For those who don’t know this term, “flying monkeys” are people that a narcissist uses to do their bidding. Sometimes, a narcissist will not attack you publicly in any way–which makes them look good–but they are privately telling carefully chosen people how evil and awful you are. They select these people the same way they chose you. They are experts at reading people and realizing who will make an easy target and a puppet. They also know who won’t, so they avoid the people they can’t easily use. Narcissists usually choose other, lesser, narcissists who will enjoy attacking you, or they choose very empathetic people who believe their stories and honestly believe they are supporting an innocent person. These flying monkeys then proceed to stalk you and report back to the narcissist–again, either to be mean or because they think they are helping the wronged party. Or, the worst flying monkeys will spread the lies the narcissist tells them privately by taking them public. The lies don’t come from the narcissist’s mouth, so they can claim they are “taking the high road,” but the words the flying monkeys spread are *exactly* what they heard from the narc. They do the narcissist’s evil, but make it seem like the narcissist isn’t really involved. They have no idea they are being used. The term comes from the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz since the wicked witch sends them to carry out her attacks. Most of the time, the narcissist has convinced the monkeys that the narcissist is the victim and the real victim is the abuser, so the monkeys go after the real victim and treat the real victim like the abuser. Although, I have seen some cases where the monkeys know who is the real abuser and who is the real victim, but just want to jump in on the attack on the victim. (Scary.)
Some of my ex narcopath’s flying monkeys include: an extreme busy-body gossip who sends private messages telling other women how bad I am. In turn, some of those other women are horrified by the lies they hear and either avoid me or abuse me with the stories they think are true. (And wow, I have heard some invented stories about myself!) There is another woman who has very poor boundaries and is nasty to nearly everyone because she is so insecure with herself. She tries to build herself up by beating others down. Another is a woman who had a narcissistic mother and fully believes every word the narcopath tells her. She attacks me to defend his “innocence.” There are others, but anyone who is paying attention can easily tell why these women were chosen. The gossip has spread his story with great determination. She is infamous for not minding her own business–a perfect tool for spreading lies! The nasty woman makes an easy target because she has no self-esteem. When I was with the narc, he tried to convince me that I was a horrible person and no one else liked me. He told me I needed him because he could help me be more popular. He’s probably playing her the same way. The third woman, I don’t know about. She’s gone so far as to spread hateful lies about me. She might truly be an empathetic person. But, since she’s a survivor of narcissistic abuse, she’s sensitive to others who claim to be the same. It’s not unusual for predators to tell their invented sob stories to other survivors to get support.
Two things these women have in common:
They believe in their cause and are extremely devoted to tearing down the target.
They are often willing to viciously abuse and stalk someone they have NEVER met because a man they don’t really know told them stories.
Some flying monkeys are more passive. They believe what they are told and secretly think the target is a horrible person. They might avoid or shun the target, but they don’t aggressively bully.
I have been used as a flying monkey twice that I know of. Once I dated a man who was not allowed to see his daughter because his ex-wife claimed he had raped his daughter. Of course, he told me this was a complete lie. Of course I beleived it. I dated him for years and while I did not stalk and abuse his ex-wife, I certainly thought she was a horrible person. But get this: I learned after I broke up with him that the reason he didn’t see his daughter was because he CONFESSED and agreed to give up his rights to avoid jail. Wow. I had hated his ex-wife on his behalf and I was wrong.
The second time I was used as a flying monkey was by my ex- narcopath. When I first started dating him, multiple women warned me to avoid him. He convinced me they were just mean women who were out to get him. I believed it! I didn’t go attacking these women, but I did start avoiding them socially because I thought they were bad news. I was mislead and I was wrong.
So, how do you know if you are being used by a narcissist to be a flying monkey?
I have a few clues I’ve observed while going through my ex narcopath’s flying monkey attacks!
1. You find yourself very angry on behalf of someone else who has told you a very emotional and convincing story…even though you really don’t have proof the story is true.
2. You find yourself overly invested in this person’s problems, and their enemies become your enemies…again, without real proof. (In my opinion, if you have obvious proof, it’s only natural to be angry about an abuser. But then again, if there is proof, then you aren’t being mislead to be a flying monkey. You are just being a normal, empathetic person.)
