Housebound With A Hijackal? 16 Forms of Emotional Domestic Violence to Recognize NOW!

Emotional domestic violence is far more prevalent than physical domestic violence, yet, neither get nearly enough notice or understanding

During the self-isolating shutdown, domestic violence has increased greatly. Hopefully, that will draw attention to the many people who need to be safer than they are.

Unfortunately, the women and men who are being emotionally abused–experiencing emotional domestic violence--will once again go unnoticed. A BIG PROBLEM!


  • How having to stay home with a #Hijackal increases the likelihood of domestic violence
  • Emotional abuse IS domestic violence
  • Recognizing 16 forms of emotional domestic violence generally takes in most #Hijackals
  • Stepping back to allow yourself to see that you are being emotionally abused and do NOT deserve it
  • Knowing that abuse is NOT YOUR FAULT (although a Hijackal tries to makes everything your fault )

Emotional domestic abuse on its own doesn’t come with visible choke marks, bruises, casts, contusions, and black eyes. It comes with DEEP, LONG-LASTING EMOTIONAL SCARS! Fortunately, those can be helped to heal.

It’s been awhile since I’ve spoken about the many facets of emotional abuse. You need to keep them clearly in view. You need to step back from your relationship and recognize what’s actually happening. Sometimes, you’re so worn down by the tearing down and putting down that comes your way from a #Hijackal, that you can hardly face the enormity of it.

Before you listen to this episode, I invite you to be in a place where you can have some time after listening to process your feelings. Take a bottle of water and sit down with your journal, and think about:

  • How many of these forms of emotional abuse are you experiencing?
  • How long have you been experiencing these?
  • If it is your partner who behaves this way, did you have a parent who was also emotionally abusive?
  • Have you become so used to the abuse that you recognize now that you need help?
  • Do you make excuses for the #Hijackal’s behavior?
  • Do you rationalize or justify the emotional abuse?

Very important questions to ponder, and spend some time answering. I know you’re tired, probably emotionally exhausted. That’s just how a #Hijackal wants you to be. Then, your thinking may be cloudy and the Hijackal will happily prey on your self-esteem and self-confidence.

Emotional domestic abuse is real. I’m always here to help you. Listen to more podcasts. Watch my videos on YouTube: .

And, if you want to talk with me directly, become a member of my Support Circles, or work with me directly at

This is SERIOUS STUFF! I’ll walk with you on the healing journey.

Big hugs!



Welcome to save your sanity podcast. I’m Dr. Rhoberta Shaler. Today we continue with our previous discussion about being housebound with a Hijackal. In this episode, I will be talking about 16 forms of emotional domestic violence by an Hijackal that may be going unnoticed by you.

We’ve been on this series about being housebound with a Hijackal because much of the world is, right now, on lockdown, and millions of people are stuck at home, some times with difficult or toxic persons. And it so happens that these difficult and toxic people are more than ever seeking avenues to vent or pour their rage because they are increasingly not in control of what’s happening around them.

And we’re hearing a lot on Facebook and various mediums about the increase in domestic violence. Indeed, there was a report in The Guardian UK the other day, which said, the number of women killed by a man in the first three weeks of the lockdown was the highest it’s been for at least 11 years, and it is double that of an average 21 days over the last ten years.

The research shows at least seven people have allegedly been killed by partners or former partners during the period while three people were killed by their father. So domestic violence is not limited to spouses or partners. It can also be parental violence. It can be sibling violence; it can be from a co-worker.

So I want to talk today about emotional domestic violence, which often leaves behind deep scars on the victim even though it is not visible.No one sees the wounds, no one sees the bleeding, the bruises, the cuts, or the casts. You don’t get the x rays, none of that. But it is sometimes much worse than physical bruises.

I’ve had many clients say, the emotional damage that has been done to them is greater than the times I went to the hospital. And you know, getting treated at the hospital will often take care of physical abuse. But healing from emotional abuse takes much longer. So it’s kind of like the anecdote about putting frogs in water to cook. As you turn up the heat on them, they continue to adjust to the temperature until its too late.

Well, that’s kind of the way it is with the Hijackal, everything seems fine in the beginning. They’re charming, wonderful, and they care about you. They go out of their way to do things for you. They seem to know you like no one else ever has. And so you’re charmed. And you’re sure that you have found your soulmate.

