The most important thing one must do when escaping a narcissistic environment is to set and maintain firm boundaries with the narcissist in their life. This can be quite difficult to achieve because narcissists are really good at evading the firm boundaries their victim has set. One of the most common, yet terrifyingly subtle, way that they do this is by using flying monkeys.

A narcissist will use flying monkeys to hoover their victim back into the narcissistic abuse cycle. This form of manipulation could be subtle like a flying monkey sent to convince the victim to reconcile with the narcissist or it could be obvious like a flying monkey abusing the victim on behalf of the narcissist.

For victims of narcissistic abuse, being aware of all of the different ways that their abuser can pull them back into the relationship is really important. In our article How Do Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys readers can learn about the versatility of a flying monkey from a narcissistic perspective but this article is going to guide readers through flying monkeys in correlation to hoovering.

How Do Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys to Hoover? 

In short, hoovering is essentially a narcissist saying or doing exactly what their victim needs to hear or see to give the narcissist another chance. For example, a narcissist could give a “sincere” apology to their victim and even go as far as attending a few therapy sessions just to hoover their victim back into the narcissistic abuse cycle. 

With that being said, hoovering with flying monkeys is much more complex because they have to convince others of their falsified narrative that often portrays them as authentic or virtuous. Having to convince others of their falsified narrative means they’re not in total control of the situation. 

Nonetheless, narcissists are frequently able to maneuver around this predicament by displaying an overwhelming amount of sense of loss to potential flying monkeys and by spreading very sophisticated lies and gossip about the victim to decimate their credibility with others.

How Do Narcissists Display a Tremendous Sense of Loss to Use Flying Monkeys to Hoover?

Narcissists spend their entire lives creating a falsified identity to be accepted, admired, and rewarded by society so they are really good at having their abuse fly under people’s radar. In fact, victims of narcissistic abuse are often the only ones who know how abusive the narcissist really is. 

We spoke about this much more thoroughly in our articles How Do Narcissists Get Flying Monkeys and Why Do Some People Become Flying Monkeys but a narcissist’s ability to be charming and charismatic in front of the right people is precisely how they’re able to not only convince others of their falsified narrative but get them to do their dirty work as well. 

When a narcissist displays a tremendous sense of loss to manipulate a potential flying monkey into hoovering the victim for them, the person in question is usually someone who knows that the narcissist is abusive, or at the very least toxic, but can still be influenced by the narcissist’s superficial charm. 

Mike showed up unannounced to my parents’ house with a thoughtful gift that he made chronicling our time together. He put on an amazing display in front of my entire family. This was the performance of his life. He talked about how he had gone to therapy for his mistakes. He detailed how he had worked hard to change his habits, and he told us that he could not imagine a life without me, and on and on. There were tears, and his grand gestures succeeded in winning me over. Perhaps of even more importance to him, he succeeded in winning my family over as well.” Heather Kent, Registered Psychotherapist & Trauma Recovery Specialist In Her Book Heal from Your Narcissist Ex: The Ultimate Guide to Finding Safety and Sanity

As you can imagine, a narcissist with this level of theatrical ability could easily create a hoovering flying monkey that tries to apologize on the narcissist’s behalf, or manipulate the victim into reconciling with the narcissist simply because they’ve been seduced by the superficial charm of the narcissist

What makes this so dangerous is that narcissistic relationships aren’t blatantly abusive all of the time. There are many narcissistic behavior patterns like future faking, love bombing, and mirroring that are designed to mimic the dynamics of a healthy, happy, and secure relationship. 

Victims of narcissistic abuse who experience flying monkeys who apologize or try to make the victim reconcile with the narcissist are extremely vulnerable to falling back into the narcissistic abuse cycle simply because the hoovering flying monkey has gaslighted them into a false sense of hope that the happy, healthy, and secure version of the narcissist is real. 

How Do Narcissists Spread Lies and Gossip to Use Flying Monkeys to Hoover?

A narcissist’s lack of empathy and insecure need for power cause them to lie with every other breath. But the real question is, how do they get people to believe them? To understand how they’re able to get others to believe them, it is important that readers are aware of the three different types of flying monkeys.

Suggested Reading: Do Flying Monkeys Ever See the Truth?

We created a detailed outline about each of those three types of flying monkeys in our article How to Spot a Flying Monkey but it is important to be aware of them because narcissists spread lies and gossip at a varying degree meaning that the ways that they spread lies and gossip and the reasons that people believe them can change depending on the person that the narcissist approaches.

Manipulated flying monkeys often are created by a narcissist’s ability to destroy one’s perceived credibility. What we mean by this is that after months, years, and even decades of narcissistic abuse, one’s mental and physical health will deteriorate. 

Particularly in romantic narcissistic relationships, if the victim’s friends and family are left in the dark about the abuse, which they often are, all they’re going to see is someone they love getting worse and worse with no explanation as to why. This makes it incredibly easy for a narcissist to spread audacious lies and gossip about the victim to destroy their credibility with others. 

Forced flying monkeys are often found in social narcissistic environments like family settings and workplaces, where the narcissists are often authoritative figures in the group. For example, a narcissistic parent or a narcissistic boss. 

Under these circumstances it is usually not the victim’s lack of credibility that allows narcissists to easily spread lies and gossip, it is the power that the narcissist has over everyone else. 

A flying monkey who has been forced or manipulated into the role with demeaning lies and gossip often hoover through abuse. What this means is that they reinforce all of the negativity that the narcissist has projected onto their victim. 

For victims of narcissistic abuse, this is a really dangerous situation to be in. The reason being that narcissists are so good at creating self-doubt and self-blame that oftentimes victims don’t confide in others because they have fully acknowledge that what they’re experiencing is abuse, they confide in others because they need their version of reality to be validated. 

If they were to accidentally confide in a hoovering flying monkey that was reinforcing all of the negativity that the narcissist projected onto them, they could find themselves plagued with self-doubt, self-blame, and unable to conceptualize their own version of reality. 

What Should You Take Away From This Article? 

Hoovering from flying monkeys can be devastating for victims of narcissistic abuse who haven’t had the chance to grasp a comprehensive understanding of the abuse they’ve endured.

In our article How to Deal With Flying Monkeys (Helpful Tips From 431 Survivors) we provide readers with a detailed guide to properly handling flying monkeys but the most important thing that one must remember is that the importance of having a genuine support group is immeasurable.


This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

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