3. You find yourself using the same words and terms the alleged victim said to you. You are repeating what you are told but not really analyzing if it makes sense.
4. You are so caught up in the story and how awful it is, that you don’t question it.
So how do you avoid being used as a flying monkey?
It’s normal for a nice, thoughtful person to be upset at an accused abuser. That’s exactly what a narcissist is counting on! They want to take advantage of your feelings and your empathy so they can use you as a tool to destroy the real victim. I have a feeling many of us have been used in this way; however, I hope that most of us would not take it to the point where we are outright stalking and attacking people. That’s getting into crazy land! So all we can do is our best, but consider the following:
1. Unless you are absolutely sure that the person telling you stories is telling the truth, (such as, they have police reports or other proof,) don’t take a side.
2. Think critically. Do the stories you are hearing match up? Do they match the alleged victim’s behavior? For example, if the person tells you they have been abused and are having a hard time, but they are out having a good time every Friday night, something isn’t adding up!
3. Consider if the “victim” has a story that sounds realistic and doesn’t change. Or, are they just telling you the other person is “bad” and “crazy” without having any real reason why? (This step isn’t fool-proof because narcissists often tell very convincing stories, but it is one to think about because often the narcissist doesn’t really have a story.)
4. And quite frankly, mind your own business if you don’t have cold, hard proof.
Too many victims have been further abused by flying monkeys–some of whom are nasty narcissists themselves, but some of whom are just normal people who were fooled. Do you really want to be the person who picks the wrong story and further traumatizes a victim? I know I don’t!
55 thoughts on “Are you being used as a flying monkey for a narcissist?”
I think all this can be flipped on its head too though, no? As the victim of narcissistic abuse, all of the above pointers were used by the ‘flying monkeys’ and my parents to entirely discredit me. What do you think? It can be hard to tell who is the true victim I imagine and who is playing off of your willingness to believe it….
Lara, I totally agree with you. When I was reading this article these same very thoughts were coming to my mind. Flying monkey’s will not believe what I the victim has to say because there is no proof of being raped by my brother and molested by my mother when I was young. I do have consequences of their actions. I have all the symptoms of being traumatized.
Yep. My stomach turns when I read people talking about narcissists like they’re pure evil because I’m the one being accused of narcissim. I must be really bad at it because I don’t have a single flying monkey. My husband seems to have all my friends and family under some kind of spell. I tell his flying monkeys to look at the evidence but flying monkeys are seldom open to reason. But through it all, it’s hard for me to see my husband as a narcissist. I think it’s all bullshit. It’s just human nature. Some people are smarter animals and some are more easily deceived but we’re all animals.
Narscassist are not good people. How can someone who treats another human bad for their personal gain be good… Evil sums is up. I have not met one that was good or had good intentions.
It’s just human nature. Some people are smarter animals and some are more easily deceived but we’re all animals.
You referred to yourself as an animal. Think about that?
I am no animal, I am human. Yes I am a smarter one now that I know what to avoid in life. Narscassists!!!
Diana, you’ve probably made mistakes in your life, but you’re not a monster. It sounds like you have a lot of self-hatred and I want you to realize that you are so much more. The fact that you’re aware of these unhealthy behaviors, and are questioning if you’re narcissistic instantly puts you above your husband, who sounds 100% convinced that he is a victim and only a victim.
One of the tactics narcissists use against you is convincing you you’re the worst kind of scum for having any flaws… which, first and foremost, is human. The narcissist is an opportunist with 0 interest in perspective: a regular person will think “well, this person did x and y, but I did k and z so I can’t really judge”. The narcissist thinks “omg, this person no longer gives me the worship I’m entitled to?? HOW DARE THEY??” and finds a way to exaggerate every minor personality flaw you have, into a narrative of you being the devil himself. You’ll find the conversation always centers around what’s wrong with YOU, and never what’s wrong with them. When you try to draw attention to their issues, to put the slander in perspective, they just use it as further evidence that you’re an evil bitch out to get them. This can be fucking demoralizing. But I assure you, it’s not because you’re actually bad: it’s because narcissists are pros at deterring and changing the subject, and your husband it’s flat out bullying you to maintain control. Unlike normal people they don’t care for a fair jurisdiction, and the sooner you understand this the better. They just want you to be weak, and feed their drama-infested life because their bitter that you won’t serve them. Your husband has no interest in solving problems, only creating them, and the people who believe him are the same. Don’t worry though, they will soon learn their lesson. But for now: remember if you were as bad as your husband, you’d play equally as dirty as him. You wouldn’t admit ANY of your flaws. You wouldn’t seek a fair conversation consisting of evidence. You are strong for dealing with his bullshit, this isn’t easy for ANYONE no matter how resilient, and I wish you all the best.
