The Stalker - Understanding the Five Different Types

Why Classify Stalkers

By classifying stalkers, we are better able to understand the different types of stalking behaviour and provide a potential victim with the tools to better protect themselves, assist law enforcement in profiling and also aid our mental health and legal systems in assessing the risk of recidivism and the likelihood of rehabilitation.

Australian stalking expert, Dr. Paul Mullen, reported in the August 1999 American Journal of Psychiatry that half of the stalkers never had a long-term relationship; and a third were separated or divorced. To facilitate diagnosis and treatment, he classified stalkers into the following five categories.

Types of Stalkers

The Rejected Suitor

Sometimes a partner rejected by their spouse or lover may vacillate between overtures of reconciliation and revenge. They have a narcissistic sense of entitlement and believe that this is the only relationship they are going to have. More than 80% of rejected stalkers in Mullen's study had personality disorders.

The Intimacy Seeker

The intimacy-seeking stalker intends to establish a relationship with his "true love" regardless of her wishes. More than half of the intimacy seekers Mullen evaluated were delusional, believing that their love was reciprocated. Nearly a third had a personality disorder and a delusional belief that their quest would be ultimately successful.

Legal actions do not work well with intimacy seekers who justify their behaviour with the belief that they must pay a price for true love.

The Incompetent Suitor

This type of stalker is typically a man who has been rebuffed after asking a woman for a date. He is often socially inept, and when rejected, begins to stalk with the hope that his persistent behaviour will change the woman's mind.

The Resentful Stalker

These individuals express anger in response to a perception that they have been humiliated or treated unfairly by the object of their obsession. They thrive on having a sense of power and control over their victim. They often see themselves as the victim.

The Predatory Stalker

These stalkers admitted in Mullen's study to preparing to sexually attack a random victim. This type derives pleasure from gathering information about their target and fantasizing about the assault. They often have prior convictions as sexual deviants.

Stalking Danger

Too often victims do not fully appreciate the true danger of being stalked. This can be a fatal mistake. If you feel uncomfortable with the repeated advances, gifts or communications of an "admirer", trust your instincts and err on the side of caution.


If you feel you may be a victim of stalking or need more information, contact the National Center for Victims of Crime at 800-394-2255 and the Stalking Resource Center.

Article written by Tamara Port at
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