After the narcissist discards you, you may have mixed feelings. Maybe you’re feeling relieved after struggling with whether or not to leave the narcissist, but they saved you the trouble by discarding you first. Or maybe they’ve left you, and you’re still really, really sad, and you wish you could be with them again. Perhaps you’re still with the narcissist and they are actively neglecting you, attacking you, or giving you the silent treatment, but you don’t know why.
Either way, you might have noticed something kind of odd: somehow, the narcissist seems to know every detail of what you’re doing even when they’re not with you – and that seems to be happening even about things you did or said when you were totally alone in a room or your vehicle. What the heck is going on?
Is your narcissistic ex spying on you?
Here is the unsettling truth. The narcissist that you thought disappeared from your life might have decided they don’t want to let you go. Or they might feel they need to spy on you because they don’t trust you. Or they could just be incredibly controlling and paranoid, causing them to feel obligated to know what is going on
Whether or not you’re still in the relationship, the narcissist might decide they still need to keep tabs on you. They might feel they need to know what you are doing. The same obviously applies to the case of you going no contact with them. How do you know if the narcissist is spying on you for sure?
Watch for Suspicious Vehicles Near Your Home (and Elsewhere)
Do you notice an unusual car that is parked near your home often, one you’re sure doesn’t belong to a neighbor? Do you ever see the same vehicle around town or in parking lots of places you shop or do business? That is fishy. It’s possible that this is the narcissist, using a different vehicle to spy on you – one that is not recognizable to you. Or, it might be one of their flying monkeys, doing the narcissist’s bidding for them.
If you’re worried that you’re being followed, don’t just assume you’re crazy. The narcissist did their best to make you doubt yourself, your perception, and your sanity. But if you feel that someone is spying and following you in a vehicle you don’t recognize, take down the license plate information and if you can, have a good look at the person in the car – even if the car has tinted windows. Even better, try to snap a few photos of the car and license plate with your smartphone.
Don’t hide what you’re doing if you choose to snap photos, and be sure to snap pics each time you see the car in different places and on different days. This will allow whoever is in the car to know that you’ve got proof of what they’re doing – and it’ll provide potential evidence in case you need to file for an order of protection.
Narcissists Manipulate Through Your Smartphone Or Devices
If you notice something is abnormal with your devices such as your smartphone, tablet, or computer, there’s is a chance they’ve been bugged. The narcissist could have discovered a way to bug your device to spy on you – and it’s not difficult or too expensive to figure it out these days.
For example, they may have a program installed on your phone to copy them on everything you’re doing, or they might have access to your social media accounts because you shared your passwords in the past, or because you didn’t remove your password information from a shared computer or device.
They might also have installed spying apps on your smart home devices or have hidden cameras and/or voice recorders around the house – even ones that could be motion or sound activated and feeding the information they gather to the narcissist’s phone or computer outside the home. That means that as long as the batteries work (or as long as its plugged in), the device could continue to feed to the narcissist indefinitely.
Don’t believe me? I get it. Here’s how you can fact-check me here: just get on the internet and look around. For example, a quick Amazon search using the term “spying devices” returns a whole host of affordable and easily hidden cameras, voice recorders, and more. There’s this very average looking pen for less than $40 that is secretly a voice recorder.
And this tiny camera appears to be a little bigger than a quarter – which means you could hide it almost anywhere. And let’s not forget the little box you can attach to someone’s car to find out where they’re going when you’re not with them– all for under twenty bucks. Would you even recognize this if it were placed under your vehicle or even in the trunk somewhere? Honestly, I don’t think anyone would.
Tips for Discovering the Narcissist’s Spy Devices and ‘Bugs’ on Your Phone
- If the narcissist has installed some kind of listening device or recorder on your smartphone, you’ll hear a slight echo while you are on calls.
- If the narcissist has bugged your smartphone using a spyware program or even a hidden geo-locator app, your phone might feel hot to the touch, especially when the narcissist is actively tracking you.
- If you charge your phone and the battery starts taking a lot longer than usual to charge, you could have spyware on your phone.
- If your battery suddenly starts running out faster than it used to, they might be tracking you.
- If you’re getting weird texts, new ads, and are using additional mobile data, they might have installed something to follow you or listen to you on your phone.
