Core to the narcopath’s reign of terror, including the smear campaign on discard, is the Flying Monkey. Named after the characters from “The Wizard of Oz”, these veritable henchmen play a crucial part in pulling off the narcopath’s con.
Control versus Perception
As the narcissist starts to lose control over their victim, so they will control other people’s perception of that victim. Terrified that they will be exposed for who they really are, it is of utmost importance that their victim is isolated and undermined so as to be deprived of any credibility. Step forward the Flying Monkeys.
The Roles of the Flying Monkeys
As the narcopath’s smear campaign gets underway, they surround themselves with these loyal disciples. Their role is threefold:
- To do the evil bidding of the narcopath – by spreading malicious gossip and isolating the victim from both their key support network (friends & family), but also from anyone in the social or business circle of the narc. By enlisting the help of third parties to do their bidding, narcissists are able to keep their hands clean and above reproach.
- To defend the narcopath against accusation. Although it is the narc who abused their victim throughout the majority of the relationship, who behaved appallingly in so many ways, who was undoubtedly unfaithful and who was without the one person responsible for the failure of that relationship, the Flying Monkeys will defend them to the hilt. More often than not it is the victim themselves who are portrayed as abusive and crazy.
- To prop up the narcopath’s false view of themselves in order to protect their fragile ego. Bear in mind that on discard, the narc is vulnerable – they have lost a valuable source of narcissistic supply, and there is likely to be evidence of their transgressions and misdemeanours which could dent their reputations – they desperately need reassurance that they weren’t at fault, that they were justified in their actions, and that society will deem them to be both victim and hero.
Are Flying Monkeys Blind?
Victims watch aghast as the Flying Monkeys go to work, and are staggered that they can’t see the narcissist for who they really are. But pause to consider:
- Narcissists are the ultimate con artist. And let’s face it, they are able to con their own victims for a very long time. They are extremely effective at manipulating, projecting their faults onto others, deflecting blame, and charmers. They are able to hoodwink Flying Monkeys using many of the same tactics as their victims.
- Flying Monkeys are often weak-willed, easily manipulated and gullible – even when faced with contradictory evidence.
- They are often just as toxic as the narcissist themselves and delight in the opportunity to pile into a hate campaign in order to destroy someone they fear – authentic, strong, principled, un-corruptable etc.
- They may well have some other loyalty to the narcissist that overrules any sense of empathy towards the poor victim – for example, they want the status of being aligned with this seemingly charming, successful and charismatic character, their job relies on their loyalty, they are dependent on the narc for an inheritance coming their way, or they derive some other benefit.
“Benevolent” Flying Monkeys
Not all Flying Monkeys start out intending to be toxic. Clearly it’s one thing to be drawn to a narcissist initially, but it is another to remain close to them once their faults are more apparent (if, indeed, a narcissist reveals their real self – they try their best not to!). Often friends will start to tire of the self-centredness of narcs, how unreliable they are in one’s time of need, they rarely reciprocate kindness etc.
Some people will overlook these negatives and stick up for the narcissist regardless – and essentially become abuse apologists. They will put the narc’s abusive behaviour down to a difficult childhood, or trickier personal circumstances etc. They believe that the victim, who is trying to hold the narc accountable for their poor behaviour, to just get on with it – to move on with their life, to suck it up. Whilst these flying monkeys try and justify their support as being kind, understanding and supportive etc, ultimately they are kidding themselves – anyone who knowingly supports abuse is just as culpable as the abuser themselves.
What To Do About the Flying Monkeys
Sadly there is not much you can do about the Flying Monkeys and the Smear Campaign. In many ways they want you to react, to be able to demonstrate that you are crazy and abusive and will find a way of twisting many of your actions to prove the point. The general consensus is to carry on bring the best public version of you that you can manage in the very trying circumstances. Many of your previous friends will be swayed by the toxic lies told about you – at the end of the day, these are not your friends. Be prepared to jettison them. Anyone worthy of your friendship will see through the crap and stay loyal to you. Reward them with the best friendship you can muster.
One of the best thing you can do to the Narcissist is starve them of the narcissistic supply they desperately need. By not reacting in any way to the Flying Monkeys and the combined smear campaign, but instead getting on with your life as happy and sorted as you can possibly be, is the biggest punishment you can deliver the narc.
Taking a Stand
It is not always possible to uphold No Contact and ignore the combined attacks and shenanigans of narcopath and flying monkeys, and this is especially the case when others are also being abused (vulnerable kids are very common targets, tragically). Think of psychological abuse as akin to that of physical – could or should you do nothing when doing so allows an abuser to continue to physically assault others? So why should it be any different for psychological abuse, particularly as the effects of the latter are more severe, and longer lasting, that any physical beating. Do nothing and you are no better than any other Enabler – indeed, do nothing and really you are enabling your own ongoing maltreatment.
Without cuts, bruises and broken bones to show, narcissistic abuse is often devilishly hard to prove. But do your level best to gather evidence of every other type of misdemeanour you can – even if that means clearly stating your case for each and every time your feel abused and detailing it in an email to the Narc. They will not acknowledge the abuse, apologise for it, nor improve their behaviour – and a pattern of such emails, logged over a decent period of time, can be just the evidence you need. Extend this strategy to the Flying Monkeys and Enablers, so that none can claim to be unaware of the key elements of the ill-treatment.
Then from a position of physical safety and legality, consider exposing the lot. Tie the Flying Monkeys and Enablers in and broadcast enough detail to convincingly expose all of them to friends, family and acquaintances for who they really are.