How do narcissists spy on you? 

If you feel like a narcissist has been spying on you, you’re probably onto something. Based on the narcissist’s need for power and control, spying isn’t out of the question for them.

This behavior might shock or concern you, and you’re left wondering how to catch them. The first step is recognizing the various modalities the narcissist may use to pry into your life.

So, if you feel like someone’s watching you, it’s important to be aware of the strategies below. Knowledge is power! 

How the narcissist spies

The narcissist has several tools in their toolbox, and they will make use of them when they feel the need to keep watch over you.

The narcissist may spy in order to maintain an advantage over you. If they know your secrets, as well as all of your comings and goings, they can use them against you if needed. 

Narcissists are also quite insecure beneath the surface. So, they may spy because they believe you’re secretly betraying them.

Regardless of their specific reason for spying, the narcissist believes themselves to be quite sneaky. They think they can get away with spying without ever being caught. 

Outsmarting the narcissist 

Unfortunately for the narcissist, they aren’t always the smartest one in the room, even if they believe themselves to be. Once you’re wise to their ways, you can catch them in the act of spying.

By becoming aware of the tools they use to spy, you can obtain an advantage over them. Look out for these strategies, and you’ll be wise to their tactics.

Questioning your friends 

When the narcissist wants inside information about your whereabouts, they’ll simply ask your friends. They’ll think they’re awfully sly, because they won’t present their questions as if they’re spying.

Instead, they’ll pretend to be concerned about your well-being. They’ll tell your friends that they’re just so worried you haven’t been as responsive lately, hoping that your friends will spill the details. 

Or, they will present themselves as overly charming, simply engaging your friends in friendly banter. As they gain your friends’ trust, they’ll slide in and ask about your personal life. 

Stalking on social media

Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram give the narcissist an opportunity to spy on you while they hide in plain sight.

They’ll check out your friends list, post history, and likes. They may go so far as to stalk others’ profiles to see whose photos you’re commenting on and liking.

If the narcissist is feeling especially sneaky, they might make fake profiles to check on your activities. This allows them to get all the information they want, without revealing their identity. 

Monitoring your devices 

Narcissists will use any form of technology they can to track your behaviors and location. This can range from requesting to have your cell phone location, all the way to installing tracking devices on your phone without your knowledge or consent.

Since the narcissist has a strong sense of entitlement, they also won’t see anything wrong with looking through your text messages, call history, or emails on your phone or tablet. 

They’ll also check the browser history on your computer or tablet, so they can see every website you’ve viewed. 

Reading your mail

The narcissist isn’t above sifting through your mail if they want to find something out about you. They may intercept your mail without your knowledge, to see what you’re up to.

They’ll take a look at bills, credit card statements, and even letters from close family. All of this gives them additional information about your private life. 

The narcissist might even go so far as to dissect every detail of your credit card statement, linking all of your transactions to where you were on a specific date. 

Showing up at your favorite hangouts

Narcissists are experts at getting to know you. They’ll act like they’re super interested in your hobbies and activities.

Deep down, they don’t actually care about your interests. They’re just collecting as much data as possible about you, so they can use it against you in the future.

Once they know everything you like, they’ll be prepared for some spying. They might “coincidentally” show up at the coffee shop you frequent on the way to work, or “just so happen” to run into you at your favorite weekend hangouts. 

Physical surveillance techniques 

This is a pretty extreme example, but in the most severe cases of spying, the narcissist might use physical surveillance techniques.

This could involve installing a camera outside your house to see when you come and go, or hiding a camera inside to monitor you in your own home. 

Keep in mind, installing surveillance devices in someone’s home without their consent is probably a crime! 

Using their flying monkeys

You’re probably aware of the term “flying monkeys” if you have a narcissist in your life. If you’re not familiar, flying monkeys are the narcissist’s little sidekicks.

They serve as allies and enablers, helping the narcissist to carry out their dirty work. When the narcissist wants to spy, they might send a flying monkey after you.

This could include a range of different activities. The flying monkey may simply strike up a conversation with you, pretending to be interested in your life. Their end goal is to relay information back to the narcissist. 

Alternatively, the narcissist may send a flying monkey to spy on you secretly, and then report back to the narcissist. A flying monkey could be lurking in the background at your workplace, favorite restaurant, or even in your neighborhood. 

How to deal with spying

Now that you’re aware of the specific techniques a narcissist uses to spy, you can look out for these behaviors.

You might have convinced yourself you were imagining things, but hopefully, you now realize that spying behavior is quite common. If you get the feeling the narcissist is spying, they probably are.

Keeping a close watch on you means the narcissist can maintain power and control and stay one step ahead of you. They feel entitled to know every little detail of your personal life, and they don’t care if they have to violate your privacy to access it. 

Protecting yourself

If you think the narcissist in your life is spying, you don’t have to let them get away with it. Keep all of your personal devices and accounts password protected, and be mindful of who you allow to follow you on social media.

You can also choose to call them out on their spying behavior, if you feel safe doing so. Remember, they may try to gaslight you into believing that you’re imagining things.

Or, they might try to argue that your “bad behavior” means they have to keep a close eye on you. Regardless of what they try to do, don’t fall for their games.

And, if you feel unsafe, you have a right to seek help. 

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