Why Do Narcissists Need Flying Monkeys?

Anyone who has been subjected to narcissistic abuse also has been subjected to flying monkeys.


Flying monkeys are those people who either have fallen for the narcissist’s act, blindly believing anything the narcissist says or are abusers themselves, likely covert narcissists, who get a thrill out of vicariously abusing the narcissist’s victim.  They often say things like…


  • “Your mother is worried about you.  You haven’t called in a while & she doesn’t know why..”
  • “I know your father hurt you when you were growing up, but he didn’t mean to.  He did the best he could.”
  • “You need to just forgive & forget.  After all, your mother was abused when she was growing up!  She doesn’t know any better!”


These people are indispensable to narcissists, which is why all narcissists have them.


Flying monkeys can reach a victim once that victim has gone no contact with the narcissist.  When a victim doesn’t speak with a narcissist, they often will talk to a flying monkey, at least for a while until they discover that this person is a flying monkey.  During that time, the flying monkey can tell the victim whatever the narcissist wants her to, becoming the mouthpiece for the narcissist.  They can say things a narcissist can’t say without looking bad.  The flying monkey also benefits from doing this.  If she is deceived about the narcissist, she honestly believes she is doing good & trying to help the victim.  If she is also an abuser, this gives her a thrill by abusing without being blamed for being abusive.  Covert narcissists make good flying monkeys, because by doing so, they get to feel powerful- something all narcissists love.


Speaking of feeling powerful, narcissists enjoy having flying monkeys because it means they’re controlling another person.  Controlling others makes them feel powerful.


Flying monkeys do all the dirty work for the narcissist.  The victim often will get mad at the flying monkey rather than the narcissist who is pulling the strings.  The flying monkey is the one who will look bad rather than the narcissist.  This is a bonus for the narcissist since no narcissist wants to look bad.


If the flying monkey is especially good at what they do, & the victim isn’t strong at resisting the narcissist, the victim will come crawling back to the narcissist.  That is the ultimate goal of the narcissist, of course.  Using one person to control another is quite the power trip!  Any narcissist would love to have this ability.


Flying monkeys are a very useful tool for any narcissist, so beware.  If you know a narcissist, you are going to have to deal with them at some point.  Be alert.  Be aware of their behavior so you can spot them easily.  Never feed them by engaging them in a discussion about the narcissist.  Refuse to discuss the topic with them, changing the subject as often as necessary & telling them this topic is not up for discussion.  And most of all, pray.  Ask God to help you to discover the best way to deal with this person or if you need to end this relationship.


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

14 responses to “Why Do Narcissists Need Flying Monkeys?

  1. If you’re NC with your abuser you must also go NC with anyone who attempts to speak to you about them. It’s that simple. In the last few weeks my NM has been attempting to hurt me through a third party by calling them and feeding them a sob story, making me look like a heartless child. I briefly considered 2 actions: writing to my NM and telling her it won’t work no matter what she does or explaining to the third party exactly why I am NC with my NM. I rejected both options. The first would give her exactly what she wants, contact with me. And we know that any contact in any context provides N supply. The second would require me to justify my actions and that is something I don’t feel compelled to do as it would also mean that my NM had once again succeeded in manipulating me. And that would give her the power and control over me that she wants. So I’ve decided to refuse to speak to the third party about my NM. They can talk to her if they wish but they can’t talk to me about the conversations they have with her. And if they don’t agree I’ll go NC with them as well. That would be painful as I really love this person. But allowing them to be the means by which my NM hurts me again is not an option. She will gain some satisfaction if she is able to ruin my relationship with this person but it doesn’t matter. I’ll never go back to being her abuse victim. Her days of controlling and manipulating me are over.


    • I’m sorry Suzanne. It sure hurts when someone we love turns into a flying monkey.

      You’re very wise in how you’re handling this situation yanno!


      • Thank you, Cynthia, but I can’t take all the credit. I was really an emotional wreck when I found out about this and so upset that I couldn’t think straight. My husband is the one who had to tell me about this and he was very upset as well because he knew that it would hurt me. He has been very supportive about my decision to go NC and agrees that it’s for the best. My kids feel the same way. And like you I always ask God what to do when I’m faced with difficult situations. He calmed me down after I first learned about this and reassured me that maintaining NC was the right thing to do. Then I spoke to my closest woman friend, herself a survivor of N abuse, and she gave me a lot of good advice and validation. It’s so important to have a good support system, starting with the Lord.


  2. Sarah

    Hi Cynthia, thank you for this post. I was wondering, do you think victims of narcissistic abuse can also be flying monkeys to themselves? One of the reasons I have found it so hard to accept that probably both my parents are covert narcissists is because of the excuses I have made for them (learned behaviours from their own parents, me misinterpreting their responses etc).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re welcome! 🙂

    I hadn’t thought of it that way exactly but yes. We’re so well trained by our parents to put them first no matter what, tolerate their abuse quietly, never confront them, etc. etc. that in a way, we do become flying monkeys.

    In a way, I think it’s harder to accept that covert narcissists are abusers too. With overt narcissists, it’s harder to deny they’re abusive once we start to learn & grow up. Coverts though.. they are so good at hiding their abuse, portraying themselves as victims & the like, that we think of them as innocent or even victims. That seems to make it harder (in my opinion anyway) to accept that they are, in fact, abusive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. my narcissist recently employed several people from my last job as flying monkeys and they don’t even realize it. They even tried to make their landlady into one of them but I’ve refused all contact.


  5. Cheryl ellis

    Thank you!, your knowledge of narcissists has really helped me, I have suffered years of abuse from my narc mother, am now in recovery, your knowledge has given me my life back, I won’t ever be abused or controlled by my narc mother or her monkeys, ever again, I am going to get me a Life, free of her, hatred, jealousy and controll, thank you,, so much!, I am free! and I love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My sister and I were very close; raised like twins. She knew some of what I went through years ago divorcing a narcissist husband. 7 years of hell in the legal process, threats on my life and two attempts to kill me. Lots of therapy and 4 years of studying NPD allowed me to forgive myself. Inspite of all that I survived, but when the moment came where he could hold our children hostage, he did so. My two older kids, now 35 and 33 have not spoken to me in 7 years. Our younger child has multiple disabilities and the ex filed for full guardianship of this one (now 29) while I was out of the country. (He also bought two judges, our minister, and 3 of my friends during the divorce process. His wealth and influence are weapons to attack me.) Now, many years later, the narcissist is back and using my sister as a flying monkey to attack me. I need to go NC with her, but her husband has dementia, she has a broken leg and other health issues and I have been her support team. Is there any way I can communicate to her that she is being used to attack me? Or do I just let it be, walk away?


    • You know your sister best.. do you think she would listen if you explained narcissism to her or flying monkeys? If she would, I’d do that. She may be genuinely duped by him- narcissists are great actors & can fool anyone at least for a little while, after all. Or, you could tell her that you don’t want to discuss the narcissist at all, in any capacity & just refuse to discuss him at all with her. Would that work??


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