Handing Hijackal Holiday Horrors

The holidays bring out the worst in Hijackals. I’m sure you’ve noticed. Why does this happen? What do you need to be watching for? And, what do you do to? This episode can help you reclaim your power during the holidays. 

When you’re living with, have left, or were raised by Hijackals–those relentlessly difficult, self-centered people, you may dread the holidays. Hijackals are much more than attention-seekers. They are attention-demanders. That’s why they hijack holidays, leading you to dread both them AND the holidays!


  • 10 ways Hijackals ruin holidays
  • Why Hijackals–narcissistic people, anti-social people–think they MUST be in control
  • How Hijackals play on your hopes, emotions, and expectations of the holidays
  • Why you should take your own car to events…especially during the holidays

Were you abused? Are you being abused? Are you healing from abuse?. I’m here to help.

Let’s talk soon.




So tonight, we’re going to be talking about handling Hijackal Holiday horse. And we need to talk about this because Hijackals Love to ruin holidays and celebrations. It’s a pattern. If you think about it, they’ve always done it, you dread it.

I wanted to give you some insights into it in this broadcast, and some ideas about what you can do about it. It’s very important to reclaim your power, when things are very important to you. And I hope tonight will be something that will empower you, that will give you some ideas about standing up and saying no, not when it’s unsafe, but maybe when it’s uncomfortable. So if you haven’t been here before, welcome.

And if you have Welcome back, I always appreciate people who will support the podcast, you can do that, at, your sanity your sanity, there, you can make a one time donation or a small monthly donation. And it really helps to keep things on the air and moving smoothly. So thank you to those who are doing it and have done it. And I invite you all to consider doing it.

So the problem with the holidays, is that there’s a certain amount of dread involved. If you have a hijackal, you know, I come from a family where both my parents were Hijackals. So Christmas was a raving nightmare. Totally. No, there were tons of packages, all with long strings attached to them. Very long strings that could go on for years. Everybody was walking on eggshells the whole time, it was awful. And you may have experienced that too. So I just want to outline some of these things.

If you hear things that make you say “I need help with that”, I invite you to come on over, you can use my new client one time offer, go to a full hour with me for $97 only. So feel free to do that.

So we’re going to talk about handling these Hijackals and the horrors that come along with them. So if you know a Hijackal, you will know that they could own the website It is always about them what they need, what they want, what they’re feeling. And it is seldom about you unless they really, really want something.

Now that all gets exacerbated during the holidays. Because oops, the holidays are not about them only. It’s something that needs to be shared. That presents a problem right there. They do the same thing when you’re celebrating something a birthday or a success or an accomplishment. And it’s not about them, they’ll do the very same things that they will do in the holidays. Because after all, they have to make it about them one way or the other. Good or bad. They don’t really care. They simply need to make it about them.

So I’m going to give you several examples of things that they do. And you think, is this something I have experienced and am I dreading experiencing it again.

So they’re not attention seekers… Hijackals are not attention seekers, they are attention demanders and one way or other, they are going to get that attention. So they will refuse to attend an event. Have you ever had that experience where your child is in a concert, the child is so excited that both parents are coming, or grandma’s coming, or aunts coming, or whomever it is. And then at the last minute, the Hijackal doesn’t show up, because it’s not about them. And so they’ll refuse to attend events, or they’ll disappoint you, even though they said they would. Or they’ll create a competing event and want you to go to their competing event.

That often happens in the holidays. Because just by nature, there are two families involved. And they’re going to be used for the Hijackals purposes. It just goes with the territory, of course is going to happen. And when it’s not all about them, which it isn’t, they often will pull out the poor me card. You know, no one ever cares. No one ever thinks of me, I always have to go along with what everyone wants. That’s the more covert Hijackal.

The more overt Hijackal says, No, I’m in charge of Christmas, this is what’s going to happen. And if you do differently, you will be punished. And that may be by withholding attention, or other means that I’m going to talk about in a little while.

So all those things can go terribly sideways. And quickly. Because of the heightened emotions of the holiday, the heightened expectations, they can do very little to create something that will have a very big damaging effect. So they are attention demanders. So that’s the first thing we have to recognize.

So what do you do? Well, you know that that’s going to happen. So give them attention in the small ways for things they actually deserve the attention for, catch them doing things right comment on it, engage them with coming along to things in a way that is not we have to but the children who and I are, we’d love you to join us ways that are engaging, they may still pull their shenanigans, but at least you have contributed to it in the best and most open way possible. And that’s really important.

