Erotomania

One day, while working in the jail, I interviewed a man named James, a forty-four-year-old whose looks were unremarkable, though he was even featured. He was a computer expert and said he had a good job. He was about five feet nine inches and pudgy, though he was dressed neatly. He suffered from erotomania, which the DSM, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders explains as a type of delusion (a false belief) in which the person believes that someone unavailable to them, most times someone famous, is in love with them. Stalking is common. I knew from experience that people afflicted with this disorder could be frightening and dangerous. James had met a woman, named Sara, at a conference. She was famous in the self-help arena. He was convinced she was in love with him and needed rescuing from her husband. James had repeatedly shown up at her place of work. He had brought her flowers, cards, and presents. Though she had tried to reason with him, he had persisted, and had even followed her to her home one night. Sara had finally gotten a restraining order, stating he was stalking her. He had been arrested for violating that restraining order. I felt sorry for the family and frightened for them as well. James explained very carefully to me all the reasons why Sara loved him and how she was going to divorce her husband and marry him. Then he said something that made the hair on the back of my head rise: “Or maybe we will just have to get rid of him.” Excerpt from my book “And Some Will Triumph.”
Eventually, this woman was hurt. Though she had a restraining order, he broke into her home and almost kidnapped her. Had he not been arrested, I think he would have eventually either have killed her, because of her rejections, or killed her husband. Some scary people out there.

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