What are flying monkeys in the world of narcissism? They are minions, assistants, or enforcers who help the narcissist get what they want.
There are two types of flying monkeys: benevolent and malevolent.
Benevolent flying monkeys help the narcissist with their image and public persona. Malevolent flying monkeys, on the other hand, help the narcissist with their dirty work. This includes spreading rumours, harassing or even harming others on behalf of the narcissist.
So how do you deal with these pesky creatures and thwart the narcissist?
What are flying monkeys?
The idea of flying monkeys first originated in the movie The Wizard of Oz, in which the Wicked Witch of the West used them to do her bidding.
Flying monkeys come in two varieties: benevolent and malevolent.
Benevolent flying monkeys
Benevolent flying monkeys are those people who help the narcissist with their image. They might be a friend who is always happy to post photos of the narcissist on social media, or a colleague who is always singing the narcissist’s praises.
These flying monkeys might not even realize that they are being used by the narcissist, or that they are embroiled in the twisted alternate reality of narcissism. They genuinely believe that they are helping a friend and have no idea how manipulative and abusive the narcissist is.
What are the main characteristics of benevolent flying monkeys?
Some common characteristics of flying monkeys include:
- Flying monkeys are often people-pleasers or codependents.
- They are usually afraid of conflict or confrontation, and will take the easy road in order to avoid “problems.”
- They might have a hard time saying no. Alternatively they might feel guilty or ashamed if they don’t comply with the narcissist’s wishes.
- They often have low self-esteem and are easily manipulated.
Pawns in narcissistic abuse by triangulation
Flying monkeys are often important pawns used by the narcissist tries to manipulate their victim using triangulation. This is when the narcissist pits two people against each other in order to maintain control over both.
Benevolent flying monkeys will often be unwitting participants in this, and are usually manipulated into taking sides to further the narcissist’s agenda. They do not realize that they are being used as a counterpart in the narcissist’s machinations to harm their victim.
The role of the flying monkey in the narcissistic abuse cycle
Benevolent flying monkeys are particularly important to a narcissist when they are trying to hook a new victim.
They will also neutralise any rumours about the way the narcissist treated their previous partner, pointing the finger of blame at the ex. This helps to convince the victim that they have met their soul mate, so they end up falling head over heels in love with the narcissist.
When the new source of supply is well and truly hooked, the flying monkeys become a source of validation for the gaslighting tactics of the narcissist. If the victim starts to wonder if they are being abused, the flying monkeys swing into action. They will tell them that they are making a mountain out of a molehill and insist the narcissist has good intentions.
They will continue to praise the narcissist and tell the victim how lucky they are to have such a wonderful partner. The victim is left doubting their own memory and perception, wondering if they are going crazy.
When the relationship disintegrates and the narcissist discards the victim and moves on to a new source of supply, the cycle repeats itself. The flying monkeys will blame the newly minted ex for everything that went wrong in the relationship, and will once again make the narcissist out to be the victim.
The role of flying monkeys in enabling the narcissist to deploy the DARVO technique
In essence, benevolent flying monkeys are important pawns for the narcissist. They enable the narcissistic abuser to deploy a manipulative scheme known as DARVO.
DARVO is an acronym that stands for Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender. It’s a technique used by abusers, harassers, and bullies to discredit and silence their victims.
The narcissist will deny that they have done anything wrong, attack the victim’s character, and then reverse the victim and offender roles by making themselves out to be the victim.
All of this is enabled by the flying monkeys, who will believe the narcissist’s lies and parrot them to the victim. This serves to further gaslight and confuse the victim, who is already struggling to make sense of what is happening.
Malevolent flying monkeys
Malevolent flying monkeys are are crucial players in the warped world of narcissism. They are the people who will help the narcissist with their dirty work.
While benevolent flying monkeys help the narcissist with their image, malevolent flying monkeys are the people the narcissist will turn to when they need someone to help them with their nefarious schemes.
What are the main characteristics of malevolent flying monkeys?
Some common characteristics of malevolent flying monkeys include:
- They tend to be sociopaths, psychopaths or narcissists themselves, or at the very least have low levels of empathy. As a result they are antisocial and enjoy watching other people suffer.
- They have a strong need for approval from the narcissist, and will do anything to get it, particularly if there is some benefit in it for them.
