As you know, I get messages. Early this morning, around 6:15 am, I got a message. I was told to elaborate on what a narcissistic abuse dog whistle is. I had 45 minutes before my alarm went off, so I stayed in bed and listened. The more I listened and downloaded the information, the more I realized that I missed this critical step in my last blog post and podcast, “are you temporarily narcissistic?” At first, I thought about adding the information. Soon more information and two stories came to mind. I knew that I could not briefly add this information. I needed to create a separate blog post and some bonus material for the podcast. The message is not pretty, but this happens to several people who are unaware of what is happening below the surface or during the unfortunate event. Here is what I was guided to share.
A narcissistic abuse dog whistle can be more than a certain tone of voice, facial expressions, body gestures or eye rolls, and keywords. It can be an object, place, city, bar, restaurant, nightclub, holiday, vacation getaway, dress, past event, or even a person. This narcissistic abuse dog whistle is designed to induce negative feelings, trigger an abusive or trauma memory, and trigger a reactive abuse response where you lose your composure. This loss of a composer can happen in private, when opening Christmas presents, on your birthday, at a restaurant, or out with friends or family in public . These uncomfortable feelings can range from fear, self-doubt, jealousy, disappointment, humiliation, anxiety, inadequacy, shame, regret, and guilt. All these negative feelings can be knife gabs from the abuser but done with an undertone of affection or disappointment.
In my book, the undetected narcissist, in chapter fourteen – understanding revenge obsession, I talk about baiting, reactive abuse, and revenge obsession. The story I shared was so traumatic for me. My dog whistle torture item of choice was a lint roller brush. I tell you how this dog whistle was used against me as a reminder and grooming tool in chapter thirty-nine. If I had taken that story and elaborated on it, my abuser could have used it in other sinister ways. Let me elaborate. Since I did experience a negative outcome with law enforcement, the thought of being in jail again would be traumatic for me or anyone. To punish me or mess with my mind, he could use that trauma memory to trigger me on vacation – just for amusement and entertainment. Let me explain.
Let’s say we go to San Francisco, California. We take the ferry to Alcatraz with our son. Our son is so excited to see Alcatraz, and his dad has been talking for weeks about how exciting the island is to our son. In keeping my composer to please our son, my son’s father encourages me to walk into a jail cell. I don’t want to, but he gets our son to egg me on. Making slight comments like, “Oh babe, we are here to have fun. It can’t be all that bad inside that dark, cold, and smelly jail cell. Be a good sport and step inside for the sake of our son. You don’t want to ruin this vacation, babe?” If you know my story, you would think he was a complete asshole.
Only the two of us know the real story, not our son. If he wanted to take it a step further, he could take us into a convenance store that had a lint roller brush or comment while I was in the jail cell, for example, “Watch out, son, your mom might have a lint roller brush behind her back.” All this time, he would be smiling and laughing like it was a funny inside joke. Let me elaborate further about a narcissistic abuse dog whistle. And I must give a trigger warning.
Some men might listen to this podcast or read the blog post, so I want to give them a few female narcissistic examples of a narcissistic abuse dog whistle. Let’s say you take your wife and kids to Alcatraz for vacation. Your wife could bait you with a few passive-aggressive comments to get you triggered because you would not buy her that expensive necklace the other day. For example, you could have had a DUI and had to spend the night in jail. Your wife could say, “Hey, honey—step inside that jail cell. You already know how it feels to sleep in one of those. Take it for a spin, babe.” The kids would be confused because, as adults, you never mentioned how daddy had to spend the night in jail. You could resist, but she keeps making jokes that you are just being overly sensitive until she pushes you into the jail cell and says, “See, honey. Your right at home again.” You snap, and she pretends to be the victim. Mommy will try to rope the kids in by saying, “Daddy must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed. He can be so mean sometimes. Let’s leave him alone in his jail cell. He is better off there, anyway. Come on, babies.” As she walks away with the kids as you feel defeated and insulted.
I have also heard from several men that women use sex as a weapon. The threat of zero intimacy could be a narcissistic abuse dog whistle. A threat to keep you in line and to remember who is in control. It will feel like you are walking on eggshells, jumping through her hoops and demands. You are showering her with affection, praise, wine and dine her, and giving her gifts. To realize that she intended to shut you down as soon as you are alone or about to be alone. She might start a fight or say that she can tell you haven’t been affectionate or romantic enough all evening. Then, she can play the victim and cry. If you raise your voice or show the slightest irritation, she can claim that you ruined the evening, which is all your fault. After all, she is expecting you to get mad because you did everything she asked of you, and now you will not get laid. Then when you get angry and call her out on this game she plays week after week, she cries even harder and accuses you of being verbally and emotionally abusive.
I have also heard of women who love to flirt with men in front of their partners or husband to trigger a reaction. To make them feel inadequate and not good enough. These types of women thrive off being the center of attention. If you have ever watched the movie Deep Water, you will notice how his wife cheats on her husband. She flaunts it in his face and even invites her lovers over to their house parties. The marriage is sick and twisted. They are both narcissistic but enjoy playing games that trigger a reaction. Baiting each other and waiting for someone to snap or prove their love or loyalty.
