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Baby Reindeer To Real Life: Psychologist Explains 5 Types Of Stalkers

Forensic psychologists have identified five different types of stalkers, and Martha from Netflix’s current number-one show, Baby Reindeer, could be one of them.

Baby Reindeer is reshaping people’s understanding of what stalking actually looks like.

The character Martha, played by actor Jessica Gunning, exemplifies the characteristics of what forensic psychologists call an intimacy-seeking stalker.

Forensic psychologist Troy McEwan outlines the five types of stalking on the Crime Insiders podcast, ‘The psychology of stalking’:

Forensic behavioural scientist Troy McEwan said on the Crime Insiders podcast, “Most stalking can look fairly similar. It kind of divides up into two broad things. Angry. Intimidating. Threatening. Desperate. Loving. Pleading.”

But when you start looking into the motivations and characteristics of stalking, McEwan said, it gets a little more complex:

The Rejected stalker  

The first and most common type is an ex-partner who didn’t want the relationship to end or is vengeful over the hurt they felt. 

For the rejected stalker, the relationship doesn’t need to be romantic, it could be the end of a friendship or professional relationship.

The Incompetent Suitor stalker  

This type of stalker is someone who is desperate for a relationship but struggles to approach people in a socially acceptable way. 

They are often more obsessed with the idea of having an intimate connection rather than the victim themself.

If they are rejected, they often won’t persist for long and will fixate on another person.

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The Intimacy-Seeking Stalker

This type of stalker believes they are in a relationship with their victim already, just like Martha.

These perpetrators can often suffer from mental illnesses such as Erotomania, where the person believes that another person is in love with them. 

They might turn to attention-seeking acts that make the victim aware of their existence. 

For example, when an infamous stalker shot US President Ronald Reagan to get the attention of actor Jodie Foster

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Is Martha from Baby Reindeer an ‘intimacy-seeking stalker’? Forensic psychologists say she is. There are five types of stalkers, each distinguished by their motivations and methods. Behavioural science expert Troy McEwan outlines them on the latest episode of Crime Insiders.

♬ original sound – LiSTNR Crime Team

The Resentful stalker

This stalker profile is usually driven by grievance. They believe they have been mistreated by their victim or what their victim represents. For example, an employee of a company they feel wronged by.  

Unlike the previous types, these stalkers are more overtly threatening to scare their victims. 

The Predatory Stalker

A predatory stalker is someone who uses stalking as a part of their deviant sexual behaviour. 

Unlike the others, this type is not about communicating with the victim. It’s the opposite. 

The stalker gains sexual gratification from voyeurism, and the act of stalking itself is arousing for this person. 

Forensic psychologist Troy McEwan dives into the five types of stalking and how they are linked to crimes on the latest episode of Crime Insiders. You can listen on the free Listnr app.