Tactics of a Narcissistic Mother by Gail Meyers

Flying Monkeys: No Contact or Low Contact

Flying Monkey Drawing Narcissistic Mothers Recruit Flying Monkeys by Playing the Victim Quote by Gail Meyers
Do Not Become a Narcissist's Flying Monkey Video


© by Gail Meyers

A narcissistic personality disordered mother has flying monkeys. This is a term taken from The Wizard of Oz, where the flying monkeys do the bidding of the Wicked Witch.  The flying monkeys may be your neighbor, church members, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmother, grandfather, nieces, nephews, etc. These people do the narcissist's dirty work and often pour their own abuse on the scapegoat.

I spent years of my life trying to show various flying monkeys the truth. It virtually never worked, not once in the twenty or so years I kept trying to "clear the air" or to finally be understood. They do not understand because they do not want to understand. Many are willfully ignorant and blind to the situation.  There is not some magical phrase and method you have not yet discovered that is suddenly going to cause these people to stand up for the truth.

What I have realized is the flying monkeys generally have their own reasons for behaving the way they do. Some may truly do it out of ignorance, truly fooled for years by the narcissist. However, it is my experience that most flying monkeys have weak characters.

They may know the truth, but lack the backbone to stand up for what is right. They may themselves fear becoming a target of the narcissist. They may have been a target of the narcissist in the past. They may have been taught to get along with everyone regardless. They may also be a narcissist themselves or hiding their own troubling behavior.

There are some exceptions. Someone can innocently become a flying monkey without realizing it. The difference is, you can generally reason with them. In my experience, this is a rare exception to what I have stated above.




Narcissistic personality disorder can also run in families and what a treacherous family it is! If you are the kindhearted, truth-telling scapegoat in a family with multiple narcissists, run for your life! One narcissist will use another and tag team a scapegoat. Two or more narcissists will also turn on one another when that serves their completely self-centered purposes.  I watched this dynamic many times in my extended family over the years.

Some of the flying monkeys seemed like more of a loss at first, but the more time that went by the more I realized it really was a healthy choice. It is not a loss to remove people from your life who do not respect you or your feelings. In my experience, when you get serious about recovery, the flying monkeys will not like it and neither does the narcissist.  You are most likely going to lose relationships and it will hurt.  However, if you lose a relationship based on the fact that you are becoming healthier and are no longer as easily manipulated, what kind of relationship was it in the first place?

Once you are in this situation, it is going to hurt either way, but the difference to me is with recovery my pain eventually subsided.  On the other side is attracting healthier people and relationships.  For me, it has been well worth it, but everyone has to make that decision for themselves.






Comments

  1. I agree - totally - my narc' has a team of others who idolise him - they praise him - they defend him when I made misguided attempts to appeal to my peers - they even attack themselves - one of my narc' sidekicks actually wrote a letter to the organiser of a course I was going on last summer to torpedo my holiday - it almost worked too... even now this team and the PR campaign that goes with them mean that I have surrendered any hope to have "what happened" understood from my perspective - I feel that this is impossible.. my aim for the future is to trust that I am ok - that I am a valuable human and to let those people who value that too come to me as friends - those who have left because of how I look to them in the light of the narc' attacks and his sidekicks PR campaign - well I surrender them too - without prejudice and without remorse - but surrender them I do...

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    1. scottdooogall, I am sorry for your pain. I can certainly relate to the frustration of being targeted by a narcissist. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with us.

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  2. Thank you for that truth, "it's going to hurt anyway" but the pain will subside. I had to put my drug addict son out of the house who hates me, but loves my Narcissistic mother and her flying monkeys. He said he loves "his family" and never wants to see me and my husband again. The flying monkeys circle, salivating from their carnivorous fangs waiting for me to crumble, laughing and mocking that he went to them. But I'm done. Finally. With all of them. I love this site, it tells all about my life.

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    1. Anonymous, I am glad you enjoy my blog. I have not really shared of this particulate aspect, but I can deeply relate to what you have shared. I do not at all blame you for being done.

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    2. I would love to see more people touch on this subject. My son has been used against me since his birth. I am now NC with NARC Mother and her flying monkeys (nearly every family member) and my son has given them a huge feed by turning on me too. I relate so well to how you described them salivating from carnivorous fangs, I know too well what you mean.

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  3. I have a sister who I suspect of NPD, and who I excluded from my life a couple of years ago, after the death of my mother. My sister has all the classic symptoms, grandiosity, superiority, a need to appear successful: she decides the value and estimates the worth of everyone with whom she comes into contact. We have three aunts, each with large families: many cousins. Over about 25 years my sister has become the centre of a social network involving all these cousins, and they all agree with and support her interpretation of family affairs. The telephone is her weapon, and she has a tendency to believe - I think genuinely believe - whatever inventions suit her mood. And she is so convincing, that others believe totally whatever she makes up off the top of her head. She says things with such a ring of truth: so for her husband about 15 cousins and aunts, as well as her colleagues, lawyers etc, I am considered one step down from Jack the Ripper in my personality and morals. Because of this I have cut myself off from my extended family, just to escape the smear campaign. My niece and nephew are forbidden to send Christmas cards, for example. Even the year my mother died, not one member of the family sent me a condolence or a Christmas card (I understand I may be sounding like someone who over values cards). So you comment about the flying monkeys was a definite eye opener: I always felt my brother in law, and these various cousins and aunts were a mixture - generally good people when met 1:1, some were weak reeds, others had their own more mild issues. My sister drew them to her like a magnet and gave them someone (me) they could all hate together. Now that she cannot reach me, and from what I hear she is desperately running out of money, I have to confess that I am scared of what my sister might do or say about me to let off steam and up the ante. She knows I am ok financially while she is up to her eyes in debt, and when she gets envious about someone she begins to really 'rage' - rage is the only word for it. Almost as if lava could roll out of her eyes.
    Ken

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    1. Anonymous, in my experience with my mother's jealousy, "rage" is certainly an accurate description! I am sorry for your pain. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I'm sure other will find validation as they are able to relate to what you have shared.

