Emotional Manipulation: When Hijackals Hide Venom In Chocolate – Dr. Rhoberta Shaler

Toxic people–emotional manipulators–have an absolute need to win.

They NEED to have power over you in order to feel safe in their world.

That’s their problem. Don’t make it yours.


  • Examples to help you recognize emotional manipulation
  • Why #Hijackals need to win
  • Why you need to discard your rose-colored glasses
  • Dr. Shaler shares some examples of emotional manipulation from her earlier life
  • Why you need to believe your gut instincts
  • Why not to override those gut instincts
  • Seeing the emotional manipulators need to dominate
  • Strengthen your resolve to step away

To get power over you, Hijackals are masters of emotional manipulation. And, they serve it up two ways: smooth or aggressive. Smooth approaches catch you off guard because you so want to believe them and enjoy the love and peace. Aggressive approaches make you fearful and unable to think clearly in the moment. Therefore, masters of manipulation!

Hijackals are always honing their skills of emotional manipulation. If you’ve had a toxic parent–a #Hijackal parent, you may be so used to the games that you don’t notice them at first. After today’s episode, you will. Don’t spend a second beating yourself up for not seeing it, just pick yourself up, face in a new direction (away), and make some new decisions.

You don’t deserve to be the prey of a #Hijackal predator. You need to see emotional manipulation

Machine Transcript:

You know that horrible feeling that you get when you just recognize that you’ve been had? That somebody has manipulated you, somebody has gotten their way… even though you were trying very hard to make sure that everything was equitable?

Hijackals, those toxic difficult people, they are the masters of manipulation.

We’re going to talk about some aspects of that today, and particularly how they hide venom in chocolate. Stay tuned.

So today…we’ve talked about this before, so many times, about how hijackals just have to win. They have to win in the moment, they have to win in every situation. They love to win everywhere, but if they can’t be winning at work, they make sure they double down and get even more focused on winning at home.

We have to recognize that the real strategy of the hijackal is full time manipulation. The hijackal is always honing the skills of emotional manipulation. It’s a must for them in his or her world and remember they’re equal numbers of male and female hijackals. They look a little different from each other, but they’re still hijackals.

In their world there’s only one place to be and that acceptable place, and the only acceptable place, to be is on top. Abject fear lives everywhere else for them and that is totally intolerable to the hijackal. So when they’re living from fear that keeps them dancing on hot coals, and knowing that complacency leads to further discomfort of not being in control, they double down.

Hijackaks often don’t appear to, but they definitely do have fragile egos (now don’t get too compassionate on me ? ). Understand that. They do everything in their power to keep themselves from anything or anyone who could shatter that fragile ego. Even just by seeing through them (which you’ll get better at as you learn what to look for) they don’t like to be seen, and they will do everything to make you wrong if they think you can accurately see them.

So the fear they live in is immense.

Yes, do not go down that pathway. Everything looks and feels like a potential foe. So they’re always looking to vanquish it and stay ahead of it and control it fully. And that’s the only way that they believe they can beat that fear into submission. It’s an awful way to live, but you didn’t create them like that you can’t fix them.

Maybe you have a little compassion, that there are people in the world who are raised to think that’s the only way to be, as hijackals are, but that’s not your job to fix them.

You can’t fix them. They don’t want fixing, and you know, so hijackals, they’re emotional manipulators. They use that emotional manipulation, to relentlessly scavenge for power status and control. Why? Because it’s cheap, although it’s unethical and unfair, and it’s also devious and covert, as well as downright sneaky and underhanded and undermining, right? You’ve experienced all that.. devious, covert, sneaky, underhanded, and definitely undermining.

Hijackals usually have both the long and the short con in their repertoire. So when you’re dating them, this eventually becomes evident. Usually in hindsight, unfortunately, but once you have that sight, hindsight or not, know that you can pick yourself up and go in a better direction.

So what do they do? Flattery, attention, gifts, special events, words of appreciation, words of acceptance, even though they’ve been telling you they are unacceptable all of a sudden they accept you. And they acknowledge you. It’s all wonderful, right? I mean, who would ever say no to those? Who would reject those? Who would question them? Those are things we want to hear. And you want to believe that you’re special and celebrated and doted on! Of course, you do. You’re human. That’s what we all want.

So hijackals play on that desire that you have. Who gets suspicious and questions the motives of a potential mate who treats you so well when you’re dating? Well, not likely you – because you’re enjoying basking in the sun of their attention. Who wouldn’t? It’s what everyone longs for. And for the moment, you’ve got it. So don’t beat yourself up. If a hijackal did all of that, and then you thought it was wonderful…now you find it isn’t …don’t go back and beat yourself up. It was normal. They knew it was normal. That’s how they gotcha.

