Obsessed Or Paranoid?
Q: What are the signs or traits of a person who may be obsessed? I have known this person, who is a police officer and also lives in my town, for about 20 years. The problem is that he would drive consistently past my home, looking down the drive to see if my car is in the garage. I would run into him often, as I was driving down the street. In my twenties, after he became a cop, he pulled me over and asked me out, but I was already involved. Usually once I had seen him, I wouldn't see him for the rest of the day. He is now around 45 years old, never married, and I'm in my late 30s, never married. Does this sound like he has an interest in me, after all these years?
I couldn't take running into him every day pulling out of my driveway, so I made a complaint with the police department. I don't know if that was a smart thing. He still passes my home, but not as often because I think he knows that he's being watched. The problem is that when he works weekends, when no one is around to watch him, he drives by in different squad cars. The street I live on, which is the main street in town, happens to be his beat, so what do you think? Now when he sees me driving down the street, he turns off the road, but he still drives past my home. After I had made the complaint, I was working in front of the house when he drove by slowly and just looked over at me. I couldn't believe it. I did call the police to let them know. Is he obsessed? Or am I paranoid? -- Linda, 38
Dr. Susan: Though I don't think you want to hear this, you could possibly be letting your imagination get the best of you, Linda. If this police officer's beat includes your street, and you live on a main street, then there's nothing particularly ominous about his passing your house every day. Sure, he was interested in you at one time, years ago, and you're both still not married, so I suppose he could still be interested. But you keep reporting him to the police department, which certainly lets him know you're not interested in him. He may have looked at you that time just out of curiosity, since you complained about him for driving by. Now, I don't want to say there's no way he's doing something wrong, but it doesn't seem that this is the case from what you wrote. If he does anything that is clearly out of line, report him again, but meanwhile I would suggest just ignoring him as much as possible.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.