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The Recovery Expert
with Sharie Stines, Psy.D.

The Narcissist’s Fan Club (aka Flying Monkeys)

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

peopleIsn’t it enough that victims have to deal with the hurt and frustration caused merely by loving a narcissist?  To add insult to injury, narcissists in their lives have their own personal minions, appropriately labeled as “flying monkeys,” who side with them and join their “team” and set out to participate in their damaging agenda to destroy the targets’ lives.

Flying monkeys are the narcissist’s enablers. They come in all shapes and sizes. They may be friends, family members, pastors, and counselors. In reality, I don’t think the flying monkeys realize what they are doing. I trust that these people actually believe in the righteousness and the “cause” of the narcissist.

Here’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about: There is a couple I know who sought pastoral counseling from their local church.  The pastor was helping them keep their marriage together. The man was a typical narcissistic, emotional abuser. The wife was a typical codependent, enabler.  She went to the church for spiritual counseling and accountability for her husband’s poor treatment of her. The wife recounted to her pastor that during an argument with her husband one day he had threatened to “kill her if she didn’t get out of the car!”

The pastor had two comments for the woman, “Why didn’t you get out of the car?” and, “You know he didn’t mean he was REALLY going to kill you.”

To make matters even worse, the woman thought, perhaps, her mother-in-law would be supportive and talk some sense into her son. When she told  her mother-in-law what happened, the only response she got was, “Well, you know things are said in marriage…”

Did I hear that correctly?  No, I don’t think these are the types of things that are typically said in marriages. At least, I hope not.

These are two examples of flying monkeys – the pastor and the mother.

Narcissists are master manipulators.  They have limited insight, so they actually hold to the opinion that their behaviors toward you are justified. They are on the spectrum of delusion, and adhere to their pathological opinions. They believe, as they abuse you, that they are, in fact, the true victims. When you do anything, either real or imagined, that upsets the narcissist, he will target you as a scapegoat, and will align himself with flying monkeys. As his target lies on the ground emotionally bleeding, his belief and response is (expressed as outrage,) “Look what you made me do!” This adds fuel to the fire, as he hurts you in the first place and then blames you for it, all the while believing he’s the victim!

He will slander your good name and paint a terrible picture 0f how you have abandoned him, hurt him, and abused him. He will even call you a narcissistic. The projection is unbelievable!

His allies will believe him and will make comments to further encourage his delusions of victim-hood. The real you will be unrecognizable in the story he tells. It is hard to believe, as the target of this type of “mobbing” that occurs, that so many people are believing such ugly things about you.

You begin to wonder, “Maybe it is me,” or “Am I the abusive one?”  “No, I know I’m not…or am I?”  “Am I a narcissist?”  “Maybe I shouldn’t have said what I said…then we wouldn’t be having this problem.”  We question our good hearts and our realities. It is crazy making. Even the strongest of targets has a hard time detaching and not personalizing the attacks and rumors.

The narcissist’s enablers, are masters at overlooking red flags, blatant abuse, and the fact that the narcissist is causing and not resolving any of the problems, stating, “There are two sides to every story.”

It truly is amazing. And a victim needs to be stand even stronger still, as she takes on more nightmares in this narcissist’s drama. The target needs to be armed with defenses because she not only has to fight the narcissist and her own inner codependency issues; she also has to fight a myriad of other people whom she may have originally thought would be her allies or support system. The target ends up feeling like she has to climb a mountain with no tools, while those around her are gossiping about her and throwing rocks her way!

I found a great quote that describes the victim’s dilemma when dealing with a narcissist, from a woman named, Cherilyn Clough: “They invite you to play a game you can never win.”

As long as targets remember this “truism,” they can stop trying to defend themselves and even learn not to care what other people think.

Note: Disregard gender labels as abuse is not a respecter of genders.

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The Narcissist’s Fan Club (aka Flying Monkeys)

Sharie Stines, Psy.D

Sharie Stines, Psy.D. is a recovery expert specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma and helping people overcome damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma and dysfunctional relationships. Sharie is a counselor at LIfeline Counseling & Education Inc., in Southern California ( Lifeline Counseling is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) corporation. Sharie is also an abusive relationship recovery coach -


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APA Reference
Stines, S. (2017). The Narcissist’s Fan Club (aka Flying Monkeys). Psych Central. Retrieved on December 4, 2020, from