Who’s Carrying Out the Dirty Work for the Narcissist?

This post was written by Rhonda Wasserman

Original content by Ashley Berges

Having narcissists in your life can be very challenging. Have you ever thought about the people that support narcissists? They are the people that do the dirty work for the narcissist. They seem to relish in the idea that they are doing this person’s dirty work and making the lives of others a living hell. 

The people that do the narcissist’s dirty work are called, “flying monkeys.” The concept and term were created from The Wizard of Oz. The wicked witch had her group of flying monkeys that would do her dirty work. Therefore, the people that do the narcissist’s dirty work are known as flying monkeys. 

Flying monkeys can be a variety of people. If there is a narcissist in the family, they can be another family member or members. It can be a narcissist at work. The flying monkeys in this case can be co-workers. It can also be a friend in your friend circle; the other friends are the flying monkeys doing the dirty work. We need to keep our eye on the flying monkeys. Often, they can go under the radar known as co-workers, family members, or even friends. 

What do flying monkeys do? One of the first things they can do is villainize another person. The narcissist may be upset with someone, and try to bury them. In the process of burying them, they villainize them, making them out to be a horrible person. The flying monkeys then support the narrative that this person is horrible and has done something wrong. This allows them to beat the person to the ground and the narcissist wins and the person goes away.

Another skills set that flying monkeys have is their ability to bully people. Not only is someone being bullied by a narcissist but there is also a whole group supporting the narcissist. All of these people are bullying one individual. It is much more effective to be able to bully in numbers.

Flying monkeys are very good at triangulation. One person is being beaten up, while the other people come at them from different angles. This allows them to invalidate the one person they are ganging up on. When the narcissist invalidates the feelings of the other individual, telling the person that their feelings are not real, and they should not feel a certain way, the flying monkeys are there to reinforce the narrative. This can lead people to question their reality. 

Gossip spreading is another aspect of flying monkeys. Often, this can be a big deal when a couple is going through a divorce. One of the partners may go around saying a lot of negative things about their soon-to-be ex. The flying monkeys then take these stories and run with them, telling everyone about them. Eventually, this gets back to the partner which can be very sad because most of the gossip is not true. 

Are you aware of any flying monkeys or narcissists in your life? We need to avoid these people as much as possible. The narcissist can do their damage, but the flying monkeys can do a lot of damage as well. 

There are things that we need to do to protect ourselves from the flying monkeys.

The first thing we need to do is to be aware of all the people in our lives, their intention, and their motivation. We need to be sure that the people around us are our friends. 

We need to understand we have the right to have our feelings. Often, we are brought up in an environment where we are not allowed to have our feelings. We need to be aware when someone is making fun of our feelings or making light of what we are feeling. 

Is someone invalidating your feelings? Invalidation of feelings is something flying monkeys use because they try to make you feel bad for having feelings about something. If you are around someone and constantly feel like you have to validate how you feel, this may not be someone you want to be spending your time around. 

Finally, it is time to cut some ties. Whether you are going through a divorce or not, there are probably some people that you need to clean the house with. People that you need to let go of, and not continue to communicate with. The communication is not helpful.

Often when we go through life changes we may depend on people that do not always have our best intention at heart. We need to get back to the basics and figure out who we can trust with our feelings. We do not want to put ourselves out there and become possible victims of the narcissist or their flying monkeys. Once we can figure out who the flying monkeys are, we take a lot of power away from the narcissist. 

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