If you can find ways to make them feel special. And you want peace in the holidays, those two things have to go together, so you will do that. But know that they are going to act like spoiled children, no matter what. You know, I often say to my clients, scratch a hijackal, and you will get an emotional response that is equal to a three to seven year old is just the way it is. So when they can’t have their way at the holidays, or during your celebration, they will find some underhanded and mean spirited ways to do it. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is that Hijackals are all about supply. I need to have people around me. I need to feel validated. I need to be adored. I need people to agree with me. I need people to tell me I’m right. So there are key people around who will do that. And when you don’t give them the supply, even though you are the supply, they get very, very upset. And so the people that they have around them are their supply, the people they think are most likely to give them what they want.

They demand that they get it and they want it for behaving well. They want it for behaving badly. They want that supply just for breathing. And so they don’t care as long as they get it. So what are they likely to do? Well, they’re quite a pout.

You know that horrible thing to see a grown adult, Spoiled, you know, like a child. But remember what I said scratch a Hijackal and you’re going to have an emotional response equal to a three to seven year old. And when you spend some time thinking about that they are very much like children when they feel crossed, or when they feel as though they’re not getting the supply and attention they demand.

And so they will do things to try and get Attention just like a little child. And if they don’t get it, they will pout. And they will sulk. And then they do that thing that seems so unique to Hijackals, the dreaded silent treatment, where they withhold their attention, they withhold their words, they withhold their gaze, they withhold their affection, in an attempt to get you to beg them to give you something. And furthermore, they would like an apology for something you didn’t do. And so they are waiting for that. And they can do that for quite a long time.

Now, I tell my clients, if you’re with somebody who gives you the silent treatment frequently, learn to relax and enjoy the quiet. Do not apologize for things you don’t do. Don’t endeavor to beg for their attention. Just be civil, and authentic, and neutral. And that’s your choice to be that way. But if they have you trained to, oh, come on, talk to me, it wasn’t that bad. I’ll do anything that you want, what would it kill you to take to talk to me. And then you find yourself apologizing for things they want you to apologize for that you didn’t do, and that there was no harm in. But to them, they won because they got you to apologize.

And they will lie to you. In order to get you to supply, they will triangulate they will go through your your family or a friend or whatever I did a whole episode on triangulation. So you can find that one. And they will devalue you, they will put you down, they will degrade you. They will say things like I don’t know why I’m even with you, you don’t care about me.

And they’ll even discard you at the holidays, they will discard you go do what they want to do. And then they’ll come back after the holidays, because they got their needs met, they were able to discard you, they were able to do whatever they wanted to do. And then they feel that they can come back and they’re sure that you’ll take them back. That’s the extreme position that when they need their supply, and they’re not getting it, they seek other supply.

And sometimes that should be a okay with you. Because they’re showing you right then and there that they are not faithful committed, people able to keep a promise.

And that’s a big red flag. And you know, we always have to be super aware of those big red flags. Sometimes we’re so dedicated to wearing our rose colored glasses, that we don’t see those red flags, because we don’t want to. So whip off those rose colored glasses, if that’s you, and see the red flags for what they are because they’re waving wildly, you don’t want to miss them.

So what else do Hijackals do to create these holiday horrors? They hate doing what someone wants them to do. I’m sure you’ve noticed that. They don’t want to do what you want them to do. They want it to be their idea. They want to do what they want to do. And they want you to come along because they have to have to have to be in charge or feel as though they’re in charge. And if you want something, well, that’s a greater opportunity for them to take control. And to say no, because you want it. Even if they want it. Now they want something different, they are not going to allow you to take control.

So they hate it when you want them to do something. So if you talk about yourself using the personal weather report, “I’d like to do this. This is what I’m going to do.” And you only speak about yourself. And again, there are episodes on the personal weather report, particularly on the YouTube channel, which is for relationship help

So you want something from them. You want them to do something with you. Invite them tell them how wonderful it would be if they came, but know that you have to know your Hijackal very well because they may see that as flattering and want to come because it makes them very important. But it also has this downside I’m talking About right now that if you want them to do it, they don’t want to do it anybody wants them to do because they’re not in charge, and they may sabotage it. Or they may just say no. And your request triggers there. No way response.

You know what I’m talking about if you’ve been around a Hijackal, that that gives them the ultimate when you request something, and they can say, no, they feel powerful, really powerful. And you have family traditions, oh, no, we’re not going to do it the way your family did, we will do it my way, or the way my family did it. And they’re adamant about that. And I bet you fought about that if you happen to be married to a Hijackal. Because they’re either going to drag their feet and not want to do anything, or want to do everything their way.