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    2. Your sister sounds a lot like mine. I notice that by finally dropping 'reality bombs' she has backed off. Maybe because she cannot accept my view of things and/or is incredulous that narcissism did exist in our grandparents and parents...and others.

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  4. Thank you for this...all this time that I'd been studying my narcissistic mother, I had neglected to look at the rest if my "family". I am grateful to be in recovery and am not in contact with majority of the flying monkeys. It was hard for the first little bit, as i was still very much immersed in "Will I ever be good enough" by karyl McBride. Yet now as my baby daughter and I continue forward with our lives, I am discovering a strength I didn't know I had. Life keeps getting better.

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    1. I am so glad you are in recovery, as well as protecting yourself and protecting your daughter! I wish you well on your healing journey.

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  5. My N mother's own family I have discovered all seem to be tainted with the same problem. All the cousins act either like golden children or have nervous breakdowns. As a consequence I have stayed away from them and not ever contacted any. On the odd occasion in the past when I have talked to one or other of them I have always managed to regret it.

    It doesn't stop me from hoping of course. There is one person, a distant cousin of my mother's who was always nice to me as a child, even though I hardly saw her. I tried contacting her again a few years ago, lost contact and tried again recently. I am riddled with anxiety however. I know my sister and mother stay in contact with this cousin, and despite her apparent sweetness of character I am concerned she would tell them anything I tell her about myself or my family.

    My husband's family are just as screwed up. I think I have been looking for 'family' my whole life, and still hope springs eternal. I don't think anyone wants to live alone in the world, and family is always supposed to be your 'safe place to fall'. When they aren't, you are left with a huge void.

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    1. I have been there and done that more times than I care to recall when I was younger - going back to talk only to regret it later.

      It can definitely leave a huge void, but then we get to choose the healthier relationships we invest ourselves in as we become healthier.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences.

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  6. Thank you for this page. It's wonderful how so much help for this topic is popping up all over online today. I have been the assigned scapegoat of a narc mother and enabler father since early childhood; complete with flying monkeys. Our toxic family dynamic also consists of a Family Serial Bully who has an Advocate and Allies - and if that wasn't enough to deal with we also have a very unhealthy Norman Bates type codependency between our narc mother and her golden child son. I fully expect him to be wearing a wig and her clothing some day! It's comforting to know that the scapegoat is usually the most normal one in the family and often winds up the best off in the end. I can't imagine getting through all of it without the help of blogs like this that let us know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

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    1. Anonymous, thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences.

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    2. Wow, I've also used the Norman Bates analogy to describe the relationship between my NM and my brother. Now that she's terminally ill, everything is getting much worse and I too have said to my sister that he will be wearing her clothes and a wig once she passes!

      I've done years of therapy and managed to escape, came back out of compassion to help at the end of my NM's life however the craziness started right away. NM and flying monkey accusing my sister and I of stealing money (everything is already in flying monkey's name, almost $1 million in assets). Staying out of it for now, may attend a memorial service, if there is one.
      Fortunately my sister and I have made wonderful, productive decent lives for ourselves despite this craziness. Sending healing and light to all of you, don't let them keep you in Oz.

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    3. Thanks for the 'humor'......we are normal! So good to read about others in the same position.

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    4. I totally agree with you. I basically married norma and norman bates. After all the studying of narcissistic abuse I've been doing has helped me tremendously. For 20 yrs I was the scapegoat. it almost angers me that it took me so long to figure this out. My ex husband was abusive and his mother blinded me from it. When I finally got out I got out in my favor with full custody of my son. It's been almost a year and my son and are doing great. I do believe I suffered stockholm syndrome, maybe battered wife syndrome and totally picked up some narcissistic tendencies from that evil woman and her son. I never realized the severity of the abuse. Without a close friend pointing somethings out and google I would probably still be stuck as a puppet on their strings. I feel like I may be stepping out of the wizard of oz and it's awesome! I'm ready for anything they can throw at me!

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    5. I also have a FSB (sister 1), advocate (sister 2), and a family full of allies (everyone else in the immediate family). I am the second prime target in our family's history. I have been the scapegoat for the past 15 years. Recently, the behavior has been escalating and I'm tired of feeling awful. Finally considering going NC, but as those who have considered this option, it's a tough decision. I'll always hope they will realize what's really going on, apologize and welcome me "back" with open arms (I know that's highly unlikely to happen).

