Something that makes flying monkeys so hard to manage is that because narcissists purposely target the people who are most likely to believe your side of the story, flying monkeys are often your friends and family.

It can be really hard to understand how someone who was in a position of trust in your life can just blindly follow the narcissist’s narrative without checking in with you first. Have you ever wondered how narcissists are able to manipulate your friends and family into being their flying monkeys?

Narcissists are able to recruit flying monkeys because of the negative impact the abuse has on a victim’s perceived credibility. A narcissist’s interchangeable identity makes the lies, rumors, and gossip they spread to sabotage the victim’s public image much more believable.

For a narcissist, the recruitment of a flying monkey is a very strategic process that begins the moment they cross paths with whomever the potential flying monkey may be. This process is arguably one of the most lucid manifestations of a narcissist’s need to protect their interchangeable identities ever! 

How Does a Narcissist’s Interchangeable Identities and Their Victim’s Health Create Flying Monkeys?

The traditional definition of flying monkeys doesn’t do an adequate job at portraying the chain of events leading up to the recruitment of flying monkeys. 

Yes, flying monkeys are technically created when a narcissist spreads demeaning lies, gossip, and rumors about their victim, but that doesn’t necessarily explain how narcissists are able to create a narrative that is so manipulative that people would be willing to walk to the ends of the earth to defend it.

A narcissistic woman going to her victim's family to manipulate them into turning into flying monkeys

The reasoning behind a narcissist’s ability to easily get flying monkeys can be found within their interchangeable identities and the impact it has on the people who cross paths with them.

What am I getting at?

Narcissists have an obscured level of self awareness that manifests in their ability to use their flawlessly charming identity in public but swap it out for their horrifyingly evil identity behind closed doors. It’s the reason narcissistic abuse is so isolating.

They’re able to convince everyone around you of their “greatness” while you’re forced to bite your tongue and remain silent throughout the entirety of the abusive relationship.

This becomes a really big problem as the relationship gets older because narcissistic abuse has massive impact on your health, also known as your perceived credibility.

In other words, as the relationship progresses, the narcissist gets more admirable in the eyes of those on the outside of the relationship while the victim’s health worsens so significantly that they become unrecognizable to friends and family.

It’s a lot to digest so let’s dive right in!

A Deeper Look Into a Narcissist’s Interchangeable Identities

If there’s one thing that you must understand if you want to know how narcissists get flying monkeys, it is narcissistic lying and the correlation it has with the protection of their interchangeable identities.

It’s really important that you don’t underestimate how powerful a narcissist’s need to protect their identities is. Every single narcissistic behavior pattern that you can think of can be traced back to their interchangeable identities, especially flying monkeys.

How?

Let’s take a closer look at narcissistic lying. The only detail that separates a non-narcissistic lie from a narcissistic lie is the liar’s dependance on them. You see, narcissists devote their entire existence to maintaining a falsified identity that they feel is more acceptable to in the eyes of society because they have to, their well-being is heavily dependent on it.

This is because their convoluted perception of reality has made them hate themselves. Their unhealthy/abusive upbringing has caused them to have an irrational belief that being vulnerable and insecure are the most disgusting characteristics a human could have.

Which explains why they’re some of the most self-loathing people on the planet, they’re astonishingly insecure and vulnerable. A non-narcissistic person with the cripplingly levels of vulnerabilities and insecurities that narcissists have would likely seek out some type of medical counseling.

But because of a narcissist’s volatility towards core aspects of their own identity, they much rather create a new one instead of having to deal with the emotional distress that comes with aspects of yourself that they despise.

So, what does this have to do with narcissistic lying and flying monkeys?

Their inability to acknowledge their true identity and regulate the negative emotions that would come from this acknowledgement forces them to blindly believe their falsified identity and ALL of the lies that come with it. They’re so devoted to this belief that the truth is offensive to them.

Meaning that when they are in a situation where they believe that there is even the slightest possibility that their true identity could be leaked, they are thrown into survival mode. Which means they’ll do anything and everything they can to ensure that their true identity is kept concealed.

Because victims of narcissistic abuse are almost always the only ones who know the narcissist’s true identity, when a narcissist is unable to control them, they become a HUGE threat. Under these circumstances, acquiring flying monkeys becomes an act of survival because of the information that their victim possesses.

This acquirement of flying monkeys to protect the falsified version of their identity is comparable to nearly every hysterical strength scenario, woman lifts a car to save her child, you could possibly imagine.

A Comprehensive Grasp of How Narcissistic Abuse Impact’s Ones Health

There’s a strong correlation between narcissistic abuse and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with the following symptoms:

There’s an extraordinary article that investigates the psychological effects living in a socialist regime has on an individual’s brain by using the patterns of Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a micro-scale laboratory of control.

In other words, to grasp a comprehensive understanding of the psychological effect living in a socialist regime has on one’s brain, they’re comparing the environment of a socialist regime to a narcissistic environment.

This comparison should leave those who haven’t experienced narcissistic abuse dumbfounded because there are far too many people who minimize the experiences of those caught in a narcissistic abuse cycle simply because they don’t acknowledge the severity of emotional abuse.

A narcissist in a green shirt minimizing her victim's emotions

As if this isn’t bad enough, when their persistent need to constantly be the center of attention is combined with the ferociousness of narcissistic abuse, it often forces their victims to neglect four very important aspects of their health.

