A flying monkey is someone who a narcissist manipulates into helping them abuse another person. It is really important that you learn how to protect yourself from flying monkeys as they are some of the toughest adversaries that you’ll come across in a narcissistic environment. 

The best way to protect yourself from a flying monkey is to restrain yourself from engaging in meaningful interactions with them. You can do this through techniques such as the Gray Rock Method, Yellow Rock Method, Firewall Method, Low Contact Method, or No Contact Method. 

The information in this article is going to help you make conscious and well-informed decisions when you come across a flying monkey. But first, here is a short clip (see below) from our interview with Karina Ramdath, a Registered Social Worker and Therapist, with incredibly helpful information about protecting yourself from flying monkeys.

Karina Ramdath, a Registered Social Worker and Therapist, Explains How You Can Deal With Flying Monkeys

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5 Techniques That You Can Use to Protect Yourself from Flying Monkeys

Before you can use the Gray Rock Method, Yellow Rock Method, Firewall Method, Low Contact Method, or No Contact Method to protect yourself from the flying monkeys in your life, you must learn about the three different types of flying monkeys (see below). 

Now you are going to have to use your knowledge about the three different types of flying monkeys to make conscious and well-informed decisions about which techniques you are going to use to protect yourself from the flying monkeys in your life.

As you know already, flying monkeys are often your friends, family members, and colleagues. So, you have to think very carefully and make decisions that are going to support your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs in the long run. 

After we guide you through the Gray Rock Method, Yellow Rock Method, Firewall Method, Low Contact Method, or No Contact Method, we are going to unpack a survey we conducted among 450 people who have experienced narcissistic abuse that was designed to figure out which techniques they used on the flying monkeys in their lives and why.

The Gray Rock Method

The Gray Rock Method is a form of communication that you can use by restraining yourself from engaging in meaningful interactions with the abusive people in your life. 

When we use the term “meaningful interactions,” we are referring to any interaction that gives the abusive people in your life access to your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals, and aspirations.

For example, if the flying monkey attempted to speak about the narcissist in your life with you, this would be considered a meaningful interaction and warrant the Gray Rock Method because your response could give them access to your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals, and aspirations.

How to Use the Gray Rock Method on a Flying Monkey

You are on your way to a restaurant to meet a friend for lunch when you run into a flying monkey in your life. They say, Hey! I’ve been trying to call you all day!” You respond by saying, “I’m on my way to lunch with my friend so we only have a minute or so for this conversation.” 

A flying monkey talking to someone who is experiencing narcissistic abuse.

The flying monkey says, “I just feel so lonely but don’t worry about me, I know you don’t care and I don’t want to ruin your lunch.” You say, “I can’t talk with you about this right now.” The flying monkey says, “You’re just like everyone else! You never really cared about me! I can’t believe how pathetic you are!” You respond by saying, “Okay. I’m going to go now.”

Suggested Reading:

It is common for narcissists to use flying monkeys to trigger confusing thoughts, feelings, and emotions. With comments like “I just feel so lonely but don’t worry about me, I know you don’t care…” flying monkeys can manipulate you into engaging in a meaningful interaction. Our article How Do Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys? has more information about this.

The Yellow Rock Method

The Yellow Rock Method is a form of communication that you can use by restraining yourself from engaging in meaningful interactions with the abusive people in your life. 

The difference between the Gray Rock Method and the Yellow Rock Method is that when you use the Gray Rock Method, the abusive people in your life could portray you in a negative light (i.e. “He/she is so cold, uncooperative, distant, arrogant, and mean lately.”)

When you use the Yellow Rock Method, you have a much more professional approach that makes you come off as more respectful.

Usually, there’s nothing wrong with coming off as cold, uncooperative, distant, arrogant, and/or mean when you are healing and keeping abusive people away from your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals, and aspirations.

But because of how good abusers are at twisting reality to portray you in a negative light, there are certain situations that you should try your hardest to not come off as cold, uncooperative, distant, arrogant, and/or mean (e.g. a custody battle, at work, in front of your children).

How to Use the Yellow Rock Method on a Flying Monkey

It is 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning and you get a phone call from a flying monkey in your life. The second you pick up the phone, the manipulation starts. 

The flying monkey says ,“Oh, I am surprised that you picked up my call!” You respond by saying, “Good morning. Can I help you with something? I am trying to cook breakfast for my kid.” The flying monkey says, “Well hold on, I am still surprised you picked up because normally you just ignore my calls.”

A flying monkey talking to someone who is experiencing narcissistic abuse.

You respond by saying, “On the days that you call at 9pm at night, I do not pick up because I am getting myself and my kid ready for bed.” The flying monkey responds with, “Oh you mean the kid who is always crying about how mean you are? Listen, I understand that you are mad at the world but don’t take it out on your kid.”