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  7. Yes, I agree with you, but I do have a question. For quite a while I have felt an overwhelming urge to write a letter to my siblings, spelling out how much I loved them (and still love them), and how I just cannot continue in the "family lies." Our mother is narcissistic and my stepfather was an alcoholic, raging psychopath. My siblings seem to worship our mother, and I find it all extremely confusing. While I would choose any one of them over our mother, all of them, I believe, would walk across my dying body to run to our mother's side if she suffered a hangnail. In other words, I am nothing to any of them. And, yet, probably because I was the eldest, and I was parentified so badly, I look upon them as my children rather as my siblings; therefore, I worry about them and I keep trying to have relationships with them. But it's all one-sided on my part. Why do I keep trying? I think I just feel desperate to have a real family, a family who actually cares about me and loves me. After all, I care about them. I love them. I am so far from being a narcissist that I think I am considered "unhealthy emotionally" because I lack even the basic narcissism most healthy people have. I am so desperate to write a letter to explain how I was affected by the horrific abuse. I want them to know how much I was hurt, how desperate, depressed, and lonely I was as a little girl and teenager. I want them to KNOW. But is writing a letter a bad idea? I assume they would all talk about me, laugh at me, smear my name, and not be convinced that our mother is indeed a harmful, toxic person. I just am in a quandary. I will never have a real family, and I know I need to move on. I need a good counselor. Thank you.

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    1. I understand where you are coming from. I also walked in your shoes being the Scapegoat. It was the role I got, a bad role I never understood how I got there. I naturally wanted to be loved by my Narc mother and other family members, which they seemed uncapable of. So it was a hard time for me also. I am hopeful and decided to remove my family members from my life, even though I do love them, they are toxic to my life. There is much encouragement on this site, I thought I was the only one who suffered the role of the Scapegoat. It would of been wonderful if I was born into a normal family but I accept that my family was mentally sick. The good news is with work we, the Scapegoats have a chance for a happy future because if we are honest with the pain we recieved and do all we can to change, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is a much better place than living in a dark, cage of repressive dysfunctional family. I want to thank all the other couragous people on here who have chosen to move forward with their lives in a healthy way in order to find truth and happiness and people who support the same lifestyle..

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  8. Anonymous, I cannot give you personal advice that should come from a licensed professional. However, I can share my own experience. I am the oldest of five. I grew up as junior mom and was also very protective and motherly toward my younger siblings. For several years I tried and tried to reach out to them but no matter what I did it was (intentionally) misinterpreted (with the exception of my late scapegoat brother). They were absolutely one sided relationships where I gave and they took, as well as the scapegoating and other behaviors they were taught. Slowly but surely I let go of each one of the rest of them. I have been no contact for several years now after years of disregard, disrespect and abuse.

    Earlier in my healing process I also strongly wanted to write letters. I was consistently advised by my therapist to write the letters in order to process my thoughts and feelings, but not to mail them. I did mail some of them anyway and it really did not accomplish anything positive. However, that should also be discussed with a good counselor.

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings. I wish you well in your healing journey.

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    1. I have to agree -- writing can be therapeutic, and even sending them can get things off your chest, but don't expect anyone to change their minds about anything. I have had exactly this same experience.

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  9. I have actaully written letters to my dad apologizing for letting my N mom come between us. He did not respond - I spun into a deep grief with severe migrains and everything. I could not believe that he cared so little about me. I found out many year later that he didn't even read them. His explaination was he wanted to "let sleeping dogs lie". In other words he didn't want to deal with it. You see he made the choice years ago not to get involved in mom's "bull sh*t" as he calls it. I call it abuse of his children! My mother is now passed and my golden child sister has nothing to do with me. My dad now has dementia and she has been given power of attorny and all the authority to look after him. I have thought about writing a letter to her too but I know she won't read it and even if she did she would now believe anything I had to say - she worshiped our mom. My sister did the eulogy at mom's funeral and actually called a "saint". It sounds like you are in the early stages of recovery where you are still hopefull that things will change. Should they change - absolutely! But, will they change - absolutel not! I have learned this the hard way and I you spare yourself the pain of being rejected over and over again. My therapist asked me many years ago - "how many times are you going to put yourself on a sliver platter only to be rejected before you realize that they don't want anything to do with you?". She also explained that because I was blamed for the so much of what was "wrong" in our family I have spent a lifetime trying to "fix it" - afterall if I broke it I should be able to "fix it". But I didn't break anything and neither did you! I hope you find peace and grow to truly love and accept yourself for who you are - a much loved child of God - regardless of who else loves you or not.

    Blessings.

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    1. Anonymous, I am sorry for your pain. I know how hurtful the situation can be, especially when something happens that demonstrates the depth of the situation. However, if you keep going with therapy it goes get better on the other side of those realizations, as it has for many of us. I invite you to join us on Facebook and/or Google. I have been no contact with the flying monkeys for nearly a decade now myself and I do not regret it at all. I only wish I had done it decades sooner.

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  10. I. at 47, finally had to go no contact with my NPD mother and my GC brother. As soon as my father passed away and there wAs no one left to impress, they both lodged and attack on my entire being as well as my marriage. My mother attempted to recruit y grown children who, thankfully, refused to participate. Although it is very painful to lose my family, I have no choice

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  11. Spot-on. Similarly to a comment above, I was focusing on removing the poison of a NPD mother--but right--two other members of my family were flying monkeys. One, her brother, is such a flying monkey for her, she "accepts" that her second husband attacked me--but her brother said when I shared what happened with him (why didn't she?), "I can't believe that." And then flew off to say how horrible I was to her. She takes his side as it's, "hard to fathom". Like believe? "No of course he should believe, but it's hard." Like it's been my fault--not her for marrying the pedophile. Ugh. Just reading this site makes SUCH sense---it's so very very appreciated!