Now let’s do a narcissistic male role model. Let’s say you are on vacation in Italy. You have always wanted to go to Italy because you love the food and the men. Your husband is part Italian and narcissistic. On vacation, your husband takes you out to a bar after dinner. The male waiter at the restaurant was rather flirty with you. After all, your husband bought you a flattering red form-fitting dress that shows off all your curves. Your husband is teasing you about the male waiter, saying, “I saw how he was looking at you. He wanted to devour you in that delicious dress you are wearing. I saw how you looked at him—batting your eyes and smiling. Maybe he should take you back to the hotel room tonight instead of me. You are such a tease.”
At first, it seems harmless. You don’t know if he is playing around or is baiting you. You shrug it off and step inside the bar. An hour passes, and you both have had a few too many drinks. Your husband notices several Italian men looking at you. The dress does display all your curves, and those tall heels make your legs look divine. Your husband starts to make comments that are not flattering but insulting. Making accusations and calling you a whore. You try to get him to leave the bar, but he wants just one more drink. Two attractive Italian men walk over to you when your husband goes to the restroom. You feel incredibly uncomfortable because you know how your husband will react when he sees you talking to these two men. You wish you had a coat to cover yourself up because the glances these two men give you are not respectable or decent.
Time passes, and it feels like it takes your husband forever to return to the bar stool, but you notice. You notice he has been standing against the wall, watching you this whole time. The look in his eyes makes your stomach twist into knots. Ten minutes later, your husband walks over to the bar stool. He looks at the men flirting with you and plays along, saying, “You can’t trust a woman like her. I mean, look at her. She is asking you two men to peel her out of that dress. It’s like this all the time. I can’t take her anywhere without her embarrassing me and flaunting herself in front of other men. I don’t know why I put up with this abuse. Sorry, fellas. I need to take her back to the hotel room and give her some Italian sausage”, with a grin and a wink of the eye. Both men smile and pat your husband on the back.
Walking back to the hotel, it feels like you are walking on eggshells. Your husband is dead silent and is not holding your hand as you walk together. You feel isolated and dirty wearing that red dress he bought you. When you get inside your hotel room, your husband is still silent. Finally, he pours himself another drink and sits down, intensely staring at you. To change the mood, you say, “I am going to wash up and get changed.” As you turn away to walk towards the bathroom, he stops you in your tracks. “Babe, I like you as you are. After all, you are my dirty little girl. I am not done with you. Come sit over here and have a nightcap with me.” As he pats the sit next to him.
Long story short, you do not make love that night. You are left in tears, dress thrown on the floor, mascara and lip stick smeared on face, and your body hurts all over from being handled like…well you can guess. The next morning, your husband acts like nothing happened while you are still frozen in shock.
Time passed, and everything seemed to be going fine or as well as it could be for the past three months. This weekend is your birthday, and your husband has a surprise for you. He is taking you to dinner, and some of your mutual friends will meet you at the restaurant. For several days, your husband has dropped comments about wanting you to wear the red dress he bought you, but you refuse. You make some excuse that it no longer fits you the same way it did. That is when he comments about your weight. You have gained a few extra pounds because you no longer enjoy having sex with your husband. The extra pounds have worked because your husband only body shames you and no longer desires you in the same manner. You do your best to ignore rude comments and wear something that makes me feel pretty, but does not show off any curves.
When you get to the restaurant, your face drops into a frown. It’s an Italian restaurant. You do your best to smile and keep your composure. When the waiter comes over to your table, you notice that he is Italian, and as some Italian men can be, he starts to playfully flirt with you as your husband mentions this is a special occasion and your special day. As your husband silently sits there, watching this waiter smile and go over the daily specials with your wife, he makes a comment. A comment that only the two of you will grasp. He says, “I don’t know what to do with you sometimes. I must apologize for my wife’s disrespectful behavior. She does love Italian men. Our vacation to Italy was wild, wasn’t it, babe?” Then he looks at the waiter and says, “I hope you have Italian sausage on the menu.” The waiter smiles and nods, “Yes, sir. We make it here ourselves, fresh every day.” The husband smiles and replies, “I bet you do. It better not be small. My wife loves them long and juicy. Just like her men.” Your friends laugh because they think it’s a joke, but it’s not. The waiter knows it is not a joke and excuses himself from the table by saying, “I will give you a few more minutes to go over the menu.” You know deep down inside that your husband is trying to get a reaction out of you because your sex life is no longer hot and steamy. Sex is like a chore. For the remainder of the dinner, your husband continues to make slight digs and jabs about your vacation to Italy as the evening progresses. Ruining your birthday and making you feel worthless and disgusting inside.
In this story, the narcissistic abuse dog whistle is designed to be a reminder. A reminder of who is in control here. It reminds the wife of what will or could happen if she step out of line and take the reactive abuse bait. It is sick and twisted, but these are the games a narcissistic person enjoys playing with you. I could elaborate on what happens when you get home from the restaurant, but I am sure you can also elaborate on this story. Let’s agree that it does not go well. You know, this woman in the future will do your best to avoid Italian restaurants, looking at Italian men, wearing a dress that reveals her curves, or the idea of revisiting Italy. She is walking on eggshells in this marriage.
I hope this post on narcissistic abuse dog whistle sheds some light upon those hidden gems of observation and information many people overlook or do not consider. If you notice this happening to someone you care about or love in a public setting, please spare them. Nobody deserves to be humiliated, devalued, or discarded like trash. You can redirect the conversation or say you are not comfortable with this conversation. You can change the subject and set healthy boundaries. You can say that you need to use the bathroom and you would love your friend’s company. Just do anything to support the one you care about because this game is only one-sided, at your friend’s expense.