A common question people have after witnessing or experiencing the damage the supporters of a narcissist can do is, “Why do narcissists need flying monkeys?”

Narcissists need flying monkeys to prevent themselves from being exposed by the people they abuse. Having flying monkeys allows them to maintain their grandiose public persona while simultaneously abusing and manipulating their targets behind closed doors.

In this article, I will give you five examples of how narcissists use flying monkeys to help you better understand their dependence on them.

1.) To Isolate the People They Abuse

Imagine you have a narcissist in your life, and you have recently started to recognize the abusive patterns in your relationship with them.

Because of this, you decide to confide in one of your friends about your concerns without knowing that this “friend” is one of the narcissist’s flying monkeys.

When you confide in this “friend,” instead of offering support, they dismiss your concerns, telling you that you are overreacting and misinterpreting the situation. 

A flying monkey telling the target of narcissistic abuse that they are overreacting.

They even encourage you to be more understanding and supportive of the narcissist in your life, saying they are going through a tough time and need your support. 

This invalidation of your feelings and experiences can make you question your judgment and may lead you to isolate yourself from your sources of support.


Well, the flying monkey’s response has made you question your judgment and perception of reality.

Over time, this can make you hesitant to seek support from others because you fear that they might also dismiss your concerns or judge you negatively.

2.) To Silence the People They Abuse

Let’s say you have realized you are in an abusive marriage, so you decide to confide in a family member about the situation, hoping to get support and advice.

Before you can talk to your family member, the narcissist, sensing that you might expose them, preemptively reaches out to this family member. 

They express fake concern about you, tell them you have been acting strangely lately, and suggest you are experiencing mental health issues. 

They even share some carefully selected information and incidents that paint you negatively while portraying themselves as a supportive and caring partner.

Suggested Reading: 5 Ways Narcissists Get Flying Monkeys

As a result, when you try to talk to your family members about the abuse, they dismiss your concerns or attribute them to stress and mental health issues.

They advise you to seek professional help, not because you are in an abusive marriage, but because you have “mental health issues.”

A flying monkey telling the target of narcissistic abuse that they need to get therapy.

This dismissive response can make you feel unheard and invalidated and might even silence you by discouraging you from speaking out about the abuse to others.

This is because your concerns are not being taken seriously by the person you confided in (the family member).

Over time, this can cause you to believe that you won’t receive the support and understanding you need from others, so you end up just remaining silent.

3.) To Invalidate the People They Abuse

Picture a situation where you are in a group setting with some friends, the narcissist in your life, and one of their flying monkeys.

During a group conversation, you summon up the courage to express a concern about something the narcissist did that hurt you. 

The narcissist immediately dismisses your concerns rather than acknowledging your feelings or showing empathy.

They say you are overreacting and being too sensitive.

The flying monkey, having been manipulated by the narcissist to view them as the victim and you as the problematic one, jumps in to support the narcissist. 

They say, “Oh, I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way. Besides, you do have a habit of taking things too personally.”

A flying monkey invalidating the target of narcissistic abuse.

In this situation, the narcissist and the flying monkey invalidate your feelings and experiences. 

By dismissing your concerns and siding with the narcissist, the flying monkey reinforces the narrative that your feelings are not valid or important. 

This can make you question your judgment and perception of the situation and may cause you to suppress your feelings and concerns.

4.) To Control the People They Abuse

Let’s say the narcissist in your life has been spreading rumors about you to mutual friends, portraying themselves as the victim and you as the abuser.

You decide to confront the narcissist about this behavior, and they deny everything, accusing you of being paranoid or making things up.

Feeling frustrated, you reach out to a mutual friend, who, unknown to you, has been manipulated by the narcissist and is acting as a flying monkey. 

You express your concerns about the rumors and the narcissist’s behavior, hoping to gain insight and support.

Instead of offering support, the flying monkey tells you that you must be more understanding and supportive of the narcissist.

They try to gaslight you into believing the narcissist is going through a tough time and needs your support. 

They even go as far as to tell you that you are the one causing problems.

By framing the narcissist as the victim and you as the abuser, they reinforce the narrative created by the narcissist.

Over time, these types of interactions can gaslight you into genuinely believing that you are the problem in the relationship.

This can make you feel like you don’t have a right to set boundaries with or seek accountability from the narcissist, giving them tremendous control over you.

Suggested Reading: 8 Powerful Tactics That Narcissists Use to Control You

5.) To Discredit the People They Abuse

I want you to imagine a situation where you have started recognizing the abusive patterns in your narcissistic family of origin, so you’ve decided to see a therapist. 

This decision angers your narcissistic family because they fear exposure and losing control over you.

So, they begin working behind the scenes to discredit you to anyone and everyone who might offer you support.

Sadly, this strategy works.

One of the “friends” you confide in about seeing a therapist is a flying monkey.

Your narcissistic family has manipulated them to believe you are the unstable one in the family. 

When you share your decision to seek therapy, rather than offering support, the flying monkey expresses concern about your mental health.

They say, “I’m glad you are getting help. You’ve been acting erratically lately, and it’s been concerning to see.”

A flying monkey discrediting the target of narcissistic abuse.

This statement discredits you by suggesting your behavior has been concerning and implying your narcissistic family’s claims about your mental state are true.

Over time, this cycle of manipulation, discrediting, and betrayal can make it incredibly difficult for you to seek help and support from others.

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

Flying monkeys are designed to isolate, silence, invalidate, control, and discredit the people narcissists abuse.

By doing this, they help narcissists maintain their grandiose public persona and enable/encourage them to continue abusing their targets behind closed doors.

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.


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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