Flying Monkeys

You might have heard the term flying monkeys – who are they and where does this term come from?  It comes from the film the Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the West who put a spell on the flying monkeys so that they would do her evil bidding.  Today it is a term that is associated with people with narcissistic traits who have through persuasion whatever form that takes to engage with someone that they themselves don’t want to talk to directly or have done and haven’t got their way. The flying monkey usually tries firstly, persuasion, then  shaming or guilt tripping or whatever emotional trauma is required to get outcome the master of the flying monkey wants.


The narcissist will use their flying monkeys, who are either friends, members of the family or co-workers to spread lies and rumours, to confront a targeted person to do the things the narcissist wants or to get them out of a situation. 

The prime thing to note is that the narcissist is not getting their way so needs additional help, or is too nervous to confront another person, or needs a way of belittling a person and they use the help of the flying monkey.  The flying monkey themselves is either a people pleaser who looks up to the narcissist, is frightened and doesn’t want confrontation with the narcissist so will do as they are asked or have no idea of what the effects of their interaction could have on the victim.


The narcissist themselves may explain to the flying monkey that this is in the best interest of the victim or you know they only trying to help but the victim is not listening to them so perhaps the flying monkeys could intervene. Or the narcissist is simply looking to pour scorn on the victim for what ever reason and wants to distance themselves from any fall out they may come from the situation.


Let me give you a true scenario of an overt narcissist and a flying monkey.


For the purposes of this example the names of the people involved have been changed and permission has been sought to give this example.


Susie had just had her new baby it was a lovely bouncy baby boy. Her mother never enjoyed being involved with anybody’s children certainly never baby sat or looked after them, as she was fiercely independent and had very little empathy for anybody except herself.

To Susie’s surprise her mother asked if she could look after the baby for one day a week which would allow Susie to catch up with other things or to have some rest and downtime. Susie was taken aback by this request as she had certainly not asked for any help and didn’t expect it. A certain day in the week was decided on for grandma to come over and be with the baby.

  The first week went well, the second week, grandma was busy. Susie said nothing, in essence it was as she had expected.  What she hadn’t expected was the phone call from a friend of her mother.  The friend accused Susie of being selfish and self-centred and had expected far too much of her mother and had no right to ask her to mind the baby for one day a week.  Susie tried to explain that this was not the case and that her mother was the one that volunteered.  Her words were not headed and the conversation finished with ‘ you have had this baby so get on with it instead of dragging others into it’


Susie was deeply hurt by the conversation, but clearly could hear the phraseology and manipulation of her mother.  Her mother couldn’t say to Susie I don’t want to continue with looking after my grandson  – it was a rash decision and now I don’t want to. She had to find a way of getting out of this situation without direct contact and she found the very person that would be her flying monkey.  Susie knew that her mother would have gone to this lady and poured her false heart out and given a big sob story with an elaborate explanation pointing the blame at Susie. The friend picked up the gauntlet and gave Susie a verbal telling off.  No doubt the friend would have reported back to Susie’s mother looking for praise of what a good servant she had been.


How to deal with such incidences:


  • Uphold your boundaries – in a calm and confident manor
  • Do not enter confrontation – say calm
  • Develop a grey wall approach i.e little reaction
  • At work note when the incident took place and if necessary, report it to a higher authority
  • Have little contact with all involved. If at work keep things on a business footing.
  • Try to let the incident pass without emotional holding.


If you feel that you are need someone to talk to find a mental health professional who understands narcissism.


For more information and help on coping strategies call me on 07464202715

Note: Information on this web site is for informational purposes only and in no way a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or mental  health condition.