Three Ways to Disable Flying Monkeys

Who doesn’t like a monkey? Unless it’s a flying monkey.

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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 the zoo with us. It was a small zoo where you could get in close to the monkeys and my nephew began to make faces at a monkey. Apparently, this real-life monkey was sick of people making faces because he looked around, found some poop and started throwing it at my nephew.

It was sad and funny at the same time. I felt sorry for my nephew, but when someone in the family joked, “Monkey see, monkey doo-doo,” I could barely keep a straight face while I 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 comes straight from the narcissist. 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 nice to the narcissist. This is because the narcissist has played the victim and they’ve bought into the lies. In other words, these flying monkeys are drunk on narc Kool-Aid. You need to take their attacks seriously because flying monkeys are a pawn in the narcissist’s game. The narcissist counts on flying monkeys to help destroy your reputation.

In an interview with Oprah, Maya Angelou called these assassination attempts:

Maya: Reduce your humanity through what Jules Feiffer called little murders. The minute I hear [someone trying to demean me], I know that that person means to have my life. And I will not give it to them.

Oprah: It’s an assassination attempt by a coward.

Maya: Yes. 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.*

Oprah and Maya were right. The narcissist and flying monkeys are out to murder your reputation. Next time a flying monkey comes knocking, don’t give them any extra ammunition.

Here are three tips on how to disable flying monkeys and send them on their way.

3 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 can be–even for the golden child.

Keep the truth at the forefront of your mind whenever you deal with a flying monkey. This 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 friendly 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 allow any flying monkey to shame you for having feelings and memories. If you still care about this relationship, then 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 clues about the truth and will 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 actually know from staring at her across the pews 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 state 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, might be sincere people who will listen to your story.

The tricky part is learning to speak the truth when you grew up in a family that threatens you with punitive damage if you don’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 anymore. Just remember you are speaking the truth for yourself first–even before you try to convince others. You need to continually remind yourself of the facts 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.  Whatever you do, do NOT offer them any information.

Don’t try to win over the haters,
you are not a jackass whisperer.
-Scott Stratten

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, in Matthew 18 taught that we should go directly to the person before we spread the story on to others.

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 intel to take back to the narcissist.

Flying monkeys tend towards self-righteousness because they often view themselves as peacemakers. A flying monkey feels innocent and hero-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 them empathetic–it only makes them a part of the gossip chain. And as noted before, flying monkeys refuse to do their own thinking, and merely repeat what the narcissist tells them.

It’s important to keep this thought in mind; every flying monkey is always, always, an extension of the narcissist whether they realize it or not. Don’t let them fool you and you won’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; you can still pity their ignorance while standing your ground. You can be kind without putting up with their lies and nonsense.

There are also some hardcore 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 potent side. Some flying monkeys can be dangerous and mean. Not every flying monkey is deceived by the narcissist. Some are narcissists in training. If you see an angry or apathetic monkey heading your way, 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 communicates. It’s all a façade and a game designed to drive you crazy. Don’t let it. Stop playing.

The best way to get rid of a flying monkey is to run their comments through a filter of truth, educate them if you can and refuse to play their games.

25 comments

  1. Wow. So so true. Have you been a fly on the wall at my parents house lol? Short of going no contact, is there anything that will wake up the flying monkeys to the hurt they are causing? Or is it too late for them?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Earthboundmisfit33,

    Flying Monkeys are people and all people have a different currency. The question you will need to ask for each flying monkey is what matters to them? Is it being accepted by the family or are they they golden child or do they crave one parent’s love more than everyone else? If this is so, then the chances of waking them up are slim.

    On the other hand, if they are often the scapegoat or maybe even the golden child, but a miserable golden child, then they might come around in time.

    It’s true for me, that one of my siblings was the scapegoat for years, but I never realized it because I was so busy trying to get my parents’ love. Such dysfunctional families often leave siblings vying in competition for their parents’ love. It took a huge family divorce to wake me up–for some it might take much less. Of course waking up and taking a stand, put me immediately into the scapegoat category, but now I am glad to know the truth. I sleep better at night. All we can do is make the offer to be honest with our siblings and not play any more triangulation games.

    I wish you peace and freedom!

    Cherilyn

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  3. Hello Cherilyn

    I really appreciate your posts, they are a regular little refresher course that reinforces the new learning we all wish we’d had much earlier. It makes a big difference and thank you for writing! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi momtogirls5,

    Well, I would think all three principles apply. Don’t most parents have to run what their teenagers say through a filter of truth? And don’t most parents educate their teenagers? And don’t most parents have times when they must refuse to play the teenager’s games?

    Just to be clear, I am not making light of your question. I have very little to go on here, but I’m guessing the narc might be your ex and you are having a hard time dealing with all the lies and crap thrown at you through the kids? Obviously, it’s a sad day when one parent uses the children to get back to the other. If this is indeed what is happening, I am sorry you are having to deal with that. It’s not fair and adds a whole new dimension to parenting teenagers when the narc parent is suing them as a pawn. This must be very difficult to deal with.

