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Flying monkey - anyone aware of the term?

(105 Posts)
Golddustwoman Sun 14-Aug-22 14:31:57

Has anyone ever heard of a flying monkey before? One definition is when someone gets someone someone else to "perform their bidding' or in other words to their dirty work for them - for example an abuser gets others, friends and family for example to harass, intimidate or send messages on their behalf to the ex partner. So for example if the ex partner is avoiding them or not talking to them they will send others to give their message to them. On a lower level it happens in the playground when people fall out. Does anyone think they have ever been on the receiving end of a flying monkey or have they ever been a flying monkey?

Sago Sun 14-Aug-22 14:37:05

Yep, I know the expression well.
My late mother had NPD, she had lots of flying monkeys.

Golddustwoman Sun 14-Aug-22 14:39:27

Sago I only recently heard of it but it makes sense of a few things

FannyCornforth Sun 14-Aug-22 14:40:20

It’s from The Wizard of Oz, I think

FannyCornforth Sun 14-Aug-22 14:41:53


Doodledog Sun 14-Aug-22 14:42:30

It is a term used mostly in discussions of people with personality disorders, and refers to people in their lives who either believe their version of events or are somehow in their thrall. They then, knowingly or unwittingly, act on behalf of the disordered person by spreading gossip or ‘doing down’ their victims.

Genuinely disordered people aren’t as thick on the ground as many think they are, but even so, most of us will probably have been in the orbit of some of them at some point. I have known two narcissists, and probably was a flying monkey at one time. They can be very convincing in their victimhood and when someone who you see as a friend (or sibling, lover. colleague or whatever) tells you something you tend to believe their version of events and try to help them out. It’s not until much later (if ever) that you realise what was going on - usually after you have become a victim yourself.

AGAA4 Sun 14-Aug-22 14:45:24

Thanks Fanny. It makes sense now.

welbeck Sun 14-Aug-22 14:47:47

no idea of the origin, sounds american, but yes i have heard it, in relation to narcissistic behaviour or personality type.
come to think of it, mostly watching youtube videos by american psychologists etc.
some are v good, esp dr les carter, he is warm and compassionate with good moral values.
he finds a way to give encouragement, positive tips.
another monkey reference is to side step being drawn into some dispute by simply saying,
not my monkeys, not my circus.
i like that. some american phrases get to the point neatly, without the english overly-polite confusing waffle.

Norah Sun 14-Aug-22 14:52:41

Wizard of Oz.

The monkeys and the green witch.

Smudgie Sun 14-Aug-22 14:55:44

A good description Doodledog, thank you. Flying Monkeys are associated with Narcissists and once you know what to look for you suddenly realise you were groomed to be a monkey yourself. With this knowledge plus a greater understanding of how NPD works you can spot them a mile off !

Chewbacca Sun 14-Aug-22 15:02:01

Brilliant summing up Doodledog, perfectly described.

Golddustwoman Sun 14-Aug-22 15:04:54

Doodledog thats interesting, I agree, people tend to believe the story and will naturally want to help. Would you say that people who use flying monkeys are often good at persuading people? Thats what I have found. Some people are better at persuading than others and I dont know why and how they learn this art.

Golddustwoman Sun 14-Aug-22 15:07:46

Smudgie, to realise you were groomed to be a monkey yourself dont you need a certain degree of self awareness? do you think some people never realise they were groomed to be a flying monkey? Im wondering if the groomer can spot the best people to get as a flying monkey, may be they have certain traits that they recognise?

Allsorts Sun 14-Aug-22 15:10:05

Surely people that do that have some mental disorder. Think most people would know if they were being used.

FannyCornforth Sun 14-Aug-22 15:11:46

I have known only one true narcissist. I worked very closely with him for five years and liked him a lot.
However, he was a womaniser writ large and I was his wife’s friend.
He tried to make me his Flying Monkey in Chief.
It didn’t work, and it greatly angered him.
It was a flipping horrendous time!

Chewbacca Sun 14-Aug-22 15:14:21

Would you say that people who use flying monkeys are often good at persuading people?

I would say that they're manipulative yes. Their "side of the story" is always convincing; usually starts off with only one or two details but, as time goes on, more and more, ever more dramatic incidences are revealed to garner more sympathy and gather allegiances to add to their credibility. Often, the flying monkey isn't aware that they're being used and manipulated and acts as a "go between" in all innocence when actually, they're a victim too.

Smudgie Sun 14-Aug-22 15:14:39

You are right GDW, the Narcissist seeks out empaths deliberately because they are nice caring people who get sucked in until you realise that something is "off" and you are being used.

FannyCornforth Sun 14-Aug-22 15:16:46

Absolutely Smudgie
They gaslight the poor monkey, as well as the victim.

VioletSky Sun 14-Aug-22 15:18:30

Yes I have and also due to a narcissistic mother.

I think there are different reasons for it, I can think of a few...

One might be because the bullying person has worked hard to convince the flying monkey they are innocent and blameless and have wound the flying monkey up to be angry on their behalf.

Another might be because the flying monkey feels they can step in and fix the relationship and they are actually being helpful.

Another might be because they are also narcissistic and relish the opportunity to hurt you by repeating your abusers words and generally pretending that you deserve it.

I eventually cut off a few people who did this. Because I had good reasons to end that relationship but I didn't want to actually explain to people from my mothers circles why. Here are the reason I had to cut myself off from them.

1. I knew awful things she said about them that I couldn't hurt them with and I knew my mother would say it was actually me.

2. I genuinely didn't want my mother to not have a support system. She hurt me but I didn't need to hurt her.

3. It was the only thing they wanted to talk about. They didn't ask after me or my children and they didn't respond when I asked after them. Offers to have a relationship without bringing up my mother were ignored.

I've also been used as a flying monkey in the past (the thinking i could fix the relationship kind) and now I know what it is, never again.

Germanshepherdsmum Sun 14-Aug-22 15:20:52

Yes, I have been a victim of flying monkeys - hence I have absented myself for a long time. It can be very damaging. Please don’t ask me about it.

Smudgie Sun 14-Aug-22 15:20:55

The point is Allsorts that the person with Narcisstic Personality Disorder can be the epitome of charm and friendliness; its not until the mask slips, usually when you have said No to their requests that it dawns on you !

FannyCornforth Sun 14-Aug-22 15:24:57

Shep! You’re back! 😃
I’ve pmed you x

Smudgie Sun 14-Aug-22 15:28:39

I'm really sorry to hear that Germanshepherdsmum. Unless you have experienced the ghosting and the gaslighting yourself it's almost impossible to explain it to anyone. It is incredibly damaging and only by educating yourself about the condition that you can start to make sense of it. Take care.thanks

Prentice Sun 14-Aug-22 15:28:49

I have only heard the expression 'cat's paw' which comes from an old painting depicting a small monkey kept as a pet which
uses the paw of the family cat, much to it's horror, to get roasting chestnuts off a fire without hurting itself.
the same usage, getting somebody else to do your dirty work.

ixion Sun 14-Aug-22 15:34:48

Sorry to hear that, GSM.
I hope you're healing🌻

Great to see you back.
Illegitimi non carborundum