And they will go to great lengths to put you down, and run circles around you or go sit in a corner and pout to ruin that day, that just goes with the territory of life with a Hijackal. And another one, they like to drive the focus. And so they play on your sympathy. Now, that’s different than empathy.

They play on your sympathy. So sympathy means feelings of pity or sorrow for someone else’s misfortunes. So they will go to that place where they have no problem saying, you know, poor me, I’ve had a terrible life. Christmas is nothing but a trigger for me, or Hanukkah is nothing better trigger or the holidays are nothing but a trigger. And you should not trigger me because then I get upset, or they’ll make up things to get you to feel sorry for them. Some story about their childhood, some story that happened to them, it may or may not have happened to them, but they will make it up.

And they will play on it because they know that you are healthier. And you will have empathy, maybe even sympathy for them. And they want you to feel sorry, or pity for what has happened to them. They want you to get out of yourself, forget about yourself and think only about them. And so they draw that focus. And they’ll blame you for not taking care of them because of their terrible story. And their poor childhoods and their memories. And that they’ll say is why they’re being emotionally abusive to you, is because you don’t give them enough care and attention and understand how terribly badly their life went wrong. That had nothing to do with you, and may or may not have happened.

So it’s really important to not just jump in at the first complaint, sit back a little and think about these various things that I was sharing with you here is that what they historically do? Is that what they do in other times aside from the holidays, or aside from a celebration, you may find that it is a pattern, that it only just gets worse at holidays and celebrations. But get the pattern, understand the pattern, know that this is them trying to rule the world, your world in particular.

So they will try that focus on play on your sympathies. And then they will do something really overt like threaten to break up or threaten to leave if you don’t do everything their way. So maybe you’re in a family situation, and you’re all supposed to go to your mother and father’s for Christmas morning. And the children are in the car, you’re in the car, they come and they say I’m not feeling well, we’re not going there you are caught. Which direction do you go to that empathy and sympathy? They don’t feel well? Or do you get angry or do you speak up? Or do you say, Oh, I understand completely. Don’t worry. I’ll drive the children over there and you have some time to yourself?

No, they want you to stay home, don’t they? But here’s where you begin to speak up and you say, Oh, well you take care of yourself. And I’ll take the children. Don’t let Hijackals change your plans. If you can do that without physical violence. Okay, because they like to threaten to break up or leave. And when you use you hear that change. They may get really into their emotions. And hopefully, from their part, they want you to get into your emotions and do what they want you to do.

So they have an emotional high. And expectations are high at holidays and celebrations. And it’s a prime time for the Hijackal to ruin your joy, ruin your success, ruin your happiness, just ruin everything now is that the ultimate control, that they can just ruin anything and everything. And they know how and they probably have done it. And it’s control move because they don’t want you to be happy.

Now, of course, every now and again, they do want you to be happy because they want something from you. And then the you will not end up you will not end hearing about it for forever. Because they really don’t want you to be happy. But they particularly don’t want you to be happier than they are. And that is not very hard to do to be happier than they are because they’re seldom happy.

They’re seldom content, they’re seldom satisfied. So they will play on that threatening to break up or leave if you don’t do what I want. And then they will get into the black or white thinking you always do this, you never do this. And therefore I’m leaving or if you don’t do this, I will leave ultimate control, ultimate control at a high emotion, high expectation time. They seize on it, they see it coming. And they are grateful for that opportunity to do these things and say these things.

So what if you’re co parenting with a Hijackal?

Oh, here’s a whole other arena for difficulties and holiday horrors. Because they may try to worm back into your life during a high emotional time. Oh, it was so nice. When we were a family, it felt so good. Don’t you want that. And now you’re you’re in that high emotional time you’re playing on your expectations for the holiday. And then they come along and want to make nice. So they could do that are they know it’s a highly charged family time. So they play on that.

They either play on it by wanting to be part of the family or demanding that they matter more than your family. And their co parenting situation. Those unfortunate children are where they always are. They are messengers. They are pawns, and they are weapons of divorce. And at a holiday time, the children will get caught in the middle while the Hijackal tries to rule the roost. And the other parent tries to resist very difficult when you’re co parenting. And so it’s very important to have clear cut divorce agreements for my clients, and if you’d like to be one, you can always go to be a I always tell them when they’re creating these divorce agreements, and the parenting agreement that you must, must must be very, very, very specific about everything.