    I know someone else who had to deal with this type of crap and eventually she and her children were on the same page, but not after estrangement for several years. I would suggest you not argue back through the kids and do your best to avoid arguing with teenagers since they really don’t know what the particulares are in the messy parental relationship. Be kind and tell the kids they don’t have to take sides. Also make sure you refuse to defend yourself or argue about things that you know the narc prepped them to bring up. Deflect and distract the kids from such conversations because you can’t win an argument with a kid who is acting as a flying monkey from the narc. No matter what you say will be used against you.

    Pick your battles. Pretend you don’t care on things that are not big issues. If the subject is super important just stand for the truth and refuse to discuss it anymore and then keep on acting like life is normal. When the kids mature, they might see through all the lies. The best thing you can do is change the subject from the narc and focus on your relationship with your kids.

    Best of luck to you!

    Cherilyn

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My cousin is married, in a legal separation, to a narc. She talks with me and I try to listen and also understand all the angles that are coming at her. Your information is good as is your encouragement. I have sent her your link.
    Thank you for what you are putting out to be found!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear momtogirls5,

    Best wishes for your cousin! She will look back on this later and be glad that she is free from the narc and can live a happier life. I know it hurts for quite awhile, but I know several people who have divorced narcs and have much better lives now.

    Peace and freedom you and your cousin!

    Cherilyn

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  7. I’ve read this post three times. This post is amazing because I just had a conversation with one of my cousins about this very topic a few days ago, sans the terms flying monkey. But about enablers in the family tip-toeing around the narcissists in the family (yeah my family has several), wanting to be loved, accepted, liked, or whatever it is that they’re missing. I explained that talking to them was like being on a sinking boat. They’re main mission was to gather information to give to the narcissists. Although they probably mean well and don’t realize that they’re just pawns in the narcissists’ ploys, I still don’t want to drown with them.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Lynette,

    Yes, I forgot to mention how the flying monkeys collect information. Bless you for surviving that nightmare.

    For anyone else reading this Lynette’s memoir is title Even Rain is Just Water and you can find it at Amazon. I will post my review on it next week.

    Peace and freedom to you Lynette!

    Cherilyn

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Erica,

    I would go very easy on any young person even if they are a flying monkey, because young people can easily make mistakes by repeating what older adult persuades them to say. Due to their inexperience in life, they are most vulnerable to the narcissist’s lies.

    Only time will show him the truth so make sure to not do any harm while he is in this confused state. Simply and gently tell him there is more to the story and it might take years for him to understand what’s going on. If he seems to keep pushing the topic, you could also tell him there are some things that the two of you can’t discuss because it would not be appropriate for him to discuss say the details of your broken marriage or issues with your narc ex or mother depending on the situation.

    And most of all reassure him that you love him unconditionally whether you agree or not. Showing unconditional love with firm boundaries will be important because the narcissist can offer him neither of these things.

    Peace and freedom to you!

    Cherilyn

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  10. I’ve been under a narcissist influence since 1984. I just got my eyes open. I love him like I love no one else. I told him that he has taking over half of my life. Our relationship has caused me to be misses Nimrod standing before God . In opposition of God. We had problems he went to another state with the promise of getting some things together taking care of his ill father and me and him get back together. Not even 6 months into his stay there were other women one of them got pregnant she just had her baby and October 2017 he doesn’t deal with the baby’s mother and he’s living with another woman. I told him you couldn’t give me 6 months because of all the stuff him and I have been through. I just went off revealed to him all the things that I felt I told him everybody talkin about our relationship and I have never said anything. Now it’s time for me to say something because I have something to say. I summed up everything and at the end I told him goodbye. Thank you this article has been so helpful

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Gwendolyn,

    Bless your heart! You have been through the mill with this narc. I am so sorry to hear this!

    I pray for you to have resilience and strength to know your own power and for you to find what you need to become a successful survivor. Stand tall in your dignity. Whatever the narc does has no reflection on you.

    Big hugs!

    Peace and freedom to you!

    Cherilyn

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  12. I have been No Contact with my N Mother since 8/2008, save for two emails in 1 in 2011 and 1 in 2012.
    1. to tell me my grandmother was nearing the end and if i wanted to come see her I should, and the 2nd email was to tell me my 10K CD my grandmother left for me and my son in inhertiance she ahd used so sorry I wont be getting it, nor will my son be getting his-because she somehow absorbed it all herself befor emy grandmother died…

    In any case I have 1 Flying monkey brother and he is a hoot, I try to keep my phone number changed often as my dad occationally gives it out when my brother calls wanting my number to call and be a flying monkey to me. Its always the same. He tells me he will not have a relationship with me unless I appologize to mother. For what I can only imagin the packs of lies, in any case we live 5 states away and at times I dont think thats even far enough.

    The interest in my son though, that is disturbing. I maintain distance and no contact so it cannot manifest in any real narc involvment. I will keep this up forever. I will be releived when she dies, sad to say , the meddling will be over for my narc mother, thats so sad isnt it? but yeah, I have accepted I will never see her again, and hope to never see my flying monkey narc brother either(yeah he is one too, I think for sure)

    They have both tried to profess some meddling but I have cut them off at the knees at every turn. Honesty kills a narc agenda, they go lay in wait for their next ploy and then you fire honesty cannonball once again and they retreat to their maddness once again.