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  12. This is very helpful to me, thank you! What I don't understand is why, when the narcissistic parent dies, some of our minds construct an image of this parent exactly as he or she, plus the army of flying monkeys, wanted to construct and one that the child tried so hard to debunk prior to the parent's death. I lost my father early this year, and my mind is trying to stubbornly refit his image into the kind of victim and martyr he always tried to come across as, with the help of certain other duly recruited family members. My mind is also working hard to downplay the egotistical and self-serving parts of his personality. The feelings of sentimental regret and self-blame follow, and it's hard sometimes to reset the mode. I never or rarely had those feelings prior to my father's death, being realistic about his narcissistic leanings, but now that he is gone, the flying monkeys are managing to do their work better than ever.

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    1. Natalie, after my mother's death I was verbally assaulted by more than one flying monkey for not agreeing with some ridiculously untrue sentiment they expressed to me about my mother. They did indeed step up the efforts to reinforce the facade, gaslighting and false image of her after her death, even to the point of attacking me in my grief. I went no contact shortly thereafter and I have never regretted it. On the contrary, it was quite a relief. That is the way I handled the situation, which was a healthy choice for me and greatly aided my recovery. This many years later I do not have enough respect left for any of them to give one hoot what they think about any of it, nor do I have any need for their validation.

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  13. I was so close to accepting that maybe I actually am a lunatic. When I try forming these sentences they exit my mouth in some confusing noises. Such a relief to see I may not be crazy! Thank you for sharing this information. Thank you for stating it so clearly. There's no way to be hopeful of the future in these situations.
    Maybe you just saved my life...

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    1. Anonymous, a narcissist and flying monkeys can certainly cause you to feel like you are going crazy. There is much hope for the future by setting boundaries, which may be up to and including no contact and focusing on forming healthier relationships. If you need help, please reach out for it. Also, I hope you will join us on Facebook. The link is in the right margin. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

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    2. I feel you! These people almost drove me bat sh*t crazy!

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  14. I am going through this a second time with what I suspect is a NPD mother, the first time it was silence of almost 5 years with what I thought was genuine reconciliation to have it re-blow up almost a year ago (21 years later) I am the middle child so am told it's all me, she has pitted my sisters and I against each other for years- 5 years ago she attempted suicide and told all of us different stories as to why she tried it. She has the golden child convinced that the other 2 of us are evil and she is 'trying her best' to do the right thing and be a good mother. We are all adults over 40, I am the only one who is still married and now they have resorted to attacking my spouse (NPD and her flying monkeys (dad and golden child) and are attempting to influence my teenage child against me- 2 of my 3 kids see it for what it's worth and want nothing to do with her. This has been brutally painful for me, but upon accidentally coming across your blog just a few days ago it has been so enlightening to me and I see so many NPD tendencies in her that it scares me to death, I know some is my fault as I did not set enough boundaries with her after fall-out #1, but now am reconciled to stay as far away as possible to protect me and my family from this sickness. I am goobling up information and experiences and insight into this because I am truly tired of feeling as its all my fault and that I am not enough. Thank you for providing your experiences for those of us who feel alone in this crazy relationship dynamic!

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  15. Thank you for this blog and this research. In my case, I am the scapegoat of my father and my maternal grandmother. I've already cut contact with both so my kid does not see them treating me this way even though I do have a way with words, these people exhaust me and are the only two people in the world capable of making me feel like complete, well, doo-doo. I can turn anything they say to me back on them in a positive way, but they only use this as fuel to try harder to break me. Turning the words of strangers that would abuse me is far easier, and I was able to use such techniques to get my FIL to back off of me when he finally revealed his narcissistic side to me when he thought I was vulnerable and he was safe to do so. (The NPD mother thing runs in my spouse's family, too, although I had never seen in in the father in law before, my reaction to his sophomoric attempts to continue his mother's tricks on me sent him running, literally, tail tucked between his legs.)

    Additionally, I saw my grandmother turn on my kid as soon as my kid was too heavy for her great grandmother lift her. The strange thing is...the very same words my grandmother used on me, she used on my daughter. The attempt to slice my precious and planned and wanted baby girl...sent me back in my mind to that age...I was hearing my grandmothers nasty words to me, and watching them directed at my daughter at the same time. Unfortunately, later that very same month, my kid's other living great grandmother did the very same thing to my daughter. I thought I'd already taken care of things with that grandmother who tried her stuff on me, too, not realizing I found her attempts also quite transparent after enduring my father and grandmother my entire life. She was easy to turn negative words into positives...she had the grace to back off of me...but not her only great granddaughter.

    So, it does not end with the kids...my mother was scapegoat...then me...then apparently, my not even two year old was being shaped up to be my grandmother's next scapegoat. My spouse tells his story...his father was his mother's scapegoat...also his mother after she married his father...then him and his sister.

    At any rate...that is a lot of women people were waiting to die and take their evil with them. My grandmother is the only one still alive...I suspect she is only out of spite, and because she has so much fun setting all of her progeny against each other.
    Where does all this nastiness come from?

    It hurts more cutting contact with the flying monkeys. I've brought up my grandmother's behavior to me with a few of the relatives, I cannot be the only scapegoat, can I? But, alas, it is too late for that family...they are divided and conquered and the Matriarch sits in the middle of her sticky web...plucking strings...making drama...all at the ripe age of 90.

