Saturday, October 31, 2009

Am I BeingSpied On

Am I being spied on? Am I doing something wrong that I should worry about being spied on?

I feel really rattled right now. I just had a most uncomfortable interaction with my landlord and I cannot shake the feeling that he is spying on me and came to my door to interrogate me. The conversation was very stilted, sounded planned, and awkward. I wish I just had the courage and conviction to tell people things are none of their business.

What happened:
My landlord, "C" rang my doorbell. I answered,as my door was open and he could see I was in...I probably wouldn't have answered if that weren't the case. I would have shrunk into the shadows and pretended I was not home, because he and is family scare me.

When I answered he asked me how I was doing...but the tone wasn't a polite, light conversational opener type "how are you" was more demanding information sounding. The reason I say this is because upon my saying okay he immediately asked me if I was working.

This question caught me completely off guard...though it shouldn't have because I stress everyday about him, or his family learning I am on a leave from work. He was just so blunt. It was weird. I didn't have time to think of how I could protect myself, and maintain my I blurted out, yes I am working.

Immediately I thought ...He is asking me these questions in his professional "insurance adjuster" capacity. This belief was further enhanced when his next question immediately popped out of his mouth: What do you teach?

I could feel myself getting increasingly do I answer without being dishonest, but also without telling an insurance adjuster I am working. The last thing I need is for him to think I am being dishonest by being on disability, but still working.

Note:(In reality I am not "working" in the sense that would be construed as fraudulently collecting disability insurance and working on the side. I "work" (volunteer) in an art clubhouse where teaching classes is a part of a mental illness rehabilitation program)

Regardless, of what a big part of me understands is my rehabilitation as opposed to my fraudulently working...I am so scared by all his questions.

I told him I teach printmaking and mixed media art classes. His questions kept coming...he asked twice how my boyfriend was...and he had an look of concern/perturbation on his face that was so strong that I asked him if everything was okay with me as a tenant.

Am I doing okay as a tenant? Are there any problems with my being here?, I asked. At this point I was almost on the verge of tears, and could feel myself overheating because of the stress. He said no, I was a perfect tenant.

Why then is he asking me all these questions? (His Dad has asked me about my working, and a couple times asked me why I am not at work too. I feel so uncomfortable with these questions, but I cannot think of what to say to avoid answering)

Then he asked me if I had the internet hooked up. I did this morning I told him. He then asked if I wanted to share the connection with him; me paying half and he the other half. Immediately I became intensely paranoid again. I asked him about how that might affect my privacy, i.e. if he had access to my connection via wifi/or shared connection could he see what I was doing online? Does anyone out there know the answer to this? How secure is my browsing/laptop info if I share with him, especially given he has the computer skills to spy?

When "C" left I almost got sick. I am freaking out right now...I revealed so much...told him I was working, said I'd think about a shared connection etc. He then asked me if I had my new computer. I told him I was getting one soon.

He offered to help me get a computer saying he had vendor connections. He asked me what I used it for..and I overshared and gave out too much information. Rather than say it was none of his business, I said that would be great...but inside I kept thinking he was doing this so he could install some kind of spyware on my computer so he could monitor me/spy on me.

Every time I see him, or his sister or Dad I freak out and hide in my suite until they are gone. I think I do this because I feel scrutinized and criticized at best, and spied on at worst.

I want to think I am imagining all my fears of spying, and I keep trying to reassure myself and act like I have a right to be off work and taking care of myself without fear of getting in trouble for doing things "worklike" to try to rehabilitate myself, and get back to real work and a life worth living...but more and more I think I really am being spied on.

Am I being spied on? Or am I delusional? What do those reading this post and my recent experience think?

Note: He works for a giant insurance company, has seen me receive mail from my employer's HR department every two weeks, lives in the house my suite is in so sees me home all the time, always seems uncomfortable around me and way too snoopy.

This is so stressful. Every time I leave my suite I look first to see if anyone in the house is here to see me at home (again), because I am so afraid of being seen as not working. I try to plan to stay away for at least 1/2 days if I go it at least looks as though I might have at least a part time job. I am getting worn out by trying to pretend all the time...or by trying to reassure myself that it doesn't matter what his family, or him know about me. I really don't believe it doesn't matter, and I really believe something weird /nefarious is going on.


med student said...

That all sounds pretty scary. Do you have an appointment with Dr. X coming up to talk about these fears?

To me as an outside observer, this does sound like it's likely to be excessive anxiety and paranoia related to your illness. It seems more likely that your landlord was just trying to be friendly with his questions and to save some money on his internet connection.

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi. I actually connect to my landlord's wireless connection. I think it's highly likely he could potentially see every site I have visited if he asked for that information from the cable company. I have tracker on my blog that shows everyone who has been there and he hasn't looked at my blog yet (I'd know because although our IP address would obviously be the same, each different computer shows up esp as he uses a mac and I don't). So I'm assuming he hasn't asked for that information from the company. But he always could. Consequently there are some things I can't mention on my blog and websites I don't visit just in case.

If I were you I would keep your own connection. I use my landlord's for free - it was his suggestion (and he's not the spying type). He was paying for it anyway long before I got my laptop. But you would only be saving 50% of the cost and trading in your privacy to boot. It's not worth it. I would also not let him help you get a new computer. Just say you already got a deal somewhere else.

I think you need to firm up your boundaries with him. So no accepting favours and no sharing of internet connection or other personal information.

Why would he worry per se at you working or not? I'm guessing he gets the rent paid whatever otherwise you'd no longer be there. I can't really understand what his worry is.

I think you are right to feel a little harrassed by him. He is behaving in a creepy fashion. But too much anxiety here is misplaced. He has not remotely suggested that he wants you to leave - quite the reverse given that he wants to share costs with you.

I think you are overreacting slightly. But anyone would feel unsettled by such an interaction.

Glad you are back Aqua. I missed you!

Best wishes,
BEarfriend xx

mysadalterego said...

Dunno, these kind of interactions always shake me up. I hate hearing from the landlord and he also lives above me.

But to me it sorta sounds like he's become some kind of computer or internet vendor and is trying to drum up some business.

Aqua said...

Thanks for the replies. I think the reason I feel so afraid is that my landlord is an insurance my fears of being spied on by him are accentuated by my fear of my disability insurance company. I agree I do need to set clearer boundaries with him.

Handsome B. Wonderful said...

I agree with Bearfriend. I wouldn't share the internet with you but then again I'm a privacy freak. I feel for you because I fear my landlords too and they're nice!! I still think fear them whenever they come over. Especially because the house is always a mess. My next door neighbor is even worse.

She's so snoopy, demanding and invasive. When she comes to the door she always wants to peer past me into the house. It creeps me out and she talks your leg off. And she has no sense of personal boundaries -- she gets right up in your face. Even if it's a normal conversation I feel threatened.

When I go to leave I look to see if she's out there and if not I move quickly to the car and leave. And when I come home I try to get into the house as quickly as possible. Ugh, I hope something works out for you. In the mean time, you're not alone.

Ethereal Highway said...

I am a landlord. Unless you miss the rent payment, it's none of his business. I would not accost a tenant like that. I would only become interested in their work if they were behind on rent and had been laid off or something like that. I ask for proof of employment before they move in, but after that their financial affairs are none of my businness unless they quit paying the rent.