- They are happy to lie, cheat, or steal on behalf of the narcissist.
- They have no problem hurting other people, either emotionally or physically.
- They tend to be very manipulative and can be quite charming when they want to be.
- They are often experts at gaslighting and can be very convincing.
Malevolent monkeys are the foot soldiers in narcissistic abuse
One of the most important roles of malevolent flying monkeys is to act as amplifiers or megaphones in narcissistic smear campaign.
They help to spread rumours about the person the narcissist is trying to damage. They do this by badmouthing the victim with anyone who is inclined to listen. Then they up the ante by posting on social media or messaging mutual acquaintances to spread the lies as far and wide as possible.
Abuse by proxy
Their support is also critical to the narcissist when it comes to abuse by proxy. Malevolent flying monkeys will have no qualms stalking , harassing, or even physically harming the narcissist’s target on their behalf. In some cases, they may even do this without the narcissist even needing to ask them to do so.
There have been cases of malevolent narcissists stalking a victim online, reporting back to the narcissist any detail they manage to glean about what the target is up to.
They will also not balk at spreading revenge porn in their deranged attempts to do the narcissist’s dirty work. Everything is fair game to them, as long as it achieves the aim of destroying the victim.
In cases of institutional abuse by proxy, these flying monkeys will help perpetuate the vicious lies of the narcissist. They will lie under oath when testifying in court, or sign false affidavits. They will even make false reports to child protective services or the police. All of this serves to further damage the victim and make it more difficult for them to get help or justice.
How to deal with flying monkeys
The best way to deal with flying monkeys is to cut them out of your life completely. This is easier said than done, but it is important to remember that these people are not your friends. They may have been at one time, but their loyalty lies with the narcissist, not with you.
So how do you go about cutting them out of your life?
The first step is to recognise them for what they are. This can be difficult, as they may be people you have known for a long time, but it is important to remember that they are not the people you used to know. They are something else entirely.
The next step is to stop interacting with them. This may mean unfriending them on social media, or even breaking off contact with them completely if they are people you see on a regular basis. It is important to remember that they will not hesitate to hurt you if it means getting in the good graces of the narcissist, so it is best to cut them out completely.
The final step is to totally cut yourself off from them. This means blocking them on social media. You might also need to change your phone number to stop them getting to you. In extreme cases, particularly if stalking was involved, you should even consider moving to a different location.
Final thoughts on flying monkeys and narcissism
Flying monkeys are an integral part of the deranged realm of narcissism, and they can wreak extreme damage. Once you realise what the narcissist is up to and how he is using these minions of his, make sure to keep a record of all communication and abusive episodes.
This is particularly important in the case of malevolent flying monkeys, who will not hesitate to lie to the authorities.
Flying monkeys have the power to hurt you, particularly if you used to consider them friends. However remember that they are nothing but tools, and that the narcissist will most likely turn on them one day. When that happens, they will get a taste of their own medicine.
For Further Reading:
You might also want to check out the following posts about the different abuse tactics in the Narcissist’s toolbox:
- Abuse by Proxy
- Ambient Abuse
- Coercive Control
- Divide and Conquer
- Flying Monkeys
- Future Faking
- Love Bombing
- Narcissist Discard
- Narcissist Hoovering
- Narcissistic Triangulation
- Narcissistic Abuse
- Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome
- Narcissistic Family Roles
- Narcissistic FOG
- Narcissistic Grooming
- Narcissistic Projection
- Narcissistic Rage
- Narcissistic Smear Campaign
- Narcissistic Word Salad
- Parental Alienation
- 7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
- The 10 Stages of Healing After Narcissistic Abuse
- 13 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse: How to Deal with It and Get Help
- Flying Monkeys in the World of Narcissism: What They Are and How to Deal with Them
- Gaslighting Defined – How Can You Tell If Your Partner Is Gaslighting You?
- Why Narcissists String Along their Exes and Never Cut Them Loose
- Understanding the Cycle of Emotional Abuse – The Red Flags of a Toxic Relationship
And finally, this is my story. I was the scapegoat daughter of a narcissistic father.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. When you use one of my affiliate links, the company compensates me. At no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a commission, which helps me run this blog and keep my in-depth content free of charge for all my readers.