* I generally write using the pronouns he/him when referring to narcissists, but females are just as likely to be narcissists or exhibit narcissistic traits. So please don't think just because article uses the word him or he that it could not be a woman in that same role.
The term ‘flying monkeys’ refers to ‘abuse by proxy,’ or having someone else perform the bidding of another person, in this case a narcissist.
Anyone who grew up watching The Wizard of Oz will recall how frightening the Wicked Witch of the West’s flying monkeys were.
The phrase flying monkey was coined in reference to the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz who were sworn to serve the Wicked Witch of the West against Dorothy and her comrades.
The witch dispatched these monkeys to perform her dirty jobs, and the phrase has since been associated with those who wind up doing a narcissist’s dirty work.
Flying monkeys become entangled in a narcissist’s scheme — frequently to do harm to another person.
The narcissist may employ flying monkeys as a piggy in the middle, transporting information between parties.
The flying monkey may employ gaslighting techniques, outright violence, and guilt-tripping in order to make another person feel awful and helpless while simultaneously bolstering the narcissist. And they are frequently involved in arguing the narcissist’s argument.
Narcissists adore having at least one flying monkey because it gives them a sense of importance and allows them to appear to be above the individuals below them (on both sides) who are entangled in the drama’s nasty aspects.
The narcissist frequently recruits his or her flying monkeys from inside the family, including siblings, spouses, and children.
Close friends or coworkers may also become flying monkeys: I’m sure we’ve all encountered bosses or political leaders who couldn’t operate without a band of willing assistants.
This typical narcissistic technique involves using the victim’s friends and family to spy on them and spread gossip, all the while portraying the narcissist as the victim and their target as the culprit.
Flying monkeys may be your friends, family, or coworkers, or they could have been the narcissist’s friends, family, or coworkers prior to your arrival.
To preserve the appearance of control and manipulation over you, the narcissist will utilize third parties.
a Narcissist’s Flying Monkeys
From the minute they meet you, narcissists begin grooming your friends and family. At first, the narcissist is evaluating them and your relationship with them to determine the strength of the tie.
At first, they may express their love for you and their belief that you are soul mates to your friends and family.
This test will determine whether or not your friends immediately return to you with this information.
This appears to be kind and loving on the surface, but the narcissist is actually testing your pals to determine their controllability.
Over time, the statements they feed your friends and family may have a kernel of truth; nevertheless, the narcissist is now mocking you behind your back.
They may emphasize anything along the lines of “Tracy is such an excellent storyteller that I never know when she is fabricating something.”
This statement lays the groundwork for later when you begin telling your friends about the narcissist’s lies, cheating, and actions.
The seed of doubt has been sown, and your own friends and family will mistrust your statements about the narcissist as they transition from good to bad.
After the discard, the last step of this flying monkey stage occurs.
This is the time when you most require the support of your friends and family, but because of the connection your narcissist has developed with them, the narcissist quickly runs to them spreading lies about you.
Whatever the narcissist did incorrectly, they will blame you. Following that, the narcissist will spread lies and focus on the positive aspects of you.
This concoction of small hurtful lies injures us the most deeply because it calls into question our most protected characteristics.
Your friends are going to believe the narcissist’s mask of ‘playing victim.’
The narcissist has deliberately chosen the weakest links in your friend network – those who are easiest to control.
These flying monkeys can also propagate the smear campaign, further isolating you and preventing you from receiving needed assistance.
To be clear, a flying monkey can also be used to communicate how much the narcissist adores you and desires reconciliation.
They are carrier pigeons doing the narcissist’s bidding in order to reach you.
This strategy involves your friends in the manipulation in order to reclaim you or at the very least maintain the pretense that they wanted it to work out.
You now appear to be the bad guy/girl.
Your friends and family members who have been singled out and exploited by the narcissist are also duped.
The method a narcissist uses to initially seduce you is the same one they use to recruit your friends to be flying monkeys.
While other friends may turn to the dark side and become someone you never want to see again in your life.
Others, on the other hand, may be worth saving once the pixie dust has worn off.
A healthy friend would approach you with worries about what your narcissist has said about you; they would question you to verify the falsehoods they overheard and to trust and believe you when you explain.
Possessing your new language and knowledge of flying monkeys does not imply that you immediately accuse your friends and family members of becoming one.
This will have a number of unintended consequences.
Observe them from a distance to ensure they are safe and will not communicate information to the narcissist.
They must re-earn your confidence one trustworthy action at a time.
It will be your responsibility to ensure that the information you share does not reach the narcissist, therefore ensure the safety of your pals before revealing too much with them.
With no regard for anyone, the narcissist casually discards the flying monkeys once the desired damage has been accomplished.
There are two sorts of flying monkeys:
- those who are complicit and willing (conspirator)
- those who are well-intentioned dupes (deluded)
Keep in mind that you were once enchanted by this narcissist, as are the flying monkeys.
Approach a flying monkey with great caution; never offer them any information that may be used to spy on the narcissist,
It may be preferable to unfriend or block them on social media rather than enable them to provide spy intel to the narcissist.
