How Narcissists Turn Your Friends and Family Against You

Rebecca Zung
3 min readApr 23, 2024

By Rebecca Zung, Esq

Today we’re diving into a crucial topic — how narcissists use flying monkeys to turn the world against you. If you’ve ever felt isolated, overwhelmed, or unfairly targeted, you’re not alone. Let’s break down how they orchestrate this manipulation and, more importantly, how you can break free from its grip.

Identifying the Phases of Narcissistic Relationships

Before we delve into flying monkeys, let’s quickly revisit the phases of a narcissistic relationship — love bombing, devaluation, and finally, the discard phase. It’s during this last phase, whether you’re leaving them or they’re leaving you, that the smear campaign is born. This is when they start turning friends, family, and even colleagues against you.

The Birth of Flying Monkeys

Flying monkeys are the unwitting or intentionally manipulated individuals who align with the narcissist. The term comes from “The Wizard of Oz,” referring to those who do the wicked witch’s bidding. Narcissists carefully select their flying monkeys by identifying vulnerable targets who may believe their lies. It’s crucial to realize that these monkeys aren’t always aware of the manipulation — they might be love bombed and duped by the narcissist too.

How Narcissists Turn People Against You

1. Defining Targets: Narcissists search for vulnerable individuals who are likely to buy into their narratives. Just as they assessed you, they look for who will be a good target among your family and friends.

2. Manipulative Tactics: Gaslighting, spreading rumors, distorting reality — narcissists are master manipulators. They use misinformation, guilt-tripping, and misinformation to turn people into pawns in their game.

3. Character Assassination: Narcissists attack your character, portraying you as flawed or even dangerous. They might drop hints about supposed issues like drinking problems or parenting concerns, creating doubt about your character.

4. Creating Divisions: By sowing seeds of doubt, they create divisions between you and others. They might say, “I heard Susie said something about you,” or “No one else thinks like you do.” This isolates you further.

5. Exploiting Ignorance: Narcissists exploit ignorance or passive aggression, making it seem like they’re victims. They might use guilt to portray themselves as the ones suffering, manipulating others into believing they are the innocent party.

6. Selective Information Sharing: Narcissists strategically share parts of messages or manipulate text messages to portray you in a negative light. They present a curated narrative to the flying monkeys, only showing what supports their agenda.

Impact on the Victim

Being the target of a smear campaign can be traumatic and isolating. You may feel overwhelmed, alone, and tempted to give up. But remember, they only win if you give in. Seek emotional support, set boundaries, and approach the situation with resilience.

Reclaiming Control: Strategies for Victims

1. Document Everything: Maintain a record of conversations, messages, and incidents. Documentation is crucial in combating false narratives.

2. Set Boundaries: Clearly define what behavior is unacceptable and establish boundaries. Stick to your values and self-respect, and don’t negotiate your worth.

3. Observe, Don’t Absorb: Treat their behavior as a tantrum. Step back, observe, and resist the urge to get emotionally entangled. Focus on presenting a strong, authentic version of yourself.

4. Get Support: Join support groups, seek professional help, and surround yourself with a strong support system. Having allies who understand the dynamics is invaluable.

Understanding the tactics of narcissists and how they enlist flying monkeys is crucial for reclaiming control. Don’t play into their hands; instead, see them as a third party having a tantrum. Remember, knowledge is power, and with the right strategies, you can turn the situation around.

If you’ve faced flying monkeys in your life, share your experiences in the comments below. Let’s start a conversation, support each other, and empower ourselves against narcissistic manipulation. And if you found this helpful, share it with someone who needs it, and visit us for more empowering content. Remember, today’s a great day to start negotiating your best life. I’ll see you in the next one!



Rebecca Zung

She is a Top 1% attorney, narcissist negotiation expert, YouTuber & creator of the SLAY Your Negotiation w/ a Narcissist program.