    I feel sorrow for the little girl my grandmother once was, and what she had to go through to make her into what she is and has been. I feel sorry for all the little girls who were my ancestors...what they had to go through in order to pass this abuse on for only G-d knows how many generations.

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  16. Thank you, Gail, and all of you, for your comments and insights. I almost went No Contact with my mother and 2 of my sisters when my father died. My mother has always badmouthed me, and like the other poster said, when my dad died it got so much worse. I loved him and he loved me, but he got caught up in my N mother's misrepresentations and at times seemed confused. I tried many, many times talking with him about my mother's behavior, and he would get to the edge of seeing it, but he didn't want to. I started thinking of him as an abused spouse, and that it was my responsibility to rescue him. It got to a point where I had trouble visiting them, trying to put on a happy face when my heart was breaking inside for the way she was treating him--dismissive, mocking, ridiculing him. But he would be her apologist--she didn't really mean it, he wished that she could show love, but it was so hard for her, according to him. When my mother finally did something so outrageous that I had to stay away, I didn't try to get in touch with him. I knew that he wouldn't stand up for me. Almost a year went by, and I got back in contact. My mother told me some time later that with that distancing my father finally understood that 'you don't walk on water. Finally he could see who you really are.'
    Actually, my dad and I did talk and were ok, except that he was in a terrible situation and couldn't see it. I didn't talk with him about my mother any more. He eventually developed dementia, but still had a very sweet personality.
    Towards the end my sister and I started doing shifts on the weekend so that my mom would have a 2 day break. I arrived one Friday night and Nmom sat me down to talk to me about 'what it had really been like for my sisters growing up' with me. My father and I had definitely been the targets of abuse--every time either of us tried to talk at the dinner table we were ridiculed or ignored and talked over, and even if I asked a question I was let know that I didn't matter: there would be no response. When my mother or one sister made fun of my dad--that's when I would talk back and tell them to cut it out. What a crazy dynamic--my dad would get mad at me and say that I should understand it was just a joke, and after all, did I think he wasn't strong enough to stand up for himself if he felt insulted? So I felt really mixed up and thought that my mother wasn't right but that somehow I must be overreacting.
    So when she told me about what a horrible person my sisters claimed that I was, I got sucked in. She actually told me a story that I remember very clearly--when we were on vacation as a family when I was 12 or so, and my middle sister slapped the youngest (I'm the oldest) so hard that it left a mark for 3 days. Only my mother says that my sister told her I'd been the one to hit our sister! (And I remember so well because I thought at the time that at least that was one time I wouldn't be blamed!) After I tried to defend myself (why did I bother?) I asked Nmom what were my other 'crimes.' After all, my sisters had said that I was such a horrible person, growing up. She actually said that she knew that there were a lot of reasons, but that they just had told her about that one. That's when it really hit me that my mother wanted me to be disconnected from my family, that she wanted so badly for me to be at fault, always. What kind of a mother wants her children to be alone and unhappy? Nmom has badmouthed me so many times to neighbors and extended family that I have had to learn to let that go; it's really hard. But your use of the term 'flying monkeys' is great….there's so much harm that comes from these people who jump to the wrong conclusions or who follow the narcissist without questioning.

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  17. The last couple of years since my dad died have been really lonely: I realized that my 2 oldest friends were Ns and that my boyfriend was, too. I definitely was codependent and was attracted to/attracting that type of person. I keep my distance from my family, now, except for my half sister, since she's mostly kind but wants so much to have a family (she was adopted and then has just been known to all of us since we've been adults) that she tolerates Nmom's meanness, wonders to me whether she (sister) did something wrong to cause the problem, and then keeps quiet when Nmom targets me. I've kept very low contact with Nmom and the other sisters this past year, but we all got together for Christmas, and nothing has changed.

    I think I really have to meet some healthier people and make new friends, though it's harder at my age (55). I've been focused on being a mother and work, but it's not good for me. I really need to seek out people who have a strong conscience, are not Ns or 'flying monkeys' and who want to make the world a better place. I'm thinking that maybe getting back into doing some volunteer work would be an idea.
    I'm just wondering how many of you feel this way--I can't stand being around Ns anymore, but I also feel that I can't stand being around 'followers,' either. The 'flying monkeys' will throw you under the bus, every time. And I just feel that so much of the world falls into one camp or the other. It scares me, actually---that I'll always feel betrayed. That's why I'm so grateful for this site and these postings. Thank you

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  18. “I know some is my fault as I did not set enough boundaries…”

    Don’t blame yourself for how you were treated. Children of narcissistic parents are prevented from developing a natural ability to set healthy boundaries.

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  19. I re-engaged with my NM as well and the end result has been nothing short of disastrous. It took a little while but the same craziness is there. I am still the SG and NM is successfully repeating her divide and conquer routine. She is nearing the end of her life and I wanted to be of service but I also wanted to re-establish a connection with my brothers and stepsister more. So much for that. I was LC for 9 years, NC for 3. It was all a gradual increase over a long period of time. Once my stepfather passed away (after Christmas 2013 at my home; they never made it back to where they live) within 5 months she was raging at me. It started with subtle put downs, showing outright favoritism, flaunting "special" relationships. She, of course now, is the grieving widow and no one else has suffered, especially my immediate family who were the ones who actually took care of him in the hopital. She complained about going to see him because we had to put on scrubs every time we went in to his room. He was on machines to breathe and she couldn't hear. She was put out, inconvenienced. She was afraid for herself and what she was going to do in the chance he should die. My family helped her through that very difficult and stressful time. Yet, she ends up treating me terribly. The last words I heard her speak on the phone were, "I don't have a daughter!" This came because I had not called her after a huge narcissistic rage at me. No responsibility, no apology, no phone call from her. She left a message on my answering machine and she did say, "I'm sorry" but it was the kind that was a nasty tone, "but it's your fault kind." No repentance, no I did "such and such." The one thing I could say about this time is I never once engaged in an argument or harsh words although she provoked me a number of times just to start a fight. She must have wanted some entertainment or drama or something to relieve herself.

