Update: Following a 3 month battle with this creep, including his failed attempt to silence me by taking out (and subsequently dropping) a counter-order on me, he has finally been imprisoned for his relentless harassment.
On Being Stalked (again)
The first time I was stalked was by my ex-husband. After years of controlling and abusive behaviour from him, I left, sending him into a spiral of rage. He keyed my car, threatened to kill me and himself, lied to family and friends about me, called my phone at all hours, and turned up on my doorstep at home and at work; simply because I left him.
The experience taught me a lot about what controlling, entitled people do when they think they’ve unjustly lost their possessions.
And now it’s happening again, this time with someone I wasn’t married to, but who viewed me as his possession nonetheless. I try not to bring my private life too far into the public eye, but since he is making overt threats to my business, this needs to be said so that the record is set straight. I will not be cowed.
Firstly, some advice: if, at any point in the relationship, you get the feeling that your partner is trying to control or coerce you: they probably are. Read about what that sort of behaviour looks like here. Leave them.
Secondly, do not fall into the trap of being ashamed of the fact that you let this person into your life. People with personality disorders are great at hiding their true selves. In the same vein, do NOT let anyone get away with victim blaming by saying things to you like, “You should have known better” or “What did you do to provoke it?”. Normal people don’t stalk and threaten others when their relationship ends. Crazy people do. You didn’t provoke this. You didn’t bring this upon yourself.
Thirdly, stalkers are cowards. They get their kicks from trying to make you scared, but in most (not all) cases, they back right off when they feel the scrutiny of the police and courts, so don’t hesitate to report them and have appropriate orders put in place. Once you do that though, you must not let a single breach of those orders slide. You have to be steadfast. Do not wait for their behaviour to escalate. Again, it is not normal for someone to continue to contact you once they have been ordered not to do so.
If a stalker threatens to blackmail you by revealing or making up secrets about you, remember this: stalking and harassment are probably far worse than anything you’ve done. Stand up to them.
Which brings me onto the stalker currently trying to manipulate me. I am an open book. I have nothing to hide. That’s making him very upset. I haven’t done anything bad enough to warrant his abuse, so he’s making things up to justify his bad behaviour. It’s a classic straw man move.
Want to know what he has concocted in his mind about me? Here it is: Apparently I’m a member of a cult (Scientology) and my entire business, including a busy practice, an education coaching business, three books, 23 online courses and a fairly healthy following on social media is a front. I’m a “pretty shill” (thanks very much for the compliment) and my “cover has been blown”.
I’m not sure what the mechanism is regarding what he thinks I actually do or how, as a sole parent I find time to do it, but I’m reminded of the episode of Father Ted when he is accused of being a racist and a parishioner wonders if they should follow suit:
“I hear you’re a racist now, Father. Should we all be racist now? What’s the Church’s position? Only the farm takes up most of the day, and at night I just like a cup of tea. I mightn’t be able to devote myself full time to the old racism.”
The sad thing is, the stalker and I were great fans of Father Ted and I even bought this mug to give him at Christmas. Guess I’ll be drinking out of it instead.
The only secret activity I’ve been involved in this year was taking Irish lessons to surprise him on his birthday in December. He’s Irish and speaks the language. My plan was to reveal it all in well-formed Irish sentences to show him how much I appreciated him and his culture. Below is my notebook of words and phrases I was learning. Nach mór an trua, an feall, é!
I’ve switched to learning Maori now.
That’s what I made time and space in my life for, not Scientology. He got the idea from my telling him that I had once been a Scientologist (because I don’t hide things, remember?). In fact, I’ve always been up front about Scientology. In 2016, on the DDOLL Network, someone asked about the education arm of Scientology and I wrote, to everyone on that list: my peers, my colleagues, my mentors, out in the open, the following:
“Oh I can tell you all about the Scientology in education view. When I was very young and very naive I was involved in their nasty church.
Happy to go into detail re ‘Study Tech’, but suffice to say, you are absolutely right, Yvonne, they purport to being non-profit but all their front groups are directly involved in driving ‘raw meat’ into the churches and money into their coffers. They often make massive submissions by hundreds of adherents, who do it as a form of penance, but they actually have no idea what they’re talking about.
This is one of the reasons I’m linking a study of cults in education to answer the question ‘why does poor literacy teaching persist?’ in my next book. I find strong parallels in the thinking of adherents of WL and adherents of cults like Scientology and other religions. Moving back to a secular world-view has ignited my passion for reason and science. None so devout as the converted, as they say.
