can't figure out which state to go to so people won't think I'm stalking them

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by milkywaybars, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. milkywaybars

    milkywaybars New Member


    In State 1- Massachusetts- I am (accidentally) emotionally abusive to a really good person in a really bad situation I'll call Isaac. Then I bump into him at community college, I think it's not him because I'm faceblind, it is him and he thinks I'm stalking him afaik and his friends start following me around yelling at me from cars, which is good praxis if I was stalking him, but they have bad information. I have a student ID that proves I wasn't! I quit college to avoid him (not that I was going to get a degree there anyway), but these people still probably think I'm stalking him and are still honking at me and yelling stuff I can't make out.


    I move to Baltimore, because my family was violent, but I move a bit early to avoid this whole thing. I run into one of Isaac's friends, who I'll call Nancy, and she looks scared, and at first I tell myself I must not actually recognize her, because I'm faceblind. I do recognize her! When she walked by me, into a shop, the guy I was talking to- I'll say Drew- says he knows her, "she comes here every day, she feeds the homeless". I've told Drew where I work on weekends and that weekend she shows up. Doesn't come to bug me, just looks troubled and watches me. I end up telling her I think I know her, she says she thinks she knows me too. She leaves. Later I realize for sure where I know her from- and she DEFINITELY knows me, she wouldn't bother coming to my work if she didn't know me.

    Then I think I see Isaac on the bus! Weeks later! He's wearing a trench coat, big sunglasses, turban that seems not associated with a religion, and talking in a fake accent to anyone but me! I try to apologize to him and show him my student ID which proves I didn't stalk him. I'm not sure if it's him but this is definitely weird.


    After that I move to State 3 for various reasons. Since I am faceblind I start asking people who look at me askance in public if they are Isaac or his friends and showing them my ID. They all seem to not be. Then I am in an IKEA and someone is looking at me funny in the IKEA and he looks pretty Isaac-y but I honestly have no clue because I'm faceblind and I haven't really eaten and I start babbling at him like at first it makes more sense and then it's "I think you're not you but if you're you, this proves I didn't stalk anyone, and if you're you I can go to a different state, I've been in a bunch of states*" and he doesn't say "I'm not Isaac", he just says, "I'm walking away now" so I ask the other people working there if I'm making people nervous and they are nice but won't give me a straight answer. I explain to them that I made people nervous by not explaining things and now I'm making people nervous by explaining things, they have nothing for me.

    HELP??? Where do I go to make people not think I'm stalking them???

    * "been in a bunch of states" is a little misleading and I shouldn't have said it but I'm trying to make him understand that it's not like I mind moving
    • Witnessed x 1
  2. milkywaybars

    milkywaybars New Member

    Like, was Isaac in all three states somehow??? How do I go to a state where he isn't? Is the problem that I'm still too near the East Coast?
  3. leitstern

    leitstern 6756 Shatter Every Sword Break Down Every Door

    There’s no way to be sure but I don’t think all of these people were Isaac. I think you panicked and thought they were because you were worried about stalking Isaac, had him on your brain, and have trouble telling faces apart, so your brain unhelpfully told you that these strangers look like a guy you knew. I am 99% sure the last one was not Isaac and I think there is a good damn chance weird bus guy was not him either. I think they acted strangely because you frightened them by approaching them and then trying to explain a situation to them they actually had no information about and didn’t understand.

    I think the real problem is you’re obsessing about it, seeing trouble, and then pulling strangers into the situation. Be careful, they don’t know the situation and might not treat you well bc you’re trying to pull them into something out if the blue.

    If you’ve moved states you have already gone farther than the average restraining order would require. And even if you are DEAD CERTAIN someone is Isaac I think the best thing to do would be to NOT approach them, if he doesn’t want to see you then you should stop talking to him.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2019
    • Agree x 2
    • Like x 1
  4. milkywaybars

    milkywaybars New Member

    @leitstern Thank you, it is really good to have someone else's opinion.

    "If you’ve moved states you have already gone farther than the average restraining order would require."

    Yes, but, if I moved states and somehow ended up in the same state as him, then it looks like I stalked him across state lines and he has no real reason to believe that isn't true.

    "And even if you are DEAD CERTAIN someone is Isaac I think the best thing to do would be to NOT approach them, if he doesn’t want to see you then you should stop talking to him."

