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A Narcissist’s Flying Monkeys + 3 Tactics to Disarm Them

* 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.

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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.

Mission accomplished.

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:

  1. those who are complicit and willing (conspirator)
  2. 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…

Narcissist flying monkeys

1. Surveillance

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.

flying monkeys

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.

flying monkeys

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.

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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.

Emergency Numbers

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) is the nation’s largest organization fighting sexual violence: (800) 656-HOPE / (800) 810-7440 (TTY)

988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline: Calling 988 will connect you to a crisis counselor regardless of where you are in the United States.

911 Emergency

The National Runaway Safeline: 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)

Self Abuse Finally Ends (S.A.F.E)

American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Trauma & Child Abuse Resource Center

Domestic Violence Shelters & Resources

Futures Without Violence

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

National Network to End Domestic Violence

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Prevent Child Abuse America

Stalking Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center (SPARC)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine: 1-800-950-NAMI, or text “HELPLINE” to 62640. Both services are available between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. ET, Monday–Friday

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); www.suicidepreventionlifeline.orgOr, just dial 988

Suicide Prevention, Awareness, and Support: www.suicide.org

Crisis Text Line: Text REASON to 741741 (free, confidential and 24/7). In English and Spanish

Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DONT CUT (1-800-366-8288)

Family Violence Helpline: 1-800-996-6228

American Association of Poison Control Centers: 1-800-222-1222

National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependency: 1-800-622-2255

LGBTQ Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 678678. Standard text messaging rates apply. Available 24/7/365. (Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning—LGBTQ—young people under 25.)

The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline connects LGBT older people and caretakers with friendly responders. 1-877-360-LGBT (5428)

The Trans Lifeline is staffed by transgender people for transgender people:
1-877-565-8860 (United States)
1-877-330-6366 (Canada)

Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net

International Suicide Prevention Directory: findahelpline.com

The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a confidential and anonymous culturally appropriate domestic violence and dating violence helpline for Native Americans, available every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Call 1-844-762-8483.

‘Find a Therapist’ Online Directories


UK & Republic of Ireland

  • Emergency: 112 or 999
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
  • Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
  • Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)
  • YourLifeCounts.org: https://yourlifecounts.org/find-help/

8 thoughts on “A Narcissist’s Flying Monkeys + 3 Tactics to Disarm Them”

  1. I’m a survivor of a narcissistic abusive ex-husband. After nine years he still does things to cut me to my core. I try to keep faith and hope but he is a psychopath and gets to me through my children. Please guide me down a better path.

    1. Hey I’m also survivor of two marriages With narcissist , if you want to stop the abuse the only way to move to different city change your and your kids number so he never ever have access to you. Otherwise they wouldn’t stop …

  2. It may be wise to cut all contact with him. This means cutting contact between him and your children. If he is using your children to get to you…then he is using your children as flying monkeys….which is emotionally abusive to them. Protect yourself and your children.

  3. I had a big fall out with our son it broke my heart the doctor said it contributed to my illness. I said sorry so many times we have never fell out although before he could be difficult a gambler . He met a woman (child narc) and was never the same to me in fact he got worse . We both had been making progress until she came along but she set us and him back . He became aggressive , and hardly kept in contact. Frankly I just had enough and was so lost and hurt I had a break down. When his child was born i I was so ill with Hashimotos it effected my brain with psychoses first time in my life and autoimmune disease doctor told me I was very ill.. To cut a story short she let me take the blame and cut her and my son off from me . I never told them but the doctor states I had the breakdown through stress from their nasty uncaring behavior. They cut our grandchild off from us and she stated I am fff selfish and hated me whilst holding our grandson in front of our daughter who was also very ill just got over a massive 12 hour heart op. This all happened when our son was at work so he did not witness this but I have seen her act this way in the past with him. They stopped and ghosted our daughter as well as us used her to get back in touch we met our grandson after over a year and that is when I explained I was she stated she was ill had depression as well and called me ff selfish and hated me. We are far from this in fact my patience with them was endless until I flipped just had enough. She used our daughter just so she could abuse me after I could not apologize because they cut us off ghosted us how could I say sorry. She goes in a rage madness in her eyes so you cannot communicate with her you just have to walk away from her.

  4. Another way to disarm them? Tell them absolutely nothing personal if you can help it. Flying monkeys will fish for information, so they can report back to the narcissist.
    I’ve learned to not share things with certain people anymore. Some of my family continues to try interfering in my life under the guise of “concern”…and they also recruit other relatives/family friends as well.

    My mom has this friend who seems to be interested in me and my life lately, although I haven’t seen this woman in years (and the last time I saw her, she was rude to me).
    I feel that this person is a possible flying monkey. Her motives for being nice to me and the sudden interest just seems a bit shady.
    I have to wonder if my mom (or somebody else) has told this person to keep tabs on me, in a covert way.

    Also my biological father who lives in another country…he and one of my half-sisters have been keeping tabs on me for years, even from a distance.
    They monitor what I do and then report back to one of my cousins, who is a malignant narcissist. I don’t understand what is behind this.
    They are from different sides of the family so it’s weird.

    I think you can also spot a flying monkey when they try to get you not only to share information about yourself, but to talk about others.
    Smile and keep the conversation as neutral as possible (no matter how you feel). Don’t give these people info that is not strictly on a “need to know” basis.
    If they try to push for more information about you, shut it down politely.

  5. Think about how far you would go to protect your child..would you possibly kill someone? Their ego is their child…their only child and your uncontrolled existence is threatening their child. You are out there somewhere and they have to monitor and control the threat. You might even be saying mean things about their child and that is not allowed. Take your distancing seriously from a narracisist seriously…if you don’t they remember everything and will store that information to find,harass and hurt you in the future.

  6. Tthreatening their child. You are out there somewhere and they have to monitor and control the threat. You might even be saying mean things about their child and that is not allowed. Take your distancing seriously from a narracisist seriously…if you don’t they remember everything and will store that information to find,harass and hurt you in the future. hink about how far you would go to protect your child..would you possibly kill someone? Their ego is their child…their only child and your uncontrolled existence is

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