When people learn about flying monkeys, a common question they have is, “How do narcissists use flying monkeys?

Narcissists use flying monkeys for triangulation, spreading rumors, gaslighting, smear campaigns, guilt-tripping, information gathering, sabotaging, narcissistic supply, hoovering, and projecting their negative traits onto others.

In this article, I will guide you through and give examples of these tactics to help you better understand how narcissists use flying monkeys.

1.) Triangulation

The first way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for triangulation. 

This manipulation tactic occurs when someone turns a one-on-one situation into a two-on-one situation by involving a third party.

For example, imagine you disagree with the narcissist in your life about something. 

Two people arguing.

Instead of working it out with you, they involve a third party (their flying monkey) by telling them a twisted version of the events that paint you negatively. 

Now, believing they are being helpful, the flying monkey approaches you to discuss the issue or even to scold you for something you haven’t done. 

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys for triangulation.

2.) Spreading Rumors

The second way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is to spread rumors. 

This refers to sharing unverified information about a person to damage their reputation, create drama, or cause harm.

For example, I want you to imagine that you’ve decided to go no contact with the narcissist in your life. 

Instead of respecting the boundary you are trying to set, the narcissist tells their flying monkeys false or exaggerated stories about you, painting you as the bad guy. 

The flying monkeys, believing the narcissist, then spread these rumors to others, damaging your reputation and relationships. 

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys to spread rumors.

3.) Gaslighting

The third way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for gaslighting. 

This manipulation tactic occurs when someone intentionally or unintentionally doubts or denies reality, making others question their memory, perception, or sanity. 

Suggested Reading: How to Stop a Narcissist from Gaslighting You (3 Steps)

For example, imagine you had an argument with the narcissist in your life, and they manipulated the situation to make you seem irrational or unstable. 

They then have their flying monkeys reinforce their version of events, making you question your memory, perception, or sanity. 

For instance, the narcissist may deliberately create a problem, then deny any involvement or blame you for it. 

When you confront them, they have their flying monkeys support their version of events, leading you to doubt your recollection and feel crazy.

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys for gaslighting.

4.) Smear Campaign

The fourth way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for a smear campaign.

A smear campaign is an intentional, premeditated effort to undermine an individual’s or group’s reputation, credibility, and character.

For this example, let’s say that the narcissist in your life feels threatened by your growing independence or a new supportive friendship you have formed. 

To undermine your credibility and isolate you from your support network, they launch a smear campaign by telling their flying monkeys a series of lies about you.

A narcissist spreading lies to create flying monkeys.

Their goal here is to paint you as untrustworthy, unstable, and even dangerous. 

The flying monkeys, believing the narcissist and wanting to help, share this information with others, damaging your reputation and relationships. 

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys for a smear campaign.

5.) Guilt-Tripping

The fifth way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for guilt-tripping.

This is when a person intentionally or unintentionally tries to make someone feel guilty, remorseful, or bad about their decisions or choices. 

Suggested Reading: 10 Tactics Narcissists Use to Make You Feel Guilty

For example, imagine that the narcissist in your life tells their flying monkeys a story where you are portrayed as the one who has wronged them.

The flying monkeys, feeling sympathy for the narcissist, approach you to express their disappointment and to ask you to make amends.

You don’t know that they have been told lies, so you feel guilty and consider making amends with the narcissist because of the flying monkeys’ influence.

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys for guilt-tripping.

6.) Information Gathering

The sixth way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for information gathering. 

In this context, information gathering refers to collecting data or information about a targeted individual, often without their knowledge or consent.

For example, let’s imagine that you’ve recently left your narcissistic family of origin.

Your narcissistic family members manipulate their flying monkeys (relatives/family friends) into asking you questions about your life, feelings, or plans. 

A narcissist asking a flying monkey to get information about his target.

The flying monkeys, believing they are just having a normal conversation with you, relay this information back to your narcissistic family. 

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys to gather information.

7.) Sabotage

The seventh way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for sabotage.

In this context, sabotage refers to deliberately undermining or obstructing the targeted individual’s efforts, relationships, or reputation.

For example, I want you to imagine that the narcissist in your life feels threatened by your success at work. 

So, they manipulate their flying monkeys into spreading rumors about you at your workplace to create conflicts between you and your colleagues. 

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys to sabotage you.

8.) Narcissistic Supply

The eighth way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for narcissistic supply.

The term “narcissistic supply” refers to the validation, admiration, reassurance, power, and control narcissists seek from others.

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

For example, imagine that you’ve set strong boundaries with the narcissist in your life and are no longer in regular contact with them.

Because you were their main source of supply, they need to find a new source now.

So, the narcissist in your life manipulates their flying monkeys into constantly praising and adoring them.

The flying monkeys, believing the narcissist deserves this admiration, provide the validation, admiration, and reassurance that the narcissist craves (narcissistic supply). 

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys to get supply.

9.) Hoovering

The ninth way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for hoovering. 

This manipulation tactic occurs when the narcissist tries to suck you back into the relationship after you’ve tried to distance yourself or end it.

Suggested Reading: How to Deal With a Narcissist Who Is Hoovering

For example, let’s imagine you’ve left the narcissist in your life and gone no or low contact.

So, the narcissist decides to use flying monkeys to get to you

These flying monkeys may approach you with messages from the narcissist expressing love, remorse, or promises to change. 

A flying monkey talking to the target of a narcissist.

Or they may try to guilt-trip you into returning to the narcissist by saying how hard the narcissist is taking the breakup or how much they need you.

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys for hoovering.

10.) Projection

The tenth way a narcissist could use flying monkeys is for projection.

This is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously attributes their negative traits, emotions, or behaviors to someone else.

Suggested Reading: How Do You Know When a Narcissist Is Projecting?

For example, imagine that the narcissist accused you of being manipulative, selfish, or untrustworthy throughout your relationship. 

This is projection.

But now that you’ve learned to set boundaries and distance yourself from the narcissist, they are having a harder time projecting their stuff onto you.

So they are their false accusations with their flying monkeys, convincing them that you are the one with the negative traits. 

The flying monkeys believe the narcissist and approach you to express their concerns or to confront you about your supposed behavior. 

This is an example of how a narcissist could use flying monkeys for projection.

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

There are many different ways narcissists use flying monkeys, but their overarching purpose is to manipulate and control others. 

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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