Dog Whistling Narcissist: 8 Ways Narcissists Use This Covert Manipulation Tactic


Dog Whistling Narcissist: Covert Ways They Manipulate You

Have you ever had the feeling that when you are talking to someone, there’s a hidden message they’re trying to get across to you? A message that feels insulting, condescending and hurtful? If you answered yes, then you are dealing with a dog whistling narcissist, my friend.

These people are experts at sending subtle messages that are extremely hurtful and humiliating, but only you understand it, not anyone else. When a narcissist uses dog whistling, their main motive is to manipulate you and keep you under their control. They’ll use it to dominate you, and put you down, while pretending to be harmless.

But what is dog whistling, and how narcissists use dog whistling? Let’s find out, shall we?

Related: The Silent Manipulator: 11 Covert Narcissist Behaviors To Look Out For

What Is Dog Whistling?

Imagine a dog whistle – it emits a high-frequency sound that only dogs can hear. In human terms, dog whistling refers to subtle messages that have a hidden motive or agenda, targeted at some certain people. Such “messages” are always ambiguous, and not easily detected by people they’re not targeted at.

Dog whistling is a subtle form of manipulation done under the radar, allowing the narcissist to torment and humiliate you tactfully, while still exerting control over you.

This kind of covert communication is particularly insidious when employed by narcissists who use it as means to gaslight and demean or control their targets.

Now that we know what is dog whistling, let’s talk about how narcissists use dog whistling to manipulate their victims.

8 Ways A Dog Whistling Narcissist Manipulates You

1. They try to undermine your confidence.

Suppose you have aced a project at work, and you are feeling pretty good about yourself. But then comes the dog whistling narcissist, all ready to rain on your parade. They greet you, give you a hug, and then proceed to give you a “compliment”, like “Great work all-in-all.”

Ouch and huh? It’s similar to getting slapped on your face with really soft velvet gloves. It suddenly dims your shine of accomplishment and leaves you wondering if what you achieved was actually worth celebrating or not.

This is how narcissists manipulate you into believing that you are not good enough and nor are your achievements.

Dog whistling narcissist

2. They throw covert threats your way which only you understand.

Have you ever heard someone giving you subtle hints that make you feel uncomfortable? That’s what a sneaky narcissist does to insult you. Imagine this, a father ‘sweetly’ comments on his son’s untidy hair in front of everyone, which brings back bad memories of previous mistreatment.

Or think about a husband who mentions a news story about a wife being killed, while giving his own wife a meaningful look that scares her. It’s almost as if they have their own secret language, making the person targeted by these comments feel scared while no one else notices anything unusual.

These cunning methods can make you feel like you have to be very careful around the narcissist, with an unspoken message of “Do what I say or you’ll be sorry.” It’s quite unsettling, isn’t it? But that’s just a normal occurrence in the twisted game of controlling people that narcissists play.

Related: 7 Things Narcissists Say To Excuse Their Behavior And Keep You Under Control

3. They isolate you from your friends and family and anyone you love and trust.

Have you ever had a friend or partner saying something like “I am just worried about you hanging out with them all the time. I don’t trust them”? Sounds caring and considerate, right? Wrong! This is the dog whistling narcissist at work, trying to manipulate you by faking concern.

These are simply subtle jabs aimed at your loved ones, disguised as concern. And because you trust them, you take their words seriously and start second-guessing your plans and friendships.

You start wondering about their intentions, because the narcissist has planted little seeds of doubt in your mind, with the aim of isolating you from the people you love and trust and who are always there to support you. And before you know it, you’re sitting at home alone wondering how you lost all your friends.

4. They gaslight you, which is their favorite thing to do.

Ever had someone make you doubt your own sanity? That’s the dog whistling narcissist’s favorite pastime. They’ll throw out innocent-sounding lines like, “I never said that,” or “You must have misunderstood me,” leaving you scratching your head, wondering if you’re losing it.

It’s like they’re playing mind games without even breaking a sweat. And the worst part? There’s no smoking gun, no tangible evidence to call them out on. Just a whole lot of confusion and self-doubt.

Sneaky, right? It’s enough to make you question everything you thought you knew.

A dog whistling narcissist uses gaslighting to manipulate you

5. They provoke you through social media.

Dog whistling narcissists are always lurking around, causing trouble and sending coded messages as if it were their hobby. They are self-obsessed and take pleasure in using sly remarks or direct putdowns in what they share or say.

They might post something that looks harmless but is really meant to make you feel bad. And they’re pretty crafty about it. They’ll send you pictures or memes that bother you or cross your personal boundaries without a second thought.

But remember, just because it’s happening online doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it. Listen to your instincts and defend yourself, online or off.

Related: Mind Games Narcissists Play With Your Head: How They Control You

6. They emotionally manipulate you.

How narcissists use dog whistling? By emotionally manipulating you.

Whenever a narcissist feels threatened or they feel like you’re getting harder to trick, they will quickly resort to emotionally manipulating you. They will lay on the guilt so thick, that you will feel like you are drowning in it, with no way of coming up to the surface.

They will say things like “I always knew I was not good enough for you” and “You deserve someone much better than me”, making you feel like you have kicked a puppy. You quickly scramble to convince them that they’re the best thing that has happened to you.

It’s like they’ve got puppet strings attached to your heart, pulling at your emotions without you even realizing it. Sneaky, huh? Before you know it, you’re dancing to their tunes, wondering how they got such a tight grip on your feelings.

7. They control your finances.

Have you ever had someone take control of your money without you noticing? That’s what a dog whistling narcissist does to tighten their control on you. They’ll say things like “I take care of the money because I’m better at it” as if you couldn’t manage even if it was crucial.

Before you know what’s happening, they’re tightly holding onto your cash. You end up scratching your head, trying to figure out when this all started. They talk about handling finances as if it’s nothing while they’re really undermining your confidence and independence.

It’s just another trick they use to keep you under control without your knowledge, because they know that once they have your finances in their control, it will be even more difficult for you to escape from their clutches.

Dog whistling narcissist

8. They subtly attack your self-esteem publicly and try to humiliate you in front of others.

If you are wondering how narcissists use dog whistling, then keep an eye out for this sign. They seem to enjoy embarrassing you in public, and they find pleasure in belittling you while no one else seems to notice.

They’ll throw in a sneaky insult or make a “harmless” remark that stings you but makes everyone else chuckle, because they have no idea what the dog whistling narcissist really meant. And if you try to call them out on it, you look like the unreasonable one. I mean, come on.

Imagine this, a husband persistently teases his wife about her weight and then cracks a mean joke about how much she loves cake at a social event, making her feel ashamed.

Related: Micromanipulation: 5 Ways A Narcissist Controls You


Dog whistling goes beyond mere leg-pulling and cracking jokes. It’s a tool that narcissists use to maintain their power and control over you. Knowing how narcissists use dog whistling can help you spot the signs and fight back against them and their dirty games.

Have you ever dealt with a dog whistling narcissist? Let us know your thoughts in the comments down below!

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