Types of Flying Monkeys

Types of Flying Monkeys

FLYING MONKEY is a popular psychology term that refers to an enabler of a highly narcissistic person or someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). A flying monkey is an agent who acts on their behalf.

What are the main types of flying monkeys?

There are usually two main types of flying monkeys in a narcissistic person’s orbit. These are:

  1. The benevolent enabler, and
  2. The malevolent enabler

The benevolent enabler

A benevolent flying monkey is someone with a sociotropic nature that makes them an easy target for manipulators. Sociotrophic individuals suffer from the so-called “disease to please,” which means that they tend to put the needs of others ahead of theirs.

Often they unwittingly aid and abet a narcissistic person’s campaign of emotional abuse because predatory manipulators are quick to sniff out a sociotropic person’s powerful longing for external validation.

Benevolent flying monkeys are not consciously trying to cause harm. A benevolent flying monkey is likely to have been subjected to the narcissistic person’s love-bombing and gaslighting tactics. They are usually acting in good faith based on the narcissist’s persuasive vilification of the person they’ve targeted for abuse.

The narcissistic person will have used the DARVO tactic to manipulate their perception of events and the people involved so much so that the benevolent flying monkey wrongly views the victim-survivor as the perpetrator of the abuse. Once the narcissistic person has effectively pulled the wool over this person’s eyes, they triangulate them into the conflict and with strong incentives to protect and “rescue” the narcissist.

The malevolent enabler

A malevolent flying monkey is misanthropic in nature. They are bad faith actors who knowingly participate in narcissistic abuse because inflicting harm on others gives them a sense of power. Malevolent flying monkeys tend to identify with highly narcissistic people and NPDs because they are equally narcissistic in their own right. They usually share the same attitudes and beliefs and feel a sense of belonging in the narcissistic person or NPDs in-group.

Because a malevolent flying monkey is morally bankrupt, it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong. In fact, they are usually fully aware that an injustice is taking place. However, these types relish an opportunity to deny dignity and justice to someone who they feel is “not like them.”

Malevolent flying monkeys function as gatekeepers. Often they are foot soldiers of a larger system of oppression, i.e. sexism, racism, etc. and they engage in the conflict for the sole purpose of protecting a hierarchy that serves them.

How do narcissists recruit flying monkeys?

Narcissists successfully seduce flying monkeys into their ranks by appealing to their narcissism. Narcissism is an expression of self-idealization. It’s a trait that all human beings have to a greater or lesser extent.

Benevolent flying monkeys are generally prone to vulnerable or covert narcissism, while malevolent flying monkey’s narcissism is more like to show up as grandiose or overt narcissism.


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Manya Wakefield is an educator and recovery coach specialized in cognitive behavioral therapy and trauma. She is also the author of 'Are You In An Emotionally Abusive Relationship?' and host of the Narcissistic Abuse Rehab Podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.