There are many ingredients in the narcissist’s recipe for abusing his chosen target. But, none enhance the pleasure of, nor are as vital to, the experience of abuse, as the narcissist’s monkey (s)…also known as #enablers. We like to call them, #flying monkeys, and a narcissist’s impetus to abuse becomes almost nonexistent when he finds he lacks an audience, or henchmen to carry out his dirty work.
The question, then, is how can you tell when a narcissist is trying to recruit you as a flying monkey?
You’ll definitely want to know since, the main reason a narcissist needs you as his flying-monkey is to use you, as an instrument of #abuse by proxy. In other words, he’s using you to carry out abuse against another person. Soooooo not cool.
You might think #it would be obvious to spot but, narcissists are notoriously smooth, when it comes to pulling off a con. You could be doing irreparable harm to a person, or helping to traumatize innocent children, all the while believing you are helping a friend (or family member) get out of an unfortunate, or “difficult” situation.
Unfortunately, you may only find out too late- after untold damage has already been done- that the supposed perpetrator was, in fact, really the victim . You learn that the alleged difficult situation, you were helping your friend/family member out of, was completely orchestrated by him. All of it, a setup. A flawless, private performance for you- executed to gain your attention, your sympathy, your cooperation, your money, your influence, and/or your help, to carry out his painful abuse.
Most people would find the idea of being conned, and used to inflict harm on another person, an absolutely horrifying thought. Thus, it would serve you well to know how to implement a few simple tests to ferret out the true intentions of a person requesting your assistance. Furthermore, and far more importantly, by not doing so, you risk being just as culpable, for the abuse inflicted, as the abuser who requested your help to do it. Period.
If, unbeknownst to you, a narcissist is attempting to recruit you, for the purpose of causing pain & panic, there are certain very obvious signs you will be able to spot… once you know what to look for.
These may seem quite obvious, as you read them. But, keep in mind that, especially when the narcissist is a close friend/family member, you tend to overlook certain, obvious things because, you love the person. You trust them. Never, in a million years, would you ever suspect that they would use you to carry out plans with such terrible consequences.
That’s exactly WHY they do it.
10 SIGNS A Narcissist Has Made You His Monkey
Apply these few simple tests, to find out if the intentions of someone requesting your assistance (involving a third party), are pure, indeed.
*For the purpose of these tests, the person requesting assistance is the ‘potential narcissist’ , or PN (because, that’s what you’re trying to ensure is not so), and the third party is the ‘potential victim’ PV.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Signs you’ve been made a narcissist’s monkey
1. What do you know about the potential victim? How long have you known them? Is this someone whom you are surprised to hear is acting the way the potential narcissist is describing? Does the behavior of the PV seem in keeping with what you know- FIRSTHAND- about their character?
The important thing to focus on here is what you know to be true about the PV’s character, based on what you have seen with your own two eyes. For example, the fact that my husband’s family was so quick to believe the lies he was spreading about me, really shocked (and hurt) me. I have considered hard the types of things I have said and done in their presence and, well, none of my behavior would have suggested that I’d be capable of the things I know I’ve been accused of.
As a matter of fact, for the first several years of our relationship, I was the one receiving the credit and praise, for motivating my husband to become a better, more responsible, man. I was the one who was shown gratitude for bringing my husband back together with his mother- whom he was extremely angry at, and very much disliked, when we first met. That is, until I encouraged him to reestablish the relationship with her. After all, she was his mother, I reasoned. (Boy, did that come back to bite me in the ass!)
I would have guessed that, at worst, his family would be likely to believe that I could be spoiled, a bit demanding, picky, impulsive, stubborn, moody, snobbish, and perhaps, flaky. I can see how things I have said or done, could be interpreted (sometimes, correctly- and sometimes by being taken completely out of context) as one, or more, of those negative qualities. But, sabotaging my husband? Harboring a desire for him to fail? Dragging him down? Sorry, but, no way.
It is important to think hard about what you know of the PV. Are you basing your judgments on what you’ve witnessed about that person, firsthand? Or are you basing your opinions of the person, from the stories told to you, by the PN?
If what you’ve seen, firsthand, isn’t matching up with what you’re hearing, then you might want to rethink your involvement.
2. Is what you’re being asked to do extreme? Think of how you’d feel about doing what the PN is asking, under normal, everyday, circumstances. Does it seem reasonable? Or not?
Forget the PN’s reasons for why he is asking you to do something for him. In order to figure out what is going on, you’ve got to assume that the reasoning given for the request, is a lie. Or, at least, not the whole truth. If the request sounds even a bit extreme, I’d say – watch out.
3. What happens when you suggest a less extreme course of action? Does the PN actively listen and appear to be interested in trying to resolve the matter in a less extreme way? Or, does he just keep giving you one reason, after another, for why all less extreme solutions won’t work?
Try this; Ask the potential narcissist what outcome is he trying to achieve? What is his idea of the best possible resolution of the situation?
I can guarantee that, if you’re going along with a plan that seems a bit extreme, it’s only because you’ve been, most likely, told that the PN has already “tried everything he could think of”, to no avail, in order to achieve the solution that he “wishes” he could facilitate. Am I right?
For example, the PN might say something like, “I just want my wife, and I, to live together in peace…to get along and, just be happy. I’ve tried everything I could think of… But she’s just never satisfied. I have no other choice now.”
What a beautifully sad sentiment. I say, why not put that to the test? Offer to talk to the PV about the “problem”, stating that oftentimes a third party can get better results because, they are able to act as a neutral party. Then, sit back and observe. A person genuinely interested in the resolution he “just wishes” he could attain- especially if was willing to try “everything he could think of” already- should be open to the idea that resolution might be possible using a different approach. Bottom line: he would be willing to try.
