I have some practical things to add to today’s Bibliomancer column (which I love reading, but today = eeeeeeesh).
Letter Writer, whatever you decide to do about investigating & interrogating the effect “Doug” holds on your past, there is some practical shit you can do to get the actual dude out of your actual life. You obviously wrote for literary advice, so here is a book recommendation: The Gift of Fear by Gavin De Becker.
1. You are not overreacting. BLOCK.
2. Ask your friends to block him without further ado. Don’t apologize. “That dude is creepy, he is messaging me and insinuating himself among my friends in violation of my express wishes, please block him. The best way is to do it without comment or prelude, just refuse all contact and don’t respond to anything from him.”
3. Filter his emails so that they bypass your inbox without you even seeing them. I would tell you to block him there, too, but you may need them later in case he escalates his behavior.
4. You’ve already told him that you didn’t want to be in touch with him, and he kept writing to you and in fact, escalated his efforts to be in touch with you and make sure you’d notice him. Telling him again won’t really register or make a difference, it will just confirm that he has your attention. The only way to dispel this particular kind of ghost is to starve it of your attention.
5. AAAAAAAHHHHHH I HATE DOUG I HATE HIM SO MUCH I AM SO SORRY THIS IS HAPPENING TO YOU
7. You are not “bad at relationships.” You are a survivor of a relationship with a manipulative and controlling man. Here there be ghosts, and ghosts, and ghosts. But you are not doing anything wrong by wanting him out of your life forever. give you permission to go ahead and hurt his pathetic little stalker fee-fees in preservation of your own peace. He has no right to keep intruding into your life when you have asked him not to. He needs to dispel his own ghosts on his own time.