Feel free to ask me anything about Hubbard and his teachings, if you’re curious. They will not be favourable answers though.”
Right there. In front of my peers. You can look it up. Because I am an open book. I have nothing to hide. I used my experience to write several chapters of my third book to examine cults and cultish behaviour. It was the best I could do to make good of a bad situation.
Of course the creepy stalker didn’t know that about me. He didn’t know that I had already made good my mistake and assumed I was trying to hide it. It was, in his mind, a weak spot. I refuse to be controlled by so-called weak spots.
Nevertheless, in one of his paranoid delusions, he wrote to me:
“Your contact with X [an old friend] indicates to me that either you never really left a cult, or have failed to see scientology [sic] for what it is, something a person of even mean intelligence and understanding should be able to do.
I do not think that any ideas aligned with scientological theory and practice have any place in the education of children, no matter how congruent these may be with good teaching.
As a consequence I have written to every Catholic Education Office, and shall endeavor to contact every Christian school in the country to inform them of my concerns over the links between Lifelong Literacy and the scientologiy [sic] movement. I shall also raise my concerns with the Commonwealth minister for skills and training, and every state department of education.
This may require further expansion of your portfolio of identities, and I apologise for the potential polynomious panic, but this will be v10.0 for you, so it’s not something you regard as that big a change. A name is easier to change that a mindset.
I am looking forward to travelling to X to talk to X. I have a number of friends who cannot wait to meat [sic] him also. His thoughts and views will be very entertaining when we publish an interview with him.”
Aside from threatening my friends, he’s now concocted a second accusation: That I change my identity to somehow avoid something he hasn’t quite specified. So, for the record, here it is:
I switched from my family surname to my husband’s surname (Cottee) when I first got married. As far as I know, that’s common practice and my children still bear his name. He died of cancer in 2010, which was one of the factors in his cessation of stalking and harassment.
When I remarried, I took my husband’s name again (Stone). Now, despite our (amicable) separation, I have kept this name because it’s easier to spell than the last two surnames (I work in education) and it’s the name on all three of my books. Nefarious, huh?
I was also born on St Patrick’s Day, and even though they addressed me as “Lyn” all my life, my parents put “Patricia” on my birth certificate first, to please the Irish nuns that delivered me. The family tradition for the girls was to place the surname of great-grandparents as a middle name, so I had that going on too. Four names. My huge name didn’t fit into boxes on forms a lot of the time, so for the sake of simplicity, I dropped Patricia and the other surname and am simply Lyn Stone. Wooo! International woman of mystery!
And yet the coward feels perfectly justified in threatening to write lies about me and my friends under a pseudonym:
“X can be an imaginary hierarch. X a film maker, you a clinical director, it takes no great stretch of reality for me to assume a pen name and take up muck-raking journalism.”
In this past week alone, to hide his own identity, the stalker has so far:
Taken to sending me abusive emails from this address, showing as the “UK Literacy Association” in the hope that I open them: [email protected]
Changed the subject line in emails to “Finn’s breathing” (this is my dog who recently had throat surgery) in the hope that I read them,
Sent me increasingly bizarre text messages from a phone booth (see screenshot)
He drove to my house at least six times on the day I ended the relationship, purportedly to drop my things off that I’d left at his house. Dude, put them in a bag and make one trip.
Apart from being laughable, there is a serious side to this. The stalker has to invent me as a character. The real me, the one who rejected him, doesn’t satisfy an urge in him, and that urge is to harm. I’ve seen this behaviour before.
In the following weeks, he drove past constantly, sent flowers, offered to walk my dog, sent poetry and weird pages of handwritten Latin verse, and when that didn’t work and I asked him to stop, he turned.
The messages became nasty, the threats started. Just like before.
So if you hear rumours about me, do me a favour and come to me. I’ll answer anything and provide evidence wherever possible to refute his pathetic claims and any others like it.
In the meantime, I refuse to be controlled by anyone, and would advise those who are experiencing similar to take courage and take action. Stalkers are cowards.
2 thoughts on “Lying in Wait – Standing up to Stalkers”
Good on ya’ Lyn!!!
Standing up for what’s right again, I see! Whether in professional or personal life, I see you speaking clearly to the truth, without sugar-coating.
Thanks Sara. Lovely to see you! x