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  20. I have a narcissistic mother who has been mean to me all my life. It is only recently that I have come to realise how insidious and devastating it has been, since it is all masked with a charade of being the hard done by mother. I have a sister two years older who is viciously narcissistic, and the two ganged up on me. Now they don't talk to one another as they both attempt to be the main spider in the web. My sister has got all the relatives on side. My mother, ironically, seems to be also placed in a poor position as her narcissism is under threat of exposure. As a child, she used to hound my father to work harder, until he had a nervous breakdown and left. When he got in exhausted from work she would tell him false tales about me and he would treat me violently. My mother and my sister would watch and encourage him. They relished it. I knew it was coming if it hadn't happened for a while. My father ignored me until that time came. I had a nervous breakdown at twenty two, and this confirmed their assertions that I was 'hysterical' and crazy. I always had a great sense of injustice as a child, for the way I was treated. It just never made sense. None of them are able to feel empathy, to love. I have struggled all my life, yet still had many happy moments from nature and animals. I find it hard to be around people, and have had another nervous breakdown recently. Both times I have had to be hospitalised. I know this depression and anxiety is linked to the way that I have been treated all of my life. I read so much that resonates in these pages, and thank you all for sharing your experiences. It has been so validating. I am on the road to recovery and hope to become better at relating to and trusting people in the future. Once I am able to love myself and recognise the people who are not good for me.

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  21. Gail,

    Thank you for this article. It is a relief in a way to recognize "Flying Monkeys" for what they are, and to realize that I'm not crazy.

    My narcissist mother has scapegoated me for a long time, treating my brother as the golden child and me as the "bad" one. Really the only time I was "bad" was when I said no to her - on anything - or showed any hint of individuality. Then the anger and rage would come down, along with an unwillingness to talk about the subject without denials, or take any ownership for her actions.

    My mom's "Flying Monkeys" are my brother, her mother, and her sisters. (Her brother - my uncle - has already exited the family and won't speak to any of them.) My cousins also join in, somewhat. They all do the dirty work of telling me that "Family is more important than anything", and completely ignoring or glossing over my feelings.

    Every time I tried to explain what had happened, they shut me down. My grandmother even went so far as to tell me that I'm flat-out lying. I couldn't believe that! It blew my mind. But it was all part of my family's way of preserving the status quo, to not fix issues but instead paint me as "the crazy one".

    My brother also came over to my house and tried to start a fistfight. Told me to stop saying bad things about mom. He didn't want to know what had happened - he didn't care.

    And now I'm seeing the family more for what it is. It's highly dysfunctional. Reading your blog has helped me understand some things. No, I'm not the crazy one. And there's nothing wrong with me for feeling hurt. And I don't need to feel guilty about moving on with my life without these people.

    It hurts to be ostracized. It hurts when people you hardly know care more about your feelings than your own family does. And it's hard to get over. I'm still not over it.

    I moved far away. I've made a home with my own wife and kids. But I still struggle with it. It's like a magnet that wants to suck me back into "the family", back into those unhealthy dynamics of abuse. I try to focus on my own new family. My caring wife, and my good kids. I worry about how to do the right thing, to protect them from my mother.

    Thanks again. Have a good day.
    Clint

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    1. I can relate to your early plight. I too was the Scapegoat of the family and live with the memories of being signaled out as the sensitive one, the black sheep of the family. My mother lacked the ability to nurture and love me. She showed favorism to my younger brother , the golden child who was certianly not "golden" more a tarnished shade of brown, crap. He started fights and got away with it with mom, I always got in trouble, she just never listened to my side of the story. She was more prone to rage and control than insight and understanding. She lacked the ability to understand her children. She was crazy and I knew it from an early age, I believe that is what kept me sane along with learning I could not trust her. I never got close to her after that first confrontation which I remember so well. I could not discuss it with anyone because I thought it was normal that she did not love and care about me. That she and my brother connected. Little did I know the dysfunction of someone with this condition. As much as I resent my brother, who is more like her I am beginning to feel sorry for him because he may never know what love really is and that he is transforming into her, a Norman Bates personality of our mother.

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  22. This insidious abuse needs to be exposed in the mainstream media!! If the mainstream would delve into this type of abuse and report it publicly, these cockroaches would be forced to scurry under a rotten log, where they belong. Either that, or they would be forced to deal with their own mental/spiritual disorder and would be unable to project it onto someone else, since they would be unable to deceive the scapegoats, enabling spouses, outsiders and extended relatives any longer. I have tried repeatedly to get the editorial sections of local newspapers to print my numerous letters on this subject but for some reason, they refuse to print them. Probably because the newspapers are run by Narcs.

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    1. Exactly my thinking. Not enough 'normal' people know about these personality types and the havoc they can cause, preferring to trivialize the damage they do or pass off the victim as over-sensitive. It makes you feel as if you're going mad, having to handle all this stuff with no-one believing it is going on.