So when it comes to the holidays, and I’m using Christmas as an example, I hope that your parenting agreement says parent A will have the child from 212 On Christmas day until 612 The following evening, on every other year, something so specific. So there’s no question about how it’s supposed to go. Because Hijackal co parents will in fact, try to abscond with the holidays and upset everything and be the center of attention. Even it is negative attention.

Another thing they like to do is not keep their promises. I did a whole episode on future faking? Oh, I’m going to do that. Would it be wonderful when we go on vacation? We’re gonna be delightful when we enjoy that meal or we go to your play. And they have you completely engaged in the vision that you’re thinking that you share. And they get you to do what they want you to do in the moment because they have promised you something in the future and they’re masterful at future faking.

They make the promises and they get your hopes up and they engage you in doing what you want to do and what they want you to be engaged in but then it never happens. How many children have been left waiting for a Hijackal parent to come and pick them up when they said they want That’s what Hijackals do.

They make promises that they have no intention of fulfilling. And even if they had an intention of fulfilling it, if something diverted their interest that made them more the center of attention or was more interesting to them, they will go and do that, regardless of the fact that they promised you something. So it gives them control, and can leave you or a child totally devastated.

Now, another thing that they do to not keep their promises is they cancel plans at the last minute. You are totally prepared to be present, you have engaged yourself in the idea of going if you have children, you’ve included them in the excitement of preparation. And then the last minute, they cancel, they’re not going and you’re not either, they’re not going. And you should want to do what they want to do, because they were a family and we should stick together. And because of their high emotion quotient, and in the holidays, it triggers your feelings of family. And it’s something you have to clearly clearly see and not participate in again, alright, if you don’t want to go, it’s fine. I will go and take the children, they will quickly change their tune.

Another one that I hear frequently is Hijackals will go along to a party or someone’s home, or whatever. And then when they’re not getting the attention there that they want. They say, you know, we’re leaving. And you say no, I don’t want to leave, we’ll all go and sit in the car. And then you start focusing on them, even though they’re not in the house. And they are getting what they want, they have ruined your time. And you are taking you are allowing your brain to have real estate in taken up by worrying about them. Are they okay, should I go? What should I do, and they have succeeded from ruining your time.

So they promised to come they promised to engage. Now they’re not doing it. And again, we have future faking. And, you know, that can happen in all kinds of situations. I remember my godparents who were very important to me, because they partially raised me. And my godfather was a raving Hijackal. My grandmother didn’t have any children of her own. So she considered me her child. So she helped me make my wedding dress, she helped to do all kinds of things to get ready for the wedding. On the morning of the wedding, her Hijackal husband said, I don’t feel feel well, we’re not going. And he stayed home. Because she was so used to doing what he said to keep the peace. So even on that promise, all of that talk, he was engaged in all the excitement, but because it wasn’t about him, they weren’t going.

Does it ring true for you in a Hijackal person in your life. That those kinds of games, those manipulative games, those deceitful games are run and promises are made but not delivered on are kept. That’s very much a holiday horror that is repeated in homes all around the world. I have clients in so many countries, every Hijackal has similarities. No, they’re not all the same. Each one is a little bit unique, a little bit different makeup of various elements of Hijackal newness, but everybody is experiencing the things that I’m talking about today.

That’s why I wanted this episode to be here for you, as the holidays are so close now about gift giving. Hijackals give you gifts that they complain about forever. They want to be validated in the thanked for it for years to come. They want to be acknowledged for it. They want it to be the only gifts that you talk about. And really it’s love bombing is just a way to say Oh, this is going to cause you to be happier with me than anybody else.

Now of course there’s the opposite of that. They don’t bother to give you a gift they don’t they demonstrate they don’t really think about you at all. But many times they will give you a gift and then want to be validated all the time forever. And they’ll give you something perhaps is too expensive. So then there’s a problem because they think they can hold that over you for forever. And then they they compare gifts, you know, they’ll talk about who gave what to whom? And was it of equal value? And did it really?

Did they really get the acknowledgement that they should have? And oh, their gifts come with strings? You I told you at the top of the episode, I had to Hijackal parents, I remember distinctly learning, I think I was about 11. At the time that I really learned this Christmas morning, I received a watch. And I was so excited. I wanted this lovely watch. And from that day forward, what was the question I always had? Where’s your watch? Why aren’t you wearing your watch? What did you do with it? Did you lose it already?

It was typical of my mother. Because the whole gift giving thing was not just something that came from her heart that she wanted to do. It was a way to have strings and control over me through an inanimate object, so that she could always be right, that she gave it to me, and it was her hard earned money. And I needed to take care of it. And she needed to know where it was at all times. And that’s the way they are with gifts.

