One of the embarrassing things about being stalked is that it doesn’t just happen to you. No, when someone has decided to focus on you, it smears all over your friends and family. My brothers were followed, because my problem couldn’t always tell if it was me or them in the car. Guys I was friendly with got threatened for talking to me. My mom got to hear about what a whore I was. And on and on.
It was not an easy time. When my brother was “borrowed” after school when I’d been out sick with pneumonia and my problem wanted to have an accounting of how I’d spent my week, I got in trouble for not being able to control my friends. I also got sent over to this guys house on a few occasions to “make up” with him because my behavior toward him was the problem, since it was causing him to act this way toward me, though no one could explain to me what, exactly, I should be doing differently.
It’s weird, in some ways, because that was so long ago and I don’t really feel any anger toward him any more. We were kids. He was fucked up. And it’s been over for a long time. When I am forty, it will have been twenty years.
But the thing that has stuck with me, at my heels like a shadow I can never lose, is that feeling that, objectively, knowing me meant you had to be involved in this fucked up shit, even though, what I would wish for you more than anything is that it wouldn’t affect you in the slightest. That you would never notice.
I know, intellectually, of course, that it wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t protect people from what was happening to me. But I still get this feeling, every once in a while, that it sucks for people to know me and like me, because their relationship with me might give someone else an excuse to abuse them.