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  23. In my family on my fathers side, my eldest aunt was the BPD/troublemaker of our family....after I graduated college, I didn't see my family in 7 years due to their jealousy and dysfunction, until recently. The only thing that brought me back was me learning I was an aunt. When I returned, I found the same relatives who sided with the BPD aunt and turned on me were now in turmoil because of her. The family dynamics are off-balanced and completely strained. Family members no longer speak to each other because of issues she has caused. I know with dysfunctional families, they always need a scapegoat to place the guilt and shame on, so my recent visit was cut short because of this knowledge. As soon as I step foot in my fathers house, he immediately starts to complain about other relatives (triangulation) which I put a halt to by changing the subject or leaving the room. The entire time I was in visiting, my aunts would constantly call me to see if I was still in town, yet not asking to hang out. My grandmother set up a family dinner for my "return back home" at a Chiliis restaurant that I didn't show up for because I knew the BPD aunt was going to be there, and it was going to be more of an ambush than a "welcome home" dinner.

    I have a cousin who I semi-trust, that I hung out with while in town. My cousin asked me to stay with him during my visit, and I did, but then later he started calling me a "moocher". When I left town, I was bombarded with calls from my aunts asking me "are you ok" and "is everything ok with you".."we love you"......including my sister and cousin sending me old pics of us together and of their children in a weak attempt to make me the "identified patient" of the family. This would also be classified as "hovering".

    I have since cut off communication with my cousin I stayed with and have set boundaries with my father and stepsister, telling them only to call/text my phone in the state of an emergency or if they wanted to invite me somewhere. My extremely jealous aunt, who is a flying monkey of the BPD aunt, has sent a distant cousin to try to figure out where I am. His text was answered with a cheerful reply that I was hanging on the beach with family friends for my birthday. He then ask where I was, to which I didn't reply.

    If I could give anyone advice, it would be to keep your distance from dysfunctional relatives. If you want, you can try to have a relationship with relatives who do not live in the same state as the others. Explain to the healthy relative that you do not want to be discussed at all with the narc relative(s) due to wanting to distance yourself.

    If you are trapped and have to interact with a dysfunctional family; limit contact with certain relatives, avoid major family gatherings and set up a support system. Dysfunctional families do not like to be exposed, so always try to have a friend or mate around you when you have to interact with these losers. If you dont have a support system, pretend that you do. I have scared off flying monkeys just by telling them how protective my mother is of me (insecure relatives like to pick on the vulnerable).

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  24. Thank you very much. I was victimized by a narcissistic mother who led me to believe that I had been diagnosed as schizophrenic when I had not, in an attempt to convince me that my father had not sexually abused me. And in the face of this I still confront flying monkeys whenever the subject of parents comes up! Neighbours actually chastise me for telling the truth! What a world! Narrow is the path....

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  25. Nmom died in 2001, my dad in 2013. Nmom's meanness was no secret to any of us. Several months after a visit my mom called me out of the blue to inform me my oldest sister didn't care if I lived or died, Wouldn't even care if anyone told her I'd died. We didn't speak for 5 years, because of what Nmom said, My sister later convincingly denied ever having said anything of the kind, I mostly believed her, not out of character for her to have said it, or for Nmom to invent the entire thing. Several years later, another out of the blue call from Nmom. To inform me that middle sister, "believes you have slept with her husband". Middle sister had been growing increasingly nasty to me over the last few months, Rarely speaking to me and not civilly when she did. Her boiling contempt was obvious. my dad chalked the sisters behavior up to jealousy.
    When we were all much younger, oldest sister doted on me, taking me places buying me things, spending time with me, my safe haven from Nmom. But she often pointedly excluded middle sister, silently, or with a direct "You can't go!".Now middle sister is her unwitting flying monkey, so desperate for so long for oldest sisters attention and love. I dont even blame her. She's been hard-wired to hate me, it's not even her fault. I tried to defend myself to middle sister, but after I approached her I seriously wondered, and doubted my mom had ever discussed with HER, that lie about her husband. Nmom, may have just whalloped me with that and left sister out of it, then when I approached her it appeared as someone trying to unburden their soul. She said 'Mom's not here to defend herself', would not hear me. How can you defend yourself against a dead woman's lies??? So 15 years dead, mom's still as cruel and devicive as ever. Heaven only knows what she invented to tell them about me or about each other.
    Two years ago, our dad died. We made it through his death without major conflict. On the day after Dad's funeral, we divided his belongings amicably, helped her load her car, she hugged my husband goodbye, I tried to hug her but she pushed me away. She left without so much as a goodbye or a wave, and I've never heard from her or seen her again. Other sister had a recent birthday, and older sister came and spent time with her "Making memories" as middle sister innocently(?) posted on social media. I was the one excluded, again, as I have been since we became adults. I really tried not to let it get to me but it did. I was writing them one of those letters you never mail, and found this blog. I read about going "No Contact", I decided that was the way to go, since all there was left to be done was block her on social Media. Goal being to avoid anymore of the above, ever. She's pretty much announced herself as Head Narcissist, I have a better things to focus on vs the unattainable, poisoned conditional,approval and attention she has to offer. Surprising outcome of blocking her was, 1, BOY did she ever react!!, and 2, I find I am unexpectedly sad. I know if I continued openness with her she'd continue to ignore me, assuring I knew how much fun she and middle sister had. Now, this way, at least it's because, I say so, I've unplugged her Silent treatment. Now. If I can shake this depression!! This blog has freed me in a way I never dreamed possible!! Thanks so much Gail and all of you who shared.

