Over the years we have attended a nearby non-denominational church off and on.
I lost my wife a while back, and am a cancer survivor myself. My grief support group leader suggested that I try a cancer support group, under the premise that taking care of my wife after my own treatment didn't leave me any chance to resolve my own cancer issues. The church above offers a weekly cancer support group, so I went three times since July. It actually was kind of good to talk about things.
It's a friendly group, and I'm not in any hurry to get home to my empty house, so I also sometimes stand around talking to people afterwards too.
So... Now I'm getting too much attention from the cancer group leader. Relentless invitations to go hiking. The men's breakfast at "his other" church (apparently he belongs to a different church and is fully active at both). On a whim I went to the Saturday night service yesterday, and he was there volunteering as an usher. He wandered by during the service and said he'd talk to me afterwards in the lobby.
Ok, seemed random enough, but instead he turned up a few minutes later and plopped into the seat next to me for the duration. The dude is massive. He's doing keto, and has apparently lost 100+ pounds, but he's still massive. I had to turn sideways in my seat and felt a little awkward. I wanted to move over but didn't want to seem rude.
Then he invites me to dinner. I didn't really want to go, but say I could grab something quick. He looks disappointed, so I say ok I can go somewhere. He suggests a nearby pizza place. He orders first at the counter and then insists on paying for mine. Then insists I take some of his food.
On the way out, more invitations. Hiking. Men's breakfast. Church conference Tuesday night--he says he can get me a ticket to the "sold out" event. I tell him I'm teaching that night and can't (true). He asks me if I want to go to the related breakfast the next morning. I tell him not really, that I'm not an early bird.
At some earlier point I made the mistake of giving him my phone number. Tonight, my phone rings at 11pm. It's him. I don't answer. Voicemail says to call him and that he'll be up until midnight. Text message to the same effect arrives before I can even listen to the voicemail.
I text back after about 20 minutes that I'm out with friends (as an excuse to not call) and "what's up?" He responds that he's bought a ticket for the breakfast, and wants to know if I want him to get me one. I say no, I have a dentist appointment (true).
At first I thought he was a little pathetic and probably lonely. Now he's gone from perhaps a little too friendly, to annoying, to really creepy in a matter of days. I'm tired of the relentless invitations to events at not one but two churches, tired of making polite excuses, and as of tonight I'm really weirded out by this guy.
Btw, on top of all of the above, I learned Saturday night that he's a prison guard, literally. His over-the-top attention is really creeping me out.
This is stuff I’ve had to deal with too. It feels really horrible and no you are not crazy. I think deep down I felt disappointed and hurt too, because you think you’re just making a supportive friends, but turns out they actually need something (and too much) from you.
Is this man gay? Just a thought and probably not. But if not he does have an agenda, like getting you into his church. Or he could just be controlling generally and that’s the extent of it.
Speaking as a woman who has dealt with this a lot (not just in a dating context though, women do it too) you have two choices. You can confront him and calmly but clearly state your boundaries, ie. that you prefer to do your own thing, and if you want to go to dinner, breakfast or to church with him or anyone else, you will let them know - you need your space and don’t want people calling you up. That should work, and if not you then have grounds for a harassment charge (but I’m sure it won’t come to that). OR you can change your number and never go anywhere he will be ever again.(!)
Sorry you have experienced this after going through so much already, it’s the last thing you need. You kind of need him out of the way so you can continue making better acquaintances.
Most people know better than to call at 11 p.m. I think your instincts are on target. You might try something like, "I'm not interested in doing any activities right now. If I change my mind, I'll let you know." But it sounds to me like you might have to give that church and that support group a good, long, break.
You also might consider asking around (in a subtle way) about him. If he's doing this to you, there's a good chance that he's done it to others as well. And the other people may have figured out what he's up to.