3 Ways Flying Monkeys Trick you & Tactics To Disarm Them
These Flying Monkeys might be coerced into assisting the narcissist by…
Assume you were the one who ended the relationship and has gone “no contact” in an attempt to recuperate from the ordeal.
Narc may assign one or two FMs to monitor your social media profiles and report back on your activities.
How To Avoid This Situation:
Set your social media profiles to private and exercise extreme caution when accepting friend requests.
Accept requests only from friends of friends, and inquire about these newcomers from as many common connections as possible. Conduct some reconnaissance prior to providing them access.
This may sound too obsessive, but if you’ve worked so hard to escape a narcissist’s grasp, it’s worth making an extra effort to protect yourself.
By following these procedures, you may be assured that no personal information about you will be disclosed to your ex. His or her henchmen will simply be unable to obtain any information about you that you do not choose to disclose to the wider public.
2. Smear/Gossip Campaigns
While most of us are prone to gossip on occasion, when it is taken to a whole new level and you are the unfortunate victim, it can make you feel horrible.
Unfortunately, narcissists and their followers frequently participate in this sort of bullying conduct.
It’s a very pitiful, immature act, but if they feel slighted in any way and wish to punish you for daring to put an end to their power trip and control over you, they may resort to a smear campaign.
If you’re new to this notion, the basic premise is to incite others against you.
They accomplish this by either telling them falsehoods about heinous things you’ve said or done or by publicizing information you shared with them in private (back when you were naive enough to believe them).
The goal is to punish you for any perceived wrongdoings against them and to ensure that they take the initiative and paint you as the “bad guy” before you can do the same thing to them.
FMs can aide in this process by contributing to the cacophony of sh*t being thrown about you.
After all, an unhappy ex is readily disregarded as such, but if many individuals in diverse social groups are saying the same thing… That has to be true, right?
Quite frequently, the slander campaign may include common acquaintances and even members of your own family whom the narc has charmed over your relationship.
As a result, it is very destructive and can result in the breakdown of many critical relationships at the same time.
How To Avoid This Situation:
“Rise Above” may seem clichéd and overused, yet it is an excellent term. Rather than retaliating or defending yourself, strive to be the greatest, most authentic version of yourself.
If someone accuses you of doing awful things to the narc in question, simply convey your want for the narc’s happiness and well-being.
This will perplex the monkeys and cause them to doubt the veracity of the information they have been provided.
Essentially, if you don’t behave like the horrible person they’ve described you as, they’re likely to give up and go.
It may even awaken some individuals – particularly those who knew you before to the narc – from their hypnotic state and remind them of who you truly are, rather than who the narc portrays you as.
Ignore what is said, block those who are openly cruel and nasty against you, and go on your way.
3. Attacks And Interventions By Groups
This strategy entails a group of Flying Monkeys attempting to convince you that a particular sort of action is in your best interest.
Only that it is in their/the narc’s interest that they are representing.
It is especially prevalent in homes when the narc is a parent since the parent can frequently poison siblings and extended family members against you by telling them how much you have harmed them, how they have never done anything wrong, and so on.
You may find yourself in a position where your siblings, sisters, cousins, aunts, and/or even your other parent inform you that they are well aware of the problem and know exactly how you should react to resolve it.
How To Avoid/Put An End To This:
If you are unable (or unwilling) to quickly eliminate them from your life, the best course of action is to remain silent.
Recognize their manipulation and FOG (Fear, Obligation, and Guilt) attempts and avoid engaging with them.
An excellent method is to encourage them to clarify their viewpoint and the reasoning behind what they’re saying while they’re speaking.
Continue to ask questions and get information from them about what they’ve been told, what they “know,” what they desire, and so on…. but make no attempt to justify your own actions or to explain your side of the story.
Simply by taking this intervening step, they have demonstrated a lack of interest in what you have to say and have enabled themselves to be completely swayed and controlled by the narc abuser.
Once they’ve spoken, you may point out that they’ve obviously formed their own thoughts and conclusions without ever speaking with you alone and hearing your side of the story, which means their opinions are invalid and you have no interest in hearing what they have to say.
This concludes the debate.
Simply ensure that you maintain a state of calm and emotional disengagement during the event.
Their purpose is to make you uncomfortable and agitated, and if you remain objective, cool, and demonstrate little to no emotional involvement, you will get the upper hand and they will be powerless to influence you.
Individuals cannot harm you unless you give them physical or emotional access to you.
If you are unable to physically separate yourself from the narcissist and their Flying Monkeys, you may at the very least emotionally separate yourself.
A excellent illustration of this is Aikido’s notion of the “empty suit”: you are an empty vessel that relies entirely on your opponent’s energy to win the fight. Exhaust them and then walk away.
Indeed, stepping away is ultimately the most effective strategy for permanently removing the narcissist and their monkey followers from your life.
This can be extremely tough and unpleasant, especially if the Flying Monkeys are family members or are inextricably linked to your social life, but you must take care of yourself in whatever way possible.
If it involves changing your name, packing your belongings, and relocating across the nation to begin a new life with a clean slate far away from your abuser(s), by all means do so.