On the other hand, a PN will make excuses, and tell increasingly dramatic tales of why your suggestion won’t work. And, if you continue to push, insisting that you might really be able to help him avoid this action he supposedly takes with a heavy heart, he will quickly get frustrated, testy, impatient, or he might just tell you to forget that he asked for help. Trying to guilt you into feeling like somehow trying to give him what he “really wanted”, was you not being there for him.
Here, the goal is to find out what the PN’s goals are for doing what he is suggesting. Does it seem as though he is genuinely attempting to resolve some conflict? More importantly, does what he is suggesting appear, in any way, as could be perceived as neglect, abandonment, isolation, humiliation, or severe stonewalling? Again, forget about the reason the PN is giving for his actions. The above behaviors are abusive…period. It doesn’t matter what the supposed reasons are: abuse is abuse.
Pay close attention to his emotional response and to your own body. The slightest bit of pressing, for a different course of action, will likely result in some unpleasantness, from the side of the PN.
If you have any doubts as to whether the PV might be made to feel as though they are on the receiving end of any of the above abusive behaviors, I would strongly recommend declining the PN’s request for your involvement. Helping the PN, in such a case, makes you just as guilty of abuse as they are. And, failing to take the time, to consider the ramifications of your actions on the other person (or persons) involved, does not excuse you from accountability.
Negligent ignorance, does not equal innocence.
4. Are you being asked, or instructed, to ignore the PV? This is probably the MOST classic giveaway that a person’s motives aren’t as pure as you might wish them to be. This is a HUGE sign that the PN is involving you in something subversive, and most likely, something very painful, or even traumatic, to the PV (or victims).
So, go ahead, suggest to the PN, that you have a talk with the PV. Hey, maybe you can talk some sense in to her, and then the PN wouldn’t have to go through with this plan, that he does with heavy heart. (Yay… Right?) Beware, if you receive the classic narcissist response to this question: “I appreciate your offer but, talking to this person will really just make the situation worse. I think the best thing to do, would be to just ignore her.”
The PN might cite that it would cause more problems, or stress, for him personally. He might cite that he is worried that you will anger the PV (He’ll almost certainly claim her to be mentally unstable)….maybe she’ll take that anger out on the kids (if there are kids involved). He might even say that he is afraid of what the PV might do if confronted. And, honestly, that isn’t exactly untrue.
Truthfully, the PN would be very afraid of what the PV might do. He’d be terrified that the PV would out him.
The brutal truth is this: The narcissist won’t be interested in a resolution. That would mean having to be accountable for their part in the problem (no problem is entirely the fault of only one party), and they’d have to be willing to be happy with a win-win solution. A narcissist CANNOT do that. His overwhelming, and all-consuming shame does not allow him to even consider that he might be even partially to blame for perpetuating the problem (even though most often he is the source of the discord in the first place).
The narcissist will have chosen the present course of action because;
- It will relieve him of the necessity of taking responsibility for his hand in creating the situation,
- It alleviates the stress of having to figure out how to repair whatever damage he’s caused- which he feels entitled to not have to do,
- The present course of action will provide maximum punishment value to the PV, which in his mind, she deserves because she should have just given him his way to begin with, and
- The present course of action will provide him with some sort of ulterior benefit (for example, he may want to move to a secret location because, he now has the privacy and the freedom to indulge in his drug addiction, which the victim was constantly nagging him about, and snooping in his things, to try to get rid of whatever substance he might have.)
Ultimately, any attempt you make to try to help the PN resolve the situation will be rejected because, he does not want that. He wants his current plan to work so that he can have exactly what he wants.
5. Is the PN suddenly close to you, whereas before they were quite distant? And, after you’ve given them what they want, do they suddenly get super busy again?
Again, forget their excuses for why. Take a page out of Greg Behendt’s book, and assume that “I’m really busy”, means “I’m an asshole.”
6. Has the PV said they were being abused, or requested help with the PN before, in the past? Have they attempted to provide evidence that what the PN is accusing them of is false?
Self-explanatory, I would think. If someone has reached out for help, claiming there is abuse in the home, and then, the person they claimed was abusive, shows up asking you to do things that might potentially hurt the PV- and because she is so bad to him, or whatever other victim story they’ve got prepared for you)…well, I think that is a pretty obvious sign.
7. Is the PV exhibiting any of the classic signs of someone who is being narcissistically abused?
Behavior, such as listed below, are classic signs of narcissistic abuse and gaslighting. Are you witnessing any of them? If so, beware…
- Seemingly extreme reactions, disproportionate to the behavior of the PN
- An extreme amount of unanswered phone calls/texts to the PN
- Explosive outbursts of anger- especially from someone who you would never have categorized as an angry person. In fact, most often, you will have known of the PN as the person who has- or used to have, but now miraculously has resolved- anger issues. That is because he is using projective identification, or a tactic known as “bait and bash”
- Has the PN asserted that the PV is “crazy”, or “bipolar”- both classic narc terms meaning “fed up ex-lover”
And, there you have it… good stuff to know the next time you’re asked to help someone. Abuse thrives in silence, and on people “not wanting to get involved” to stop it. Of course, if you don’t seem to have an issue pitching in, when the abuser needs a hand… you’re involved. That’s a fact.
The shitty part is..you’re not involved in helping protect the victims- but, helping to abuse them. No sugar-coating that one.
Here’s to clarity & discernment,
~The Narcissist’s Wife