Perfect timing for me to read this kind of post! I’m in the midst of lodging an Affidavit for purposes of a Protection Order (APO). Your use of some grecian masks helps ‘speak without words’, to people like me. As I have a couple of these APO to deal with, I’m relieved to find such an accurate match from my initial search ‘flying monkeys narcissism’.
Interesting and very true. I recently did some reading up about ‘social abuse’ and exactly the same thing was described but they used another term (abuse by proxy) and that this is used by covert abusers to discredit and isolate the target during smear campaigns etc. The scary thing about this is that there is no way for the target to escape – one could go NC with the abuser and still be publicly vilified and lose all support and respect. Its a political strategy
I’ve been traumatized by this behavior ..not only have I gone through emotional trauma and wound up in counseling, but so have a few others..im not sure who is the real root narcissist is, but ive been attacked by flying monkeys..it’s really affected my life. Although I’m getting stronger I see clearly this stuff in front of me instead of becoming a victim to a narcissist . It’s been a year and half and people tell me to get over things but it’s really traumatized me.
When i became pregnant, the father of my child started a smear campaign and turned alot of formerly dear friends into flying monkeys and almost all of them believed him without even bothering to ask my side of the story. There were some true friends that he knew he couldn’t convert, so before he started his smear campaign he made up lies about them that had me questioning their friendship so that I would be responsible for isolating myself. So beware of that as the beginning of a finishing move. I literally had a random chick, whom I had never even spoken to, stalking my fb and trashing me to anyone who would listen, thankfully a childhood friend set her straight. Its a rough ride but you’ll find out who really cares.
Another version of this – He had started with the women he’d been playing me off against when we were together. I had stopped going to the places he went, and I’d blocked him on Facebook, so I didn’t know. So he made it clear, in front of a friend of mine, that he was with this woman, hoping (I believe) that the tale would pass to me. “Ella’s friend has seen us, so now Ella will find out.” Big thrill between him and her, and the knowledge that I would be upset, or, better still – come and shout at him! Regrettably the friend did pass this on. Triangulation achieved. But I didn’t go and shout at him. Waste of time. Hell lacerate her, he’ll get someone new, and triangulate against her. He’ll drag on like that forever. I need to get over this. Don’t need to soil my hands with any of his repugnant little games.
I was bullied and laughed at by his Flying Monkeys on FB. I deactivated my account because the monkeys were everywhere. I don’t miss FB, at all, though. They did me a favor. But, what gets me is that one of the Flying Monkeys was a Domestic Abuse Counselor! And, several others were feigning helping others heal on Narcissist Support Groups. This is what made it so crazy. It’s as if these people have no integrity whatsoever. There only mission is to coddle the Abuser, and further crush the real victim. They have no idea that they are not Special to the Narcissist, but merely being used as one of his pawns. It’s actually rather pathetic.
Flying monkeys are doing the bidding of a couple of NSPs I crossed paths with, and one trick was definitely the one that had me questioning my friendships, the truest ones. I regularly question things that don’t seem to make sense, and I am a very empathetic person, both of which made me a target for the NSPs. Even after NC for months, and while I’m working to heal from the trauma and begin the next part of my life, I am still being stalked and tormented by flying monkeys. They are determined to find out where I live, my fb and email were hacked, and I recently had to remove spyware that had been covertly installed on my computer. I finally reconciled with the terrible truth that there exist truly awful people in this world, and that it may take time to find more people who are compassionate and genuine, but I still cannot find peace because the Flying Monkeys and the NSPs are doing what they can to rid me of my safety, my income, and my support system. I don’t even know if I can trust my doctor right now.
