Do Narcissistic Hijackals Hurt You on Purpose?

So often, clients and members ask me if the relentless difficult, toxic people in their lives are that way on purpose. Followed closely by the question: does s/he want to hurt me?

Have you wondered if your mean, blaming partner wants to hurt you? Did you have a #Hijackal parent who told you you were unwanted, or never good enough? Are you in a toxic relationship now?

– What happened in early life to create narcissistic tendencies
– Are #Hijackals self-aware?
– Why toxic people are actually insecure
– Healthier ways to manage toxic relationships
– Keeping yourself safe …and your children
– Making sound decisions about relationship

Listen to this episode to learn more…

Machine Transcript: (there may be quirks, AI isn’t human yet, after all).


Do Hijackals┬« really go out of their way to hurt you? Do they do it on purpose? Do they intend to do it? Do they plan to do it? What’s really up with that? I’m going to give you some insights and some understanding of what’s going on and help you create some better decisions around what you’d like to do next with this information when you’re in a relationship with a Hijackal. So stay tuned.


Big, big question. It comes up so often. People ask me, and I know you ask yourself the question, are these relentlessly difficult people, these toxic people that I call Hijackals? Are they hurting you on purpose? Are they being mean on purpose? Do they know what they’re doing? Do they do it consciously? Do they do it intentionally? So today I want to give you some insights about this because it’s such an important thing to understand.

First of all, important to remember that Hijackals are made. They’re not born. So it’s what happens to them after they entered this world that makes the big difference. Yes, we all may start life with some leanings, but it’s the people in our lives and in the world around us that influence us and teach us that we need to know certain things to survive. And when people are born into a Hijackal home,or a dysfunctional, sad, toxic place to be, then they learn that they have to have certain traits and patterns and cycles in order to survive.

So they learn what they need to be a Hijackal.

Well, how does this happen? Well, here’s just a few ideas. One of the things that happens to children who are born to Hijackals is that they’re only validated when they make their parents look good. And then, just to make matters worse, they’re only validated when they make their parents look good…and, only sometimes. So that creates a great deal of uncertainty and a feeling inside the child that they don’t know how to get what they really need from the parent, which is validation. Validation says:

You matter. Which is saying you matter which is saying you’re important or you’re welcome or I’m glad you’re here. So that’s a big deal. Another thing that happens is those hijackal parents intrude and interfere in the lives of their children with absolutely no concern for their children’s feelingsm or the child’s need for privacy or space or any kind of autonomy at all.

Hijackal parents want to run everything. They want to rule everything and they want to have a say in everything. And that builds up an incredibly difficult feeling in a child to feel that they have no say. And so they get into a place where the parents, the Hijackal parents, prioritize their own needs for control and attention over the needs for their child and of their child. So. after a while, the child finally figures it out and kind of gets an attitude, “Well, if I can’t beat them, I might as well join them.” Then they become like them and they follow their lead,. They follow their model. Now I’ve written about it before, so I won’t say a lot about it right here, but if you’ve had that model, then it’s very difficult to think about another one because you have no space for it. You don’t know how to create any kind of attachment.

And again, I’ll refer you to the episode called on “Unattachable? on my Save Your Sanity podcast because that will help you understand. Another way that it happens, that Hijackals are made not born, is that they have emotionally fragile parents, parents who are anxious or angry or depressed,. They teach their kids that the only way to earn love is to be seen and not heard. So the Hijackal-in-training, the child that will become a Hijackal, has no outlet for expression and they want that. They have no power in their life and they want that. So it’s all about creating insecure, attachment. And that insecure attachment that I’m talking about. You’ll find that in that podcast episode. ( You can find it at ).

