Flying monkeys are people who blindly side with a narcissist. They think he or she is a great person, and anyone who cannot appreciate this wonderful person obviously has real problems.
If you have a disagreement with your narcissistic parent, flying monkeys often will come out of nowhere to tell you things like how great your parent is, how he or she always has tried so hard with you, and how you need to do *fill in the blank* for her because she is the only mother you will ever have/he is the only father you will ever have. Flying monkeys will say anything to try to make you fix the relationship with your narcissistic parent, and that includes trying to shame you.
Flying monkeys also have zero interest in hearing your side. They will invalidate your pain, suffering and ignore your boundaries and anything you have to say. Flying monkeys think they know best what you should and should not do, so you should obey them while ignoring your own needs, wants, thoughts and feelings. Sounds a lot like a narcissist, does it not? I believe that is because many flying monkeys are actually covert narcissists. They are not simply trying to help the narcissist. They get their own thrills from manipulating and controlling you, and from looking good by trying to “help.”
Flying monkeys can be anyone. In the case of narcissistic parents, the other parent is usually one of them, but there are others – siblings, other family members, friends of your parent’s or even friends of yours. Narcissists will use anyone they can to be a flying monkey.
There are many flying monkeys who have come from a dysfunctional family or marriage themselves, and do not like seeing people having trouble in the parent/child or husband/wife relationship since it reminds them of their own pain that they are working hard to avoid. They want to shut you down and for you to resume the abusive relationship so they no longer have reminders of their own abusive and dysfunctional relationship with their parents. By you facing your pain and setting boundaries, you are making them feel badly about themselves because they do not have the guts to do the same.
While I believe some flying monkeys do what they do out of ignorance, probably even with good intentions, they are in the vast minority. That does not make their behavior any less abusive, however. They are still narcissistic abuse enablers, and any behavior that enables abuse is abusive all by itself.
You can tell those with good intentions from the real flying monkeys, because they are willing to hear your side, willing to admit when the narcissist is wrong and offer no excuses for the narcissist’s behavior. They may start out very devoted to the narcissist in question, but once they realize the truth, that devotion fades fast.
Your average flying monkey however, refuses to admit the narcissist is anything less than perfect.
If you are able and willing, cutting the flying monkeys out of your life is usually the best option.
If you are unable or unwilling to cut the flying monkey out of your life however, there are some things you can do to protect yourself.
The first thing you need to do is pray, and ask God to show you ways to deal with this person. He can and will help you find successful ways to minimize the toxic effects of the flying monkey’s behavior.
You need to have some very strong boundaries in place. The flying monkey needs to know that discussing the narcissist and your relationship with her is not an option. There are plenty of other things you can discuss – shared interests, current events, the weather, sports. You no doubt can find safe topics to discuss. If the flying monkey cannot handle this, then change the subject (even rudely or repeatedly if necessary), or leave their presence or hang up the phone.
If the flying monkey is a part of your life on social media, do not discuss your narcissistic parent on social media. Or, if you do, block the flying monkey from seeing those posts along with people that also know the flying monkey. That way, the flying monkey will not see those posts, and those who know both you and the flying monkey also will not see anything that they might mention to the flying monkey in passing. People have a lot more courage online, and often will say anything that comes into their head on social media. They will say hurtful things online that they will not say in real life, so deny the flying monkeys the opportunity to say those things.
And finally, never let yourself be swayed by the flying monkey! They can be very convincing sometimes, I know, but only you know in your heart is right for you. They will lie in an attempt to make you compromise in ways you do not want to, or to lure you back in relationship with the narcissist. Do NOT let it happen! If a narcissist sees the flying monkey is an effective weapon, that person will be used any and every time the narcissist needs to manipulate you. You are best of removing every weapon possible from your narcissistic parent.