- If your phone suddenly slows way down or no longer performs as it did before, it can be a red flag of some kind of spy app.
Device-Specific Tips for Discovering Spying on Your Phone
Tips for Android Users
For Android users, you can find spyware by looking in your phone’s settings: Go to Settings, then Applications, then Manage Applications or Running Services. Look for services or files that you don’t recognize, but be careful not to delete anything important. Note that the most effective tools will be difficult to see as they probably have fake names in order to hide them.
Tips for iPhone Users
For iPhone users, it can get a little more complicated. Since iPhone has a built-in system to prevent spyware and the like, your narcissist will have to get a little more creative. They might just know your passwords and access everything from their own computer, or they might actually have done a “jailbreak” on your phone, meaning they’ve corrupted the system. More likely is that they’ve had access to your phone or account and have secretly installed something to track you or listen in. This could be easily figured out by reviewing your installed programs.
Check with Your Service Provider
In either case, a factory reset of the phone can remove spy programs. It might also benefit you to go to your service provider’s store or office to have the phone checked out – and worst-case scenario, you can always replace your phone. Better yet, get a second phone and keep the original one for awhile. Just stick it in a drawer in a quiet room and check that it’s charged every couple of days. This way, the narcissist won’t know the new one exists and they won’t know what you’re up to.
Tips for Discovering the Narcissist’s Spy Devices in Your Home
Has Your Computer Been Hacked?
Even if the narcissist is not good with technology, they can hire a hacker to hack into your computer. If you see odd things such as popup ads or toolbars that you never installed, there is a good chance the computer was hacked. Unfortunately, skilled hackers can bypass the firewall. If your computer runs very slowly, that is another sign of hacking. Certain protection programs and antivirus programs might help, but to be safe, you should have your computer examined by an expert in the field to know for sure.
Does Your Home Have Hidden Cameras & Listening Devices?
A narcissist can find a way to install a hidden camera in your home. But there are several ways you can test whether you have hidden cameras in your home. Here are a few to start with.
- Turn off the lights around you and notice if there are unexpected LED lights, usually red or green.
- Look at your mirrors to see if there are small spots that might hide a tiny camera
- .You can even install a bug detector that will reveal whether or not you have a hidden camera.
- This article from Turbo Future offers a comprehensive list of tips for discovering in-home spying devices and hidden cameras.
- This one from Howell Law Firm offers some additional really helpful tips for figuring out if your house is bugged or if your smart devices are being used against you.
How and Why Narcissists Use Smart Home Devices to Gaslight, Abuse, and Control You
The idea of being spied on by the narcissist is scary, but if you notice any abnormalities in your home, on your devices, or that someone is following you – then there is a good chance that the narcissist is spying on you.
Turning It Around: Ways to Find Proof You’ve Been Cheated On
If you happen to need to use technology to prove that you’ve been cheated on to show the judge in divorce court, you’ll want to take a look at this video, which offers tips on how to find proof a narcissist has cheated on you.
More Helpful Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
Related Articles for Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse
- Protect Yourself From a Stalker
- 6 Surprising Places a Camera Can Be Hidden
- 101 Struggles Only Narcissistic Abuse Victims and Survivors Will Understand
- Narcissistic Abuse and Isolation: Feeling Alone in a Crowd
- Believe it or not: This is THE Most Soul-Crushing Part of Narcissistic Abuse
- Lonely After Narcissistic Abuse? How to Make New Friends AND Keep the Old
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery: Get Out of the Fog with Mindfulness
- Surviving Narcissistic Abuse: 65 Things You Might Say to Your Narcissist If You Could
Get Help and Support in Your Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- QueenBeeing’s PLAN to Leave a Narcissist
- QueenBeeing’s Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Resource Center
- Are you dealing with narcissistic abuse? Find out by taking our self-assessment.
- The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
- Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups – We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
- One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
- Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
- Where Are You in Recovery? You might not be sure exactly where you fit in and what level of recovery you’ve achieved. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out this self-assessment to help you determine exactly where you fall in the stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse. Once you finish and submit the assessment, you will be given resources for your own situation, along with recommendations of which groups to join.
- Which Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program is Right for You? If you aren’t sure which program you want to utilize to facilitate your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this self-assessment will help you decide.
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.