I've had stalkers, but there was a girl I met in the singles ward. She ended up being my roommate because my roommate was moving out and she told this girl I was going to need a roommate. She wanted me to spend every free moment with her. Then she married a guy who had been asking me out for months and he finally asked her out. I always turned him down. I was not interested.
So they got married. I got married 9 months later. Then it was she and her husband asking us to go somewhere. If I said we had plans that evening, then how about the next evening or the next or the next. AND of all things, I worked at the same company as she did, so I couldn't get rid of her.
We had to just freeze them out. I'm a people pleaser, so this was very difficult for me to do. If you give them any little tiny bit of hope by doing something just to be nice, then you have to start all over again.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/30/2019 10:19AM by cl2.
Done & Done Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Being nice is over rated. Big Time. > > You will have to come straight out and say it. "I > have to wash my hair that night."* > > > > > > > When I was a kid this is what girls said to guys > who called them for a date they didn't want to go > on.
The obvious answer is to remove yourself from the cancer group, and that church. It is likely that he is misreading you. It is very difficult for men to read women, because women sometimes hide their feelings, which leads to a double bind - i.e. is she disinterested or is she playing hard to get? This leads to a lot of wasted time (and money), dancing around and, yes, pain.
I have mixed feelings about talking groups. I think that they do help people, especially addicts, and allow people to speak their minds. However, I also think they have a tendency to flatter members, whereas sometimes people need to be told hard truths.
are you a male? he really likes you. or is very lonely, he feels connected to you, but you don't. maybe you should never be with him again, maybe this guy is a mental case and you are picking up bad vibes from him.
I hope I don't come across like this to some people, I get obsessed too, I have to control myself
You don't need a new best friend, or a personal social director. And participating in the support group shouldn't mean being badgered incessantly by this guy. If he can't respect normal boundaries and social mores, than he shouldn't be leading the group (IMO).
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/30/2019 08:02PM by Gordon B. Stinky.
It's been nearly two months. This guy not only creeped me out, he alarmed me. Seriously. I was worried he might turn up at my house. Or worse. At the same time, I didn't want to overreact. So I just sort of let it go.
Now I seem to be back on his radar. I started going to a class, and was actually reluctant to because it meets the same night as the cancer group, but later so I hoped that he wouldn't notice. And you'd think it wouldn't be a big deal anyway, at least not to normal people. But...
Two weeks ago I saw him gawking through a glass wall into the classroom, and, sure enough, afterward he was inexplicably walking back and forth across the empty building's large lobby. I could see him from the 2nd floor mezzanine outside the classroom, so I ducked out a side door to avoid him.
No class last week because of Thanksgiving, but last night he was in the lobby waiting again. I pretended not to see him, and made a beeline for the door, and could see his reflection in the plate glass windows as he trotted across the big lobby to catch me, and then calling out "can we talk?" I pretended not to hear him, but he caught up with me at the vestibule and asked again, so I turned around and said, "No," and added a line which I had fortunately mentally rehearsed earlier when he was weirding me out and I worried that he'd probably cross my path again: "I said 'no contact.' This is contact. NO CONTACT!"
As I turned to go out the door he started saying he just wanted to apologize. Trouble is, he's already "apologized." He just doesn't like my non-response. I'm obviously supposed to forgive and forget, and give him "another chance" at whatever freak show he's pursuing too "aggressively." I was actually a little nervous about pushing out in the dark to go to my car, but didn't know what else to do. Fortunately, he didn't follow me out.
I double-checked the last email I sent, and said "I don't want any contact at all. None." He hasn't called, texted or emailed, but now he seems to be stalking me at the church and trying to engineer a "chance" meeting in the lobby.
I'm wondering if it's time to "officially" let someone know.
>>I'm wondering if it's time to "officially" let someone know.
(**implied swearage ahead, mates!)
