A few years back I dated this guy. Let’s call him Cyber Stalker, or CS for short. CS seemed totally normal at first. He was good looking, charming, well-educated and intelligent. After awhile, though, he started to creep me out. He would make comments about how often I went on the dating site where we met. He wanted to know how many other guys I was seeing. Then he told me he found my profile on another site. CS also knew stuff about me I had never told him. Apparently he had googled me, looked at my resume and found articles I had written in college. I had a blog at the time and the page hits went up exponentially after I met CS. I’d love to attribute this to something other than CS combing through every word I had ever written, but I know the score.
One night I was on the dating site where CS and I had met. I got an email from a man that, based on his profile, seemed perfect — tall, creative, successful, rich, intelligent. I talked to Mr. Perfect for a few days on messenger. We talked for hours. The only weird thing was that Mr. Perfect never wanted to talk on the phone.
I eventually found out why when CS called me up screaming. He called me a lying bitch and a whore. See, there was no Mr. Perfect. CS had created a fake profile and I had been talking to him the whole time. Not that it was any of his business, but a couple of times I had told CS I was going to bed, then stayed up talking to Mr. Perfect. I’d also told CS I was only looking for a casual relationship, but then told Mr. Perfect I was looking for a long term relationship. This is why CS felt justified in calling me a liar. It never occurred to him that his lies far outweighed mine.
I don’t know why I kept seeing CS, but I did. After we broke up, I found out that Mr. Perfect wasn’t the only fake account he created. He also created a fake female account to talk to other men on the dating site that he suspected I was seeing.
Around this time I made the mistake of agreeing to meet a different guy in public without ever hearing his voice on the phone. I went to the coffee shop where we had planned to meet and waited and waited, but the guy never showed. Later I found out that this was another account that CS had fabricated. He sat home laughing his ass off while I got stood up by a phantom of his creation.
We finally broke up. CS left me alone for awhile. But once and awhile I would get these texts from numbers I didn’t recognize saying things like, “sorry babe, my test results came back positive.” This was CS’s sick idea of a joke. I learned to ignore him.
Six months after we stopped seeing each other, I was living in a new apartment. I was in a wild mood one night and put ad on Craigslist looking for a casual hookup. Stupidly I let one guy come over to my house without first meeting him in public. We had talked on the phone, and he sounded cool, but the private number he called from should have been a red flag. I’m sure you can guess where this is going. When my doorbell rang it was CS on my doorstep. The strangest thing about this was that I didn’t even post pictures in my ad. How could he tell it was me just from my words? I was freaked out, but ended up having sex with him anyway.
After that, CS came over a few more times, almost always unannounced. I knew he was crazy, but I was crazy too. So even though I was angry, it never stopped me from sleeping with him.
All of the above is true, except for one major detail.
In real life the roles were reversed.
My ego likes to portray a certain image, even in recovery. I am the sweet little girl who was dealt a shitty hand. I was abused, neglected, abandoned all throughout childhood. Then as an adult I was constantly victimized by men — raped, used and abused, lied to, humiliated. All of that is true, but I’m also a perpetrator.
I attempted to control, lied to, and violated men that I was obsessed with. I hate, hate, hate the word stalker, but that’s what I was. At least it’s what I DID. Because at my core, I’m not a stalker. Stalking goes against every moral code I have. I would never ever violate a friend, a family member, a coworker, a neighbor, or anyone else by invading their privacy. But every conviction I have goes out the window when I am hooked on someone. The addiction takes over and my authentic self is lost. It’s an extremely dark place that I could easily revisit.
But every day spent in recovery brings me farther and farther into the light.