“Flying monkeys” in narcissism are people who abuse by proxy, that is, do the narcissist’s dirty work.
If you can spot them from a distance, you can stop their toxic propaganda.
They are remote-controlled narcissistic enablers. Find out how to stop a narcissist’s flying monkeys and take an act of sweet revenge.
Where did “flying monkeys” originate?
The term “flying monkeys” comes from American author Frank L. Baum’s children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900).
In it, the Wicked Witch sends her winged monkeys to fetch Dorothy’s dog. The monkey obeys her and visits Dorothy to terrorize her.
The flying monkeys of a narcissist do the same, terrorizing the victim.
How to stop a narcissist’s flying monkeys?
The ability to identify flying monkeys gives you a powerful tool to put an end to abuse.
How can you disable the flying monkeys and protect yourself from abuse?
1. Recognize a flying monkey fast enough.
The first step to disable a narcissist’s flying monkeys is to spot them as early as possible.
They cannot mess with your mind if you don’t let them. Only you know the true version. It is what you lived through, so resolve to stand by it under any kind of pressure those flying monkeys.
Decline every version of a “good experience” that these monkeys ask you to recall and then reconsider your decision.
The fast way to recognize them is to see every person as their flying monkey whoever advocates for the narcissist.
2. Shut down a flying monkey.
Tell them you know what they are trying to do and you want them to stop doing it.
They often have no clues of being played against you. Educate them about the narcissist’s tricks, especially if they are a close friend or family you do want to distance yourself from.
Inform them that if they don’t stop their dirty tactics, you will break off your ties with them. Warn them that you may even report them to the legal authorities.
3. Refuse to react unemotionally.
Do not engage with the flying monkeys at an emotional level when it comes to them discussing your relationship with the narcissist.
Don’t show anger, frustration, or sadness. Don’t acquiesce to discussing the fond memories of the relationship with them.
You may talk to them as you would usually do for all other matters. However, disconnect emotionally at the first drop of a suggestion to patch up with the narcissist.
If they don’t get the hint, tell them, that you do not want to talk about the toxic relationship. Inform them that your decision to have broken away from the narcissist is final.
If after all your explaining, they don’t change their ways, ignore them totally.
Use the “gray rock” technique to deflect them entirely.
Learn how to gray rock a person. It will help maintain your calm.
4. Turn the flying monkey against the narcissist.
Tell them about the atrocities of the narcissist that they are not aware of. Let them know of the narcissist’s manipulativeness and how they have twisted your reality by gaslighting.
Tell the flying monkeys how they have been manipulated by the narcissist.
Reveal to them that their perception that the relationship needs saving is a figment of their disillusion.
5. Offer them what the narcissist offers.
This is sweet revenge.
The flying monkeys are most likely to accept favors from the narcissist, like gifts, dinners, trips, praises, money, or other benefits.
Ask them what they are getting from the narcissist to act on their behalf. They tell them you can offer them the same, or even more, to stop doing what they are doing.
If they agree to accept benefits from you, you may play them against the narcissist.
Ask the flying monkeys to:
- Refuse the narcissist’s offerings,
- Oppose their suggestions, and
- Decline to act as they want.
Who are the flying monkeys of narcissistic abuse?
When a narcissist is abandoned by a close relationship, and cannot contact them directly, they use their flying monkeys.
They recruit their own or the victim’s friends, coworkers, and family to convince the victim to go back to the narcissist.
The flying monkeys of a narcissist are people taken over by the narcissist, through charm and charisma, but at times through fear or intimidation.
These people become like drones for their masters, doing whatever they are told in order to gain favor from them.
Sometimes, the narcissist may recruit digital experts like hackers and detectives, or perverts like stalkers and thieves, to carry out their nasty agenda.
What types of people become flying monkeys?
1. Flying monkeys of covert narcissists
Some flying monkeys are gentle and benevolent and will reiterate what you gained from your relationship with the narcissist.
They will try to make you understand why “you two are soulmates” and that you should you get back to them.
They may tell you, “He’s not a bad guy as you decided. He has been very good with me.”
These narcissist enablers are often victims of a covert narcissist.
2. Flying monkeys of grandiose narcissists
The other type of flying monkeys are the vicious types who will abuse you on behalf of the narcissist.
They may shout at you at public places or when you are among your friends or coworkers. These ones blame you for the benefits you got out of the (narcissistic) person.