    That seems like it might be very right, however, if I had approached him at college and, like, asked him which common areas he wanted dibs on, that would have saved us a lot of grief. Instead of approaching him I stared at him with a creepy nervous grin on my face, trying to figure out who it was. Maybe I should have just looked away.
  5. leitstern

    leitstern 6756 Shatter Every Sword Break Down Every Door

    I see your issue. I think it’s good that you want to make boundaries and give him space. You want to be clear and certain on the situation for everyone. I also think you can get to a point where you’re trying too hard, if it makes sense. A discussion early on probably would have been helpful, but that opportunity has past. Now is now and everyone is trying to put this in the past. If he seems to not recognize you or really not want to talk unfortunately there’s probably nothing you can do to have a conversation. Trying to assure him you’re not stalking him might be useful if it is him, or he might be wishing you would stop trying to have a conversation with him when you accidentally bump into him. It would make me, personally, anxious. If it isn’t him but someone who looks like him, the conversation is confusing at best and scary at worst.

    Is there a third party you can approach to ask where he is or ask if there’s anything you can do to permanently sever ties? A friend of his that seemed level headed and just interested in solving the problem? A supervisor of some kind? A third party may be able to make sure you keep to separate spaces.

    I can tell you have his best interest in mind and you’re trying to improve yourself. It’s rough. Especially when your own brain is tricking you, which is how this sounds to me. Do you, personally, think you have obsessive tendencies, or that this was an unfortunate mistake? I have a an obsessive personality type (asd/hyperfocusing) so I would understand.
  6. milkywaybars

    milkywaybars New Member


    "A discussion early on probably would have been helpful, but that opportunity has past."

    I think you're right. If it was him at IKEA, I think it made things worse to babble at him, and that should have been quite obvious at the time. I don't know why it wasn't- that is, I don't know why I have so much trouble predicting consequences of actions or reading what people are thinking when I'm freaked out or low on food. Ugh. Thank you for the advice.

    "It would make me, personally, anxious."

    Thank you very much for that data point!

    As for the question- I don't want to know where he is, but I would like to know a few places where he isn't. Preferably ones with good public transportation and/or near my relatives. I don't think there's a third party who can help. I am not evil and would like to know where to go to avoid hurting him and if I thought there was a way to "make things right with him" (which I don't) I would try to do it, but a lot of what I have at heart is panic. Which is part of the problem. "Fear is the mind killer."

    I absolutely have obsessive tendencies. Thanks for the empathy. How do you deal with those? I have a history of fixating on people- pedestalizing, or getting worried obsessively about someone getting hurt, or hurting me, or hating me. Then my thinking has gotten distorted and my emotions have gotten way too intense- like, shaking because someone I was obsessed with talked to me casually. I've had some success with thought redirection/correction stuff and limiting or cutting contact with people I was distorted about (as well as "leaving the house and eating and journaling makes literally everything work way better"), but obviously I am still having some issues. (I think I need to get more structure ASAP, like as many ways as possible, like therapists and family and support groups and online support groups.) It makes me wonder if I have BPD and if there are meds for that. Do you know if these obsessive tendencies are possible to cut completely, or only to completely manage?
  7. milkywaybars

    milkywaybars New Member

    Update: Saw another person who looked pretty Isaac-y, passing by on the street. He was looking at me hard. He looked different from the IKEA person, but either of them could have been Isaac. This time I did not look at this person long, or talk to him.
    • Winner x 1
  8. dobedobedo

    dobedobedo Member

    well done, good work!
    • Agree x 2
  9. leitstern

    leitstern 6756 Shatter Every Sword Break Down Every Door

    I am sorry for taking so long to reply. I fell into a pretty nasty depressive episode and have been coming out of it.

    I was thinking of your problem from time to time. After some thought, I can't really think of anyone I know of who has eradicated their own obsessive tendencies. But I also think that just about everyone I know of who knows they have problems with being obsessive all improved after admitting they have these problems. TBH most people improved a lot too, went from feeling out of control to AT LEAST being aware of what they were doing and how to mitigate it. I think it's typically part of a larger emotional/personal pattern; that is, an autist is likely to have obsessive traits because they hyperfocus. Same with an ADHD person, they cannot focus on most things and devote their attention to a few things. A person with an emotionally sensitive personality type, like someone with BPD or AvPD, tend to also have these problems, because their anxious personality hyperfocuses on negative things for them. It's undesirable. (I almost certainly have an AvPD personality, I structure so much time on the subconscious goal of pushing difficult or overwhelming things farther and farther away.)