I think there is a time and a place to be angry and swear. You are at that point. "I want you to F--- off. Did you hear me? F--- OFF you GDF-ing son of a bleep, bleep, bleep! If you attempt to contact me or follow me again, I will go to the police to request a restraining order. Is that what you need to F--- off, you nasty bleep, bleep, bleep, a restraining order? Do you need to be on the radar of the local police? Because that is where you will be."
That's about as firm a "no" as you can get. If that doesn't get through to him, then you will need that restraining order.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2019 07:26PM by summer.
So the next day (Monday) I sent an email, and cc’ed the church staffer whom he always cc’s on emails, saying this:
“Please remove me from the group roster and mailing list.”
I had decided to not offer any details, so that he wouldn’t have anything to “negotiate” over, and assumed he’d get the picture.
He responded the next morning as follows:
“I have removed you from the mailing list as you requested. I also sent out an email to the group requesting that they delete your name if they have you on their mailing list. If you need anything you have my number and email address. Please feel free to contact me.”
Seems reasonable, except that the broadcast instruction to the entire group to delete my email address seems weird (he should have been bcc’ing anyway).
I had assumed my direct message to be removed from the group would be sufficient, but it wasn’t. Later in the day my phone rang. It was him. I didn’t answer. It rang twice more in the next few minutes. He finally left a voicemail asking if I also wanted him to remove my phone number from his phone too. So he’s not so dense that he doesn’t realize that my “rejection” may be larger in scope than the support group, but he’s apparently hoping it it’s not....
So, the next day I sent the following by email:
“Re. your phone message, I don't want any contact at all. None. I didn't come to the cancer support group to find a new best friend, or a personal social director. I'm tired of the relentless invitations, but the late-night call about an event in which I had already expressed disinterest was the last straw. You don't seem to ever hear, ‘no.’ Your attention makes me increasingly uncomfortable, and is unwanted. Thanks for understanding. “
I had decided again not to offer much detail, but to try to be very direct w/o name calling or accusations. Naturally, in spite of saying that I want no contact, he responded not once, but twice. The next morning he sent this:
“Thank you for letting me know what I did wrong. That is the only way that I can correct my actions. I'm sorry and apologize and hope you will forgive me. My intention was not to make you feel uncomfortable or upset you. I'm trying hard to keep the cancer group going and my agresivness has caused you to leave. I will keep the group strictly that and not get social outside the group unless asked. Sorry to have lost you as a member of the group. Your thoughts and input will be missed by all. I'm asking as a Christian for your forgiveness and a second chance. I pray that one day you may return to the group. I've deleted your number from my phone. Thanks for your support in the past. God bless!”
Then a little later he sent this:
“I wouldn't have called you late that night but I had purchased a ticket from [the church] and my church offered me a free ticket and a ride to the event and I wanted to go with them. It was a short notice and I was trying to give the ticket away so it wouldn't go to waste. You where the only one that may have been able to use it at the time. I ended up giving it to one of the pastors Tuesday night to try and give away. Again I'm sorry and apologize.”
This second followup of excuses is just complete BS. As I mentioned above, I had told him I did not want to go. But even more so, because he kept badgering me about my polite excuse (that i don’t care for these crack-of-dawn events) that I finally said “look, I can get up if I want to. I just don’t want to go.” But the guy never hears “no”.
So, the notion that it would otherwise be “wasted” is bull$hit. If he gave it to me it WOULD be wasted, because I had no intention of going.
To the notion that it was short notice...bull$hit...the event was three days away.
To the notion that only I could use it...bull$hit...he could have broadcast the whole group, or Facebook, or whatever (and I had no intention or interest in using it). Even emailing me would have been less intrusive than calling me at 11pm.
Even the notions that I’ve been supportive or will be missed is bull$hit. I’ve only been three times, several weeks apart. Only one other person has even been there all three times. And only one twice. It’s apparently a revolving group of attendees. No one knows me, let alone will miss me.
To me it all just seems like manipulation, but a couple of his odd word choices reconvince me that it’s not “friendship” that he’s looking for, and I wonder if anyone else notices.