Most flying monkeys I know have been very awkward about what they are doing but are too spineless to understand that they are not helping the situation. I know a teenaged daughter who does her mothers bidding and is very awkward about it but is just trying to survive. I was very angry when a teenage girl successfully sabotaged my efforts to live in the city at her mothers orders (it was more obvious than they thought) she was picked up from school to come to my squat pad to spy on me and gossip about me.
but I had to learn to be stronger than the situation and realize “she’s only 16, she doesn’t realize how anti social this behavior is. there are other things I can do, there are other resources at my disposal, and I can’t let a 16 year old affect my life or how much easier would it be for a more powerful person to fuck me over.”
Your story hits home to me and I feel your pain. I am an empath who has been and continues to be abused by my narcissist/sociopath sister. She continues to recruit flying monkeys to do her bidding and is relentless in her attacks on my reputation.
My sister also contacted my previous GP, neighbours, relatives, my friends, ex work colleagues and even became complicate in bullying I experienced at work.
I have read so much about narcs, flying monkey’s etc that I could probably publish a book on these disordered people.
Please stay strong-do not let anyone steal your happiness. They will be held accountable for their actions one day-one word KARMA!
Don’t ever forget-“Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself.”
Sending you blessings and strength.
So basically a narcissist is a pathologically immature person who reverts back to a teenage version of themselves rather than growing to overcome life’s challenges.
You have also been describing here a highly codependent lifestyle where people are so wrapped up in each other’s drama and lives…all have lost true objectivity. When flying monkeys have done their thing at me or to me….I don’t get my undies in a twist as I consider the source (s) and move on. Anybody who unloads too much info about a dysfunctional situation quickly and persuasively is suspect. Facts stick around forever and feelings just keep coming and going past like traffic….
Just on a practical level, after abuse I found it very valuable to be out on a Friday night to heal and enjoy time with my friends. And also to a certain extent allow myself not being seen as too destroyed by my attacker. Especially after isolation and paranoia, a good social life is important.
I empathize with all these comments. I haven’t known what’s been going on for years. Narcs are vile creatures. It ruins your life and spoils my good nature. There doesn’t seem to be enough help within the law, or maybe the narcs no how to get round it. Vile people and dangerous. I wish good luck to victims and exposure to all narcs. Peace out x
I don’t know if you need “proof”. Looking for proof can set up a victim who is angry or who has retaliated or gone off from being triggered in some way is not the same as proof. To perpetuate this story of ALL victims being scared, obsequious, timid mouse-like creatures doesn’t serve them. It’s better to learn the dynamics of abuse and judge from that standpoint. Police reports are a dead giveaway that someone has been abusive. Yet it’s important to broaden our definition of abuse, which can include sexual abuse, financial abuse, and emotional abuse. Those aren’t always defined in a black-and-white manner. An abuser never takes responsibility, always blames the other, and has no true ability to articulate his target’s viewpoint or “soften” towards her. That’s a start for suspecting you have an abuser.
I’ve run into several narcs over the years. Most were mild and harmless (if you will), but the last one was INDEED the last sociopath that I will allow into my life. I honestly just thought that people were nice or mean. But this guy was PURE EVIL for absolutely NO REASON. Anyway, I got a clue and got equipped and began putting people that I came in contact with through a series of tests if you will, in an effort to rule out these devils. So far, so good.
Could you please give me some ideas about the tests you put people you come in contact with, in order to protect yourself from another toxic person?
Thank you kindly.
Read ‘ malignant self love’ by vicram and you should be able to spot a Narcissus. If you already suffered at the hands of one you will see the same warning signs straight away. Hope this helps
Vicram? No, Malignant self-love is written by Sam Vaknin.
Yes, sorry for my misinformation. Apart from getting his name wrong I think my comment was helpful?and I got the name of the book right!
Clues that flying monkeys are being recruited = when a person/friend changes patterns to avoid you.When that person turns their back to you and you receive an icky, wtf feeling…that means the back turning person/friend is being turned into a flying monkey..,or that the narc is slandering/talking badly about you to the back turning person/friend. If you speak highly of person X to a narc…you will soon be shunned by person X because the narc does not want person X to have positive feelings about you, and thus will recruit person X to hate you.Narcs love slandering you.