    Narc in the family is so crazy. But the flying monkey, i think is worst because they know its happeneing and choose to be that way.

    I have protected my son for 15 years now and I will continue to do so, If it ever comes to it I will use the courts to keep them both at bay, so help me god, I will file everything in the book at them to keep them away.

    No contact is the best way to deal with them both. Sorry, harsh as it is its the best decision I ever made, for myself my son and my marriage.
    I think of it like this, I dont have a sibling or a mother. I havent for years. Mother I think since my brother was born, and my brother has always been a master manipulator for his own use. I am glad to be rid of them both. I invite them never again into my life.

    I am resolved of all of the abuse because I cut it of like a snakes head logn ago now. Alot f people have trouble with No contact, I have no idea why though-you must consider that wanting to maintain contact with someone who abuses you, is in essence approving of your own abuse.

    Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Reba,

    I think there comes a time when many survivors of narcissistic abuse discoverer the only solution is no contact. I recently read a book by a survivor and it was hard to tell if they shunned her, or if she just went No Contact. Sometimes it seems a mutual thing. Other time with malignant narcs there has to be a final no contact get rid of their numbers and all connections. It is hard to say what someone else should do, I have stayed in contact for years but recently realized that it’s not worth it to stay in contact with people who lie about me. What in the world do we have in common if they feel so comfortable as to make me out to be a monster when all I have ever done is try to be their friend? It was hard to give up but I had no choice, because they gave up on me first. This was evident in the way they spoke about me publicly. The last of human dignities is to be able to be ourselves and if we cannot, we have no business trying to hang out with people who have contempt for us.

    I am glad you are at peace and I hope your son can stay safe too.

    Peace and freedom,

    Cherilyn

    Like

  14. I have dealt with open eyes since I found out about this terrible game I have had many narcs around me,I have had two lingering ones that keep contact just enough to try and keep me in their craziness .Triangulation seems to be their game of choice ,getting new supply and trying to make me jealous or say things and they use intermittent comments to try to make me feel bad bad …..when you know the game !! I see how small they really are,and I never knew that I was ever playing a game ,not knowing there rules.It is absolutely crazy .I gray rock . Don’t triangulate and go on with my life and just wish they would go away….love they have there new supply ,also feel sorry for them they have no clue what they are dealing with…..freebird i will fly….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I think flying monkeys are just, plain and simple, not very good people at heart. They are of a low level pack mentality, and really relish a good ole excuse to gossip about, or pick on, or spy on someone, in order to be in good standing with a group, and to think theyre cool. Im convinced, its just a good excuse to do all the rotton things they would secretly love to do, but know they shouldnt, and the narc is giving them the fabulous excuses to do all this under the guise of being a” good friend”. Thats why alot of it makes no logical sense, and they participate and get into it, even if they themselves have had trouble with the narc too. For me, I have no interest in ever being a flying monkey. Within reason, I stay in my lane, and do not go after people, because someone wants me to. I fight my own battles and dont ask others to join in either. There was a site that said we all do this, and have been both a victim and a flying monkey. Uh no, we dont all do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Hi Janet,

    Oh my! Yes! I agree with you! We are NOT all flying monkeys, we have a choice. I grew up in a family that triangulated all the time. I told my family when I realized what that was that I do not want to hear about other people, but if you want to visit with me and talk about yourself that is wonderful. I have set that standard with my friends too. Flying monkeys take triangulation to a whole new level though–it seems one must leave mind and conscience at the door to take it on and I want nothing to do with being a flying monkey. I have always been glad to do my own thinking, thank you. Of course that is what had incurred the wrath of the narcs, but oh well.

    Peace and freedom to you!

    Cherilyn

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This article has helped me to understand how these people act and why the approach I’ve taken had been correct. The one thing these people can’t stand is the truth played back at them and your not needing to go along with them

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Yes! Everything spot on! So here’s the rub. For those of us involved with and vulnerable to the narcissists in our lives it is exactly because of our vulnerabilities that the narcissists and their ground troops exploit. They know our hot buttons and they deploy strategies to outflank and manipulate our proneness to guilt and shame. So, knowing what has to happen is one thing. Where the work comes in is for the narc’s targets to warrior up. What I mean by this is that we must learn to tolerate and soothe ourselves when our negative core beliefs are aroused and drive those two most toxic of emotions. This takes practice. Emotional workouts. Tolerance to discomfort, and the ability to win through surrender. This is accomplished through mastery of presence, self acceptance, and willingness to win through surrender. Thanks for a great article!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Hi Louise,

    Yes, all you said is true. Our best bet is to know how these monkey minds work and learn to not care unless they can engage with honesty and respect–which most of them won’t. Sad but true.

    Thank you for your comment.

    Peace and freedom to you!

    Cherilyn

    Like

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