They make you question your sanity and second-guess yourself constantly. That’s their game…and, they are very good at it!

Every time you think of being near a Hijackal, you get anxious. Why? Because the main purpose of Hijackal behavior is to win.

So what’s a Hijackal? And how do I know if I’m with one??

Recognizing chronically difficult people requires admitting that they not only like to win, they have to win. Yes, to win…and in all circumstances and at all times. Yes, they will give you the illusion of agreeing with you…but, only when it suits their purposes, or their longer “game.”

Know one? I’m thinking you must because you’ve found yourself here on this page with me. You’re ready to escape the Hijackal Trap.

It might be your partner, ex,  parent,  co-worker, or someone in any organization–family, workplace, government, court, church, community project, board, or association.




I am Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, and I coined the term, Hijackals™, to describe predictable patterns of behavior that drive you crazy…but you may not know why and how. That’s because everything they do or say seems somewhat plausible. And, that’s how you get caught in The Hijackal Trap!

If you are not strong in your personal sense of self or conviction—who you are, what you value, what you deserve, what you will and will not tolerate, what your inalienable rights are, you are more likely to become entangled with a Hijackal.

Here is my definition of Hijackal:

Hijackals: recognizing chronically difficult people
“People who hijack relationships–for their own purposes–while scavenging them for power, status, and control.”

Now, do you know one?

If you feel hoodwinked, scapegoated, always wrong, always blamed, and powerless, you are likely in the grips of a Hijackal.

GOOD NEWS: Once you recognize the Hijackal behavior, you can immediately take steps to change it, and I can help you uncover these patterns, discover the causes, and recover from the emotional abuse they cause when they stay under your radar. 

When you’re first waking up to the fact that “It’s not me!” it is a revelation. All this time you thought there was something terribly wrong with you.

  • “I’m not patient enough.”
  • I’m not kind enough.”
  • “I’m not compassionate enough.”
  • “I cannot seem to get the story straight or follow the plot.”
  • “It always seems to be my fault that s/he is unhappy, unhealthy, unsatisfied.”
  • “I should be more accepting, understanding, patient, thoughtful, considerate…..”

Right? You blamed yourself for what was going continuously sideways in the relationship. Recognizing chronically difficult people is not always easy. One thing is for sure with a Hijackal:  the problem–and the battle–is within them, not with you.

Their game is to keep you thinking everything is your fault!  IT IS NOT! Sure, after you’ve been with a Hijackal for a while, you begin to build resentment, anger, and a sense of always being wrong. Sometimes, then, you react in ways you may not be proud of. That’s on you, of course, But, you are later blamed for those reactions…eternally. You are continuously made wrong for those things by the Hijackal, endlessly reminded of slips you have made, and are doomed to more of the same until you agree with their low opinion of you.

You cannot win. You can never win…because a Hijackal MUST WIN! 

You are on the path to becoming assertive and strategic. That is essential to leveling the playing field when your partner is a Hijackal. And, really, the game analogy is an accurate one. When one person in a relationship HAS TO WIN, it’s game on…forever.

You’re here, reading this. Great start! I can help you and I want to.

I want to for two reasons:

  1. You deserve to breathe, to live fully, and to express who you are in life and relationships. You have difficulty doing this when you are constantly overshadowed by a looming Hijackal.check mark and target
  2. Your children NEED to be protected from Hijackal behavior and from chronically difficult people. You have to see it, believe it, understand it, and learn how to strategically encounter it for the best possible outcomes.

If all this is sounding way TOO familiar, great. You’ve on the path to change, to standing up on your back legs and saying “NO MORE!”

Let’s talk right away. You don’t have time to waste because every day is disempowering and negatively affecting your children. Recognizing chronically difficult people is the start, and then you learn to be strategic.  You can work with me right away by scheduling a free one-time half-hour Relationship Relief consultation. 

If you need more insights into Hijackal behavior before you are ready to stand up to it, read some of my books. I suggest you start with:

Get Immediate Help!

PRIVATE brief consultation by video with Dr. Rhoberta Shaler. New clients only.

Get your relationship questions answered

You are not alone. Join our Closed Facebook Group, Optimize Life! A private place to share your journey, your challenges, your questions & to figure out your next best steps.

Get regular insights & updates

Bi-weekly blog posts & relationship tips to your inbox to read at your leisure. Lots of info about Managing Chronically Difficult Behaviors, new content added regularly

Let’s talk soon!

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler provides help for recognizing chronically difficult peopleI am Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, The Relationship Help Doctor. I offer urgent and ongoing care for couples and companies globally. I am a relationship consultant and educator, speaker and author. For over thirty years in Canada and the United States, I have calmed the turbulence of troubled relationships. I offer the insights and pattern-breaking skills that lead to blame-free, game-free, non-manipulative relationships.

My specialty is working with the partners, ex, adult children, and co-workers of relentlessly difficult people.