I need help dealing with an online stalker. (long)

A couple of years ago, I received a random message from someone on ICQ. (I’ll call her May) I was bored, and without driver’s license at the time, so we talked every day or so. I learned that May is a 23 year-old female living in Thailand. (I’m in Oklahoma, USA) For me, the conversations were always very casual. I thought it fascinating to hear from her what the world was like on the other side of the globe, and it was just an interesting diversion. We even talked on the phone a few times when I could find a good international phonecard. When the holidays came around, she wanted to send a card, so I provided my physical address. There was -no- hint of craziness yet, or I wouldn’t have given out that kind of information.

Weeks went by, and I noticed that she seemed to grow more attached, to the point where it seemed wise to tell her about my then-boyfriend, Jon. She was pretty hysterical about it for a bit, but calmed down soon enough. It was obvious now that she wasn’t stable, so I tried to break contact by stopping ICQ conversations and not replying to email, which just made her more determined to get into contact with me. Shortly after, she professed her undying love. I could have really spewed Pepsi all over the computer monitor.

I tried to calmly explain that there were -serious- issues with her being in love with me, not the least of which were that I was 16 at the time, and a world away. Nothing got through the “crazy sheild,” so I completely broke contact this time. She was blocked on ICQ, and I didn’t respond to any email at all, no matter how pitiful and desperate they became. Because of some computer problems, I got rid of ICQ as well, and never felt a need to download it again, as I had all of my contact on AIM.

Her email increased despite that she never got anything back. She knitted me a hideous puppy dog scarf for Christmas which she sent via airmail, as well as a Valentine’s Day card and some other generic cards.

She resigned from her job, but ended up going back so she could have easy Internet access to get in touch with me. She quit a second time, and moved in with her parents in another city, still finding time to send me an email every few days. Her parents finally got her to find a job, but it was in another, more rural, province where she won’t have much access to computers. By now the emails are becoming panicked, and peppered with comments about how she “doesn’t want this world,” doesn’t want to live, etc. The standard passive-agressive pap.

I felt like it would be better not to encourage her by responding, so I continued to hold off contact. So, she started calling. If I happened to pick up, I just made an excuse and hung up, and obviously didn’t return messages on the answering machine.

Things kind of came to a head in the last couple of days. I got ICQ again at the urging of a friend, and she saw me online and tried to start a conversation. I put her on the ignore list, as well as two more ICQ numbers with the same address. She registered two more numbers and tried to talk to me again, both of which I blocked.

Tonight I got an absolutely insane email from May, about how horrible she feels, how much she hates life and the world, and how much she would love to die. The earlier messages had thinly veiled suicide threats, but I’m worried that she might have finally gotten up the courage to hurt herself if I don’t respond.

So, my question to the Dopers is this: Should I send a brief message explaining (in total bullshit, of course) that I will not be online again as I’m having some imaginary computer problem and will be going off to school, or should I keep ignoring her? Also, are there any other viable solutions that anyone can think of? As crazy as May is, I don’t want to be responsible for her hurting herself.

Thanks in advance for any help, and I appreciate anyone who did slogging through the OP.


The bottom line is this, there is absolutely nothing that you can do to help her. Her problems are just that, hers, and I can assure you that the are a lot broader than just things concerning you. Lying to her isn’t going to help, and if she’s going to hurt herself, she’ll do it regardless of what you say, or do.

Go one above blocking her from your existing ICQ account, get yourself a new one, without your e-mail address visible, or with some freebie webmail address, and give it out, only to the people that you want to have contact you. Block her e-mail address from your mail program, as well, there is absolutely no reason why you should even know that she’s sent you anything.

Good luck!


Regardless what she does, you’re not responsible.

Partfrom anything else, you can change your ICQ security settings so that your not visible and you can elect to ONLY receive messages from people on your contact list.

What bothers me is that while you might not have been responding to her emails, you’ve clearly at least been reading them to know so much about what’s been going on in her life.

