Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Flying Monkeys

Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Flying Monkeys

“First [the Flying Monkeys] took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there!” ~The Scarecrow, The Wizard of Oz

If you’ve ever been in a toxic relationship with a narcissist, you have probably had at least one run-in with a flying monkey. When it comes to narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships, the topic of flying monkeys comes up often. And I’m not talking about the kind from the book or the movie. I’m talking about the kind that are real people who are so often used as pawns in the gaslighting and manipulation game of a narcissist.

What is a Flying Monkey?

Flying monkeys are often-engaged human “tools” of the narcissist. They are people who willingly or otherwise do the narcissist’s bidding and support their agenda. They are also often called enablers.

Narcissistic Abuse Tactic

Flying monkeys are just one of many tactics a narcissist uses to abuse, manipulate and get what they want from their victims. Since flying monkeys are human, this tactic is literally an example of how a narcissist doesn’t consider you (or their flying monkeys) actual “people” and also sheds light on how a narcissist will use anything (and ANYONE) as a pawn to get what they want.


Flying monkeys are named for the fictional “Winged Monkeys” featured in L. Frank Baum’s 1900 book.The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in 1900 and later in the movie The Wizard of Oz.

In the story, The Wicked Witch of the West used her flying monkeys to enslave Winkie County, as well as to manipulate and scare Dorothy.

Flying Monkeys are often involved in the narcissist’s smear campaigns and are used in their triangulation tactics. Here are playlists on each.

Are All Flying Monkeys Trying to Hurt You?

Meet The Unwitting Flying Monkey

Often, flying monkeys come in the form of well-meaning friends and loved ones. They show up, trying to gently convince you to go along with what the narcissist wants – and it’s generally a direct result of their own manipulation by the narc.

See, a toxic narcissist will do anything to get or her way, including telling lies about you and/or others in order to make things go their way.

The Co-Narcissist Flying Monkey: Rare But Real

The unwitting flying monkey is difficult and can really complicate your life – but the co-narcissist kind is much more sinister. And not many people really talk about this kind of monkey.

Every now and then, two or narcissists join forces – and this is when things can get really ugly.

When one is willingly doing the other’s bidding, you’ve got two relentless, abusive manipulators against you – and then you’ve really got a problem.

This often happens in couples, between parents and children or even just among friends. The only thing you an do is either go no-contact (ideal) or, if you must be in the person’s life, get really good at taking control of the situation.

What do flying monkeys have to do with narcissistic abuse?

It might be a funny comparison, calling them flying monkeys, but the reality of it is anything but funny. The narcissist’s “flying monkey” is someone who enables and facilitates the narcissist’s abuse, harassment, and manipulation, either knowingly or unknowingly of their victim. Essentially, doing the narcissist’s bidding for them.

Sometimes, these flying monkeys are unaware of their role in the narcissist’s puppet show – you know, the stage they set for their gaslighting manipulation and preferred state of drama. Other times, they’re “in on it” with them.


What if a narcissist is using you as a flying monkey?

There is also a chance that a narcissist is using YOU to be a flying monkey in order to victimize someone else.

That might be the case if you:

  1. Are hearing a lot of negativity from one side of an argument you’re trying to help resolve but not hearing much from the other.
  2. Have taken sides with someone in your life who has taken sides against you before.
  3. Are trying to get someone to change their mind in order to make a third person happy/satisfied or otherwise pleased.
  4. Are trying to help solve a decades-old problem that you just became aware of and might not know all the details that are involved.

How to avoid being used as a flying monkey

  1. Avoid taking sides unless you are a personal witness to a situation and have a valid opinion on the topic because of what you witness.
  2. If you choose to try to help someone who might be a narcissist try to cause another person to do something, be sure you know all the facts first. For example, if someone accuses another person of neglecting or abusing their children, make sure you have seen real proof of the accusations or made against them – such as verbal confirmation, or physical or psychological signs in the children themselves – or failing that, police reports, recordings or other actual proof.
  3. Refuse to get involved in situations that don’t directly affect you personally when it comes to arguing or trying to help someone else get their way.

A Real-Life Example of How a Narcissist Uses a Flying Monkey


Say that you have gone no-contact with your narcissistic and abusive father. Life has never been better.

Meanwhile, Joe has recently married into your family, and your narcissistic father has convinced him that you’re a tyrant who has victimized him since you could speak.

Joe, trying to make everything better between you, comes to you and pleads your father’s “case,” begging you to let your father back into your life, for the sake of your family.

You don’t want to hurt Joe, but you also know that allowing the narcissist back into your life would be toxic for you. You try to express this to Joe, but he’s already been warned that “you might say that,” so he continues on his mission to “fix” your relationship with your father.

Eventually, you might have to be very direct to get him to lay off. And of course, this causes you to once again look like “the bad guy” in the situation – and your father keeps playing the victim, manipulating and pulling strings all the while.