Another thing about being born into a family where a Hijackal is created is that Hijackals get offended easily And so, if you had a parent who was offended easily, you learned from that model. A Hijackal adult who grew up in that situation will get offended easily and you know they are a hypersensitive to disrespect or disloyalty or even to the possibility that you might want to take something from them or ask them for something they don’t want to give you. And you also know it’s all about them. So, they have no interest in your thoughts or feelings or needs or wants. They only see it all as you trying to get something from them and they are not going to give it to you. And, in order to withhold it, they take power over you. So in their very sensitive, fragile beginnings, as children, they begin to develop this high sensitivity, this hyper-vigilance and hypersensitivity.

Everything feels like an attack to them. And you know that that’s true because you see how they react.

You might have just said, “You know, it’s not looking like a great day for a picnic.”

And they’ll say, “What are you saying? I can’t choose the proper day?

You know, everything seems like an attack. They react and they overreact. This is their whole perception of the relationship: what’s happening only in this moment. They don’t put it in a context of the whole relationship or the history of their relationship. It’s this moment, this moment when they’re feeling attacked, this moment that is not okay with them and they don’t hold any memories of the good times. They are just reacting right now. And that’s how they roll. They may or may not want to hurt you, but that’s not what they’re thinking about in that minute. Is this making sense to you? I hope so.

It’s such a big issue. Do you know, I’ve told you before I was raised by two Hijackal parents. Therefore. I attracted Hijackal relationships. I’ve married, divorced and co-parented with a Hijackal. So difficult. I understand this. I’m with you.

Here’s a big question and I know you may not like this question because you are kind of hard-wired to be compassionate and figure things out. But the big question is:

“Does it really matter whether they wanted to hurt you? Because the real issue is: are you going to stay and are you going to keep your kids in an environment where you, and the children are continually unsafe? Hypersensitivity and missing real empathy leads to being primed to be abusive. And yes, you may have read about the debate whether Hijackals are so lacking in self awareness that they’re incapable of owning the harm they cause. That’s just so wrong.

Hijackals are dishonest, selfish and manipulative. It doesn’t matter how they got that way. It had nothing to do with you. Hijackals are dishonest, selfish and manipulative, and they make themselves out to be victims. They demand the benefit of the doubt in all situations because they are definitely not going to allow themselves to be wrong or shamed. Therefore, Hijackals are unwilling to be accountable. In fact, they’re almost incapable of being accountable. That’s all part of their need to manipulate and it’s allpart of their manipulations, too, when you think about it, isn’t it?

Sometimes it’s just their abject self-centeredness. That’s true. But too often you’ve experienced this one, I’m sure. Too often it’s payback for some perceived grievance or insecurity and they just respond to that with an absolute need to overpower you, control you and make you wrong.

This is another big question: ii they didn’t have some control, how come it is that they can paint a public picture of perfection, and yet at home, create such a private place of pain?

How is it that they could control themselves at work or in the community or at church and paint this public picture of perfection, and yet at home, behave so despicably, so damagingly, so destructively, so demeaningly, and create such a private place of pain.

Well, they must have some control, mustn’t they? They’re choosing what serves their purpose at the moment, so if they need the job, they need the supply, they need the adoration in the workplace., they put on the public picture of perfection. At home, though, they like to use you for increasing their feelings of power, strength and control. Clearly, they have some decision-making power over how they behave and where they behave that way.

Right. As we’re thinking about, because I’m sure you’ve asked a Hijackal, “Why do you behave so well with that person and you don’t behave that way with me? ”

You know, I remember as a young adult, maybe I was 20 or 21 and I asked my mother who was a raving Hijackal, “Why are you so friendly, laughing and nice when we go to lunch with your people in hospice?” She was a fundraiser for hospice. Right. It made her look really, really good. Although everybody really hated seeing her coming because they knew that she was going to ask them for money. But I asked her,: “Why are you laughing, happy and affable with your hospice people at lunch and yet you are so nasty and miserable with me?

And of course she said, “That’s not true. That’s not true. I’m the same everywhere.”

Have you heard that from your Hijackal? Oh, I just bet you have.