Okay, here’s another one. How about Hijackal parents and Hijackal in laws? How about those holiday horrors? You have them, they don’t include you in the celebrations. They just don’t include you when you’re there. You may be in the room, and they don’t talk to you. They don’t Converse as though you’re present at all. Maybe they don’t bother to invite you to something. Maybe they exclude you.

And then they will gaslight you, I heard an example, the other day of a woman who had gone to this group for five years. And because of COVID the group suspended its activity and met online. They were finally meeting in person. The woman didn’t know that. But she got a call from one of the other members who said, okay, you know, for the meeting on Thursday, I’ll come and pick you up. And the woman said, What meeting?

So when she confronted the woman who was having the event in her home, you know, why didn’t I know about this? The Hijackal Woman gaslit her and said, Well, you know, I know that you’ve had words with one of the other members, and I just thought it would be better if you didn’t come? Because then there wouldn’t be any conflict. And you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable.

Yeah, a really Hijackal gaslighting move, someone defines your reality for you, huh? No, no, no, no Hijackal material. And when they’re Hijackal parents and enlarger, the focus of this, as they often are during the holiday season, they may not invite you. Or, they may invite you, and then you are the only person who doesn’t get a gift, or they forget to set a place for you at the table. And then they say, Oh, I didn’t know you were coming. Or they’ll make some big fuss and say, oh, you know, let us make a place for you.

And they will talk about their disappointment in you. And they’ll talk about it with anybody who’s present. That’s the kind of things that Hijackal parents do Hijackals In laws to, or they’ll try to triangulate through the children, the in laws particularly, but in my case, they would try and triangulate through the My parents and and get messages to you. Well, you know, your mommy doesn’t do this very well. Does she write horrible things terrible, triangulating things.

And this is totally unacceptable, but it may happen. And at those times, you simply say, please speak to me directly. Don’t go through my children. Just to request, didn’t blame anybody for anything, just made a request. It’s a difficult time and that can happen repeatedly. It can happen year after year. And if that’s the case, you don’t want that. But the last one I want to bring up is setting up you and the kids for disappointment. It’s similar to the broken promises and all that I mentioned earlier, but it’s big promises and nothing happens. But they promise to be present like fully present, not not just this can happen in the physical, but it can also happen in the emotional mental

They promise to show up. But then they are not present. They promise to be involved, but they’re emotionally unavailable, they promise to take into account that this is a very special thing for you. And they don’t. So they set you up for disappointment saying that they do understand, and you have gone to great lengths to help them understand. And you’re feeling a little closer to them, because they’re understanding. And then they demonstrate how little they care and how little they understood. And that understanding didn’t matter to them.

So we turn into a situation where we dread the holidays, because these behaviors are going to be repeated, drawing your attention to that is really important so that you can be ready for those things. Expect these things. But don’t take them personally. It has nothing to do with you. It’s all about who they are. And I know that it hurts, but don’t take it personally. Just say, oh, that’s who they are.

That’s how they do life. Hmm, not a good model for me, not a good model for my children, and stick to your plans whenever possible no matter what the Hijackal wants to do. And just do it authentically civilly. And neutrally. Well, I’m sorry that you’ve decided against coming, but we’re going anyway. Now I know I say that blindly. And there’ll be some people who are barred from leaving the house, there’ll be some people whose car keys are taken away, and it may not happen. But if you have the opportunity, and you can do it, continue with your plans, even when the Hijackal opt out.

Because that allows you to say, you are not going to be the center of attention, I am going to still do and follow through with what I said. And just a big caveat. When ever you are going somewhere with a Hijackal during the holidays, and you know they love to trap you in a car, always take your own car needs to be a little bit late need to go to an errand and then meet them there. But you know, I was saying that lightheartedly, but I really mean it. When possible, go to events in your own car, so that when they want to go home, you don’t have to, and you have an ironclad reason.

So sadly, I hope that you understand how to handle a few of these Hijackal Holiday horrors, and why Hijackals Need to ruin celebrations and holidays, so that you can prepare that these things may indeed happen. So until we talk again, you know what I’m going to say because it’s so important. Take very good care of yourself. Self Care is not selfish. So take very good care of yourself. Because you’re precious. And you matter. Talk soon.

Thank you for joining me on the save your sanity podcast today. 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 to your children. If you found value here and would like to support this podcast with $1 or $5 Each month, please do so at Learn more about how to work with me via video conference.

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