    Again, I think I only see these things improve with time, especially with age. The mid-20s/late-20s chill-out tends to treat people with these disorders well. That's medical; after the brain finishes forming at age 25ish, you typically see a real lessening of anxiety and obsessive tendencies, if not a lessening of the tendencies themselves, then the dramatic emotional backlash to them starts mellowing out. Personally I've never seen it just disappear but I see people find ways to wrangle it. A lot of it is picking things that can't be hurt badly by hyperfocusing, personal projects, fiction, and using that as a testing site for what can go wrong. You're doing good work already by putting out your problems honestly. For practical advice, yes, I see people take medication for obsessive and hyperfocusing thought patterns. Anxiety medication specifically. Often, the real problem is not focusing on one thing too much, it's the spiral of despair, anxiety, and self-hatred FOR your obsession that follows. When you cut that off with a cap to your anxiety, a ceiling it can't go above, you handicap your brain's ability to spiral out of control for hours and punish you for it. Then you can take the reins and think the fuck about something else. I'm thinking of at least three, four people who take anxiety medication, some at-will (like Buspar) for this purpose.

    Here's a good thought exercise: write, draw, think our, narrate, somehow dramatize the situation in your life. Fanfic it. Make your favorite character do it. Be as indulgent as you possibly can be. (Don't show anyone this. I have tons of these, resist the urge to show anyone who isn't, like, a psych. Please resist, for the sake of my embarrassing older self.) What do you not like about it when it's put that way? What do you think should be done now?

    When you say that you obsess over people getting hurt because of you, or in general, or hurting them somehow, that makes me think, actually, of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Are you scrutinizing your actions to find ways that they may hurt people? Do you take sometimes illogical or irrational steps to mitigate that harm from happening? Are they ritualistic, that is, you feel you must do these things always, and just one slip will cause the harm? I have less real-life experience with OCD and may be missing the mark.

    I personally follow the 'keep yourself busy' school. It's hard work and doesn't always work and it's quite hard to master. It's also usually useless advice to people so I don't prescribe it too often, but I try to keep a schedule, give myself things to do every day, try to reward myself for doing something. How does this help? It just gives me less time to think about things, on the one hand, keeps giving my brain new, different stimuli on the other. But I'm also easily distracted. My main problem is that I HATE switching gears, so building lots of activities into my day, which I can anticipate and get ready for, is the perfect solution. But if you give me work to do suddenly, no warning, just watch me throw a fit.

    I totally get what you mean, like... the things that helped me gain back my mental health best was a regular sleeping schedule. Sleeping medication. Sleeping. That gave me enough time and tools to start doing the rest of the work. Just squeezing a little fucking bit of happiness out of my brain was the start. Give yourself the tiniest bit of grace and do something indulgent, by yourself, no one watching. Use your brain to think any thought you want with no judgement. Then leave it there, by itself. Come back later. Make your own space for yourself and keep it for yourself dude. I have that space and I consider it irrelevant to the rest of my life. I don't worry about how I act there. Hell, it's a good foil to how I act in my real life. I imagine exactly what not to do and do something else when I come back.

    I haven't been doing well myself lately, I have to admit. I may not be giving the best, most solid advice in the world, I'm more throwing out a couple of the thigns that have helped me. ONCE UPON A TIME I was an absolutely shattered 20 yr old with so much paranoia and trauma that I could not talk to a single male-presenting person without terror except for... maybe 3 men I knew well. Now that is not a problem. Ever. Immersion, facing my fears, fictionalizing, giving myself grace, giving myself my own space, giving myself things to do.

    Oh, I thought of the one other thing I really wanted to mention to you, but I'mma put it in another post. Mostly because I'm getting derailed here and I know that.
  10. leitstern

    leitstern 6756 Shatter Every Sword Break Down Every Door

    I wanted to make sure to say that I think you're not evil either. I think you've been worried about that. You have been writing like a person who is very concerned about being evil and very determined to avoid being evil. I commend you. You're working hard. You're making mistake, but that one so determined to not be evil rarely is. You show a lot of compassion, concern, introspection, worry. I don't think you're evil. I think you're working very hard to be good and that you probably are very good.

    Can't say for sure since I don't know you too well :3 But there aren't a lot of truly evil people in this world and no one trying hard for goodness fails to find it. Good work.
    • Agree x 1
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