So, I’m not suggesting that you immediately start looking over your shoulder and becoming hyper vigilant. But I do invite you to be free of rose colored glasses. You’ve heard me say that before. Throw away the rose colored glasses because they make it really difficult to recognize red flags. And I know it’s lovely to be in that rose colored glasses place, because you’ve got all those hormones running. You know a couple of episodes back I talked about the hijackal haze, where the hormones are running, and go back and listen to that one.

I’ll tell you a little bit about me that I haven’t shared before. Back long time ago, when I became aware of how invalidated I was in my childhood, I was dating a seemingly pleasant, benign and interesting man.

And every now and again, yeah, he would say or do something that seemed out of character, and maybe a little bit mean.

But because I was raised by an invalidating hijackal mother, and a covert hijackal Father, I would think, you know, what did I do wrong? What buttons did I push? I better work harder. I better not do that anymore. He may go away and it’ll be my fault.

Have you ever said that to yourself? It was just familiar for me to assume that I was the one making the mistakes, and to question my behavior. I wasn’t wise enough or experienced enough to know that I had been well trained at home to think everything was my fault. And I was simply playing out the familiar pattern with this guy. So, in another episode, I mentioned another man from my past, who brought up some supposed injustice i’d perpetrated on him and complained that I had hurt him. Familiar?

Now, that’s not to say that I hadn’t been fully capable of doing or saying something hurtful, but I certainly was in this case unjustly accused, which you often will be by hijackals. They accuse you of something hoping that you’re going to start blaming yourself or looking internally, which is always a good thing to do. But they think if you take on the blame then they will get the advantage. It’s manipulation.

So I was unjustly accused and I asked him for more information. And then what did he do? The crocodile tears burst forth. You know, significant drama. Let’s put in that… that’s what hijackals love to provide! But it was too much for me in my invalidated state. ( This is long ago! ) So I caved. I took it on as my fault. Now you know why I do my work. I’ve lived through all of this and I had to develop the programs and the thoughts and do the research to figure this out, because it wasn’t available.

Now, here’s the curious part. As I was apologizing, for what, to my mind, I hadn’t done, and as I was promising to never do it again, there was another more insightful conversation going on in my mind. And right at that exact moment, I remember thinking, why am I placating this man? Why am I promising not to do something I haven’t done? Why am I not confronting the underlying issues?

So, you know, I was beginning to think clearly. But my immediate answer way back then –  this is about, I don’t know, 35 years ago – my immediate answer was, “oh, I don’t want to lose him and I’d have to start all over and find another relationship”. Ever had that thought? Hijackals count on it. Right. They they know that if they just keep you on the string, that you’re more likely to stay than go.

When I think about that, in hindsight, I cringe. What was I thinking? Apparently I wasn’t. And so I’m talking about this today because I had an error in judgment way back then. And I spend my days helping people see that that is an error in judgment and it is erroneous to take it on.

So then there was another fellow and he did something that was not common to me. He got physical. He grabbed me by the neck one day, and simultaneously pushed my recently broken ankle out from under me. And at that moment, I finally got it. Here was an emotional manipulator, preying on me to improve his status in his own mind. And like all hijackals (I could write a book about that guy….probably did ?)…He had a need to constantly scavenge for power status and control, as I said, and I was his unlucky focus.

Well, it was unlucky for both of us because he thought that he could manipulate me and I had woken up. So it was unlucky for him. I was horrified by the realization that his behavior was so like my mother’s that it was kind of cloaked in familiarity. It was actually a replay of my family script. And it was so close to me that I almost didn’t see it. But on that day, fortunately, on the very day, when I was grabbed and pushed down, it all came clear. He’d been escalating these hijackal behaviors on all fronts for a couple of months. And this completely contradicted the fabulous courting behaviors he’d been showering on me.

When I looked back, which I did very, very quickly, thank heaven. and I thought “when I broke my ankle and needed his help, he told me that he couldn’t be expected to take care of me. Did I want to ruin his career? Didn’t I like the lifestyle and the things that he was able to take me to? And wasn’t I a big girl and couldn’t I manage on my own? And who was I even to ask?”  And although I was in terrible pain, and only able to crawl around on all fours, he was saying to me, well, you can manage, what would you do if I weren’t here? Whoo, big red flags, right? Here’s another one from that same guy, when a visitor to town took a wrong turn and tried to correct his mistake, while going too quickly and hit the back of my car at a stop sign. I immediately told him about it. I called him and I told him about it. His only response was, you’re supposed to be here we have tickets to this basketball game and you’re wasting them. And he pointed out the cost of the tickets and the effort he’d made to get them. And then to add insult to injury, he suggested that if I’d started out earlier to meet him, I wouldn’t have been hit.

