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The roots of obsessive thought have many causes –  environmental, genetic, and in some cases even familial. Intrusive thought occurs when inconsequential items (that would otherwise be filtered like junk mail) enlarge front and center in your mind. The person who suffers from hyper- vigilance believes that ever present danger resides just below the surface, waiting to leap onto their mind’s stage and steal the show.

This process of mental chain reaction can be initiated by force, prompted by the unwelcome attention of a workplace stalker. Stalkers nowadays are more sophisticated, plying their trade either behind closed doors or offsite (where no one can see it). Years of trash talk, frequent drive-bys, and constant phone calls can take their toll on the most stoic of persons. The stalker’s end game is to mentally own you – to permeate every aspect of your waking hours to satisfy his or her prurient interests.

An individual personified as sex object has solely utilitarian value. Most people try to flee this type of intrusion, but in doing so they accept the lesser of two evils – being vilified at work (by the stalker). Either way, stalkers make it clear that they will not leave their target alone.

Stalkers are concerned about they want, what they feel, and what they’re going to do if they don’t get it. They aggressively shove themselves on the target in hopes of wearing down his or her defenses. The more virulent strains of stalker use the telephone as a tracking device – calling and hanging up and calling and hanging up multiple times per day in an attempt to force their target to answer the phone. Their relentless pursuit results in obsessive transference, in which the stalker’s mania is implanted inside the target’s mind.

Stalker behavior is like a thousand barnacles inside their victims’ brains. The catastrophes manufactured in target thought process can overtake them, becoming a debilitating handicap that is difficult to overcome. Some stalking victims feel that their mental balance can tip at any time, engulfing them in spasmodic mental contractions which culminate in compulsive behavior.

Reports of breakdown, anxiety, and depression are common in victims who have experienced stalking. Stalkers’ mission is to asphyxiate their target’s independence, so that what’s left is chained and dependent (on them). They imagine a relationship that’s nonexistent, disregard the target’s boundaries, and then proceed to become incensed when their attention is unrequited. This type of onslaught is difficult for anyone to bear – which is why some individuals break underneath the strain.

If breakdown occurs, victims are then in the exact position in which the stalker wants them – weak, debilitated, betrayed, confused, and isolated from their peers at work. It may be impossible for some to reclaim their dignity once they’ve been smeared in this fashion.

Incessantly talking about another person is a sure sign of obsession. If you know someone at work who continually maligns an employee, unabashedly discussing  him or her at meetings, in hallways, and at work related functions, recognize this as the warning sign of a potentially sick individual [and choose not to participate in their charade]. Better yet, offer a gesture of support to the person in the stalker’s cross-hairs.

Stalking at work continues when people fail to discuss the issues and shine a floodlight on problem behavior.

According to … exhaustive research…over twenty-five years, severely threatening life events are responsible for triggering initial depression. These events typically involve loss-of a valued person, of a role, of an idea about yourself-and are at their worst when they involve humiliation or a sense of being trapped” (Solomon, 2001)

Like a mantra, repeat the following:

I will not humiliate my colleagues.
I will not humiliate my colleagues.
I will not humiliate my colleagues.

If you’re prone to abusive behavior, do it while you’re sitting in a meeting. Save other people by saving them from your worst self.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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