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Hey everyone, it's Dr. Ramani. Guess what we're going to talk about today? Something you all need to know. How do you handle flying monkeys? Now, this is a question that more than a few people have sent in and asked me about. And it's interesting, I thought about and developed this video during the holidays, a time when I know many people are thrown back together with family members, that they have attempted to manage and distance from, and now, because of the forced gaiety of the holidays, I have to see them. I also know that people have run into flying monkeys in the workplace, on social media, and in friendships.
Before I get on how to handle them, I just want to give you a reminder, the healing program, Healing from Narcissistic Abuse, starting in January, just go to the video notes, hit that link, you'll get on our email list, you'll get the rest of the information to register. So, how do you handle flying monkeys? We can make this a short video and just say disengage and be done with it. But the challenge is that it's not that easy, and sometimes the flying monkeys in your life, they're not as toxic as the original narcissist. So let's address ways for managing the flying monkeys that are inevitably a part of your life if you have a narcissist in your life.
Let's start by breaking down what flying monkeys are. They are typically enablers, but they can also be people who are ignorant about narcissistic patterns and do not see it and they're like clay in the narcissistic person's hands, who can manipulate them with ease. Flying monkeys are typically people who are at one time, or may still be, connected to both you and the narcissist. These could be family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors. The narcissistic person will mobilize the flying monkeys typically at times when things aren't going well between you and the narcissist. Maybe it's a close relationship that's unraveling, a contentious family relationship, a difficult workplace situation, or a friendship that's falling apart.
Because the narcissistic person is always looking for a way to create advantage for themselves and they want to maintain a narrative that deflects any blame and responsibility from them and place it on someone else. And they have to end up looking wonderful in everybody else's eyes, right? Mobilizing the flying monkeys is a way for them to achieve all three of those things and put the blame on you. Now that means that there are people around you, around all of us, that can be mobilized into that role of flying monkey.
One of the most painful parts of flying monkeys is that these are people, they're often people, who you may have considered to be friends or trusted family or just good people in your life. Unfortunately, because narcissistic people are so skilled at wearing a mask, they may have tricked these people and there are so many people out there who don't want to believe that there can be the darkness of narcissism in our midst. And any of us who have been through narcissistic abuse and really get it, I think we're regularly shocked at how few people in the world at large do get it.
Now flying monkeys are people who are often vulnerable and recruitable and the manipulations of the narcissist are no match for their rosy-eyed or naive vision of the world. Flying monkeys, like I said, can be enablers and often want to maintain a sort of pretty and simple view of the world. And who can blame them? I wish the world was simpler than the view of it that I've got these days. But that makes the flying monkeys vulnerable to a twisted narrative and also one where the narcissistic person beautifully is able to paint themselves as a victim. Now just like the original flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz, they're a flock, they're almost like a flock of birds.
They mob and come at you as a group, which leaves you feeling even more gaslighted because it seems like an entire group of people are on the same page in a way that is completely at odds with your reality and siding with the narcissist. This can be devastating if it is a family and you actually believe that some of these family members had your back or you've had their back and been there for them in the past or it could be a long-standing group of friends whom you have known for years. In fact, you might have been friends with them even before the narcissist became friends with them or colleagues that you have supported for years.
It's a betrayal and because it's a betrayal at such a large scale, it is overwhelming and unsettling. So to the original concept of this video, how are you supposed to protect yourself when it comes to flying monkeys? Sadly, there isn't much that you can do from a prevention standpoint. It's an exhausting life to have to continually monitor your life and wonder, is that person going to become a flying monkey? Is that person going to become a flying monkey? There's no way to live.
In some ways, all you can do is go through your life as your best you and if the people around you don't seem to understand narcissism, be careful around them because they are the ones that will be the most recruitable as flying monkeys. It's really where we can address the flying monkeys is what you do as it's happening or after it happens. Number one, you've got to hold on to your reality. It's very easy to be gaslighted and start to doubt yourself and feel deeply confused when lots of people are sharing the same distorted narrative. Trust yourself.
There can be so much grief when you're experiencing the whole flying monkey phenomenon and that grief can drain you and sometimes leave you doubting yourself even more. You know you, you know what you experienced and even if the flying monkeys want to gaslight you alongside the narcissist, you've got to hold on to your reality. Number two, don't try to convert the flying monkeys. The group of flying monkeys with the narcissist leading the fray can feel a little bit culty and sometimes the flying monkeys can get really zealous about their support of the narcissist and the idea that you may be to blame. All you can do is calmly and gracefully stand in your truth.
Even if you're so angry inside, don't get into the mud with them. They will want to hear your side of things and if you choose to do that, stick to the behaviors of the narcissist and don't get lost in talking about gaslighting and narcissism and other words that might put them on the defensive because when you use those words with flying monkeys, they'll often push back and try to paint you as the bad person. Number three, keep in mind that sometimes flying monkeys come back around. Before you welcome them back with open arms, pay attention to who they were and don't forget what they were willing to do. Flying monkeys may come around for a variety of reasons.
They may get burned by the narcissist or see them more clearly or see that you aren't reacting to them. It doesn't mean you have to give up on the friendship or the relationship with the flying monkey, but you may want to proceed with more firm boundaries and be armed with the recognition that this person, it was a friend that became a flying monkey, that they were able to do that to you. One of the hallmarks of survival from narcissistic abuse is to move cautiously and slowly, but it's important that you learn to not justify and to not get lost in the cognitive dissonance swamp.
Sadly, going forward, it may feel like a friendship or relationship with this former flying monkey that's less deep. Again, a key mantra of narcissistic abuse survivorship is to protect yourself on the basis of the wisdom of the lessons that you've learned from the narcissistic relationship. And that means caution and boundaries. Number four, not all flying monkeys are created the same. Some are trying to play both sides, being your friend and the narcissistic person's friend. Tread very lightly there. You do not want to be a source of intel for the narcissist with a flying monkey telling them what's going on. So keep your answers and thoughts terse and brief and don't show your hand to the flying monkeys.
Some flying monkeys are as bad as the narcissist and want to jump on the bandwagon of harming you. In that case, do not engage. Some flying monkeys are just stupid, almost like the dimwitted kid in high school who just wanted to be friends with the cool kids no matter what. And sadly, in adult life, the narcissist often is the cool kid. The stupid flying monkeys aren't always dangerous, but they are definitely not a great person for you. You can do better. Number five, hard as it may be, build new sources of support.
There's nothing like a band of flying monkeys coming at you to be the wake up call that you need to switch up your game and find some new people. This may start in places like therapy, but lead you to cultivate friendships with folks who are separate from the narcissist and don't know them. And make sure you do have a safe space like therapy to talk about this, because the betrayal, and confusion of a flying monkey attack can be overwhelming. Flying monkeys are a deeply painful situation, and flying monkey situations have destroyed families, ended friendships, and even harmed careers, and all of that on top of having to weather the narcissistic abuse.
Many times people will tell you when you talk about this idea of flying monkeys, it's all in your head. Remember, it's a real phenomenon, so just hold on to your reality and watch your head and your back. And if any of you have some suggestions on how to manage flying monkeys that you've used that have worked for you, please drop them in the comments. I've only offered up five, but you may have techniques that I haven't thought of. Thanks again. Alright, let's get started. .