Anyway, I’m ranting some here instead of lashing out at him directly. I’m torn between just ignoring him at this point, or really doubling down on “no more contact” (phone, email, snail mail, don’t show up on my doorstep, etc, and cc’ing the church person again. I did not cc her the second time, but probably should have.
Your instincts are on target. I would block his phone number and send his emails to junk mail. Unfortunately, I think this is the end of your participation in that church entirely unless you want to get the pastor involved. But there are a lot of other churches out there. There are also likely other cancer support groups in your community. If you contact your community hospital, they can put you in contact with such groups. You can also try your local health department.
We should have guessed that this guy wouldn't let you go easily. (Just like the Mormon cult doesn't let you go, without fighting and making you jump through hoops.
Your "stalker" is scary. I'm a woman, and have had many men stalk me like that and--yes--a few women.
By cc-ing the entire support group, this guy made sure that you left the group with no other friends. This is vindictive behavior.
You are right--he is feeding you lies and excuses, and trying to flatter you into letting him control your life.
Do you have money? Stalkers have wanted to marry me. Do you own your own house? Female stalkers have wanted to live in my house: "It's such a waste--it's unfair--for you to have such a big house, with only you living there." Stalkers have tried to make me feel guilty, have used religion to manipulate me into giving them money and attention, have even said that I am the answer to their prayers. Believe me, I have been where you are!
The only solution is NO CONTACT. Block his phone number and e-mail address. With more e-mail programs, you can leave an automatic message. Make it impersonal and stern, such as "You have been blocked from this e-mail address. Stay away from that church, for a long time, or until this guy moves on to fresh conquests. People like this frighten me, and some have turned out to be actual criminals! Don't do anything to threaten or aggravate him.
DO NOT "lash out at him directly." Run! "Disappear" as one poster said.
You already know what happens when you try to contact this creep, and when you contact anyone else to talk about him. If you run into him, look past him, and walk on. If he accosts you, tell him to leave you alone, and walk away.
I've had to shake off a lot of stalkers. Most of them were Mormons, and some even family members. Ghosting is the only thing that works.
This is a learning experience for you, as there are too many people like this running around. Next time, you will know what to do, to avoid situations like this.
I'm sorry someone ruined your nice church experience. There are a lot of nice non denominational congregations out there. Good luck.
Your feelings tell you everything. Unfortunately such people twist things in a way that is crazy making which results in ruminating and fuming over things. It’s understandable.
My advice is to not respond at all in any way shape or form. With any luck this will be the end of it. If it’s not, then you could probably ignore one more attempt at contact before telling him again not to contact you. Beyond that you will need a restraining order.
I really don’t think any of that will happen. If it does, let us know, I’ve dealt with this stuff myself in various forms. Usually people get bored and go away. Don’t feed it :-)
The "I'm a Christian and you must forgive me" is an attempt to guilt you into further contact. Don't fall for it. I wouldn't be surprised if he tries next, "I feel so guilty for my actions I could kill myself" in a desperate final attempt at contact. Don't fall for it. If he threatens depression and self- harm, call social services and report him as a possible suicide risk but do it anonymously and insist on no contact or involvement. He's basically stalking you.
Your local police department may have a detective with a stalking and harassment focus. I suggest calling their non-emergency public line and asking for police input on what's best to do at this point and how to stay safe.
In the meantime, if I were you, I'd avoid any potential places where you might inadvertently crossing paths with this individual as they may take visual contact with you as encouragement to attempt to push things more. It sucks to have to curtail your own activities, and I don't want to give you Chickem Little-ish jitters, but what you've written does make me concerned for you, and I want to support you in your choice to go no-contact with this person. You aren't crazy, I think you're quite perceptive and ultimately, I would advise you to put your safety first always.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/06/2019 11:26PM by ptbarnum.
Thanks for these thoughts and suggestions, ptbarnum.
