I just want to spend some time to explain some terminology that I’ve learnt during my studies/research in connection with my experiences with narcissism. And also how I was able to overcome and deal with the issues that I had with my narcissistic husband. This has been an especially educative and learning process for me and I hope it will be for others reading this blog.
What are Flying Monkeys?
The term was taken from the film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in which there were flying monkeys sent to do the evil bidding of the evil witch. ‘Flying monkeys’ is a popular term used to describe people who the narcissist uses to do his dirty work. They are used by the narcissist to gather information for him in order to use against his victim, or just to have one up on them. Flying monkeys can be anyone including colleagues, friends even family members, like children. Yes, narcissists will use their own children, they have no shame, as long as it gets them what they want.
Narcissists are masters at manipulating and exploiting others for their own gain. They are very crafty and experts at reading and discerning people’s weaknesses and vulnerabilities. They can assess and instinctively know their targets, those who will believe their lies. I guess it’s because they have learnt to do this throughout their life, so they’ve had years and years of practice. In most cases flying monkeys do not realise they are being manipulated by the narcissist, they are given the impression by the narcissist that they are the victims in the situation and that their partner is the abuser, when in actual fact, it is the other way round.
How they operate.
Let me give an example, David is separated from his wife, Judy and his children and he doesn’t know their whereabouts. He contacts Mabel, a friend of Judy to find out information. David gives the impression that he’s concerned about his children and will covertly imply that he believes they are being neglected. David says Judy is a great mother, but she has some mental issues, or struggling with substance abuse, alcohol issues etc. It’s always something negative, to spark concern and action from the friend. Mabel or the flying monkey will be appreciative of his concern and will assure David that she will investigate the matter. David will insist that Mabel does not let Judy know he is in contact with her, because of course, she will not be forthcoming with information. Mabel, believing that she is helping, has actually been influenced by David, the narcissist, to get information that he would not have been able to get on his own.
Flying monkeys can also be described as enablers, because they enable and empower the narcissist’s to continue their toxic behaviour.
With regards to my own situation, the enablers, in my case, were my children and they were manipulated by narcissistic husband. He would tell them lies about me and they would believe it. After all, why would their father be lying about me, he loves me… right? I denied everything but my children didn’t believe me. He successfully turned my children against me and used them to spy on me. Narcissists are pathological convincing liars.That is something my husband would do a lot, he would just lie and lie and lie! And that was what worked for him all the time. And why we would he want to change if he gets what he wants by lying!
My children were enablers in the sense that they were accepting his behaviour, he bought them their first cars, anything they asked, he would give. So it was not difficult for my husband to convince them of his lies. I don’t really blame them though, because it is difficult to stand up to him. Besides he has bought all of them cars and in a sense he has bought their loyalty and silence.
For somebody who has not had any experience with narcissism, it may be hard to believe all this. You might ask the question, “Well, it can’t be all his fault, you must take some of the blame also.”
I will say this, I do have my faults. I think as humans we are not perfect at all and I certainly don’t claim to be. But I do try to be a good person and treat others fairly as the Bible says we should (Matthew 7:12). But when your behaviour affects lives, causes divisions , disunity, mistrust in the home, in the church, causes mental anguish; low self-esteem, self worth that is unacceptable!
He would send my youngest daughter to spy on me, to find out what I was doing and then report back to him. She would feed him information on what I was doing in my room, which was where I spent a lot of my time when I wasn’t at work. I felt like everyone hated me.
The narcissist goal is to isolate his victim (target) and turn everyone close against them. With no one to turn to for help, this can cause the victim to descend into a depression. That was what happened to me, I was isolated and depressed in my own home. The only person I could speak to was my mother; who called me continuously to make sure I was ok; and my youngest daughter. I had to be careful what I told her, because he would ask her and she would tell him. I was alone and depressed.
For some people, the flying monkeys could be your colleagues at work and the narcissist your manager or boss. Your manager would feed them some negative information that is not true about you. Your colleagues would then avoid you or give snide remarks. Or they would report back to the narcissist anything negative you say about him or her. Narcissists love to create conflict, it makes them feel powerful and in control and the workplace is just the right atmosphere for them.
You cannot fight them with their own tactics , you will lose miserably. They are masters of that game, remember they are pathological liars, and masters of the art of deception. I decided to set boundaries to protect myself from this emotional abuse. I let him know that I would not discuss with him and the children any issues that needed to be sorted between ourselves. And if we both can’t resolve any issues we have, we will ask our parents or a trusted third party to intervene, NOT the children. I set boundaries with other toxic behaviours that I would not accept or tolerate. The Bible says you should guard your heart (set boundaries) Proverbs 4:23. I have found this to work for me.
No Contact What you can do if you believe that your narcissist is employing flying monkeys against you is don’t give them any information about yourself or what you’re doing. Also; especially if you’re separated from the narcissist; have no contact with the narcissist and anyone you believe is helping him.
Having a fervent effective prayer life. And also, pray for them that they will change. It is very easy to become bitter with people because of they way you’ve been treated. But bitterness does not help your situation, it will only hurt you spiritually, because you are internalising everything. You have to let bitterness, anger, resentment go, because it will only make you sick. There are so many people in the hospital or psych ward because of bitterness, anger and resentment which can lead to depression.
The bible says love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to to them that hate you and pray for them which despitefully use you. Pray for healing for yourself and him
The situation in my home is much better now, for a long time there was a lot of tension and animosity, which I believe is due to saturating the atmosphere with prayers (The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective, James 5:16)