The term Flying Monkey is a popular term used for people who are in the inner circle of manipulative people (who often have narcissistic or sociopathic traits) and exhibit behaviors that benefit the manipulative person. If you watched the famous 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, you’ll probably remember the winged monkeys who did every bidding of the evil witch without question and helped her in her evil schemes.
Flying monkeys are people who are under the influence of the manipulator’s false identity, who believe in anything they say, do what they ask of them without question and carry messages or spread gossip for them. They often assist the narcissist or other emotional manipulators run a smear campaign about their victims. Therefore, we can say that flying monkeys are actually abused as well. In a way, these people are also manipulated themselves, and they help the narcissist gain the upper hand. The flying monkey can be the narcissist’s friend, spouse, relative, colleague, child or even somebody from the narcissist’s victim’s inner circle.
We can think of the flying monkeys as the secondary food sources for the narcissists. With their help, the narcissist abuses others through them even if not directly. In this way, the narcissist gets what they want without getting their own hands dirty. Besides, flying monkeys help the narcissists feel more important since they usually enjoy being the one in control and having admirers. They can feel like a celebrity among a large herd of flying monkeys. After all, you are one against one without the flying monkeys. But against a narcissist who’s backed by flying monkeys, you’re likely to feel all alone. If you think about it, even the fiercest dictator is nothing to worry about if there’s nobody to support them.
How Do Flying Monkeys Help the Narcissists?
– By spreading false information or distorting the truth about the narcissist’s victim.
– By obtaining information about the narcissist’s victim and passing it on to the narcissist. (Especially when you try to set a boundary between yourself and the narcissist or follow the no contact rule.)
– By making sure certain information about the narcissist reaches the victim.
– By threatening.
– By claiming that the narcissist is the innocent party and accusing the victim.
– By claiming that the narcissist is the innocent party and making the real victim doubt themselves.
– By doing things that the narcissist doesn’t want to get involved with — even if illegal.
While the flying monkeys are doing all these, they may feel like they are not the ones to blame or hold responsible. Although they contribute to the narcissist’s manipulations, they may not realize that what they are doing or saying is a problem, mostly because they see things from the narcissist’s perspective only. These people can be benevolent or malicious. Some may just be kind and naive people, while others may be problematic individuals who love drama and enjoy stirring things up. In both cases, they can do harm to the narcissistic victim, either willingly or unintentionally.
Possible Features of the Flying Monkeys
– Being inclined to getting under others’ influence: They may be people who are affected by the charm, charisma, flirtation, interest, and praise of the narcissist and can easily be blinded by such things. They may be going through some sort of idealizing phase.
– Sordidness: They may choose to be on the side of the narcissist because they seek a reward (status, money etc.) from the narcissist. These people are likely to be narcissistic themselves and not empathetic enough towards the other party.
– Tendency for drama: They may be people who are entertained by gossips, lies, secrets and have a certain taste for drama. For these people, it doesn’t really matter who is telling the truth, they only spread the news they hear about and enjoy the mess they create.
– Goodwill and naivety: They may be people who tend to believe everything they hear because they don’t think one can lie without a good reason. They probably never met a narcissist before or even if they have, they don’t have enough knowledge about the things narcissists are capable of doing. The idea of somebody lying to others for no good reason, running smear campaigns or twisting the truth can sound too absurd to them and therefore they can easily believe in the narcissist.
– Desire to help and save: The narcissist may have introduced themselves to the flying monkeys as a victim and claimed that the other party was the abuser. Because of that, these people can turn against the actual victim just to support and help the narcissist.
– Desire to feel safe and protected: If the narcissist is known as a powerful person in their circle, those around them may feel the need to be on their side just to feel safe. For example; the narcissist is the most influential member of the family, the strongest person in an organization, etc. some people may crave protection from this powerful person as a self-defense mechanism. Fighting alongside the strongest party because of this instinct is even more prominent when it comes to politics. Also, if the narcissist is an aggressive person, there will be those who side with them just to avoid narcissistic rage.
– Desire to have somebody who gives decisions on their behalf: People who do not know themselves well enough, do not know what they really want or do not want or have serious difficulties when it comes to making decisions may prefer to do what they are told without question. Meeting the demands of the confident narcissist can give these “duty people” a sense of purpose.
– Malice and jealousy: Even if the flying monkeys are not people under the influence of the narcissist, they may be people who for some reason dislike you, have jealousy or malicious intent towards you. In this case, it will be beneficial for them to side with the narcissist against you.
Regardless of their motives, being around these people is extremely dangerous — especially if you have just gotten rid of your narcissistic relationship. They can make you doubt your own perceptions, cause you to feel guilty, or directly intimidate you. Even if none of that happens, you can still feel lonely and misunderstood when surrounded by flying monkeys. Therefore, you need to have a boundary between yourself and the narcissist’s flying monkeys as well. The flying monkey may not always be someone with whom we can follow the no contact rule against. For example; you may be dealing with a colleague or a boss, and quitting your job can be out of the question for now. In such cases, you can try not to share personal information and have emotional conversations with the person you think is a flying monkey. In addition, even if you desire to prove yourself to them, to tell them that the narcissist is using them and that what they’re doing is wrong; the safest thing is not to do any of these and not allow the narcissist to abuse you, even by proxy.
So if you think you have one or several flying monkeys in your life, even if these are the people you love, don’t let them change your own perception of reality and remind yourself that what others say and think about you does not define who you actually are. People who truly love and understand you will be by your side in the long run.
You can also find the articles on https://narsistsiz.medium.com/:
A Conscious Rethink. What Flying Monkeys Do For Narcissists (And How To Disarm Them). https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/6891/avoid-flying-monkeys/
Psych Central. Narcissists and Their Flying Monkeys. https://www.psychcentral.com/pro/exhausted-woman/2019/07/narcissists-and-their-flying-monkeys#1