What are Narcissist Flying Monkeys, and How Can You Defend Yourself from Them?
If you are in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, your other relationships may start feeling off at some point too. For example, you may notice that people you know gossip about you or that your friends are avoiding you. In short, you may start feeling rejected and left out, not understanding why people you thought were your friends are turning their back on you.
If you have experienced this, there’s a good chance that you are the victim of narcissist flying monkeys.
What are Narcissist Flying Monkeys?
The narcissist will use other people to manipulate and abuse you to maintain control over you. This abuse strategy is known as “abuse by proxy.”
Narcissist flying monkeys are individuals recruited by narcissists to actively participate in narcissistic manipulation and abuse. The term “flying monkeys” was inspired by the enchanted flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz, who was sent to do the dirty work for the Wicked Witch of the West. The phrase has become used to describe people who do the bidding of a narcissist.
These people are the narcissist’s henchmen, who keep in with the narcissist, getting involved in triangulation, gaslighting, and other narcissist manipulation strategies aimed at smearing the victim of narcissistic abuse.
A narcissist will use flying monkeys at every stage of their abuse in a relationship. For example, during the love-bombing phase, they may use your family and friends, telling them “how much you mean to them,” just to see if they will come to you with this information. They do this to choose the most easily controlled members of your family and friends.
Over time, the narcissist will feed messages to your family and friends that contain lies about you so that when you start telling them about the narcissist’s abuse, they will not believe you.
As a result, once the narcissist decides it’s time to discard you, you’ll feel isolated from your social circles, unable to get much-needed support because your friends and family will not believe you, accusing you of whatever the narcissist does wrong. Furthermore, the narcissist will most likely spread lies about you, playing the victim and further discrediting and besmirching you.
Who Can Be a “Flying Monkey?”
Flying monkeys can be your family, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers, as well as the narcissist’s family, friends, acquaintances, and coworkers. However, they can also be total strangers. In fact, a narcissist will most likely target people in various social circles at once to ensure an ongoing narcissistic supply and maintain power over you.
A narcissistic flying monkey could be anyone, from your friends and coworkers to your boss. And from total strangers – to your own children.
You may feel disoriented and perplexed, wondering why people close to you have suddenly become so toxic and hostile. However, the love bombing methods the narcissist used to attract you initially are usually the same methods they used to recruit your friends and family as flying monkeys.
Still, people who genuinely care about you will approach you to address the narcissist’s accusations, believing your explanations and offering support.
Why Do Flying Monkeys Believe and Help the Narcissist?
Some flying monkeys are entirely unaware that they are participating in narcissistic abuse. Therefore, they will believe negative things about you because they are unsuspecting of the narcissist’s lies.
There will, however, always be those who suspect or are fully aware that the narcissist is lying about you. They will gladly collaborate with the narcissist because they either enjoy drama in other people’s lives or because a deal with the narcissist offers them some sort of gain (financial, social, sexual, etc.).
Flying Monkeys are Used to Exert Control Over Someone
Abuse by proxy is one of the common manipulation strategies narcissists use to spread gossip and lies about their victims. Narcissistic flying monkeys will portray you as the perpetrator and discredit you in your social circles while presenting the narcissist as the victim.
This is how a narcissist controls you: by cutting you off your social support network.
How to Spot a Flying Monkey?
Narcissists typically target insecure people who lack self-confidence or those with hurtful past experiences. In short, they will pick people from your or their own social circles who are most vulnerable.
However, flying monkeys can be prone to narcissistic tendencies as well. They usually lack empathy, have a strong need for attention and admiration, and want to manipulate others. Many of them are also drawn to drama.
Knowing about flying monkeys does not mean you should suspect or accuse those close to you of being one. But be aware of this narcissist tactic and watch how your friends and family behave to determine if they can be trusted.
How to Defend Yourself Against Flying Monkeys?
Learning about narcissistic flying monkeys and knowing how to spot one is the first step in defending yourself against abuse by proxy.
Here are a few more suggestions for protecting yourself against narcissists’ minions.
Don’t Let Them Distort Your Reality
The narcissist’s henchmen will use gaslighting to make you question your reality, experiences, self-worth, and identity. So, make sure that you stick to reality and facts. For example, document any communication with flying monkeys that involves them bashing you.
Grey Rock Method
When interacting with narcissist flying monkeys, “grey rocking” means becoming unresponsive and emotionally distant, like a rock.
Becoming unresponsive and indifferent can help you make a narcissistic flying monkey lose interest and stop abusing you.
Build a Support Group Around Yourself
Identify and consult with people you trust. These can include your family members, close friends, or your therapist. They can provide support and help validate the truth when you feel lost due to narcissist flying monkeys’ gaslighting.
Don’t Be Afraid to Cut Flying Monkeys Out of Your Life
People close to us can sometimes turn into narcissistic flying monkeys. Don’t be afraid to cut those people out of your life in order to protect your mental health and well-being and start healing from narcissistic abuse.