What are Flying Monkeys?

The term ‘flying monkeys’ is another way of saying ‘abuse by proxy’ or having someone else do the bidding of in this case a narcissist. The term flying monkey was coined after the flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz that were under the spell of the Wicked Witch of the East, to do her bidding against Dorothy and her friends.

This common narcissistic tactic uses friends and family of the victim to spy on them, spread gossip while painting the narcissist as the victim and their target as the perpetrator. Flying monkeys can be your friends, family, coworkers or the narcissist’s friends, family, or coworkers before you got there. To maintain the illusion of the power they have over you, the narcissist will employ the use of third parties, through which they will attempt to continue control and manipulate you.

The Narcissist Uses Flying Monkeys to Abuse You | Red Flag

Narcissists begin grooming your friends and family from the moment they meet them. In the beginning, the narcissist is testing them and your relationship with them to see how strong the bond is.

At first, they may tell your friends and family ‘how much they love you and how they think you are soul mates’. This test will be to see if your friends go running back to you with this information.

This is sweet and loving on the surface but behind the scenes, the mind of the narcissist is testing your friends to see if they are controllable.

Over time the messages they are feeding your friends and family may start to contain a little nugget of truth, only now the narcissist is poking fun at you behind your back. They may highlight something like “Tracy is such a good storyteller, I never know when she is making something up.”

What this test does is plant the seed for later when you start to tell your friends stories about the narcissists lies, cheating and behaviors. The seed of doubt has now been planted and your own friends and family will not believe the things you say about the narcissist when they go from good to bad. Mission accomplished.

The last stage of this flying monkey stage is after the discard. This is when you are needing your friends and family most, but because of this connection your narcissist has developed with your friends and family the narcissist quickly runs to them spreading lies about you. Whatever the narcissist did wrong they will accuse you of. Next, the narcissist will spread lies and target the best things about you. This mixture of little hurtful lies wounds us most deeply because they challenge our most protected characteristics.

The narcissist’s mask of ‘playing victim’ is going to be believed by your friends. The narcissist has hand targeted the weakest links in your friend pool – those that are most easily controlled.


The smear campaign can be also spread by these flying monkeys, which further isolates you and prevents you from getting the support you need.
Let’s be clear a flying monkey can also be used to broadcast to you how much the narcissist loves you and wants to work it out. They are carrier pigeons doing the biding of the narcissist to get to you. This tactic brings your friends into the manipulation to hoover you back or at least display the pretense that they really wanted it to work out. Now you look like the bad guy/girl.

Your friends and family that have been targeted and used by the narcissist are also being conned. The method a narcissist uses to hook you in the beginning is the same they use on your friends to recruit them to be flying monkeys. While other friends may go to the dark side and may never be someone you want in your life again. Still, others may be worth saving after the pixie dust wears off. A healthy friend would come to you with the concerns your narcissist is talking about you, they would ask you to verify the lies they heard and trust and believe you when you explain.

Having your new vocabulary and knowing about flying monkeys does not mean you go running to your friends and family accusing them of being one. That will backfire in many ways. Watch them from a far to determine if they are safe and will not be relaying things back to the narcissist. They will need to earn your trust back one trustworthy action at a time. It will be your job to make sure the information you are sharing is not getting back to the narcissist so make sure your friends are safe before sharing too much with them.

With no loyalty for anyone, the narcissist easily discards the flying monkeys when they have done the damage intended. There are two general types of flying monkeys – ‘complicit and willing’ (conspirator) and ‘well-meaning dupes’ (deluded). Remember you were once under the spell of this narcissist and the flying monkeys often are as well. Use extreme caution when approaching a flying monkey, never give any information that they could feedback to the narcissist, it may be better to unfriend or block them on social media rather than allow them to give spy intel to the narcissist.

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