Re. chicken little-ish thoughts, I'm no shrinking violet, but this guy's antics really unnerved me. I mean to the point of double-checking my door locks at night, locking my bedroom door, which I've never done before, and even checking doors and windows when I come home to an empty house.
Describing his own behavior as "aggressive" in his "apology" seems odd to me. As does asking for a "second chance." At what? What is he pursuing "aggressively?" This is the vocabulary of romance, not two guys who are acquainted after three support group meetings. Insisting on buying me dinner, and insisting I try his food...these are romantic overtures. And now he's resurfaced and apparently stalking me at the church. I have no interest in hearing more manipulative "apologies" or giving him a second chance at whatever it is he has in mind. And I don't want to discover what more alarming things he won't listen to "no" are.
The thing he most relentlessly suggested and invited and invited and re-invited me to do was hiking in the woods or Shenandoah Valley. The last place I want to be with this guy is a remote mountain trail...
He is way past socially inept and irritating, or interested in something I'm not and accepting a polite "no thanks." He never hears "no," and from where I sit he seems very predatory.
I've decided to simply skip class this week. It's the last night of the class, and I'd like to go, but I'm not going to risk another "chance" encounter. I don't know why I'm on his radar, but I don't like it and I'm not going to risk it.
I think you're right about the romantic angle, it does sound that way. It's certainly too pushy to be just friendship, at least the way most people perceive friendship.
Keep listening to your instincts, you sound like you have your mind clear and are reacting in the right way. I am glad there is an email trail and voicemails establishing a consistent pattern of you being very clear. Keep a good hold on those.
The hiking thing is just all sorts of weird. I'm so glad you didn't go, I'd like to think that it's just this rather maladjusted person's idea of being romantic, but it seems sinister on a gut level and I've learned not to ignore the gut. If this person starts pushing the limits again, take the contact records to the police, and tell them specifically about the hiking invitations.
I hope that he just drops out of your existence and you can find another support group with no creepers.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/10/2019 11:37PM by ptbarnum.
Re. the romantic angle, I remembered a detail about the night we went to eat: when we were leaving he actually sort of pinned me down at my car door. I stood by the open door for I don't know how long with him yammering on and on and on, relying on the awkward "can't be rude and turn away" dynamic. He must have shaken my hand a dozen times, and wouldn't shut up, trying to prolong the goodbye.
Ignore the accusation of you being a Narcissist. When you have a real stalker, you feel the opposite of "flattered". You feel very afraid. I was brutally attacked by one stalker at BYU. Another stalker threatened suicide, when I told him to get out of my life, and I called my uncle, who worked at the BYU mental hospital, but my uncle called the police and had him jailed, instead of committed.
It's not about the victim! The victim could be a celebrity, or an introvert or a "nothing burger", or old, or young. You might be like a father-figure to this disturbed man. You might inadvertently remind him of someone in his troubled past. Stalkers are volatile,, unpredictable, and very dangerous. No,, you can't reason with them, like other people.
I still think this man is after your money. Did you give him some, once? Probably, you were nicer to him than others would have been. Sometimes, it takes only one nice gesture on your part, and the stalker latches onto you until the bitter end. A kind friend of mine is still being stalked, after once helping out a woman stranger in distress, in a Walmart parking lot. My daughter's SIL is being stalked by the mother of a child she adopted years ago, and the mother wants her to adopt her other illegitimate twin babies, and SIL's health is too bad for her to take on any more children. The whole family lives in mortal fear from this woman and from the father of the babies. It's like a bad movie, or something. It takes only one good deed, or even just a smile and a kind word--and it's NOT THE VICTIM'S FAULT if good qualities are taken advantage of by criminals.
Whatever I'm about to say to play devil's advocate, there is no disputing one fact: that no matter how innocent his intentions MIGHT have been, he made you feel uncomfortable. Age and experience have taught me to follow your gut when it comes to things like that (which it looks like you did, based on your follow up post). Even if your goal in attending the group was to meet new friends, you weren't looking for the type of constant friendship that this man is obviously trying to find. I hope he respects your wishes.
