How to best deal with his Flying Monkeys


Do you know “Flying Monkeys” yet? The term is quite common in the narcissism “scene” and refers to the people in the narcissist’s environment who openly support him.

Flying Monkeys don’t even have to act consciously and be “evil” or narcissistic themselves – a certain basic naivety is certainly enough. They are just manipulated without end and believe everything the pathological narcissist tells them. This could be, for example, the Next in love, his sister, the buddy-neighbor or the work colleague.

However, real flying monkeys with a very unique brand of gloating and nastiness can keep the narcissist in line and encourage him on his campaign of destruction. I always imagine that they themselves derive great satisfaction from what their behavior triggers in the narcissist’s victim.

“Abuser by proxy” – so they are virtually proxies for the emotional abuse.

So they are well aware that the narcissist has evil and unjust plans. Maybe they don’t see themselves as responsible – the narcissist is responsible – and they can live out their own evil streak without restraint.

What does this mean for you as an affected mother?

For mothers with a toxic ex-partner, Flying Monkeys are an additional huge burden. As if you didn’t have enough on your plate with the protagonist in this lousy game!

Above all, these supporters come out of hiding completely unexpectedly and confront you with the same or similar phrases as the narcissist himself, thus acting as an amplifier.

For an affected mother, the impression inevitably arises that the toxic ex has a whole armada of supporters at his disposal, while she squats lonely and misunderstood in her small apartment, fearing that he might take the children away from her with his channeled rage and supposed power.

It is not uncommon for the mother’s circle of friends to be more than halved after the separation. In the most favorable case, the former friends are simply no longer there, and one has to deal with a loneliness never known before.

In the less favorable case, they call after a year or two, want to meet for coffee, and then talk to the woman for an hour, telling her to please approach the father of the child – for the sake of the children!

After all, it takes two to argue!

And she – the mother concerned – is a smart woman. If the ex now acts so stubbornly, then the wiser one just gives in.

In the course of the conversation, it turns out that your ex contacted this friend and howled something to her.

What you would ask him to do! And finally you would have threatened that he would never see the children again! He wouldn’t have even recognized you since you knew he had a new woman in his life. Couldn’t she – the acquaintance – make you see reason and talk to you?

Your jaw drops when you hear that.

You never mentioned anything like that. And you don’t care about Next either – let him. Only he had threatened to take the children away from you!

You try to explain yourself, but you realize that you don’t have the right words to describe the inexplicable.

How do you describe the ongoing emotional abuse in the relationship?

How do you describe what is behind it to a third party who only knows the facade of the narcissist and doesn’t really believe in the devil?

You just see an eyebrow raised in disbelief as you make the attempt, and you let it go.

You might even hear the phrase, “You’re not an innocent lamb either, sweetie. You will have already contributed your part to the fact that you are so cross now. I find the whole fuss repulsive. What’s going to happen to your poor children?”

And bam. There it sits, the blow. Straight into the heart and soul.

And that was just an example of a manipulated Flying Monkey.

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Real Flying Monkeys can still be completely different

A real flying monkey is present at the highly sensitive handover of the child (in the form of the ex-mother-in-law, for example) and doesn’t miss the opportunity to make some pithy remarks in the presence of the child, such as: “Now come to your senses!!!!”.

Or calls the responsible caseworker at the youth welfare office to complain about you and tell lies there as well.

They watch you with a bitter look and keep sending reminders that they exist by writing letters to the child or dropping booklets in the mailbox that your child loves.

So they are very present in the life of the toxic ex and the child.

After countless conversations with my clients, I sometimes feel that these flying monkeys are even worse to deal with than the toxic ex himself.

But let’s not kid ourselves – the string-puller is and always will be the toxic ex.

He’s the one who doesn’t call off his monkeys, because he quite likes it and plays to him when they wear you down.

How do you best deal with these people?

The answer is really quite simple now:

Not at all.

No contact, dear.

No court in the world can force you to have contact with people who are not good for you.

You are not accountable to anyone either.

If you think you have to convince other people who believe the ex more than you, better let go of that. Doesn’t make sense.

Actions always speak louder than words!

In time, smart people who have been unwillingly manipulated by your ex will figure out what is really going on with you.

Let go.

You can’t control what others think of you.

You can’t control what lies your ex will tell about you. And there’s no question that he’s going to keep doing that, is there?

Do you want to feel confident about managing child hand-offs with your toxic ex?


Here are a few examples of what this could look like in reality

You get an email from the former neighbor with her observations about how well the children are doing now in the new patchwork family with the Next, and that everyone is suffering so much because the mommy from the first family doesn’t want to celebrate Christmas with them.

What do you do? You don’t answer.

Your father tells you that you should give in, after all, you promised your ex before the wedding that you would stand by him in good times and bad.

“Dad, thank you for your opinion. I need to handle this my own way and don’t want to talk to you about it anymore.”

If he doesn’t comply: radio silence.


Flying monkeys among one’s own parents are not uncommon and a particularly heavy burden for a woman to swallow.

But I am quite clear about this: If your own family is already not loyal and sticks by you in the biggest crisis, then there is no reason for any contact until you are feeling better again.

How to get rid of flying monkeys forever

To give flying monkeys no room always means to set your own limits first:

Up to here and no further.

If you don’t respect your boundaries, you no longer belong to the people you are in contact with.

You are the only one who can define and set your boundaries, sweetheart. Nobody else can do that for you.

Of course, being approached by a Flying Monkey, whom you once trusted and with whom you laughed a lot, is quite traumatizing and sets you back at first.

But nobody can force you to further contact.

Don’t worry about what others will say or think if you show a clear edge!

What you can do in addition: Take the impulse that a Flying Monkey so freely distributes and ask yourself why exactly this sentence hurts you so much.

You will inevitably learn more and more about yourself and your self-worth. You can continue to work on that.

Until even these Flying Monkeys in the service of their majesty can no longer harm you.

Because then you are already completely immune to toxic people.

How is it with you at the moment? Do you still have such monkeys around you? When will you give them the boot so that they no longer have so much mental weight in your life?

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