There are so many things that ONLY make sense in retrospect and perhaps ONLY after going to therapy and reading many many books. Realizations and understanding have still been very slow to emerge, so I’m about to share. “Flying Monkeys” has been a term that I’ve encountered (and I really like) that refer to the supporters, fan club, friends, enablers (whatever you wish to call them) of the narcissist/sociopath. The term, of course, refers to the flying monkeys who belonged to the witch in the Wizard of Oz movie. They did her bidding, followed her orders and never questioned her authority (until after she melted, if I remember correctly, then they cheered!).
One thing in my relationship (well, one of many things) that I never could understand until now was the way the Narc’s friends treated me. I am not a loud, boisterous personality and I tend to be very calm and mild mannered. I have never had a problem in my life with people being rude to me (except for that occasional other driver in traffic). Yet, it was one of the first things I noticed with the Narc’s friends. They were all rude and argumentative and extremely inconsiderate of my viewpoints and/or feelings (which I never force on anyone). When I would say anything to him about it, I inevitably got the same answers; either it was my fault (I did or said something to piss them off), or “that’s the way he/she is, and I already warned you about them”, or he would tell me they weren’t rude or that he simply didn’t notice. Now, I have had a few relationships and in most of them I found that the men were somewhat protective and did not let their friends be rude to me……I’m not even sure it was ever an issue, except for with one mama’s boy, whose mama got to be rude to me (but that’s another story). I could not understand how a group of people could be so rude and hostile. I pondered it a lot. I figured at the time that perhaps they just came from a different way of life than I did and this was how they behaved. When I would tell my friends, they would be appalled and tell me that they didn’t know ANYONE who acted this way. What confounded it even more was the Narc’s refusal to confront any of these people about their behavior towards me in any way. shape or form. Even on his social media page, I would notice that his friends would make comments that in very snide ways, demeaned me or belittled what I had to say. There were a few times he would delete my comments, even. So I stopped commenting on his page. More and more, I felt myself being pushed out of the “group”. More and more I felt like an outsider. It was very gradual and very insidious. It messed with my head. He made me think that there was something wrong with me; that I didn’t know how to behave with people. I KNEW this wasn’t true. I have a career that deals one on one with many people and I am very good at it. But, you see, that’s the special gift of the narcissist and sociopath, they can mess with your head so badly until you’re in a tail spin and you have no idea which way is up. You actually end up asking yourself if you really are the asshole that they say you are. I assure you, you are NOT.
Toward the end of the relationship, it got so bad that his friends could insult me straight to my face while he stood BESIDE me and then he would happily turn to them (after our exchange was over) and say something friendly and happy to them as if he had not heard a word. When I would confront him he would tell me that he did not “hear” them…..that he did not “pay attention” while other people were speaking to me. As I write this, I am thinking to myself, “Ohmygawd, how could I have not seen what was going on?!” But when you’re in the midst of it, you don’t. And narcissists/sociopaths are so good at the role they play. They will tell you all kinds of lies such as “I’m not good at confrontation, I avoid it at all costs.” Or “I am afraid of fights.” And yet you’ll see them scream bloody murder complete with all out cursing at a stranger in a parking lot who gets in their way or they get fired from their job for anger management issues, or attack their own family members. However, when it comes to their flying monkeys, their enablers, they will do anything to preserve the image and to stay in good standing with them. What it comes down to is their MASSIVE insecurity and they will do nothing that might anger those who cannot see through them or cause them to lose these supporters and their fan club.
It goes further and this is what took me a bit longer to understand. His “friends” treatment of me was a reflection of HIS treatment of me. (And that really sounds like one of those “WELL, DUH!!” statements.) When we first started seeing each other we’d meet up with mutual friends and his friends at a local pub. He would often ignore me and cuddle with other women, one in particular, in a corner where they congregated. I would sit alone and ponder this behavior (which doesn’t say much for my own self esteem, but we live and learn). It was obvious that I was NOT included in their “group” and I was so isolated from them that other men (strangers!) would come up to me and offer to buy me a drink. They would get an incredulous look on their faces when I would point out to them my “boyfriend” in the corner with the other woman. When I would confront him about it, he would tell me that it was” just how this group is, they are cuddly and friendly and it means nothing”. It caused me to ask myself whether I had insecurity issues. I didn’t think I did, so it made me shut my mouth lest they think I was jealous or insecure. (Head games and more head games!! Ohhhh the head games!!)
What I didn’t know and didn’t figure out until much much later was that he was setting me up all along. I will never know for sure exactly (or maybe one day I will) but I know he said things to people that colored their opinion of me. Narcissists and sociopaths are famous for this. They will drop tidbits about you very slowly, like slow poison, until other people form a whole new opinion of you. Those who refuse to take the bait become HATED by the narc because they see through his ruse. When I finally ended the relationship with him people came out of nowhere with all kinds of adjectives to describe me………from brutally abusive to jealous and insecure. The things he said to them while we were together is what gave them “permission” to treat me the way they did and then to respond to me the way they did after the break-up.
During the relationship, I was harassed on social media (privately and publicly until I blocked the people), insulted to my face by people, and then sent email threats after the break-up (by his friends). A few even brought up medical issues that were private and my past relationships that they knew NOTHING about. (Which I had told him about and obviously he had shared.) One person had the gall to tell me that I suffered from “battered woman’s syndrome” when I spoke of the escalating verbal and emotional abuse that was going on with him. I didn’t see it at the time, but the N/S was using my past experience in a violent relationship to convince people that I was damaged and that what he was doing was OK and I was just over reacting to it .He convinced people that I had mental health issues, that I had hormonal issues, (he joined a support group for men with menopausal women), that I was jealous and insecure and that people needed to walk on eggshells around me……..to the final blow…….that I was being abusive to him! He told people that I was doing to him, EXACTLY what he was actually doing to me…..right down to telling everyone that he was being stalked by me after the relationship ended. (The reality of that was that when he was “stalking” me, calling me and telling me he knew where I was and he was on his way…….and I was in a public place…….the loud phone conversation prompted strangers to approach me and ask if I needed the police to be called.) This treatment went on from the beginning of the relationship all the way to the very bitter end (and beyond). It’s interesting to observe the people in his life who were “nice” to me. His family and his neighbors, literally, that was IT, the two groups of people who actually knew him on a more intimate basis. (Families usually KNOW who you are, especially when you display a violent temper…….and neighbors either see or hear that temper as well, so there are no games to be played with them.)
Granted, the people were stupid, no matter how I try to look at it. Either they were too blind to see the truth or they were too insecure to stray away from the herd mentality and express their own opinions about me. And some of these people, I had literally known for a lifetime, some for 20 years, some for a few years………and then there were “his” friends. I pondered for several years how something of this magnitude could have happened. How could people be so rude? How could people you’ve known for years turn on you like that? I could not understand for a very long time.(But my life is so much better off without them!) The realization came through in talking to the very few (like two) of my friends who disliked him and re-reading emails he had sent me when he was angry(there were a LOT of them). I actually discovered the same phrases (verbatim) about how he felt towards me that other people used towards me. That was when the light bulb went off inside my head and I knew he had told other people the same thing, using the same words, about me. And beyond this, people knew things about me that they couldn’t possibly have known unless he had shared with them……like the things about my past.
It still mystifies me that other people could be so gullible. But I guess I was gullible myself and I also fell for his mind games for a time. Until I didn’t. And once you see that a monster lives behind the mask of Prince Charming, you become the target to be annihilated. And if you can’t be annihilated, then your character and reputation are the next best things they can destroy. They will do anything to make themselves look like the victim and make you look like the monster.
So, here’s the moral of the story. You’re not insane or hormonally out of control, or jealous or reacting from past experiences. You are reacting the way any normal, sane woman would act in the same situations. You expect your “man” to be there for you, to be supportive and to not tolerate his “friends” disrespecting you in the least. I will never forget asking a friend how he would react if someone treated me this way and I was with him and his response was, “I’d punch them in the mouth”……and that from a person who doesn’t have a violent bone in his body. So, if in your gut, it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If it doesn’t make sense, there’s something wrong. If you have to question whether you ARE insane, you’re not. If you have to ask yourself if you’re really the asshole he says you are, then you’re not. If it doesn’t feel OK, then it’s not. Don’t allow it to continue for an extended period of time or tolerate repeat episodes of the same behavior. Find the nearest door and walk out. All of these things are HUGE RED FLAGS that say RUN RUN RUN and DO NOT LOOK BACK!!!
Find your worth, express your worth, know your worth, embrace your worth.
You are a priceless treasure,