A question we got asked but didn’t have time to answer during our last therapist-led live Q&A session is, “How do narcissists create flying monkeys?”
Narcissists create flying monkeys by spreading lies about the person they are abusing. To do this, they use various manipulation tactics, such as self-victimization, triangulation, blame-shifting, smear campaigns, and gaslighting.
In this article, I will guide you through each of these tactics so you can better understand how narcissists create flying monkeys.
The first tactic a narcissist could use to create flying monkeys is self-victimization.
This means portraying oneself as a victim to gain sympathy or manipulate others.
For example, imagine you have been feeling overwhelmed lately and asked the narcissist to take on some additional household chores.
Rather than agreeing or discussing it further, the narcissist calls their friend and says:
“You won’t believe how [your name] treats me. They just yelled at me for no reason and accused me of being lazy. I do so much already, and it’s never enough for them.”
Now, believing you are mistreating the narcissist, the friend offers support and confronts you about your “abusive” behavior.
This is an example of a narcissist using self-victimization to create a flying monkey.
The second tactic a narcissist could use to create flying monkeys is triangulation.
This manipulation tactic occurs when someone turns a one-on-one situation into a two-on-one situation by involving a third party.
Suggested Reading: 6 Examples of Triangulation In Narcissistic Relationships
For example, let’s say you and the narcissist disagreed, and instead of resolving it, the narcissist involves a third party.
They text their brother the following:
“I don’t know what to do. [Your name] is so angry at me, and I don’t even know what I did wrong. They’ve been so abusive lately. Can you talk to them for me? I think they will listen to you.”
The brother, now involved in a situation that doesn’t concern them, agrees to talk to you on the narcissist’s behalf.
Of course, they don’t know the truth. They only know the lies that the narcissist told them. So, their “talk” with you is one-sided and leaves you looking like the bad guy.
This is an example of a narcissist using triangulation to create a flying monkey.
The third tactic a narcissist could use to create flying monkeys is blame-shifting.
This means redirecting the blame from oneself onto another person or group.
For example, I want you to imagine that the narcissist in your life made a mistake that affected both of you (e.g., forgetting to pay a bill).
Rather than acknowledging their mistake, the narcissist tells their friend:
“I can’t believe [your name] didn’t pay the bill. They were supposed to remind me, and now we have a late fee because of them.”
The friend, now believing it is your fault for not reminding the narcissist, supports the narcissist by criticizing you for being “irresponsible.”
This is an example of a narcissist using blame-shifting to create a flying monkey.
4.) Smear Campaigns
The fourth tactic a narcissist could use to create flying monkeys is a smear campaign.
Suggested Reading: How Do Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys? (A Complete Guide)
A smear campaign is an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual’s or group’s reputation, credibility, and character.
For example, I want you to imagine that you have been working on a project at work with the narcissist in your life for several months.
Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to do a great job on the project, the narcissist sees it as a competition and starts plotting against you.
They begin subtly undermining you by spreading false information about your work ethic, commitment, and abilities to other team members and superiors:
“[Your name] doesn’t seem very committed to this project. They are always leaving early and don’t contribute much in meetings.”
Over time, your colleagues and superiors view you as uncommitted and unprofessional and even exclude you from important decisions and meetings.
This is an example of a narcissist using a smear campaign to create flying monkeys.
The fifth tactic a narcissist could use to create flying monkeys is gaslighting.
This manipulation tactic occurs when someone intentionally or unintentionally doubts or denies reality, making others question their memory, perception, or sanity.
Suggested Reading: Why Does Gaslighting Work So Well? (6 Reasons)
For example, imagine you discovered that the narcissist has lied to you about something important and confront them about it.
The narcissist denies everything instead of admitting the truth and questions your memory by saying, “I never said that. You must be remembering it wrong.”
Later, the narcissist tells one of your mutual friends about the confrontation and says:
“[Your name] accused me of lying about something I never said. I’m worried about them. They have been acting so controlling lately and misremembering a lot of things.”
The friend, now believing you are the one with a problem, supports the narcissist and confronts you about your “controlling” behavior.
This is an example of a narcissist using gaslighting to create a flying monkey.
What Should You Take Away from This Article?
Narcissists create flying monkeys by spreading lies about the person they are abusing.
To do this, they use powerful manipulation tactics such as self-victimization, triangulation, blame-shifting, smear campaigns, and gaslighting.
About the Author
Hey, I’m Elijah.
I experienced narcissistic abuse for three years.
I create these articles to help you understand and validate your experiences.
Thank you for reading, and remember, healing is possible even when it feels impossible.