They label you as a selfish person who has deserted them because you have nothing more to gain from them. These enablers are often a prey to the grandiose type of narcissist.
How do narcissists trap their flying monkeys?
Narcissists are masters of manipulation. Their lying stories are so beautiful that you fall to believe them even when you know they are lying.
They have an uncanny ability to attract people into their web of manipulation. They begin grooming the persons close to you from an early stage in your relationship.
Often, the victim does not even know what has happened until it is too late.
Then, when the victim realizes their true nature and leaves the relationship, the narcissist sends in their flying monkeys to torture them and get them back.
These flying monkeys themselves do not realize that they have been taken over by the narcissist’s influence.
They fail to grasp that they have fallen victim to the narcissist’s charm and charisma. However, sometimes the narcissist may use fear or intimidation to tame these monkeys.
These people are remote-controlled by the narcissist, doing whatever they are told to stay in the good books of their master.
How do flying monkeys damage you, the victim?
Flying monkeys are great at gaslighting (by proxy) and denying your reality, getting involved in triangulation and gossip to keep the narcissist happy by generating more chaos, getting caught up in ‘smear campaigns’ and other ways of besmirching you that seems to keep them allied with the narcissist, or just enjoying the drama of it all.— Dr. Ramani Durvasula, PhD and Clinical Psychologist
How flying monkeys operate and damage a narcissist’s victim:
1. Identity theft
The flying monkeys could be hackers and phishers that the narcissist may employ to steal their victim’s identity. They may use it to steal their money or defame them.
2. Hot potato pass
This involves a narcissist using their monkeys to dump their toxic emotions and opinions on the victim. Like, “You were never as good at your art as you claimed.”
This is a given. They will use all kinds of lies and fabrications on you with resources supplied by the narcissist. They may take to spreading gossip about things you never did.
4. Silent treatment or no contact
The flying monkeys may try to go cold with their interactions with you just because you broke up with the narcissist.
5. Jekyll and Hyde persona
Narcissists carefully craft a pleasing public persona to be well-liked. They wear a mask to hide their dark side. They teach this technique to their monkeys. Then these flying monkeys will abuse you brutally in private but appear so gentle and polite with you in public.
6. Narcissistic triangulation
Triangulation is an essential tool of every narcissist.
They use triangulation to veneer over their insecurities and boost their self-worth.
They will train their flying monkeys in it.
Skilled in the art of gossip and lies, their flying monkeys will then carry out this tactic, ready to turn people against you.
- One, they will tell you how the narcissist has been so good to them and all others, it is a mystery that you find them obnoxious.
- Two, they will tell others how selfish and nasty you are.
Why do flying monkeys protect and believe the narcissist?
The flying monkeys of a narcissist work under the handed-down belief that the narcissist desperately needs his relationship to be saved. They believe the narcissist is deeply suffering without the person they love. These people also fear that they may do something harmful to themselves if the person doesn’t return to them.
They feel it is in the best interests of both people to stay in a relationship. So, they go out and coerce the victim to go back to the narcissist.
However, these flying monkeys are totally unaware that they themselves have been manipulated by the narcissist to do their dirty work. They are disillusioned that they are doing good for both parties and that the toxic relationship is worth saving.
Why do flying monkeys do what the narcissist wants?
The flying monkeys advocate and act for the narcissist because:
1. They think the narcissist’s relationship needs saving and only they can do it;
2. They are self-loathing people who are desperate to harm a person to gain the narcissist’s favor.
3. They are emotionally immature to realize that the narcissist has manipulated them; and
4. They genuinely believed that their harsh acts would ultimately serve to benefit both parties.
5. The flying monkeys do not know that they will be discarded by the narcissist once they have achieved (or failed in) their mission.
Deep down, most narcissists feel worthless and miserable.
Their fragile self-esteem is susceptible to jealousy and envy. They covet to be as much loved by others as they love themselves.
When this does not work out, they unleash their revengeful nature as narcissistic rage and flying monkeys.
If you see a narcissist’s flying monkeys coming at you, get all the help that you can get. Do not let them convince you to reunite with the narcissist after leaving them.
Get out of their abusive influence and build a healthy life for yourself.
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Author Bio: Written and reviewed by Sandip Roy — medical doctor, psychology writer, and happiness researcher. Founder and Chief Editor of The Happiness Blog. Writes on mental well-being, happiness, positive psychology, and philosophy (especially Stoicism).
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