Navigating the intricate dynamics of narcissistic abuse often involves understanding the various characters involved, and one term that frequently surfaces in this context is “flying monkeys.”

In this article, we delve into what flying monkeys are, their roles in narcissistic abuse, and strategies for recognising and dealing with them.

 To watch the extended YouTube version, click here.

Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed Flying Monkeys first-hand in my personal and professional life. They were a large part of the narcissistic bullying I endured from a former boss, which I’ve discussed in previous articles.

I also see them in action when supporting coaching clients through personal or professional narcissistic abuse. They are an extremely common tool that the narcissist uses to control and manipulate their targets.

Understanding Flying Monkeys In Narcissistic Abuse

1.     Definition:

Flying monkeys are individuals who align themselves with a narcissist, carrying out their bidding, spreading misinformation, and targeting those whom the narcissist perceives as a threat or obstacle to their agenda.

In essence, they act as extensions of the narcissist’s manipulative tactics.                 

2.     Origin Of The Term:

The term “flying monkeys” is inspired by the Wicked Witch of the West’s minions in The Wizard of Oz.

In the story, these winged creatures carry out the witch’s commands, doing her bidding without questioning the morality of their actions.

Today, it refers to individuals who, often unwittingly, become agents of the narcissist, perpetuating manipulation and toxicity.             

3.     Roles and Tactics:

Smear Campaigns: Flying monkeys may engage in smear campaigns, spreading false information or half-truths about the narcissist’s target/victim. This can damage the person’s reputation and isolate them from social support.

Triangulation: Narcissists often use flying monkeys for triangulation, pitting individuals against each other to create chaos and divert attention from their own behaviour.

Gaslighting: Flying monkeys may participate in gaslighting by invalidating the experiences or concerns of the target, making them doubt their own reality. I have a video on gaslighting. You can watch it here.

Enablers of Abuse: In some cases, flying monkeys actively enable the narcissist’s abusive behaviour, providing them with emotional support or minimising the impact of their actions.

The Psychology Behind Flying Monkeys

1.     Manipulation and Coercion:

Fear and Intimidation: Flying monkeys may be manipulated through fear or intimidation tactics employed by the narcissist. The fear of reprisal or exclusion can be a powerful motivator for individuals to become compliant agents.

Illusions of Importance: Narcissists may make the flying monkeys feel special or important by involving them in their schemes. This illusion of importance can foster loyalty and compliance.

2.     Empathy Deficit:

Lack of Empathy: Flying monkeys often display a lack of empathy towards the narcissist’s targets. They may be unwilling or unable to understand the emotional impact of their actions on others.

Shared Narcissistic Traits: In some cases, flying monkeys may share narcissistic traits with the abuser, making them susceptible to manipulation and willing participants in the narcissistic agenda.

3.     Group Psychology:

Conformity and Belonging: Flying monkeys may be driven by a desire for conformity and a sense of belonging within the narcissist’s circle. The fear of being targeted themselves may motivate them to align with the narcissist’s agenda.

Mob Mentality: In group settings, individuals may succumb to a mob mentality, where they go along with the group’s actions without critically evaluating the morality or consequences of their behaviour.

Coping Strategies For Dealing With Flying Monkeys

1.     Maintain Boundaries:

Limit Contact: Establish and maintain clear boundaries with flying monkeys. Limiting contact can reduce their impact on your well-being and protect you from further manipulation.

Also, a critical point to remember is to share as little information with them as possible. I recommend watching my video on the Grey Rock technique to help with this. You can watch it here.

Avoid being lulled into a false sense of security and oversharing information that may be used against you either by the Monkey or the narcissist.

2.     Document and Preserve Evidence:

Keep a Record: Document instances of false information, gaslighting, or other manipulative tactics flying monkeys employ. Having a record can be helpful if you need to defend yourself or if you want to raise the issue formally.

Record dates, times, instances, and witnesses and include a hard copy of information, such as texts or emails. This will be crucial if you decide to do something more formal about the situation in future. HR will not be able to deal with your complaint without evidence.

3.     Seek Support:

Build a Support Network: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or colleagues who understand the dynamics of narcissistic abuse. Having a solid support system can help counter the effects of the flying monkeys.

4.     Educate Others:

Raise Awareness: Share your experiences with trusted individuals who may be unaware of the manipulative dynamics at play. Educating others can help create a network of informed individuals who resist becoming flying monkeys.

5.     Therapeutic Intervention:

Professional Guidance: Seeking therapy or working with a coach, like me, who specialises in narcissistic/abusive relationships can provide a safe space to process the emotional impact of narcissistic abuse and develop coping strategies. Therapists and coaches can also offer guidance on navigating relationships with flying monkeys.

One caveat here, though: please do your homework and make sure that they are fully informed on narcissism. If they’re not, which many aren’t, you may unwittingly open yourself up to more anguish and heartache.

The Wrap-Up

Understanding the role of flying monkeys in narcissistic abuse is crucial for breaking free from manipulative dynamics.

By recognising their behaviour, maintaining boundaries, seeking support, and, when necessary, taking formal action, you can reclaim your autonomy and protect yourself from the damaging effects of narcissistic manipulation.

It is a journey that requires strength, resilience, and a commitment to prioritising your well-being over succumbing to the illusions woven by narcissists and their perplexing flying monkeys.

What Next?

In the extended YouTube video version, I also discuss how to recognise Flying Monkey behaviour. You can watch it here.

If you do head to YouTube, please like, comment, subscribe, and hit that notification bell so you don’t miss a thing. I need 1,000 YouTube subscribers to be able to do ‘live’ streaming, and I’m only a few away! (So near, but yet so far!)

So, if you could help me with that, I’d be incredibly grateful. It’s completely free, and I don’t have access to your email address or any other personal details.

Finally, as always, thank you for your continued support.

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