  1. Preventive Health Care
    • Things along the lines of routine vaccines, STI screenings, well-child visits, mental health screenings, cholesterol tests, diabetes screenings and cancer screenings fall under the preventive health care category.
  2. Medication Adherence
    • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states, “Medication adherence, or taking medications correctly, is generally defined as the extent to which patients take medication as prescribed by their doctors. This involves factors such as getting prescriptions filled, remembering to take medication on time, and understanding the directions.”
  3. Daily preventive behaviors
    • These are things you should do on a daily basis to keep yourself healthy. Given the current situation with the pandemic, daily preventive behaviors refers to things like washing your hands, social distancing, wearing a mask in public, minimizing the amount of times you touch your face, being responsible when coughing/sneezing, using hand sanitizer and so on.
  4. Healthy daily practices.
    1. These are little things you do every single day to acknowledge the things of importance to you. This could be writing in a journal, going on a walk, yoga, reading, spending times with you kids, watching your favorite TV show/movie, avoiding alcohol and other substances, or even learning something new.

If these type of health related aspects of your life are neglected for long enough, it can have a very negative effect on your health.

“Absolutely. Plus my mental health was atrocious. I WAS drinking more, because I felt so trapped. Nothing I did made it better, and truly felt there was no way out. I was suicidal and it showed. I did not take care of myself. At times I couldn’t eat or sleep. So I would either cry myself to sleep every night or drink until I passed out. Plus, I didn’t understand the manipulation that was happening, so I would constantly be trying to figure out what was happening. So basically, I WAS a crazy person.” – Brie Robertson

Brie Robertson during narcissistic abuse
Brie Robertson during the narcissistic abuse cycle
Brie Robertson after narcissistic abuse
Brie Robertson after the narcissistic abuse cycle

Narcissistic abuse is so confusing. You don’t know what is happening to you. Narcissistic abuse is designed to erode your emotional stability, and that is exactly what it does. 

How Does Narcissistic Abuse and Their Falsified Identity Enable Flying Monkeys?

The usage of flying monkeys is a defense mechanism that narcissists use when they are afraid that their falsified identity is going to be jeopardized. This is most commonly seen at the end of any type of narcissistic relationship. 

The reason being that suffering narcissistic abuse puts you in a very unique position because you are one of the only people that know the narcissist’s true identity. 

You know how much they need validation and admiration. You know how abusive and paranoid they are, and by the time the relationship is coming to an end, you most likely know how insecure and vulnerable they are. 

So, if you’re in such a powerful position, how do narcissists get flying monkeys?

Yes, you are in a position of power. But unlocking this power requires that you do a significant amount of healing. The toll narcissistic abuse has on your health and your lifestyle is no joke. 

Narcissistic abuse is designed to isolate you from friends and family. The narcissist in your life will often be irritated by your desire to spend time with your friends and family because they feel entitled to your undivided attention. Overtime your connection with those you love will weaken.

The one’s close to you likely recognize this drastic change in your appearance and demeanor, but because isolation is a major part of narcissistic abuse, they likely don’t know exactly what is going on.

When you combine the toll that narcissistic abuse has on your appearance and demeanor, those close to you being in the dark about the abuse you’ve endured, and a narcissist’s masterful ability to manipulate others to protect their falsified identity, the odds are not in your favor. 

Why?

Sadly, most victims of narcissistic abuse look defeated at the end of their relationships. Narcissists are really good at portraying themselves as admirable individuals. It will me much easier for your friends and family to take the word of someone who appears to be helping you over you, who appears to possibly be in denial and hasn’t had the same level of communication as you once did.

A flying monkeys gaslighting a victim of narcissistic abuse

Again, narcissistic abuse is designed to erode your emotional stability so looking defeated, being caught in a fog, lost, and having a sense of helplessness is very normal after these types of relationships.

However, this is quite problematic because narcissists are the most two-faced people on the planet. They are monsters behind closed doors but the moment they interact with other people, or recruit flying monkeys, they’re able to turn on their charm and charisma to win people over. 

It’s really hard to expose a narcissist from a defeated position which is why it is so important that you find a qualified professional to help you work through your trauma. 

Where Did This Theory Come From?

While connecting with our Unfilteredd Participants for our article What Do Flying Monkeys Do For the Narcissist I found that 67 percent of them experienced a combination between the flying monkeys supporting the narcissist and the flying monkeys trying to manipulate them into reconciling with the narcissist. 

Be sure to check that article out for more context and the three other types of flying monkeys, but this finding was quite interesting because of how similar each participant’s experiences with flying monkeys were.

All 67% of the participants reported that the flying monkey in their lives expressed a very deep concern for their well-being. 

They would support the narcissist by believing that he/she only wanted the best for them. In all honesty, our participants’ depiction of their experiences aligned with an intervention for something along the lines of alcoholism. 

Under these circumstances, someone as manipulative as a narcissist wouldn’t have an issue pretending that he/she was really worried about your well-being to recruit those close. 

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Get a Free Healing Bundle Every Week!

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All of the content that Unfilteredd creates is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for clinical care — please visit here for qualified organizations and here for qualified professionals that you can reach out to for help. This article has been reviewed by our editorial board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our editorial policies.

References:

Vickie Howard (2019) Recognizing Narcissistic Abuse and the Implications for Mental Health Nursing Practice, Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 40:8, 644-654, DOI: 10.1080/01612840.2019.1590485