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  26. Just found this site and have never heard of the flying monkeys before now. I believe that I probably have been charmed into being one but fortunately my narc partner ended it because I started to stand up for myself. I still have a lot of pain nearly two years later but educating myself is helping. Thank you

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  27. Finally after years of abuse by the N's in my family and a chronic illness I could no longer take it anymore (last year), I can't have any stress in my life. I'm in my 40's with a great hubby and kids. I went No Contact, since then I've had one of them show up on my doorstep on 2 occasions, the last time was to tell me I was making a big deal out of nothing. Hubby and I agreed we would stand together and he emailed them saying we didn't want any contact. The reply back was basically, they would respect our wishes however their door was always open. Since then they have tried to use others to make contact and send messages to my children. I was nearly put in a position of being at a party with them but I found out before hand. Then out of the blue I received a card from someone that participated earlier on. I smelled a rat and told this person I didn't want contact with her either. Her reply was the exact wording or close to it as what the original N had told us. Will this ever end? How do I get rid of the flying monkeys? I've thought about moving.

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  28. Interesting. I had never heard this term before.

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  29. I just found this site and have read through every comment. I realize it's very difficult to make people understand how toxic families work when you have a narcissistic parent. I had two alcoholic narcissistic parents who were extremely abusive and two years ago I found out that I suffer from Complex PTSD. I went through two years of extensive therapy with a counselor who specializes in narcissism, child abuse and Complex PTSD. During that time it was discovered that two of my three adult children (daughters) were flying monkeys for my narc mother. My third child, a son, his wife is a narcissist. I can't even begin to explain the chaos in my family. It is so hard to explain to people (not that I feel obligated to) why I have chosen to go "no contact" with my children who I desperately love. From the day they were born my mother constantly told them that I was no good. She would tell them that I was crazy and that all the things I said happened to me never happened. My children would mimic my mothers behavior and speak her words every opportunity they got. Yes,I made mistakes and I have apologized over and over again, I turned myself inside out in order to become the person I thought they wanted me to be. I have apologized for things I haven't even done just to try to make things right and get their acceptance. Absolutely NOTHING has worked so I had to "pull the plug" in order to save my own sanity. I sympathize with anyone who has a narcissist or flying monkeys in their life. All I can say is run for your life.

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  30. My father was physically and verbally abusive to everyone. I was under a lot of distress growing up, trying to be perfect to avoid the harsh punishments. When I was about 11 years old, I started standing up to him. This resulted in severe beatings.

    My mother would intervene to get him to stop. She also stopped him from doing many other mean things to myself and other people.

    I made it through to the age of 21 and moved out. Years later he almost begged me to move back, with promises of help. Equipped with new faith and relationship skills, I thought I could have a positive impact on my family. I moved back and the verbal abuse started almost immediately.

    My mother defended me.

    When my mother had a severe head injury and no longer was alert to what was going on, it is like he pulled out all the stops. He started calling anyone and everyone and complaining about me, including my siblings and other relatives. He set up some situations to fail, and when it did, that incited more phone calls. Things I did well and right were also twisted into wrongdoings. I was confused and dismayed at not only his lack of appreciation for my work, but the disparaging I was receiving. I thought it was so ridiculous that I just ignored it, and pressed on to do my duty for my aging parents. I thought he was so obviously out in left field that everyone else would ignore him also. I thought that my other family members would at least acknowledge the good work I was doing.

    My sister began brow-beating me based on his complaints. Then she tried to step in as "manager" to the whole scenario, and I told her to step out. I began writing to her to explain what a disordered individual he was, and she simply did not respond. Later she said my letters were "too negative."

    I decided to move out of state to escape the negative campaign my father had launched against me. The campaign did not end, my father still found things to complain about, some things were fabricated.

    When my mother died I asked my sister to make the funeral a few days later, I produce a magazine that has dated material and live 850 miles out of state. She did not. My sister scheduled my mother's viewing on my busiest work day. She scheduled my mother's funeral on press day. It was an incredible hardship to try to finish the magazine early and travel almost 1000 miles by car to make these events.

    My sister distributed my mother's things and did not contact me.

    My father made my sister the trustee. When my father died, my sister left me out of the division of tangible property. Later she demanded a release (which is not required or enforceable in Michigan). When I was not ready to sign the release because there was evidence of additional assets, she took me to court. Her attorney talked her into filing lies to take it to court. It resulted in a long, expensive court battle. Every email I sent to her personally she would broadcast to my brothers under the excuse that, "I need to keep them informed." Yet, she would secretly meet and talk with my brothers.

    It has been six months now and I am still working through the anger. I started reading articles on scapegoating, golden children and flying monkeys. They make SO much sense, thank you. My father's and sister's behavior did not make sense before now.

    My sister had become the golden child. My sister and my brothers are the flying monkeys. I am the scapegoat. Fortunately, I have a healthy enough self-esteem to recognize these things. I just told my sister today that I was open to counseling, but other than that I am ending all contact with her.

    My Question: Right now, my sister has assumed the helm as family matriarch. I believe she is a covert narcissist. Yesterday I received a note from my aunt through my sister that another aunt had passed away. While I do want to receive news about the family, I reject the notion that it will always come through my sister. How can I talk to my other family members about wanting news directly, and not through my sister?

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