How do you release the flying monkeys?

So, what’s the best way to deal with a flying monkey situation? Should you try to convince them that you’re right, or should you just keep quiet to maintain your sanity?

That depends on the person. But often, trying to convince them of the narcissist’s true intention might be pointless, and in those cases, the best thing I think you can do is to smile, nod and then go ahead and do what’s best for you.

12 Toxic Relationship Red Flags

12 Toxic Relationship Red Flags

Today, I'm sharing 12 signs you're involved in a relationship with a narcissist, or that you're married to a narcissist. Plus: what attracts narcissists and exactly what to do if you're dealing with a narcissist in a toxic relationship. (See video on YouTube). When I...

Why Do People Fall For The Narcissist’s Smear Campaign?

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Are you dealing with someone in your life who is spreading rumors and lies about you? Are you feeling like everyone's against you because of these lies? Is someone exaggerating the truth or just plain making up stories about you in order to make people think you've...

Explained: Why You Keep Going Back to a Toxic Narcissist

Explained: Why You Keep Going Back to a Toxic Narcissist

So often, survivors of narcissistic abuse find themselves falling for the hoovering and love-bombing of narcissists who have nothing but their own interests (and “supply”) in mind.

And, when they do, they find themselves feeling like they’ve been fooled, taken – plain old lied-to. They realize they’re once again the victim of the narcissist’s standard one-two punch – the gaslighting/hoovering cycle.

It’s what causes us to keep going back to the toxic relationships in our lives – and it’s what causes us to waste our lives on people who just aren’t worth it. 

I’ll also identify the biggest fear we all have – and how toxic narcissists will use it against you to get what they want – including how they use it to suck you right back in – even when you know better. 

I’ve explained it all in detail in the video below. 

So what do you think? Did you recognize yourself in the video? Have you been sucked back in? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Let’s discuss it. 

Get Unstuck After Narcissistic Abuse: Your Personal Passion Plan

Get Unstuck After Narcissistic Abuse: Your Personal Passion Plan

As a certified life coach who specializes in helping victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse in relationships, one of the most common questions I hear is “How do I find myself again after I get out of a relationship with a narcissist?”

That one is followed by a close second from those who are still stuck in the relationships – they want to now how to get “unstuck” from the dissociation, lethargy and general overwhelm that goes along with dealing with a narcissist on the regular.

These kinds of questions are exactly what led me to develop my brand-new 54-page report, entitled Your Personal Passion Plan: Finding Yourself Again After Narcissistic Abuse in Relationships.

Your Personal Passion Plan Life Reset Button

Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching: Press the Reset Button on Your Life

What’s inside the report:

  • This is where you find the light at the end of the tunnel.
  • A Bliss Mission to Launch Your Personal Passion Plan
  • Bliss Mission: Discover What Inspires You
  • Start here: Be Brave
  • You Can Be The Total Package: Don’t Settle for Less
  • How to Intentionally Choose Your Thoughts
  • Getting Started
  • Saying Goodbye to Bad Habits
  • Learning How to Deal With Stress, Depression and Anxiety
  • Relationships Are Key for Setting Yourself Up for Success
  • Achieving Financial Success
  • Taking Care of Your Body and Mind
  • Enhancing Your Physical Appearance and Health
  • Putting Your Personal Passion Plan to Work for You
  • How to Dress for Success
  • The Psychology Behind Dressing for Success
  • Why and How Your Appearance Impacts Your Life
  • Dressing for Success on a Budget
  • What if you’re broke? 12 Ways to Look Expensive on the Cheap
  • 199 Quotes to Motivate and Inspire You to Create Personal Change

Best news? I’m giving away all of this info for free – just because I want to help people, especially when they feel most alone in the world.

So head over to this page and download your free Personal Passion Plan, right here. And feel free to pass this info along to anyone you know who can use it.

Related: Get your free PERK (Post-Gaslighting Emergency Recovery Kit) Right Here

Why You Haven’t Left Your Narcissist: The Hard, Cold Truth

Why You Haven’t Left Your Narcissist: The Hard, Cold Truth

“If it’s so bad, why don’t you just leave already?”

If you ever feel like you’re constantly walking on eggshells in your relationship, you might very well be dealing with a toxic narcissist. In today’s video, I’m sharing the cold, hard truth: the REAL reason you haven’t left your narcissist – as well as why it bothers you so much when people ask you why you are still sticking around.

You might also like to read this article about why you haven’t left your narcissist.

Or, maybe you need help gathering up the strength to leave. Or, you’ve already gone no contact and you’re seeking a way to stay strong – or you just need a good, private support group. 

In any case, let me ask you – are you currently involved with a narcissist?

If so, what would you add to the video? If not but you previously were, what are your best tips for getting and staying in control of your own life? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below. Let’s discuss it. 

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