You respond to this by saying, “Your attempt to portray me in a negative light is noted. I am going to hang up and continue my morning with my kid. I hope you have a wonderful rest of your day.” The flying monkey says, “You are a liar and everyone knows it.” You respond by saying, “Listen, your refusal to engage in effective communication is noted, I will be hanging up the phone now. Have a nice day.”

Suggested Reading:

One of the tell-tale signs of a flying monkey are irrational, hostile, and one-sided conversations that support the narcissist’s narrative (i.e. any narrative that wrongfully portrays you in a negative light). Our article How to Spot a Flying Monkey has a ton of helpful information about this.

The Firewall Method

In narcissistic environments, the term “firewall” refers to a defense system that you can build to protect yourself from the abusive people in your life. 

To build a firewall that protects your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals, and aspirations from the flying monkeys in your life, you need to create your own defense system and construct a defined set of rules that it abides by (see below).

If you didn’t know already, the term “firewall” is often used when speaking about computers. The purpose of a firewall in a computer is to provide protection against outside cyber attackers by shielding your computer or network from malicious or unnecessary network traffic. 

When this gets translated into the language of abusive environments, the abusers are the cyber attackers. 

The malicious and unnecessary network traffic that they are hurling at you are the manipulative and abusive tactics that they use to manipulate you into questioning your sanity, doubt your reality, developing a negative self-perception, and abandon your boundaries (e.g. gaslighting, mirroring, love bombing, future faking, intermittent reinforcement).

And your thoughts, feelings, emotions, needs, wishes, goals, and aspirations are the computer or network that your firewall is protecting. Building a solid firewall puts you in a position from which you can effectively protect your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs from past, present, and future abusers (i.e. flying monkeys, narcissists, narcissist enablers, etc.).

Suggested Reading:

The Firewall Method is a good technique because it allows you to be present in narcissistic environments that you can’t, or don’t want to, escape from. This is really helpful in situations where the narcissist is using your children as flying monkeys. You can learn more about this in our article Do Narcissists Use Children As Flying Monkeys?”

The Low Contact Method

The Low Contact Method is designed to help you protect yourself from the abusive people in your life when you have to see them every once in a while or when for some reason you have to break the No Contact Method (e.g. a funeral, a wedding, a court case, etc.).

The Low Contact Method relies heavily on the concept of the Gray Rock Method and Yellow Rock Method.

What this means is that instead of going full No Contact, you become very selective about where, when, how, and why you cross paths with the abusive people in your life. Also, when you cross paths, you make conscious and well-informed decisions that help you restrain yourself from engaging in meaningful interactions with the abusive people in your life.

Suggested Reading:

The Low Contact Method is good to use when you suspect the narcissist in your life will turn against a flying monkey that you care about (i.e. a friend, family member, colleague, etc.). Our article Do Narcissists Turn On Their Flying Monkeys?, has more information about a narcissist’s tendency to turn on their flying monkeys and Do Flying Monkeys Ever See the Truth? has information about possible outcomes of the fallout.

The No Contact Method

The No Contact Method is also designed to help you protect yourself from the abusive people in your life. This technique involves ending all physical and psychological forms of contact that you have with the abusive person in your life. 

This may look like:

  • Not responding to their text messages or phone calls
  • Not agreeing/promising to meetup with them or “stay in touch”
  • Not checking up on their social media or keeping tabs on their posts 
  • Not gathering information about their lives through your friends or spending all your time talking about them
  • Not accepting gifts or favors (no matter how tempting) from them
  • Not listening to music that you associate with them
  • Not digging up old photographic memories of them (with or without you in them)
  • Taking proactive steps to heal yourself from intrusive, unwanted, and traumatic painful memories

Suggested Reading:

Going No Contact with someone can create a lot of confusion/painful thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Our article How to Deal With the Emotions of Going No Contact With a Narcissisthas a lot of helpful information that you can use if you find it hard to go No Contact with the flying monkeys in your life.

How 450 Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse Deal With Flying Monkeys (Survey)

The importance of using the right technique against a flying monkey is immeasurable. To guide you in the right direction, we conducted a survey among 450 people who have experienced narcissistic abuse to determine which technique they used on the flying monkeys that they have encountered. 

For this survey we selected 150 people who have encountered Manipulated Flying Monkeys, 150 people who have encountered Forced Flying Monkeys, and 150 people who encountered Natural Flying Monkeys.

The information these survey participants have provided is incredibly valuable so we hope that it helps you better protect yourself from the flying monkeys in your life (see below).

What Should You Take Away From This Article?

Regardless of which techniques you use, restraining yourself from engaging in meaningful interactions with the flying monkeys in your life is the best way to manage them. The Gray Rock Method, Yellow Rock Method, Firewall Method, Low Contact Method, and No Contact Method are five techniques that you can use to do this.

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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:

Tiffan, Bill. “Dealing with difficult people.” Physician Executive35.5 (2009): 86-90.

Wink, Paul. “Two faces of narcissism.” Journal of personality and social psychology 61.4 (1991): 590.