I’m all for the “set up all new accounts” school of thought. Email, ICQ, AIM, the works. Block addresses which you already know belong to her before you even make those accounts active, and operate those accounts at the maximum security level possible.

Do not simply make excuses when you do answer phone calls - tell her that you have no wish to have further contact from her and she is breaking the law by harrassing you.

Return any physical mail she sends you unopened.

While you didn’t create this problem, it does sound like you have not been decisive enough in dealing with this young woman for her to truly get the message.

You aren’t responsible for this young woman’s actions, except to the extent that your own actions allow her to believe that your “friendship” still exists; continuing to behave as if - to some extent - it still does is not going to make her go away.

My two cents:

All suicide threats should be treated as though they were absolutely sincere, just in case.

Do you know enough about her to be able to give the authorites in Thailand her name and location or her phone number? You could probably forward the letter to them via e-mail or something, along with a brief description of the circumstances. I think that would be the best thing to do.
Even if she is a person with an extreme type of personality who will be threatening suicide while she dies of old age, it should still be taken completely seriously. Her parents probably are not aware of the extent of her depressive feelings, and facing enraged and grieving parents after the fact would not be pretty. Hopefully with more knowledge they could get her some help.

As for the rest (blocking her and such), it’s up to you.

Briefly, I had an email stalker. I just had to block and ignore. You don’t owe that person anything.

http://www.wiredpatrol.org will give you help and advice (personalised) within 24 hours. They are very kind and informative.

I think you are doing exactly the right thing though - block and ignore.

Err. this individual knows your real address? Why on earth did you give this out?
Hopefully this person won’t get on a plane or boat and come visit you. Not to make you paranoid, but …

Ditto, on the block and ignore. It’s her problem. Sounds heartless, but half a world away you have no chance to help.

Re: the phone calls, if she’s still doing that, I would tell the phone company that you’re being harrassed via phone. But since she’s in Thailand, I’m not sure what effect that would have.

Send her a long e-mail about how you found the love of your life and are now married. You are both moving away to start a new life together.

It’s over, go out with somebody else.

Cruktar, I read your entire post, and I think you’ve done everything you could possibly do.

If she kills herself, it’s definitely not your fault. She has far greater problems than you can see. She’s probably stalking other people, too.

The only additional step I would take is to file a report with the police in your area, just in case.

You keep reading her emails and re-established your ICQ. Why? As has been pointed out you can stop all contact and that is what you need to do. Stop enabling her.

What a mess for you to have to deal with.
Obviously you got mixed up with a kook, and in your defense I’d have to say that it doesn’t sound so improbable. Situations that seem innocuous at first sometimes end up getting more and more bizarre, and by the time you realize how truly wacked-out the other person is, you’re right in the midst of it. (Obviously by “you,” I mean “me.”) I’ve given my address to quite a few people I’ve met online–mostly people I’ve met on my soapmaking lists, but who’s to say that I won’t run into a kooky soaper someday?
Anyway, you have to cut off all contact with her. Don’t read or respond to her emails–better to NOT READ THEM at all. Block her email address if you can. If you pick up the phone and it’s her, don’t even respond, just hang up. (If possible, get a different number, or let the answering machine screen for you. And make sure the answering machine message isn’t YOUR voice, because she could feed of that sort of pseudo-contact.) If she sends you mail, write “Refused” on it and send it back.
You are NOT causing her to be suicidal; anything she does is not you responsibility. If you feel a need to contact the authorities in her country or hometown, do so, but only once, and do it anonymously. Don’t even attempt to talk her out of her obsession…it can’t be done, and any contact you make will be further encouragement to her that her methods are working. In one of the books I recently read, stalking was discussed, and the author had a very good point: If you tell your stalker 10 times that you refuse to talk to him, you’ve already talked to him 10 times too many.
Don’t feel guilty. Do what you have to do.
Best wishes.

At the time I gave her my physical address, she wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary. If I recall correctly, she was sending some sort of a Thai/English greeting card. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have done it, but hindsight is 20/20, heh.

I don’t think there’s any danger of her trotting over here to find me - she doesn’t have the resources to buy her own computer, much less an intercontinental plane ticket.

