Home World My friend copies the things I say, wear and do, and monitors my house. Is this harassment? | Ask Annalisa Barbieri

My friend copies the things I say, wear and do, and monitors my house. Is this harassment? | Ask Annalisa Barbieri

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 My friend copies the things I say, wear and do, and monitors my house. Is this harassment? | Ask Annalisa Barbieri

I met X about 10 years ago, at the gym. She’s not a very close friend. although I think she would like to be. For the first For a few years, I thought we had so much in common: the places we vacationed as kids, our attitudes, and our tastes in music and clothes.

It took me a while to realize I couldn’t believe what she was saying. She copies everything I say or do. Every time I wear something new, she says, “I was looking for a coat/dress/boots like that.” Where did you get it?” She comes back a week later with almost exactly what I have. I just don’t respond anymore.

In conversation, she always I’ve been where I’ve been, I’ve thought what I’ve thought. Nothing comes from her. I made a list a few months ago because I thought I imagined it. But the list is huge and includes the classes I go to and the clothes, colors, phrases and interior decoration that I choose. She even followed me into various groups.I’ve never shown any interest before, which I find really upsetting.

She lives opposite me, with a field in between, but she can see my house and comment on the cars outside, if I’m away for example or if a worker is there. I feel like I’m being watched all the time. I started to move away from her – I don’t tell him what I’m doing, I change the subject so I don’t have to answer her questions, and I find myself hiding and drawing curtains so she can’t look in when she walks by.

I searched for “harassment” – what I think It is – but since my life is not in danger (as far as I know), there is nothing I can do.

I realize this is a mental health issue and I don’t mean to be mean, but I really feel harassed.

I think what you’re feeling is exactly what it really is: harassment. I saw a UKCP registered psychotherapist Ryan Bennett-Clarkewho is particularly interested in stalking issues.

He believes that you have every right to be concerned: “Taken in isolation, X’s behavior may seem harmless, but the accumulation of all these things paints a more worrying picture, hence your uneasiness. This feels incredibly unsettling and confusing.

We talked about when that “copy” becomes less complimentary and more uncomfortable. To the extent that X does this, it “seems to have some degree of what we call secondary identification,” Bennett-Clarke said. This is not unlike what people do when they try to “imitate celebrities in an attempt to establish, grow, or explore.” their own identity,” he added. X seems to “lack a concrete sense of who she is and forms a somewhat unhealthy attachment to you.”

This is not flattering because it is parasitic behavior. “Even if X copies you,” Bennett-Clarke said, “she’s taking something from you (clothes, memories, words, places you like to go) that doesn’t belong to her. It’s almost like it’s sucking the life out of you. By doing this, she “ruins” your experiences. No wonder you feel uncomfortable, especially when you add in his surveillance and your request who visits you.

We don’t know what’s going on with X, or if she may have additional needs. But I guess if she did, you would have talked about it. So what to do?

One of Bennett-Clarke’s suggestions was: “Maintain a boundary: be able to be clear within yourself that you have a right to your own life.” In the extreme, you might consider reducing or even cutting off contact with this person.

You could just cut her out of your life completely, but Bennett-Clarke recommended: “Gradually step back, be discerning in what you share with X, preferably very little.” » It sounds like you already do. Continue.

If you’re on social media, monitor your settings. It’s a shame to stop doing the things you love but maybe you need to find other groups and classes.

You’re not wrong to feel uncomfortable. X may have good reasons for crossing boundaries – maybe she doesn’t understand them – but that’s not your problem and you have every right to live your life without getting involved with this person.

Listen to Annalisa and Ryan Bennett-Clarke podcast about desire

For advice on harassment issues, see suzylampplugh.org

Each week, Annalisa Barbieri tackles a personal issue sent in by a reader. If you would like advice from Annalisa, please send your problem to Ask.annalisa@theguardian.com. Annalisa regrets not being able to enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions.

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