Flying Monkeys

After years of emotional abuse and verbal put downs, Ava finally found the guts to stand up to her narcissist mother and go no contact. She began to realize more peace in her life because her mother wasn’t constantly calling her and asking what the children were wearing or what she was making them for supper. But her mother’s phone calls were soon replaced by her sister’s.

Ava had always gotten along with her sister, but now her sister was checking up on her. At first it was very subtle, but soon it became apparent that her sister felt Ava was being mean to their mother. Ava asked why she felt this way and her sister launched into an all-out attack on Ava. She called Ava, selfish, irresponsible and coldhearted.


Ava was shocked and felt betrayed. Her sister knew what mom was like, but she now took their mother’s side. Feeling alone and cut off Ava stopped answering her sister’s calls.

Ava didn’t realize what was happening, but her sister had become a flying monkey. If you’ve ever watched the Wizard of Oz, you probably know about flying monkeys. Flying monkeys often don’t realize what they’re doing. They become the extension of the narcissist to attack whoever the narcissist is upset with.

A narcissist acts as the director of a play. From their point of view, people are only as good as whatever they can use them for. If they can’t use you, they will make you into the scapegoat. Once they get a scapegoat they will recruit some flying monkeys. Their goal is to pressure you into whatever they want you to do, or shame you for not going along with their plan in the first place.

Flying monkeys are vulnerable to the narcissist because they often don’t have their own opinions. They are followers who reflect what other people say. Their toxic remarks are not their own, but reflect the opinion of the narcissist.

There is good news and bad about flying monkeys. The good news is they really don’t know what they are talking about, so don’t take them seriously. Their comments are just more smoke and mirrors from the malignant narcissist. The bad news is they will need to think for themselves before they can see the light and be a good friend to you.

In moment like this, it might feel like the narcissist has all the friends, but you and I know that’s not true. Narcissists don’t have close friends because they don’t know how to nurture anyone–unless they are grooming them for narcissistic feed.

You still realize what the narcissist is up to and you now know you can’t trust the flying monkey. The booby prize goes to the poor flying monkey who has been tricked into trading your good and honest friendship for the lies of the narcissist. But you can’t tell them this, they will need to discover it for themselves.

All you can do is pray for them and enjoy the loyal friends and family you have. Take comfort in the words of Jesus.

But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you.
For the time is coming when everything
that is covered will be revealed,
and all that is secret will be made known to all.
-Matthew 10:26