Usually when I write, I focus on healing from narcissistic abuse or narcissism. Today I would like to take a side trip & discuss the narcissist’s flying monkeys.
I’m not entirely sure who invented that phrase, but I think it was Dr. Karyl McBride, author of the wonderful book for daughters of narcissistic mothers, “Will I Ever Be Good Enough?” Anyway, the line was taken from the movie, “The Wizard Of Oz.” Remember the wicked witch who sent her flying monkeys out to do her dirty work? I think it is the perfect way to describe these people!
Flying monkeys are those who side with the narcissist. They think she is a great person, & you obviously have the problem if you can’t appreciate her. If you have a disagreement with your narcissistic mother, this person will come out of the woodwork, & tell you things like how great she is, how hard she tries so hard with you, & how you need to do (fill in the blank) for her because it’s the least you can do for your own mother. My mother has a flying monkey who isn’t quite so bold, but occasionally during one of my mother’s silent treatments, will email me with some lame excuse attempting to make me call or see my mother.
Simply put, flying monkeys are the evil minions of narcissists, &, much like their “wicked witch,” their behavior is also abusive.
Invalidation is abuse, & this is what flying monkeys do best- invalidate your pain, invalidate your boundaries, & invalidate anything you have to say. They also think they know best, & you should blindly listen to them, ignoring your own thoughts & feelings. (Sounds like a narcissist, doesn’t it?) In fact, they remind me of a dream I had a few months ago. I wrote about it in this post. Flying monkeys often will do anything, no matter how ridiculous they look or how much damage they do to the relationship with you to make their feelings & views known to you. They are just like that little sedan in my dream.
While I honestly believe many flying monkeys do what they do out of ignorance, probably even with good intentions, that doesn’t make their behavior any less abusive. They are narcissistic enablers, paving the way for the narcissist to wreak havoc.
If you are able & willing, cutting them out of your life may be your best option.
If you are unable or unwilling to cut the flying monkey out of your life, you need to have some very strong boundaries in place. They need to know that discussing your narcissistic mother is not an option. There are plenty of other things you can discuss- shared interests, current events, the weather, sports.. find other things to talk about- it’s pretty easy to do. If the flying monkey can’t handle this, then leave their presence or hang up the phone.
If the flying monkey is a part of your life on social media, don’t discuss your narcissistic mother on social media. Or, if you do, block the flying monkey from seeing those posts along with people that also know the flying monkey. I have a list of “acquaintances” on facebook. Generally when I post, or this blog posts to my facebook page, it posts to “Friends except acquaintances”. The acquaintances have no idea what they are not seeing or that they are blocked from seeing certain things.
Most importantly, don’t let yourself be swayed by the flying monkey! They can be very convincing sometimes, I know, but only do what you know to be right for you. My mother’s flying monkey told me once that my mother said how proud of me she is. Something I never once heard from my mother, & frankly would love to hear. No doubt my mother knows this which is why she told the flying monkey that. Or, the flying monkey knew it & lied to me about my mother saying it. In any case it was hard not to be swayed & want to work on our relationship after hearing that. I knew in my heart though that things wouldn’t improve with my mother no matter what I do since she’s a narcissist, & besides- I’ve always been the one to work on this relationship. It’s not fair & I’m very tired of being the one who does all the work! If she isn’t willing to put forth some effort, our relationship never will change. (I’ve been blamed for it being so bad by flying monkeys who fail to realize these points, by the way). Anyway if I had allowed myself to believe the flying monkey, can you imagine the huge amount of, well, crap that would have followed? My mother would’ve known the flying monkey was an effective weapon, so she would’ve been used more often. She also would’ve enjoyed the control she had over me, knowing she made me start working on our relationship. And, me working on things would have proven to her that she is right, & can treat me any way she sees fit. When your flying monkeys sweet talk you, then please keep my story in mind. Think about the scenarios that could follow if you went along with their wishes. Is anything worth going through what would happen if you obeyed the flying monkeys?