Many people experiencing narcissistic abuse have a question about flying monkeys: “Will a narcissist ever turn on their flying monkeys?”

A narcissist will turn on their flying monkeys to reassert their dominance, deflect blame from themselves, and protect themselves from being exposed. They will also turn on them if their flying monkeys fail them, show signs of disloyalty, criticize them, or somehow make them jealous.

In this article, I will guide you through these reasons to help you better understand what drives narcissists to turn on their flying monkeys.

1.) To Reassert Their Dominance

Narcissists often play mind games with those around them to assert their dominance. 

Turning on their flying monkey is often used to show others who’s in charge and keep them on their toes. 

This happens because narcissists need control and power over others.

A narcissist talking about needing total control in the relationship.

When they turn on their flying monkey, in their mind, it reinforces and validates their position of authority.

This action reminds the flying monkey and others that the narcissist is in control and not to be challenged.

2.) The Flying Monkey Failed to Perform as Expected

Narcissists manipulate flying monkeys to carry out tasks on their behalf. 

If the flying monkey fails to perform as expected, the narcissist may turn on them out of anger or frustration. 

This is because narcissists place a high value on their image and reputation.

Suggested Reading: How Do Narcissists See Themselves?

When a flying monkey fails to uphold this image and reputation, the narcissist sees it as a direct reflection of themselves. 

Therefore, this failure to perform is perceived as a personal slight and a failure to recognize the narcissist’s importance, leading the narcissist to lash out.

3.) They Get Paranoid the Flying Monkey Is Betraying Them

Narcissists often fear that others are out to get or undermine them, even when no evidence supports this belief. 

If they become paranoid that their flying monkey is betraying them or working against them, they might turn on them. 

This paranoia stems from the narcissist’s fragile self-esteem and intense fear of rejection or betrayal. 

In this case, turning on the flying monkey is a preemptive strike to protect themselves from perceived harm, whether real or imagined.

4.) The Flying Monkeys Shows Signs of Disloyalty

Narcissists’ primary concern is themselves, and they expect absolute loyalty and submission from their flying monkeys. 

If a flying monkey shows any signs of disloyalty, even if it’s just a perception and not based on any factual evidence, the narcissist might retaliate. 

This expectation of loyalty stems from the narcissist’s deep-seated fear of abandonment and betrayal. 

Suggested Reading: 7 Things Narcissists Fear the Most

Any sign of disloyalty, no matter how small or unintended, is perceived as a threat to the narcissist’s sense of security and self-worth.

When narcissists feel threatened like this, they almost always react aggressively to reestablish control.

5.) They Are Trying to Deflect Blame from Themselves

Narcissists often project their insecurities and failures onto others. 

If something goes wrong, they may turn on their flying monkey to deflect blame from themselves. 

A narcissit trying to defelct the blame onto one of thier flying monkeys.

Narcissists use projection as a defense mechanism to cope with their feelings of inadequacy and failure. 

By blaming the flying monkey, the narcissist can maintain their illusion of perfection and avoid facing the uncomfortable reality of their flaws and mistakes.

6.) They Found a New Source of Supply

Narcissists thrive on validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control, often called narcissistic supply. 

Suggested Reading: What Is Narcissistic Supply? (A Complete Guide)

If they find a new source of supply that they deem to be more valuable or obedient, they might discard the old flying monkey in favor of the new one. 

This is because narcissists tend to view relationships as transactional and people as expendable. 

Once the flying monkey has outlived their usefulness or a more rewarding source of supply is found, the narcissist will not hesitate to discard them.

7.) They Are Trying to Discredit the Flying Monkey

Narcissists are typically aware that their abusive and manipulative actions if brought to light, could lead to significant consequences for them.

The flying monkey, being close to the narcissist and often involved in their schemes, possesses a lot of information that could be damaging to the narcissist. 

If a narcissist fears that a flying monkey might expose damaging information about them, they will often turn on them immediately.

When this happens, the narcissist is trying to discredit the flying monkeys before they can do any harm (exposing them).

By discrediting the flying monkey, the narcissist hopes to invalidate any claims the flying monkey might make about them.

8.) They Are Jealous of the Flying Monkey

Narcissists are often envious of others’ success or happiness. 

If their flying monkey shows signs of independence, happiness, or success, the narcissist might turn on them out of jealousy. 

Suggested Reading: Why Do Narcissists Get So Jealous?

This happens because the narcissist’s sense of self-worth is so fragile that they cannot bear to see others thrive, especially those close to them. 

In this scenario, turning on the flying monkey allows the narcissist to bring them down a notch and reestablish their own sense of superiority.

9.) They Feel like the Flying Monkey Is Criticizing Them

Narcissists are extremely sensitive to criticism, even if it’s constructive or not intended as criticism at all. 

Suggested Reading: 7 Ways Narcissists React to Criticism

If they perceive any form of criticism from their flying monkey, they might turn on them as a defense mechanism. 

A narcissist going into a rage because she felt criticized.

This is because a narcissist’s ego is incredibly fragile, and any perceived criticism is seen as a direct attack on their self-worth. 

In this case, turning on the flying monkey allows the narcissist to assert their dominance and protect their fragile ego from further damage.

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

One thing about narcissists is that they don’t view others as individuals with their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, and needs.

They view others as tools they can use to get what they want.

Because of their transactional approach to relationships, they often view the people in their lives as expendable, including their flying monkeys.

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.

If you’re ready to heal, visit The Institute of Healing from Narcissistic Abuse to get started.
Share this post to help others trust their experiences.

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About This Article

We used Artificial Intelligence (AI) to create parts of this article to enhance its accuracy and readability. It underwent a strict human editorial process before being published. See additional information.

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