-“Doctor…He’s madly in love with me—he just doesn’t know it yet.”

Sylvia X. is an attractive young secretary that believed her supervisor was interested in her, even though he had had a steady girlfriend for many years. She followed his movements all over the social media and spent hours dissecting all the details of her search, trying to find an edge to ensnare him.

This modern possibility to spy on other people’s lives on a constant basis has brought privacy issues to the stalked individuals but also mental health issues to the stalkers: paranoia, loss of self-worth and delusional behaviour. The social price of this unhealthy snooping is shared by both ends of it.

The stalking patterns run a gamut between a rather innocent interest in knowing “what the other person is up to” through many intermediary stages until the more morbid attitude of creating a wholly false internet personality. The latter can include the use of insults and threats to coerce the recipient. The stalker picks bits of information and creates a collage of information that might not be completely accurate or even remotely pertinent for its use.

Dr. Walter H. Ghedin says “the imagination of the hurt person starts to fill up with a myriad data that starts to mesh into a painful platform in the mind. And what in other persons produces just emotional pain, in others can trigger a desire of vengeance. Of course all of us have psychological defense mechanisms to face an amorous deception, doubts about faithfulness or even emotional dependence. But the permanent, voluntary exposure to images and texts that speak of ‘the other person’s life’ often invalidate any recoveries.”

Sylvia X. came back to my office with a distraught appearance last week.

-“Oh my…What happened to you?” I asked her.

-“Er…It happened…We went to an office party and then he took me home.”

-“Then you should be ecstatic and not in this sour mood.”

-“The next day he ignored me completely—going to get back at him.”

There’s only one entity worse that a social stalker. A spurned social stalker.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

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