Flying Monkeys: Learn to Defend Against This Top Weapon of Covert Narcissists

Narcissists use them to manipulate you, surprise you, and shatter your reality

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.


flying monkey with teeth bared
Image by Hier und jetzt endet leider meine Reise auf Pixabay 😢 from Pixabay

You feel attacked. People are pointing at you and whispering — some of them total strangers, some people you know. People you thought were your friends seem to be avoiding you lately. You hear that you’re being gossiped about. You’re being lied about. You start to feel like an outcast in your own social group.

I hope you never experience this, but if you do, there’s a good chance you’re the victim of a narcissist’s smear campaign. They spread lies about you and bash you in an attempt to tear you apart from the people and places you love.

Narcissists recruit others to spread the lies, to actively participate in the damage to the target’s reputation. The psychological term for these associates (I kid you not) is flying monkeys.

The covert variety of narcissists is more likely to use flying monkeys than their overt counterparts. This is because covert narcissists prefer not to draw attention to themselves.

Origin of the term

The term “flying monkeys” originated from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. The villain of the story, The Wicked Witch of the West, uses winged flying monkeys to torment her enemies. The monkeys are not slaves to the Wicked Witch specifically; they work for whoever is wearing the magical Golden Cap temporarily owned by the witch.

Types of flying monkeys

Strangers vs. friends/acquaintances/family

Covert narcissists tend to run in several different social circles at the same time. It’s one of their tactics for ensuring a constant source of narcissistic supply.

Because of this, people you’ve never heard of will come out of the woodwork to participate in the smear campaign against you. You’ll find out they’ve been spreading lies about you for quite some time. They won’t ever make an effort to know the real you — they’ll be afraid to, based on what the narc has told them.



Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn