It seems a long time ago now, that I began assigning inner-animals to my fellow survivors. It all started after I cut contact with my family, and took my first steps on my healing journey. As I began to shift some of the constant anxiety that had held me in its grip my whole life, my cheeky sense of humor began to shine through. That is how my inner-monkey came to life.
So when we set up SwanWaters it took me all of seconds to come up with my username: Monkey.
Although I am now flying high,
I am NOT a Flying Monkey!
So what are these Flying Monkeys? I always think of them as a toxic person’s remote controls. They are the people that enable, perpetuate and justify the abuse. Here are a few typical phrases that the Flying Monkey may utter:
Oh yes, your mother warned me you would say that!
Your father’s health is really deteriorating
I know that he hurt you, but his intentions were good
Well, nobody’s perfect!
I am just trying to understand why you left, I am not trying to defend anyone
The problem with those, and so very many other things that Flying Monkeys say, is that they may not be manipulative. For all you know someone is really trying to understand what is going on.
How To Spot a Flying Monkey
The key to Flying Monkey Spotting is in the energy. Flying Monkeys are looking to knock you off balance, are fishing for information and are generally disingenuous. As soon as you feel unbalanced around another person (especially someone who is somehow connected to your abuser, so someone from their community or social circle) start asking yourself:
Does what they say line up with how they say it? Energy is always a give-away of someone’s real intentions.
Are they sharing as much information about themselves and their lives as they ask of you?
Are they making excuses to snoop around, look at your diary or use you computer?
Do they often correct themselves when making statements about your abuser? When I saw them last week, I mean last month. Perhaps they are covering their tracks.
Do they keep emphasizing their loyalty to you or how little contact they have with your abuser? Who are they trying to convince?
Of course this is not an exact science. When dealing with people that are somehow in contact with your abuser, it is always a good idea to keep an eye out. You are better save than sorry. Besides, your real friends will understand if you are a little guarded with information after what you have been through. That is what makes them real friends!
That’s why they have inner-ions, inner-elephants, inner-rhinos and inner-border-collies!
(Thanks guys, you rock!)