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Flying Monkeys Spying: Understanding and Dealing With It

Flying monkeys are maddening.  For those of you who don’t yet know about flying monkeys, in a nutshell, they are people who wittingly or unwittingly do the bidding of the narcissist to abuse the narcissist’s victim.  The term flying monkey comes from the movie, The Wizard of Oz, where the wicked witch had put an army of flying monkeys under a spell so they would do whatever she told them to. But what about flying monkeys spying on these victims?

Flying monkeys spying on a narcissist’s victims accomplish the narcissist’s need to abuse victims when they can’t be near them or must be stealthier with their abuse.  The flying monkey feels more powerful:  they align with the narcissist they perceive as powerful and are exerting power over the victim, though they are doing it in such a covert, sneaky way.

You may want to check out my article for more on what exactly a flying monkey is and why narcissists need them.  But for now, let’s take a closer look at why narcissists enlist the services of flying monkeys, why and how flying monkeys spy on you, and how to deal with all of it.

Why Does the Narcissist Enlist Flying Monkeys to Spy on You?

The narcissists has their flying monkeys spying on you for a few reasons.  The primary reason is that they may not be able to get to their victim themselves.  This could also be for several different reasons.  Here are some of them:

  • The narcissist could be traveling and not able to be near their victim(s).
  • The victim could be out of town, at work, or at some location the narcissist cannot be at.
  • The victim may have taken out a protective order against the narcissist.
  • The narcissist may be trying to stay under the radar because their victim is on to them.

If there is some reason your narcissist is unable to be directly involved with you, don’t expect that he will settle for that.  He will, indeed, look for some solid ways to still obtain his narcissistic supply from you.

The second reason the narcissist has flying monkeys spying on you is because he gains support and teamwork in the abuse he is perpetrating.  Sometimes, the flying monkeys will realize that is what he is doing.  But I think more often, flying monkeys have no idea how they are being used.  They likely think they are doing a good thing by protecting their friend, family member, or whatever relation they have with the narcissist.

Third, when narcissists have flying monkeys spying on their victims, they are doing the bidding of the narcissist and he is gaining a sense of validation and support from them.  His thought process is that if they are willing to back him up in this way, then certainly that should mean they agree with him, his thought patterns, and his behaviors.

And finally, the fourth reason narcissists have flying monkeys spying on their victims is that having an entourage alongside the narcissist makes him look dynamic, magnetic, suave, and popular.  And that goes right to the core of his narcissism, as reported in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.

Check out my article to learn about the 9+ types of flying monkeys.

Why are Flying Monkeys Spying on You?

So, now that we know why the narcissist views flying monkeys as so valuable, why are flying monkeys spying on you?  Do they get something out of this partnership with the narcissist?  Indeed, they may have several reasons.  Here are some of them:

  • They may feel a sense of camaraderie with the narcissist and to keep that feeling be willing to do whatever the narcissist asks of them.
  • Flying monkeys spying on the narcissist’s victim may be because they also don’t like the victim so it brings them pleasure to assist in the abuse.
  • Many flying monkeys are people pleasures, so if their loyalty lies with the narcissist, they will do whatever he asks, not realizing the widespread damage pleasing him will do.
  • Flying monkeys may be jealous of the narcissist’s victim, so they are happy to follow along with the narcissist.  Check out my article on other ways flying monkeys may be jealous.
  • Sometimes, flying monkeys just can’t mind their own business, so spying on you fulfills their desire to intrude, regardless of who they are doing it for or why.

There are many more reasons, but these are the ones seen most often.  If you have had a different experience with flying monkeys spying on you, feel free to share with us in the comments below!

How are Flying Monkeys Spying on You?

Flying monkeys spy on narcissistic victims in a number of ways.  Often, they will begin spying at the behest of the narcissist who enlists them.  But over time, they could like the experience so much that they begin spying and playing other games with the victim on their own.  Let’s take a look at some of the methods they use.

  • Flying monkeys may spy in plain sight.  They could just be pretending to be a concerned friend and ask all the right questions until they get what they need.
  • They may sign up for the same events the narcissist’s victim is going to.  This allows them to see the victim up close just by being in the same place at the same time.  And they have the appearance of doing something they would normally do and meeting up was just a coincidence.
  • They may bring the narcissist’s victim gifts or do kind things for them.  Then, they let down their guard with the flying monkey, perceiving him as a friend.  They don’t realize they are befriending someone associated with the narcissist so the flying monkey can get tons of  information and take it back to the narcissist.
  • Flying monkeys could actually be spying on the narcissist’s victim.  They may follow them around town, spy on them at work if they have the same job (realize the narcissist will enlist flying monkeys from all different parts of their victim’s life in order to have more availability to their victim no matter where they are.)
  • Flying monkeys could be children, or any family member of the narcissist’s victim.  This allows them pretty much complete access to their victim to spy on them openly and at will.

Some victims of narcissism realize that it is virtually impossible to totally hide from their narcissist.  And that is okay.  They just need to know how to handle flying monkeys in an emotionally and spiritually healthy way.

