Well, I intended for my next post to be more catching up -- of the pleasant kind. But, I just find myself compelled to tell this not so pleasant part of the past several months. And, I've been told writing about such experiences is good therapy, so here goes .......
Hard to believe, but even here in this most idyllic & beautiful part of the world, 'there be dragons'. Since last July, I've had a stalker -- a man I met on a church hike! Believe me, I tried every way on earth to kindly get him to leave me alone, but he refused. So far, I've had to get a restraining order, have attended 3 court dates & have reported several recent violations of the order to the police. I will have to go to court again in April regarding the last violation. I'm told by the DA that the stalker intends to lie by saying he didn't know what he did was a violation of the restraining order. This man has spread the most horrible lies about me in an effort to make me look like an overreacting crazy person (and a loose living hussy), in a attempt to make himself appear to be the victim, and therefore redeem his tarnished public image.
(The encouraging gift of a 'brave' bracelet -- an always present reminder to be brave & fight the darkness!)
I can hardly express how exhausting, frustrating, & disheartening this has been and is still. I'm told the psychological & physical effects from being stalked are inevitably damaging, and that stalking is like "a prolonged rape", with long term effects, such as post traumatic stress syndrome, equal to that of war veterans. And of course, there's the constant fear of never knowing what he'll do next. He once told me (and I quote) he had 'killed people when he worked overseas, and that he had no conscience, could kill anyone without it bothering him -- even me'. So, I carry pepper spray at all times, always have my phone on voice memo, & never go out at night. I've even seriously considered getting a gun. My life is consumed with meetings, research, & conversations with a variety of people -- psychologists, law enforcement personnel, lawyers, liaisons of organizations who advocate for women who are victims of crime, and more. This week, I have 2 appointments with professionals who, I hope, can help me put an end to this insanity. At times, I think it will never end. I just hope and pray this evil man will finally give up & leave our beautiful valley.
(My message tee of the week -- tell the hturt! I don't understand how someone can lie so easily & viciously, do you?)
Anyway, I feel kinda strange talking about something so unpleasant here, but I think this situation has given me a desire to have this little place of mine be more of a 'warts & all' kind of place. And, no I certainly don't intend to make this the stalker blog! Happily, although this man is trying to steal my happiness & destroy me, I'm still enjoying the beautiful outdoors with my lovely hiking friends, knitting, attending my sweet little church, & messing about in my little home as always. And, who knows, maybe there's someone out there reading this who might be having a similar problem -- and maybe knowing I'm out here surviving this experience will help someone else.
Also, I have to say, God has shown me over & over that I'm not alone in this awful mess. The minister at our cozy little church has been amazing -- faithfully praying for me and constantly offering his listening ear & practical help at every turn. And I have some of the most awesome friends here -- those who put their own concerns on the back burner in order to pray faithfully and stand by me. A little funny -- one day, when I walked into our little bible study group, someone asked me how things were going with my stalker. I told them he had just followed me there -- to church. One of the ladies (she's 92 years young!) said, 'Where is he now? I'll go home and get my gun!' Gotta love it!
Anyhoo, enough about that!
Wish you all a most lovely, peaceful, joyous week!
P. S. I'm posting this from my ipad with the Blogger app! Hope it works & this post doesn't disappear into the mystic.
P. P. S. Just wanted to say -- if you are in a similar situation (and have stumbled across my blog in an attempt to find help for your dilemma), let me stress the importance of taking action and standing up for yourself. Tell everyone close to you about your stalker. Impress upon them the serious necessity of keeping ALL info about you private -- be assertive about that. Do not hesitate to go to the police. Do not try to reason with a stalker or expect him to finally 'get it' and bow out graciously. He won't! From what I've learned, most are not mentally stable, e.g. I believe the man stalking me is a sociopath. The old conventional wisdom that tells us to ignore a bully, and they'll go away is NOT true. Especially in cases of stalking, these bullies need to be held accountable for every single they do that violates you. I think, those of us who were raised to be nice Christian girls are especially susceptible to these creeps. In fact, I've learned that these predators befriend folks in churches for this very reason. In our efforts to be nice Christian girls, I believe we are sometimes not assertive enough. The bible is full of stories of strong fighting women. Take a cue from them, and stand up for yourself -- fight like the warrior princess you are -- a daughter of the King.