us would hang out sometimes and he was always there. I didn't have any classes or anything with him. One day, he told us to meet at the mall around the holidays because he had a present for me. He said it was a 'Birthday/Christmas gift' and singled me out because my birthday had just passed. I was kind of weirded out in the first place because we never agreed to give each other presents, but we all met at the mall any way. He hands me the present and tells me to open it in front of every one. I do.
It's a lacy red thong. I'm standing there in the middle of a crowded mall (it's around the holidays), holding this thong, absolutely mortified. He tries to look debonair and says to me, 'Your gift to me would be you wearing it.'
I laughed it off but never hung out with him again. He kept pursuing me over the years and showing up at my job, which was at the mall where we all met. He would come in wearing these suits and kept telling me about his 'big opportunity', and how if I 'joined him for a quick meeting' he could 'set me up for life'.
I was having NONE OF IT and literally looked around my boring retail job and said, 'Nah, I'm good.' He said he moved to New York, but I think he went to jail. He became pretty much a loner after that and every one told him that present was beyond weird. He didn't seem to understand or comprehend that giving someone who you're not romantically involved with underwear is SUPER weird."