To me he seems like he is probably harmless. If he is fully involved in 2 different churches, leads a support group, and always wants to be out of the house, my guess is that he is probably lonely. I would respond to people in a similar (though not as over-the-top) way to new people once. Granted, it was when I was a freshman in high school, but I think he is probably just a clingy person. I don't think he is dangerous, but he is apparently someone who needs to be told "no" in no uncertain terms.
I'd have probably said right out, "You're creeping me out, man. Just leave me alone." But at least you reiterated the "no contact." Creepy.
My Mom has run into this at her own grief group, although not as bad. Or maybe it's not as bad because she shuts it down right away. My Mom is 91, but she's not a girl to be talked into anything that she doesn't want to do. She just flat out says, "I don't think so. No."
I didn't say "creeping me out" but in that same email I added "Your attention makes me increasingly uncomfortable, and is unwanted," which is essentially the same.
He clearly got the message. Although he sent a couple followup emails with apologies and excuses and "please come back" (paraphrasing), he hasn't emailed me again. Or called.
He recognized the distinction between email and the phone (when I asked to be removed from the email list), and even "sought clarification" about the phone. Instead of "no phone too" I made it broader: "I don't want any contact at all. None."
Now he's discovered that I'm in the building on Thursday nights, and waiting around to "bump into me" in the lobby, which he probably rationalizes as not "contacting" me. But the reality is he knows I'm there and is waiting. As I mentioned above, I was nervous about attending the same night of the week, so I've kept an eye open and never saw him the first six or seven weeks. Then after I saw him gawking in the window (i.e. he saw me), that night and the next he just happened to be waiting in the lobby. Now that I think about it, it's possible that he saw me earlier, but only "surfaced" after he knew that I had clearly seen him.
Anon4this Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I didn't say "creeping me out" but in that same > email I added "Your attention makes me > increasingly uncomfortable, and is unwanted," > which is essentially the same.
Good. Yep, same thing.
It's unfortunate that he's still being creepy though. It definitely comes across as a little stalkerish. Maybe not hardcore stalking, but that probably doesn't matter. If one's actions are enough to make someone uncomfortable and want to avoid them, then it's over-the-line behaviour.
btw, it's not a grief support group, but a cancer support group. My wife passed 2.5 years ago, and for the most part I no longer attend grief support. I've met with the leader--who's a trained counselor and licensed psychologist--a couple times one-on-one, and I go to the group meeting once in a while when she asks some "graduates" to come back to talk to newer folks. Anyway, she suggested I try talking about my cancer (i.e. about me and my own issues, because they were almost immediately overshadowed by my wife's cancer, terminal phase, caregiving, grief, etc). Lots of cross-cutting issues that compounded one another. Unfortunately, the guy leading the cancer group is not a professional (and has issues of his own...).
Now that I think about it, maybe I should talk to her about this guy.
To all those who've suggested not ignoring my feelings, yeah, I learned a long time ago not to ignore premonitions like this. This guy has set off all sorts of instinctive alarm bells in me. And they sort of overwhelmed me in the space of just a few days, when--as he put it--he was too "aggressive."
What normal well-adjusted person tries to catch someone in the lobby after being told "I don't want any contact at all. None," in direct response to their own query about contact?
Best case scenario is that he's an amiable dunce, socially clueless doofus (in which case he's still making a nuisance of himself). Worst case is that he's a stealthy predator, operating under the quasi-official mantle of being a volunteer leader, garnering trust and access. It's hard to imagine so many things "going wrong" in such a compressed space of time. If he is a stealthy predator, I'd be a "perfect" victim. I'm widowed and have no family in the area. My girls are away at school most of the time. He probably views me as lonely and vulnerable and with no one close by checking on me. Etc.