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Hi -

Just wanted to get some quick advice about an issue I'm having. Please keep my name and email anonymous if you choose to post this to your site.

I am the editor of a fairly large website with a community of several thousand members. I'm used to the occasional crackpots, but over the past year I've been deluged with emails from one particular individual which are really starting to disturb me. It began about a year ago with strange, but relatively inane emails--maybe 3-4 a day. Each was worded as if she and I had some sort of relationship, and she would tell me personal things about herself, her family, her marriage, even her sex life. I responded only once asking her to stop emailing me, but she persisted, and so I put her on my anti-spam blacklist. I figured after a few weeks she would realize no one was answering, and she would stop.

But it didn't stop. To this day, nearly a year later, I still get between 10-20 emails from this person daily. They all get routed to my spam folder and are soon after deleted, but recently I began reading some after noticing some bizarre subject lines such as "I love you" and "Why are you bugging my house?". This is when I became very disturbed. It seems she is convinced that we are in love, and she has told her husband she wants a divorce so she can be with me. At the same time she seems to be under the delusion that I visit her apartment and knock on her door, peep through her windows, etc. These latest emails are really bothering me and I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing by ignoring them. If she hasn't gotten the hint after almost a year, it seems she never will. But at the same time I'm worried that any sort of response from me at this point asking her again to cease and desist might make things worse.

What would you recommend I do? Although I'm trying to be rational about these things, this person does know the city and state in which I live, and frequently makes comments illustrating that point, and I really don't want to have to deal with a "Fatal Attraction" type showing up on my doorstep if you know what I mean.

Thanks for your time,

(name withheld)


Judging from what you have told me, the woman in question seems seriously disturbed, probably psychotic and delusional. I am sorry to tell you that she may or may not be dangerous, and that determining this would be impossible without a personal interview with her. Unfortunately, this is a kind of situation, familiar to those of us who deal with disturbed personalities, which is difficult to manage, and I certainly understand your concern, which I would be feeling myself under the circumstances.

I suggest that you stop deleting her emails and save all communications from her in a separate folder. If any of them give clues to her whereabouts, you might like to forward the entire archive to the local authorities in her area. Other than that, there is little I can suggest.

Perhaps one of the visitors to my site will have a better idea of how to deal with this. If so, please write so that I can publish your thoughts.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

Be well.

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page last modified January 3, 2007

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