So how do you avoid being used as a flying monkey?
It’s normal for a nice, thoughtful person to be upset at an accused abuser. That’s exactly what a narcissist is counting on! They want to take advantage of your feelings and your empathy so they can use you as a tool to destroy the real victim. All we can do is our best, but consider the following:
- Unless you are absolutely sure that the person telling you stories is telling the truth, (such as, they have police reports or other proof,) don’t take a side.
- Think critically. Do the stories you are hearing match up? Do they match the alleged victim’s behavior? For example, if the person tells you they have been abused and are having a hard time, but they are out having a good time every Friday night, something isn’t adding up!
- Consider if the “victim” has a story that sounds realistic and doesn’t change. Or, are they just telling you the other person is “bad” and “crazy” without having any real reason why? (This step isn’t fool-proof because narcissists often tell very convincing stories, but it is one to think about because often the narcissist doesn’t really have a story.)
- And quite frankly, mind your own business if you don’t have cold, hard proof.
Too many victims have been further abused by flying monkeys–some of whom are nasty narcissists themselves, but some of whom are just normal people who were fooled. Do you really want to be the person who picks the wrong story and further traumatizes a victim?
Abuse by proxy is another way to describe this. It is used by covert abusers to discredit and isolate the target during smear campaigns etc. The scary thing about this is that there is no way for the target to escape – one could go no contact with the abuser and still be publicly vilified and lose all support and respect. Its a political strategy.