Re: the emails - sheer morbid curiousity. I can assure that it has absolutely nothing to do with any sort of emotional attachment whatsoever.

I re-established my ICQ account because I needed it to contact another IRL friend that I was going to be out of touch with for a couple of weeks. When I signed on the first time and she contacted me, I searched for profiles with her email address and put them all on the ignore list, but I guess she had a couple with a different address.

Much thanks to Istara for the site, and to everyone else who chipped in their thoughts. According to what seems to be the consensus, I’m going to block all email addresses, register a new ICQ account, and forget about her completely.

Again, I appreciate the support, and being reassured that I’m not a cold, unfeeling bastard.

Thanks all.

Um, okay… am I the only one that is wondering where the parents of Cruktar are in all this?! Beyond that, basically the most that can be done is to continue blocking email and ignoring, not even opening emails or snail mails/packages (return to sender). Cruktar, I’d like to suggest too that you at least talk to your parents about this situation, especially since the stalker has called, I am assuming on your parents phone line. Frankly, if this was my child that was being stalked, it certainly is something that I would want to know about and I would definitely try to step in and put a stop to it.



this is like “the thing” do do on ICQ it seems. scared me the first few times… then realized… there are ALOT of girls on ICQ that “fall in love” with me… then threaten suicide…

this has happened to me… more than once… ussally girls in australia. I don’t really know what it is… a game or something? mabey australian popular culture has a story like that that is very popular… and its fun to act it out… I don’t know… mabey girls really do love me … and its just a coincidence… happens… ALOT though… on ICQ… I don’t get it

Here in the UK, the phone companies will change your number free of charge if you are consistently recieving nuisance calls; is that the same over there - worth investigating even if it does cost you a few dollars.

I’d be tempted to write ‘no longer at this address, please return to sender’ on anything that arrives in the mail from her, but that might constitute mail fraud (since you actually are still at that address) - can anyone clarify?

If you absolutely have to contact her to try to cut it off, then be absolutely and utterly honest and straightforward; tell her you don’t want to remain in contact and that persuasion and threats are not going to change anything - if you try to invent excuses, she could think you’re just playing hard to get. But it’s probably better just to try to block it all or change email addresses.

You could complain to her ISP, but that might result in undesirable outcomes (you never really know how many wasps are in the nest until you poke it).

Cruktar, your situation really stinks. Happily this chick is halfway across the world.

I think the others have given good advice to ignore her completely. Any contact at all from you may encourage her. Even writing “Return to Sender” on a package may be encouraging to a stalker because she knows you wrote it. Instead simply throw it out. Delete e-mails without reading them. Block all addresses as soon as you know it’s her. Hang up if she calls. Block calls from Thailand if the phone company offers such a service.

Be diligent and patient. She’ll go away eventually.

And, in the future, I’d highly recommend investing in a post office box. They are really cheap. And stopping mail is as easy as canceling your po box.

Good luck.

Much of the below is merely repetition, but it does bear repeating:

1: Get a new ICQ account, without any details listed that would link you to the old one.

2: Get a new e-mail account. Web-based ones are all over the place.

3: More of a hassle, but change your phone number. Unlisted, so it doesn’t show up in white pages. Personally, I think the hassle is worth it if you can avoid coming home to “I just cut my wrists but not deep enough I miss yooooouuuu” messages.

4: Any snailmail received, mark “No longer at address, return to sender” and drop right back in a mailbox.

5: Do whatever you need to to come to peace with her not being your problem, and end your apparent continued attachment. A therapist, if you’re not opposed–this will more than likely sound far more harsh than it’s meant to be, sorry, but I’m going to call this as I see it–because that you’ve continued to accept letters, read e-mails from her, made no real attempt to change contact points that aren’t a hassle to do so, signed back onto ICQ with the exact same account and so forth, make me suspect that therapy is probably a little called for.

Good luck.

Not that it makes a huge difference… but …

Cruktar, are you male or female? Just curious…

  • Rick