Now rejecting the abuser, the Hijackal over time, we’ll sometimes get them to admit that they were abusive and mean. They’ll seldom admit to being wrong but they might just see an advantage in admitting that they were mean or abusive. It’s hard to come by. But sometimes, when you leave them and you refuse to go back, one of their ploys is to admit that they were mean and abusive and, and then say, “I’ll change, I’ll change, I’ll change, I’ll do anything, I’ll change.”

And, oh, you want to go, don’t you? You just want to say, “Oh, that’s what I have been longing for. ” But they go and they come to see me. I see couples all over the world through video conferencing and if I can help you just go to When I talk with couples, it’s not long before I can see whether there are Hijackal tendencies becasue they don’t really have the ability for very long to cover them up.

Yes, a Hijackal will say they want their relationship to work. They’ll agree to get some help with you. And they may make some superficial changes for a hot minute. They will sometimes do it to look good to the therapist. Mostly what they do with the therapist, counselor, or relationship consultant is they use all of their energy to manipulate, lie, deceive and tell stories that how wonderful they are and how bad you are. And then, they want to get the professional to agree with them. And gang up on you.

Yes, maybe, you’ve had that experience. So many of my clients tell me that they have. But if you reject an abuser and you keep that rejection, they will try that out. They will maintain that you are the problem. And most of them won’t change. I really mean most, most, most, most.

Hijackals come in varieties, but the two main ones are the ones that are grandiose and entitled and falsely superior. So they’re never going to apologize for anything. And then, they come in the covert passive, vulnerable kind. They’re going to say, “How could you possibly hurt me this much? ”

You’ve heard that before. I’m sure you have, because that’s the way they do relationship. Either way, they’ll make you wrong. It’ll always be your fault. You know everything in the relationship is your fault anyway, when you’re with a Hijackal.

So, I’m going to make a really big request of you. I know you’re immediately going to go, “Oh, I don’t think I can.”

, Again, I am going to make this request anyway. And just please, for a moment, suspend any judgment and entertain the idea of saying yes. Will you stop behaving from that place of feeling sorry for your abuser. I don’t care what happened to them. It is sad. It is terrible. It is wrong, but you didn’t do it.

And if you’re in relationship with them, whether you’re their parent or they’re your parents, where they’re your partner or your ex, it won’t help to feel sorry for them. Yes, from a distance or perspective, understanding the nature of human beings? Yes, we can have some compassion, but when you’re in it, don’t be compassionate about it. You need to take care of you. You need to have at least equal self compassion.

To help, I’m going to give you my two biggest nuggets that I give anybody I ever work with or any groups I’m speaking to. The first one is: THE TRUTH IS WHAT YOU DO. I don’t care what you say. The truth is what you do, your behavior.

Therefore the second one is: ALWAYS BELIEVE BEHAVIOR. Not words. Always believe other people’s behavior, not their words, because their behavior is their belief. And they could say just the opposite, but they will behave the way they truly believe, no matter what they say!

That’s why you might need help. You can have an initial one hour consultation for new clients for only 97 US at

One thing we know for sure, the Hijackal always moves to protect the Hijackal, and never to protect you.

The research shows that Hijackals actually understand that they’re amoral. They don’t really get the concepts of conscience, or respect, or empathy, or caring. They know that those are good things, but they don’t really “get” it. They don’t understand it They don’t recognize it. They don’t know it. And therefore. If you don’t have a gift, you can’t give it. I might want to give you $1,000 but, unless I have $1,000, I can’t give it to you. I may understand that. I should be giving you respect and caring and empathy and safety and trust and all that. But, if I don’t have it within myself, I can’t give it to you. And Hijackals don’t have it. So, they can’t give you something that they don’t have. Don’t expect it. Don’t condone their behaviors. Don’t enable their behaviors. And, don’t put up with their behaviors.

Is your head now saying, “Oh, but if you really understood it,. Oh, I think there’s a really good person under there. Oh, I really know that If that that injured child would just heal.,,,”

No, no, no, no. There you go. Trying to think that you can go back to their birth and change them and you can’t, I’m sorry. You may like to, but you can’t. And you know what Hijackals don’t want you to because Hijackals believe there’s nothing wrong with them. Right?

