Who doesn’t like a monkey–unless it’s a flying monkey.
I don’t know about you, but I love to go to the zoo and I could watch the monkeys for hours. Monkeys see and monkeys do. They love to imitate and respond to facial expressions. A few years ago, one of my nephews went to a zoo with us where you could get in close to the monkeys and began to make faces at a monkey. Apparently, this real life monkey was sick of people making faces because he looked around for some poop and started throwing it at my nephew. It was sad and funny at the same time. Sad for my nephew, but when someone in the family joked, “Monkey see, monkey doo-doo,” we could barely keep straight faces while we helped him clean up. This is how monkeys behave. That’s why we get sick of flying monkeys–because like real monkeys, they like to throw crap around.
Often the crap flying monkeys throw around came straight from the narcissist, but why do they seem so comfortable doing the narc’s dirty work? It might be because they act before thinking. When people follow a leader and fail to think for themselves, they end up with bad habits like imitating others and going on a defensive attack.
Many flying monkeys come with a self-righteous attitude when they ask you to be nicer to the narcissist. This is because the narcissist has played the victim and they bought into the lies. In other words, these flying monkeys are drunk on narc Kool-Aid. We need to take their attacks seriously because flying monkeys are a pawn in the narcissist’s game and the narcissist counts on them to help him destroy your reputation.
“Some people don’t have the courage
to just walk up to you and pull the trigger.
If somebody just walked up and said “Boom!”—well, there you go. Bye.
But when a person commits these little murders,
and then you catch him or her at it,
he or she might say, “Oh, I didn’t mean it.”
But make no mistake: It is an assassination attempt.”
Here are three tips on how to disable flying monkeys and send them on their way.
1. Run Their Comments through a Filter of Truth
Flying Monkeys can’t mess with your mind if you don’t let them. The first step is to know the truth and run everything the flying monkeys say through your own healthy truth filter.
As much as you might have been jealous of the golden child while you were growing up, you don’t really envy their bond with the narcissist now—hell no! You’ve seen the light and these days you realize how empty and one-sided even that relationship with the narcissist really is–even for the golden child.
Keeping the truth at the forefront of your mind whenever you deal with a flying monkey will give you clarity and enable you to ignore the crap any flying monkey throws at you. Remember a “good time” by flying monkey standards is your idea of hell.
So what can you do if you still love your flying monkey, golden child sister who comes over to tell you what you missed at the family reunion? Filter, filter, filter. If she says the narc was super nice to her, you can allow her the grace to have her illusion. It’s not hurting you to let her have her happy thoughts and it’s okay to disagree with her. Just make sure you remember it’s NOT okay to let any flying monkey shame you for having your own feelings and memories. If you still care about this relationship, then just change the subject. Or agree to disagree.
2. Educate as Many as You Can
Of course this is much easier said than done, but on occasion it is possible. Usually when a flying monkey is not a family member, but some well-meaning friend or distant relative, you can educate them.
Some flying monkeys have zero clue about the truth and just repeat whatever they’ve been manipulated to say. This could be an uninformed church lady who thinks your narcissistic mother is a jewel, but how much can she really know from seeing her across the sanctuary every week for an hour? You can let such peripheral flying monkeys off easy, but it never hurts to educate them if you get the chance. Plus it will do your soul good to just speak the truth out loud.
The best way to educate is to tell your story, but remember the narcissist has probably lied about you over and over, so you might not be able to counteract all of his lies. Still there are sincere people who will listen especially when it is pertinent to the conversation.
The tricky part is speaking the truth when you grew up in a family that threatened you with punitive damage if you didn’t keep the family secrets. While this has happened to many of us, we are the grownups now and we don’t have to keep the family secrets any more. Just remember you are speaking the truth for yourself first–even before you try to convince others. You need to constantly remind yourself of the truth to safeguard yourself from future pain.
While some flying monkeys are deceived and blind and you might be able to clarify a few things, one place that you should never try to educate is when you know the flying monkey is a bully. Many flying monkeys are deceived and follow the narcissist like a pied piper, but when you sense a flying monkey has sadistic tendencies, walk away immediately. And whatever you do, do not give them any information.
Don’t try to win over the haters,
you are not a jackass whisperer.
3. Refuse to Play Their Games
This might seem harsh and it might even feel awkward at first because you are naturally an empathetic person, but sometimes you have to stop talking to the flying monkeys–this is especially true if it has become a game for them. Wise people from the dawn of time have warned us to stop discussing people with other people. Jesus Himself said in Matthew 18 said to go directly to the person you have a problem with.
Triangulation is the number one tool of every narcissist. He will train his flying monkeys in the art of gossip and lies because without gossip and lies, he can’t spread his hate-filled agenda of turning people against you. If everyone sat at the same table for every conversation, then the truth would come out. This is why the narcissistic likes to divide and conquer. The more secret meetings, the more gossip spread and the easier it is for the narcissist to win his war on your reputation. When you refuse to play this game, you will stop giving the flying monkeys intell to take back to the narc.
Flying monkeys are vulnerable to self-righteousness because they often view themselves as peacemakers. A flying monkey feels innocent and savior-like because they imagine they’re listening to all sides–and that’s also why flying monkeys are such a big part of the problem. Sometimes listening to everyone doesn’t make you empathetic–it only makes you a part of the gossip chain. And as I said in point number one, there are many flying monkeys who refuse to do their own thinking so they merely repeat what the narcissist told them to say.
If you can just remember every flying monkey is always, always, an extension of the narcissist whether they realize it or not, you won’t be fooled and you can’t be hurt. You have evidence which the flying monkey refuses to consider. You’ve seen the light and you can’t undo what you’ve seen. At the same time, you don’t have to hate the poor misled flying monkeys, try to have pity on them in their ignorance while standing your ground. You can be kind without putting up with their lies and nonsense.
There are also some hard core flying monkeys who are very apathetic. These flying monkeys are not concerned with what hurts others as much as positioning themselves politically on the most powerful side. These flying monkeys can be dangerous and mean and might or might not be deceived by the narcissist. When you see an apathetic monkey coming, lock all the doors.
Flying Monkeys are the narcissist’s extra right hand contributing to both triangulation and boundary violations. Boundary violations come when the flying monkeys follow their narcissistic leader and deny victims and survivors their rights—even the right to tell their own stories. Triangulation furthers abuse because as long as the flying monkeys keep flying between the narcissist and everyone else, nobody really knows the truth and no one really communicates.
The best way to get rid of a flying monkey is to run their comments through a filter of truth, educate them when you can and refuse to play their games.