If you have flying monkeys in your life, a question you might ask yourself is, “Why do some people become flying monkeys?”

Generally speaking, there are three reasons a person could become a flying monkey:

  1. The narcissist has manipulated them.
  2. They are afraid of the narcissist.
  3. They want to become flying monkeys.

In this article, I will guide you through these reasons to help you better understand why some people become flying monkeys.

1.) The Narcissist Has Manipulated Them

The first reason a person could become a flying monkey is that the narcissist has manipulated them. 

Suggested Reading: How Do Narcissists Manipulate You?


Ella and Jack are siblings, only a couple of years apart.

Their mother, Victoria, has been a master of subtly manipulating narratives to paint herself as a victim. 

Their father, Robert, bears the brunt of Victoria’s narcissistic tendencies, but he remains loving and supportive to both of his children.

One evening after dinner, Ella finds herself alone in the living room with her mother.

“Ella,” Victoria begins, her voice trembling ever so slightly, “I know you’ve noticed how distant your father has been lately. He barely talks to me anymore.”

Ella, taken aback, replies:

“I haven’t noticed anything, Mom. Maybe he’s just been busy at work?”

A woman talking with her narcissistic mom.

Victoria sighs dramatically, gazing at a family photo on the wall. 

“You’ve always been such a kind, understanding soul, Ella. But there are things you don’t know, things he’s done that I’ve kept from you and Jack to protect you both.”

Ella feels a knot in her stomach. “What do you mean?”

“Well,” Victoria says, pausing to ensure she has Ella’s full attention, “he’s been speaking to others about me, saying things that aren’t true. He’s turning them against me.”

Ella frowns, struggling to imagine her father doing something so malicious. “Are you sure, Mom? Dad doesn’t seem like that type.”

“Oh, sweetie,” Victoria replies, her eyes glistening, “I wish it weren’t true. But I’ve heard from friends, and they’ve told me what he’s been saying. I just want our family to be united and for everyone to get along. But it seems he wants otherwise.”

Several days later, Ella discusses this with her younger brother, Jack. “I’m really worried about Mom. She says Dad has been talking about her behind her back.”

Having not heard this narrative from their mother, Jack is initially skeptical. “Why would he do that? It doesn’t make sense.”

Ella responds, “I know, right? But Mom seemed so hurt. Maybe there’s some truth to it.”

Sensing the opportunity, Victoria begins spending more time with Ella and Jack, hosting movie nights and sharing stories of her past. 

Stories that often depict her as a victim, painting a picture of a life filled with betrayals from friends and now, seemingly, from her husband. 

She often ends these tales with:

“But at least I have you two. We need to stick together.”

Over time, they become more distant from their father. They begin to view him suspiciously, wondering if their mother is right about his betrayals.

One afternoon, when Robert tries to discuss plans for a family vacation, Ella says:

“Maybe you should spend less time gossiping about Mom and more time being a supportive husband and father.” 

A daughter turning into a flying monkey.

Jack, while less vocal, nods in agreement, showing his support for Ella’s sentiments.

Robert is taken aback, “Where is this coming from? I haven’t said anything about your mother to anyone.”

Victoria, seizing the moment, looks sadly at the floor.

Ella continues, “Several people have mentioned it, Dad. We want peace in this house. Why can’t you let things be?”

2.) They Are Afraid of the Narcissist

The second reason a person could become a flying monkey is that they are afraid of the narcissist.


Lisa and Mark have been married for 15 years. 

Mark, a successful entrepreneur, not only supports Lisa and their children, but he also supports his extended family after the unfortunate death of his parents. 

He covers the college tuition for his two younger siblings, Amy and David. 

He pays the monthly rent for his Aunt Clara and Uncle George. 

He even took care of the car payments for his cousin, Jake.

The problem is that Mark often uses his financial contributions as a tool to wield power and control over his family, ensuring their loyalty and submissiveness. 

Suggested Reading: 16 Signs of Financial Abuse

He often reminds them of his contributions, saying things like, “Without me, you’d be nowhere,” or “Remember who pays your bills when you think of crossing me.”

A narcissist being financially abusive.

Lisa has observed Mark’s manipulative tendencies. 

While she admires Mark’s dedication to helping his family, she’s disturbed by the strings attached to his generosity. 

Whenever she tries to confront Mark about an issue in their relationship, she is met with swift resistance from Mark and his entire family.

One evening, during a family gathering, Lisa gathered the courage to address a matter that had been bothering her. 

She says, “Mark, we need to discuss how you’ve been treating Jamie (their son). He’s been really upset lately.”

Before Mark even responds, Aunt Clara jumps in and says, “Lisa, Mark is doing his best! He’s under so much stress. You should be more understanding.”

David, sensing the tension and fearing potential repercussions on his college funding, quickly adds, “Yeah, Lisa. We all have our ways. Just let it be.”

Amy, knowing full well the authoritative nature of her brother but also petrified about jeopardizing her college future, tries to divert the topic:

“Let’s not ruin the evening, Lisa. This isn’t the time or place.”

3.) They Want to Become Flying Monkeys

The third reason a person could become a flying monkey is because they actually want to be the narcissist’s flying monkey.


Anne and Paul are a loving couple, known among their circle of friends for their supportive and healthy relationship. 

They have built a life together based on trust, understanding, and mutual respect.

Anne’s family, however, is a different story. Her mother, Lydia, is a textbook narcissist. 

Always craving attention and trying to control everything.

She often feels threatened by the harmonious nature of Anne and Paul’s relationship because it reminds her of all the toxic relationships she has had in the past.

Karen, Anne’s younger sister, grew up idolizing their mother, emulating Lydia’s behaviors and adopting many of her narcissistic tendencies. 

Suggested Reading: Can a Family Be Full of Narcissists?

Having grown up in an environment where manipulation and control were the norm, Karen has learned to seek out situations that allow her to exert influence over others.

One day, Lydia visits Anne and Paul’s house and notices the couple’s shared photo albums, evidence of their shared memories and happy moments. 

Feeling left out and somewhat jealous, Lydia later confides in Karen about feeling “replaced” by Paul and suggests that Anne has been “brainwashed” by him.

Karen, always eager to gain her mother’s approval and seeing an opportunity to exert her own influence, suggests: 

“Maybe Anne doesn’t realize how much Paul is controlling her. We should help her see.”

A flying monkey plotting against her sister.

The two hatch a plan. 

Karen starts planting seeds of doubt in Anne’s mind, making casual comments like:

“Isn’t it weird that Paul always decides where you two vacation?” or “I noticed Paul was pretty talkative at the party, but you were rather quiet. Everything okay?”

What Should You Take Away from This Article?

As a general rule, people become flying monkeys because:

  1. The narcissist has manipulated them.
  2. They are afraid of the narcissist.
  3. They want to become 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.


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