Do you hear that hijackal lack of logic? That’s what masquerades for logic to a hijackal. It is crazy making! Does it ring a bell to you?

Because this is when it all started to make sense. Patterns established in my own very dysfunctional childhood just stood out in the cold light in which they were created. And I saw them, and I walked away from them into a better place into understanding and change. Of course, I left that relationship, there was no hope for it. His habits ran deep and his need for status, power and control…they just seemed to be insatiable. He had none of it in his childhood, and he wanted it all from me, and it became clear.

Now, as I said, that was a long time ago, and it pushed me to reevaluate and recalibrate, to take a harsh look at my family’s script, and choose more consciously and wisely. So somewhere in my childhood, I had been taught to tolerate manipulation and you might have too. And you may now be tolerating behaviors that you you couldn’t previously recognize for what they are. They’re just blatant manipulations and power grabs. So believe your instincts, if something in your relationship feels off, it feels unfair, it feels punishing or demanding or unsafe. Listen to your gut, not to your head. Your head will try to convince you that it’s your fault and you deserve it. And your gut is screaming, this is wrong. So listen to your gut.

Emotional manipulators want and need to dominate. Whether they do it covertly or overtly. It’s kind of like they have a motto start small and grow. And that need to win, to be right at all costs and diminish you in the process is a moment to moment need, and you can’t meet it, and you can’t fix it either.

As I said, hijackals hide venom in chocolate. Think about that. They hide venom in chocolate, they can be so nice, especially if they want something or they think you’re going to leave them or you’re going to take away their rights or their money. And they know just what you like, and what you want and what you need. And then they play the odds to get their desired result. And most times, some of them are clumsy, but many of them are very, very smart. And they’re capable of great finesse. And other times they’re just downright aggressive. You know, there’s a good book by Jay Carter and it’s called Nasty People. And he wrote this:

“It’s well known that messages, double messages in childhood, contribute to self doubt and certainty and anxiety. The mother who says I love you, and then goes rigid when her child hugs her [my mom] is sending a very destructive double message. She’s pretending to send messages of concern and love. But in truth, she’s throwing psychological daggers. Always look for the intent.

He says, “Is this person just inappropriate? Or does he or she have a motive? You can usually tell by the way they live their life. A passive aggressive person like this enjoys causing an effect without taking responsibility for it.”

That’s from Nasty People by Jay Carter.

So on the side of supposed finesse, hijackals hide their venom in chocolate and they often get away with it. Why? Because the rest of us simply either don’t see it coming, or we fail to confront the behaviors. Sometimes we’re just so shocked, our jaws are dropped. And we’re thinking, What? No one behaves that way! And then we talk ourselves out of confronting it. And we say things like, “surely we have to give them the benefit of the doubt or they’re having a bad day”. So we have to watch for that. Have you ever had anybody say to you, “I hope you won’t be offended”. but at some level, you know, you’re about to be offended. And on another level, you kind of want to show that you can take it whatever it is, they have to say. And you feel like you have to demonstrate that you’re open minded and willing to look at your behaviors because you’re so evolved. But you know in your gut that something nasty is coming and probably something untrue. But it’s all about the intent of their message.

So they say things like, if you really loved me you would…, right. So all of these things are venom. And they are hidden in chocolate, they look appealing. And somehow they can sugar coat and chocolate coat some of the most unsavory things ever.

So I hope that you will have a think about the things that I’ve said to you today. Certainly, I’m disclosing some ways that I learned all the things that I share with you. And I went and did the research and made sure that I bring it to you so you have the chance of having your mind changed. Before much more damage is done.

I hope you’ll hop on over to my YouTube channel… there is lots over there. I’m adding videos every week. So go over there and subscribe. Don’t miss anything, subscribe, as I said to this podcast, and in the meantime until we talk again.

But before we talk again, take stock of some of the things that I’ve said, Are you being attracted to chocolate, even though you know, there’s a great chance you’re not going to feel good after you eat it? Well, the same thing is true about emotional manipulators. You really want them to be all that in a bag of chips, but they are not and you know it in your gut. So you’re going to have to be the one who changes. And I have provided lots and lots and lots of insights for you in this podcast to know what’s up and how to make those changes. So until we talk again, be really good to yourself. Don’t get down on yourself with this information. Just go Oh, there’s a window of new information. I’m going to take And move forward in a better way.

I hope you’ve had some new insights, some ideas and strategies to help you gain clarity and confidence from moving forward toward greater emotional health and safety. You deserve that and so do your children. If you found value here and would like to support this podcast with $1 or five each month, please do so Learn more about how to work with me via video conference, join me optimize circles or subscribe to this podcast on my YouTube channel at my website, transforming relationship calm talk soon

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