Biblical Strategies for Narcissistic Abuse and Flying Monkeys: Lessons from Jehoshaphat

Dealing with narcissistic abuse can make one feel helpless and attacked. A favorite strategy of narcissists is to convince others they are the victim and you are the perpetrator. They are very good at preparing a narrative behind your back and manipulating your emotions to justify this narrative to others, creating what are often called “flying monkeys”. These are people who are loyal to the narcissist no matter the situation, often dismissing your reality and therefore, contribute another layer of abuse.  

I remember hearing the words, “I’m not the only one who sees it” in marriage counseling as a case was built against me supported by names of those closest to us. At first those words hit me until our marriage counselor later explained it was classic narcissistic behavior. I’m forever grateful to God for such a counselor as most stories I hear from women who have attended marriage counseling with a narcissist do not have positive results and are instead exposed to a higher level of abuse. 

How should we respond as Christian women when the narrative is stacked against us with accusations from all sides? We can learn how to handle such situations by studying Jehoshaphat’s example in 2 Chronicles 20. 

Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

– 2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

King Jehoshaphat’s story starts in 2 Chronicles 17 where we learn a few things:

  • He strengthened Judah’s army and fortified the land 
  • He removed idols from Judah 
  • He traveled around the towns teaching the Lord’s instruction
  • He grew the respect of Judah as he grew in power

As a result, God laid fear on the surrounding kingdoms so none of them wanted to attack Jehoshaphat and the land of Judah lived in peace for many years under his rule. 

But that changed when Jehoshaphat allied himself with King Ahab of Israel in a battle that was never endorsed by God. Despite eliciting the Lord’s anger, Jehoshaphat received mercy as he had “committed himself to seeking God” as stated in 2 Chronicles 19:3. However, Jehoshaphat’s alignment with Ahab was the turning point in which the peace of Judah came to a halt. Several armies declared war on Jehoshaphat and he quickly found himself and Judah surrounded. 

Let’s pause here for a minute and see how this applies to narcissistic abuse. Just as Jehoshaphat aligned himself with King Ahab, a man whose very nature of pride and selfishness opposed God, we may be shocked to find similar alliances in our own lives.  Although Jehoshaphat was aware on some level the war Ahab had invited him to was not ordained by God, he participated anyway. Despite being warned by the prophet, Micaiah, Jehoshaphat temporarily misplaced his loyalty with Ahab instead of following the truth in his spirit. Does that last statement hit your gut just a little bit? I know it does for me. 

Most of us have been warned by at least one other person early on in our relationship with a narcissist but we continued anyway. We often know in our spirit something is wrong yet we ignore it and move forward in situations or relationships we should instead remove ourselves from. What do we do when we then find ourselves surrounded by those who wish to destroy us?  

In this very situation, Jehoshaphat went to the LORD for guidance, as should we. He called on his community of believers as they fasted and prayed together.  Jehoshaphat knew “When we are faced with any calamity… We can cry out to you to save us and you will hear us and rescue us.” 2 Chronicles 20:9 NLT

Jehoshaphat did not try to fight a battle that was stacked against him. Instead, he surrendered the outcome to God. Often we find ourselves facing an army of flying monkeys and our instinct is to defend ourselves. However, our attempts are futile. What if instead we left it in God’s hands just as Jehoshaphat did?

“O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”

– 2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT

God answered Jehoshaphat’s plea with the following words:

“Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this might army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 2:15) We can hold on to this truth in our own situations.

When we feel surrounded and attacked on all sides by those aligned with our abuser or those who just don’t know the whole story, we can rest assured God knows the truth. God’s instructions to Jehoshaphat were simple: stand still and watch the LORD’s victory (2 Chronicles 20:17). We do not even need to fight! 

By maintaining our focus on God and understanding the battle with darkness is not ours but His, we can continue to give God praise just as the people of Judah did. 

“At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.”

– 2 Chronicles 20:22 

We may not be witness to the internal turmoil from our perspective but you can be sure anyone aligned with an abuser will certainly feel it. Without the fuel of a response, it’s only a matter of time before the narcissist and army of flying monkeys turns on itself. This may or may not be visible from outside the abuser’s camp, but remember: it’s not our battle. 

We are instructed to leave the fighting and the outcome in God’s hands in full surrender. What does full surrender look like in this instance? It means regardless of outcome. In other words, the battle our abuser is fighting is not with us but rather with God. We can trust God to handle His own battles and focus instead on our personal relationship with God as we keep our eyes on Him.  

Need someone to talk to?

Are you a woman who feels trapped in a destructive marriage or overwhelmed by fear when contemplating life after divorce? I understand your pain. I have been in your shoes, feeling lost and broken, unsure of the road ahead. But I want you to know that there is hope.

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