Being in a relationship with a narcissist is a world of woes in itself. Things get even worse when they get a back-up.
In a just and fair world, these selfish and completely self-centered people would be called out for their controlling behavior. But that is rarely the case. Most of the times, their victims find themselves alone and stranded because they have managed to turn everyone else against them too. You see, their victims aren’t the only people that narcissists are capable of manipulating and brainwashing. There is a whole bunch of people which these narcissists like to keep under their command. This phenomenon is so common and expected around cases of Narcissistic personality disorder that there is a specific name for it- The Flying Monkeys. These are the evil sidekicks of the narcissist who continue to torment you even if you try to break all contacts from the culprit.
According to Wikipedia – Flying monkeys is a phrase used in popular psychology mainly in the context of narcissistic abuse. They are people who act on behalf of a narcissist to a third party, usually for an abusive purpose. The phrase has also been used to refer to people who act on behalf of a psychopath for a similar purpose. An alternative word is apaths.
Abuse by proxy (or proxy abuse) is a closely related concept.
Flying monkeys are distinct from enablers. Enablers just allow or cover for the narcissist’s (abuser’s) own bad behavior.
It can be particularly heartbreaking if these flying monkeys are your mutual friends or your close friends and even members of your family. This is not as far-fetched as it might seem. Your close friends too are mere mortals. It is very easy for a narcissist to manipulate and mold these people against you. After all, isn’t manipulating the one craft that they are great at. So rest assured, your good, sensible, logical friends can very easily turn into sycophants, willing to do whatever it is that the narcissist wants them to. In most of the cases, it is these people’s empathy and goodwill which turns them into such easy puppets for the narcissist to control. They’d shed a few crocodile tears. Make everything sounds like everything was the other party’s (yours) fault. And all in all, do everything in their power to win the sympathy of the unsuspecting people. And once they have that, they can easily persuade them to do whatever they want. And sadly for you, if you thought that leaving the narcissist, would be the most difficult thing, it might not be all over just yet. You see, these minions of the narcissist, his flying monkeys so to speak can interfere and cause havoc in your life nonetheless. For instance –
1.) You could ban the narcissist from your life. Block all mediums of contact. And establish an absolute no contact policy. But all that won’t be enough if they have decided to keep bothering you and if they have an army of minions who want nothing more but to please them.
Even if they can’t reach out to you through social media or your phone, they’d still want to know everything that is happening in your life. And if you don’t give them that access, they will engage someone else to do their dirty work. You need to monitor your online activity closely. Don’t accept requests from random strangers and even for mutuals add only those whom you trust. If you ever get any inclination that some of your information has been breached to the narcissist, review your privacy measures across all social media. Try to be more private about your life, lest you feel like being hounded online.
2.) Another way the narcissist and their minions can make your life is by spreading gossips about you in bad faith. They’d use any and every opportunity to malign your name. They’d foul mouth you to friends, family, and colleagues. This can get emotionally and mentally exhausting if you have to keep dodging false accusations which attack your integrity and your ethics.
As hard as it is to keep ignoring false accusations, it is even worse when you get to hear something (which you told someone in complete confidence) being repeated to you by a mere acquaintance. You see narcissist don’t respect you or your privacy. So any intimate information which you might have shared with them in the past can become public knowledge, the moment they feel like doing so. There can be many reasons behind such behavior on their part. First and foremost is that they want to get under your skin. And exposing you like this might be the surest way for them to incite a reaction out of you. Another reason could be that they are feeling vindictive and this might seem like a just revenge on them. No matter their reason, you will have to maintain your cool. Again, in a just world, you wouldn’t have to bear with all this slandering. But all you can do is keep your head high and prove all these allegations wrong. Reacting to them in any which way will only make the situation worse. They would be painting a picture of you as someone who is evil and mean and whatnot. Remind everyone that you are not so by facing all these accusations with utmost serenity.