How to Deal With Flying Monkeys Spying on You

It won’t take long before flying monkeys spying tactics start to become obvious.  Things you told them in private end up coming back to you when other people mention those things to you.  You realize the narcissist knows way more than he should.  And things with the flying monkey themselves don’t jive with you.

Dealing with flying monkeys spying on victims of narcissism will be much like you deal with your narcissist.  The keys are to stay calm, be careful how much time you  spend with them and what you say to them, and don’t be alone with them if you can help it.  Let’s unpack all of this a bit more.

Stay Calm About Flying Monkeys Spying on You

It will not help you to fight with or publicly call out the flying monkeys you are having problems with.  Because they do things in secret, you lashing out in front of others about it will make you look crazy for “randomly” tongue-lashing them.  Plus, getting spun up about whatever they are doing gives them some satisfaction that they (and the narcissist by proxy) got away with it.  Don’t give them that!

The best thing you can do is the whole grey rock thing you do with your narcissist.  Realize what they have done, take note, but don’t mess with them about it.  Just make sure they won’t be able to do it again.  Keep yourself safe.  That may mean changing some things on your schedule so you won’t be in the same place anymore, or limiting how much you answer your phone when they are on the other end.

Be Careful How Much Access Flying Monkeys Have to You

If they come up to talk to you, you can chat about safe things for a bit, and then politely excuse yourself, letting them know you have something else going on that you need to get ready for or be at.

If you are at a public meeting or some other event that you have to be at, limit what you say around them.  Even the most innocuous thing could be blown out of proportion for the sake of narcissistic supply, both to the flying monkey and the narcissist.

If it is possible to break all ties with the narcissist and all of his cronies, you are going to be hooked up.  Unfortunately, the more time you spend in relationship to the narcissist and the more things you did together, the harder it will be to cut all those ties without starting a totally new life in a totally new part of the world.  Guardedness will have to be the rule of the day.

Be Careful What You Say Around Flying Monkeys

I have already alluded to this above, but you need to be careful with your words.  Even better is to have proof of what you have said, either by keeping all communication in writing, on phone messages, or in front of witnesses.  Over time, this is pretty easy to do because it isn’t going to be like you enjoy spending time with these people and you are chilling around them.  You will be more careful and guarded just by the nature of your new relationship with all of these people.

For the times you have no choice but to actively speak around flying monkeys, stick to the facts, and only the necessary ones.  Be careful not to share private things.

One more thing you can do to verify that this is a flying monkey that is reporting back to your narcissist is to say something that only that person will know.  Don’t make it inflammatory, mean, or wrong in any way.  Just something that nobody else will know to pass on to the narcissist.  Then, if word gets back to you that the narcissist now knows this information, you will know for sure you have a flying monkey.  And you will know they are not safe to share with going forward.

Don’t be Alone with Flying Monkeys

The final thing you can do to handle any flying monkeys hanging around you is to make sure you are never alone with them.  This doesn’t necessarily mean they are physically unsafe, although if they are, especially don’t be alone with them!  What it does mean is that if you are never alone with them, they can never manipulate or control you in the ways they tend to do best by isolating their victims.

If you think you are in any danger in your relationship, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at  1-800-799-SAFE (7233).  Or you can visit online at

The less time you spend around your narcissist and his flying monkeys, the less you will have to worry about guarding your words or what they are going to do with whatever you say.  They can make up whatever they want about you.  But if they have no real knowledge to base their lies on, they will not ring true.  And everyone that knows both of you will know whose words ring true and who is lying.  Don’t get caught up in drama about it.  Just stick with your truth and walk peacefully in it!


Flying monkeys spying on you can cause a lot of damage.  We always need to use wise words and carry ourselves in kind and emotionally healthy ways.  But when there are flying monkeys trying to trip you up, know that you don’t have to fall for their tricks or allow them to keep spying on you.

You cannot control what others do or say, but you can control yourself.  If you have to change your schedule or who you spend your time with to keep your world safe and healthy, then do it!  You will find out quickly who your real friends are.  And then you will have your path forward.

Have you ever had flying monkeys spying on you?  How long did it take you to figure out?  How did you make things work in the end?  Are you still in contact with any of your flying monkeys or were you able to get totally away from them?  Please share with us in the comments!

Are you just now in the beginning stages of recognizing narcissistic abuse in your life and not sure where to go or what to do next?  Or maybe you are in the middle of the trenches, trying to make sense of the craziness swirling around you as you work your way through.  Or, maybe you are in the end stages and just need some confirmation that you are where you need to be as you are nearing the finish line of healing.  I can help you start to put the pieces together to get quickly on the path to healing, make sure you are where you need to be as you progress on your journey, and finish well as you make your way to the light at the end of the tunnel.  I have many resources you can check out here, but if you would like quicker, more direct guidance specific to your situation, a direct consultation may be more helpful to you.  I am currently booking about 9 or 10 days out; you can check out the various consultation options here.  (I am hoping to add more consultation slots in the next few weeks so we can get the time frame down to 3-5 days from the time you schedule until you get your consultation.)

Blessings and hugs,

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Hi! I am the founder of Navigating Religious Narcissism after being raised under a narcissistic mother and married to a narcissistic man for 31 years. It is my prayer that I can be as valuable on your journey to healing and peace as were so many who crossed my path of healing.

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