There’s the catch 22. Don’t you be doing it if you want to stop the crazy-making and regain your sanity! ? Don’t think that you have the magic to change them. You have the magic to change you. You don’t have the magic to them. So Hijackals need to hit off you in order to survive you’re their food and their fuel. And that’s why we say that you are their supply.

That’s their nature. That’s how Hijackals roll. That’s the way they have been taught. That’s the way they were accultured. That’s the dysfunction of the family they grew up in and you can’t change it.

The big question that I’m answering here: Are Hijackals doing what they’re doing on purpose to hurt you or to be nasty.

The answer is: sometimes. They just don’t have an interest in you. They just don’t care about you. They care about themselves.

So, does it really matter if they’re doing it on purpose?

That’s a really important question. You may be curious about whether they’re doing it on purpose. And I could talk to you for hours about the research and the background and, and the whole construction of the narcissistic personality or psychopathic, sociopathic, histrionic , or borderline personalities, and all the traits, patterns, and cycles. But you don’t need to know that . Whether they do it on purpose doesn’t matter. The fact is they do it. And what matters is understanding what I’ve shared today and making a healthy decision for yourself and your children.

Can you now agree that it really doesn’t matter if they do it on purpose?

It really doesn’t matter if they intend to be that cruel, or that devaluing, or that demeaning, or that offhand. What matters is they are that way. What matters is your children are being effected. Little children are having this behavior model to them. Little children are being told they’re not valuable unless they make their parents look good, unless they make that Hijackal parent look good.

Haven’t you heard a parent–and I know not all parents who say this are Hijackals,but if falls in the Hijackal category–when a parent says to a child that’s crying, “What are you crying for? I’ll give you something to cry about.”

How narcissistic is that? “I want to be the author of your crying. I want to be the one that made you cry. Whatever it is that you’re experiencing. I didn’t cause it. So let me slip in and be the one who causes you to cry.”

It’s crazy-making. You know it’s crazy making. Hijackals are crazy making, but you have the opportunity to think about what I’ve written here today and to say,

“is this okay for me or my children to live this way?

And if it’s not okay, let’s work together, let’s figure this out. Don’t just go walking out. You need to build yourself. You need strategies, and you need to try them out. You need new ways of communicating. You need to try them out. You need to see what’s happening. You need to see if the Hijackal will make a few little changes. But you know it’s not by telling them they need to change. No, no.

There are all different strategies for this and you can learn them and you know why you need to learn them. Because even if it doesn’t change the relationship you’re in, you will be empowered when you leave with all kinds of better ways of thinking, better ways of understanding your values and your vision for your life and your beliefs in your, you know, you have good strategies and skills and that you can do things and you’ll be empowered to move forward.

Another reason for not leaving–unless there is sexual or physical abuse, under which case you should immediately go to the police and leave or have the Hijackal removed–is because you need to get your finances in order. You need to get your assets in order. You need to understand everything about the way that your relationship has been constructed and make the safest possible preparations to exit that you can.

I’m Dr. Rhoberta Shaler. I’m so glad you’re here because I want to help you and I hope today you have learned things that will help you. You can always visit my website, and listened to my other podcast, Transforming Relationship with Emotional Savvy. You can find them wherever you like to get your podcasts .

Come on my live stream every Monday night at 6:00 PM Pacific time. That’s where I talk about a different topic every week and you can join in the chat, share your experiences and ask me questions. So go to my YouTube channel , ForRelationshipHelp , and subscribe and hit the bell when you subscribe so you’ll be notified when things are going on there or when there’s a new video for you. I look forward to talking with you soon.

Join in on my Facebook page , RelationshipHelpDoctor. There you can make comments, or tell me about a topic that you would like me to cover. Do you have a question you’d like me to answer? I will make a best effort to include that soon. Take care and talk soon.

[inaudible] [inaudible].



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