I'm Being Watched—How to Deal With Stalkers and Spies
Feeling Uncomfortable? You Might Be Being Watched
Have you got that odd feeling that somebody is watching you? You may see a fleeting movement out of the corner of your eye, or you hear strange noises when the house is quiet? You wonder if your home is under surveillance. You do internet searches: ‘somebody is watching me.” The results are inconclusive and are mostly useless links to song lyrics. Nothing seems to reflect exactly how you feel. Alone. Vulnerable. Angry. Scared. Violated.
Being Watched: It Might be Your Imagination
Nine times out of ten, it is nothing more than a feeling. Many people experience it. Severe cases are called, “The Truman Show Delusion,” after the movie where Jim Carey’s character realizes that his whole life is fictional and is being broadcast to TV audience of millions. It starts with a minor incident, such as a trash bin being knocked over late at night, then perhaps the sound of a squirrel in the roof. Your fertile imagination builds on it and attributes every sound, unexpected beep on your phone and passing footsteps to your ‘somebody is watching me’ fear. The fear becomes a phobia.
If you can be objective enough to know that your fears are unsubstantiated, but they persist nevertheless, then a course of counseling, a visit to a psychotherapist or even an honest chat with a trusted friend can set your mind at ease.
What If You Really Are Being Watched?
If you are convinced that you are under surveillance, there are several things you can do to establish if it is happening. Don’t think it will go away because it won’t. Don’t take on the mantle of victim-hood. Put yourself into a position of power and take action.
Who is Your Stalker?
Make a list of possible suspects. In essence, this will be everyone you know. In the majority of cases, the person watching you will be known to you - a personal stalker.
- The most common stalker is an ex or current partner. In particular people who display signs of jealousy or feel rejected are number one in the list of possible watchers. However, most of them like you to know that it’s them. Their ego demands that you recognize their ‘devotion’. They are convinced that you need to learn the truth, that underneath you are completely in love with them and just need to be shown the errors in your thinking. This behavior is a sign of mental illness. You won’t be able to convince them of this, so you need to contact someone who might be able to help. In every case, report them to the police.
- Another kind of personal stalker is someone whom you may have upset or angered in the past. Even inadvertently. This type is less likely to advertise their identity; they just want to make you suffer in their desire for revenge.
- Neighbors are also quite common among stalkers. They have the opportunity to watch you all the time. You may have incurred their wrath in some way and now their hobby is to make your life a misery.
- Then there are the ‘randoms’. Someone who has taken a fancy to you. Someone who you may have exchanged a few words with and gone merrily on your way, leaving them thinking that your interaction meant far more than it actually did. These are the obsessives.
- The last variety is the predatory stalker. These are the ones who care nothing for you as a human being, they just want to own you - even for a few minutes during which you will be subjected to horrifying experiences. These people, thank goodness, are very rare. Nevertheless, every sensible person, male or female, should take reasonable precautions when out alone. Rape alarms, pepper sprays and a noisy dog are all good methods of protection. Better still is to have some basic knowledge, and practice, of self-defense skills.
- Whatever category your stalker comes under, they all share some commonalities. They are convinced that they are in the right. They have no idea, or don’t care, the effect their behavior has on you. They are able to rationalize their actions to any degree. In fact they don’t think they are doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary.
How to Get Rid of a Personal Stalker
Step One - Collect Evidence
Keep a written record of every single incident, however trivial. Keep backed up electronic records too - remember that your phone or computer may be compromised so have a second device that no-one knows about. Take photos, recordings and keep them in a personal log.
Step Two - Phones and Social Media
Reset your devices to factory settings. This may only be a temporary solution but do it anyway.
Deactivate your social media accounts. Try setting new ones up under a different name and share your profiles with trusted friends one at a time, over a period of weeks.
Don’t post your life on social media. People can pick up all sorts of clues about you, your routine, places you go, etcetera. Keep it general.
Step Three - Report the Stalker
As soon as you have one or two pieces of evidence, go to the police. Register a complaint. These days they seem to be taking stalking and harassment more seriously than in previous years. Even if they can’t act because there is not sufficient evidence, there will be a record of your complaint so any officer you speak to subsequently will be able to look up the case records. Don’t be worried that the police will get fed up by your complaints. Keep them updated at all times.
Step Four - The Gray Rock Method
If the stalker is known to you and regularly tries to make contact use the ‘gray rock’ method. This term was coined by Skylar, who was a victim of a psychopath stalker and learned how to deal with him. This is a useful technique when you have to speak to the person because you have some common interest, such as a child together.
How to be a gray rock. You respond only when you have to. Your responses should be as boring and monotonous as possible. You add no inflection to your voice. You display no emotion. You only give essential facts in order to conclude the interaction.
This method works well if the stalker, an ex, shows psychopathic or sociopath tendencies. They thrive on drama so don’t give them what they want. Eventually, their behavior will change as they lose interest in you.
Gray rock can enable you to become invisible to that person, and any other, who shows an unwanted interest in you. By making yourself as boring as possible in their presence they will soon look for more interesting prey.
January is National Stalking Awareness month in the U.S.
Are You Under Surveillance?
If you suspect you are under surveillance by some sort of organization or even if an individual is watching you, read: How to Find Spy Devices in Your Home and take the steps outlined therein to find out if your home has been bugged. Remember that these days most bugging takes place via an electronic device. It couldn’t be easier for someone to install an invisible app on your phone, or hack into your laptop’s camera or microphone. They can even be installed remotely.
Signs That You Are Under Surveillance
- Vans parked outside your home. Often innocuous domestic type business, such as plumbing, heating, building, that sort of thing. Unless you can see actual work being carried out at a neighbor’s home, then be suspicious if this occurs regularly.
- Unusual activity, strangers in the neighborhood, a change in the usual routine are usually nothing to worry about. However, you can sometimes feel in your gut that things are ‘off’. So keep your antennae alert for anything out of the ordinary. However, the very nature of these methods mean that the operatives who carry them out are so skilled that 99 out of 100 people will never know that they are being watched.
- Strange noises on your house or cell phone. Sudden fast battery drainage.
- You notice drones overhead. The ease of use and fast advancing technology makes spying-by-drone commonplace.
Reasons Why You May be Under Surveillance
- You engage in criminal activity.
- You have knowledge that could damage reputations or projects.
- You are involved in a legal case and the other side may be seeking to build up evidence to discredit you.
- You might be claiming money that you aren’t entitled to. For example disability compensation when there’s nothing wrong with you.
- The Government is tracking you. This is a given. Most governments now collect metadata on everyone. In the UK, CCTV tracks your every move if you live in a city.
- You have a mobile device, a tablet or a cell phone. Your provider is tracking you, your surfing habits, your social media posting - everything. If you take a photo, GPS data is transmitted to reveal your location. The only way to prevent this is to remove the battery.
- You work for a company that is being spied on by a competitor.
How to Prevent Surveillance
In short, you can’t. Unless you can prove that the surveillance is illegal, threatening, harassing or damaging, if you want to live in general society, you have to accept that your information and behavior is monitored by many agencies.
Alternatively, you can change your lifestyle, move to a location where you can live off-grid or become a nomad.