I have never really struggled with paranoia much, at least not to the degree some people do, but I have had my moments. I’d like to share one of those moments with you, if for no other reason, it’s kind of comical now. It is so funny how this paranoia is triggered and thankfully today, it lasts only a very brief moment but none-the-less, it still happens.
When my (ex) husband was in the throes of his addiction, he was so extremely paranoid. He would tear apart cell phones and electronic devices thinking people were spying on him. He said they could hear and see him through these things. He even destroyed 2 computers which sent me over the edge. I would be lying in bed at night and he would come into the room and check under the bed, look in the closet, peer out the sliding glass door, knowing that someone was in the house or that someone was watching him. It drove me crazy and I would lose it every time. Not a pretty sight.
He had always felt that I was unfaithful to him so he decided to start spying on me. Oh, it was obvious, when he would call me at work to make sure I was there or park down the street at night to make sure I didn’t leave the house. But what I didn’t know was the extent of his spying, until one day when I got home from work, he flew at me in a rage wanting to know who I met at the train station. What?
I was oblivious as to what he was talking about so he told me that he heard me talking to someone at the train station early that morning. I told him all I did was stop for some gas on the way to work. He insisted I was talking to someone and then I remembered that while I was getting gas, I was speaking to my neighbor/friend on the phone. I asked him how he knew that and he told me that he had been recording me. He never believed that I wasn’t at a train station, nor that I was speaking with our neighbor no matter how hard I tried to convince him otherwise. I hadn’t seen the recording device but I was pissed.
A few months later, he was back in a rehab facility and I was home enjoying the peace. Living with an addict is like living in a hell you can’t escape from. Even if you kick them out, they come back, refuse to leave, break windows to get in while you’re not home, call constantly, on and on and on… I set my boundary in cement this time and told him if he didn’t finish the program, I was filing for divorce.
I was watching TV, enjoying some peace and quiet finally, when I heard a beep. It’s the kind of beep that a digital watch will make when the battery is low, or even a smoke alarm. I looked around and didn’t see anything. Then I heard it again. Every few minutes this beep would sound, so I went on a hunt, listening and trying to track it down. Well, I finally found it. There was a digital recording device tucked into the pull-down drink holder in my sectional couch. Yep, the battery was low. I was furious! He really was recording me! I destroyed it and threw it away.
About a week later, I heard the same beep and began the hunt again. This time I found it on top of the refrigerator. Of course that sent me on a hunt throughout the house and my car, looking for more devices. I didn’t find any more but to this day, I swear there are others hidden somewhere, but the batteries are dead. Well, he didn’t finish the program and I held to my boundaries; I didn’t allow him back into the house and filed for a divorce.
Several months later, my daughter (she was about 16 at the time) and I were home and all of a sudden I heard the beep. I told her, “Listen, do you hear that?” I began freaking out, thinking that he had gotten in and planted more devices. My daughter and I tore this house up looking for the device. I was in a panic and paranoid beyond consolation and I had her in a panic as well. We finally found the culprit but it was not a recording device. It was a digital watch in a box of junk and toys. It must have been my son’s.
Over the years, if I heard a beep in my house or car, it would cause and instant panic and paranoia. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction you can’t help. I guess they would call that a “trigger” and off I would go on “the hunt”. It’s gotten better over the years. At first, because he was back in prison but I still thought he may have had someone else plant it and now, because he passed away back in 2012. I know I am safe and no one is “spying” on me, but that little beep can still trigger a moment of panic. As I said before, it is brief, but I wish it wouldn’t cause a reaction at all.
Oh well, I can live with the beeps now.