And that’s the love-bombing phase. Typically, when you are in that phase with them, nobody can talk you out of the relationship. I can’t count how many of my clients have said to me; my friends didn’t like him. My mother didn’t like him. Nobody liked him or her. They told me not to do it. They told me stories about them. But I had this feeling like oh, it won’t happen to me. This person really loves me. And you felt special because they had made you feel special. And it’s only natural. Of course, we all like to feel special.

So we go down the path. No, it’s not that we’re incapable of understanding. We were just so much in a hormonal haze; we were overwhelmed by this wonderful feeling of excitement and awash with the higher levels of serotonin and dopamine that come with being in love. We’re soaked in it until slowly, it begins to erode. Sometimes slowly over a few days, a few weeks, a few months, a few years, but eventually it does.

When we find people who are suffering from emotional abuse or emotional domestic violence, we need to reach out to them, listen to them, and believe them. We need to become interested and see what we can do to help.

So I’m going to talk about these16 forms of emotional abuse because they are so important. You know, as I said, with an illustration about the frog, overtime, you get used to being treated poorly, and as that slowly water heats up, you stay put instead of jumping out when you still.

And then pretty soon, it’s like walking on hot coals all the time. And Hijackals are experts at making you second guess yourself. They would have you wondering if you’re a good person, and the next thing you know, you’re making excuses for them, Oh, well, maybe that’s not what they meant, or that was not their intention. They really do love me, but they’re having a bad day. They’ll make you lose your identity and self-respect, and that part of you that should go, hey, this is no way to treat me.

While you are giving them the benefit of the doubt, they’ll cause you to continue to second guess yourself and question your sanity. Did that really happen? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? What’s really going on here? So if any of that resonates with and you’re are nodding and recognizing some of those patterns, you are most likely a victim of emotional domestic violence.

And while emotional domestic violence leaves no visible scars, cuts, and bruises, it is equally as dangerous if not more dangerous, because the effects are longer lasting. I would run all 16 forms of invisible emotional domestic violence here. But if you want to learn more, please listen to my podcasts and visit my YouTube channel.

Love bombing: this is how most Hijackals suck their victim into their web. They lovebomb you into thinking that they are your soulmate. But before long, you realize that you don’t even want them as a roommate.

You know, in my book, Escaping the Hijackal Trap. There’s a whole chapter called the gotcha factor. You know, they’re in a hurry to tie things up and have you in their hold. They can’t keep up their charade very long. They can’t keep up their facade, of being this wonderful person who really cares about you loves you deeply and wants to please you, they can’t. So they want you to move in with them or marry them or have children with them or do something really quickly.

That needless rush is often one of the first red flags that says, beware a potential Hijackal. If that’s happening with you, make sure to pump the brakes. When you slow things down and avoid the rush, you may get the chance to see through the love bombing for what it really is. In most cases, the Hijackal reveals themselves and move on if you don’t buy the love bombing.

Blaming: You know, the Hijackal is never going to take responsibility for what they do. They’re not going to be accountable for what they said yesterday. They’re not even going to be accountable for what they said two minutes ago. They would change their mind on a whim and accuse you of not listening properly very well. You know, I’ve said so many times that Hijackals paints a public picture of perfection, but at home, they create a private place of pain.

They’ll blame you for everything. Even for something that you don’t even remember happening, because they will never take responsibility for their shortcomings. And therein lies the emotional abuse. Because it is not truthful. It didn’t happen, and that changes everything.

Shaming: Hijackals try to make you feel small because that’s the only way they can feel adequate and take up more space. So they try to shame you, reduce you, and shrink you down in size. They will degrade you and find ways to make you less than. And so in trying to shame you, they will tell you that everything about you is wrong. Because they honestly believe that’s the only way to seem bigger even though it actually makes them smaller. So their grand design is to you cut down to size.

Shaming is closely related to shaming, but it is a little bit different in that they’re telling you that you are worthless. To differentiate between blaming and shaming, you know blaming says you made a mistake, but shaming says you are a mistake. Blaming is when you do something wrong, but shaming is when someone tells you that you’re you don’t have the right to exist.

And the Hijackals just continue to chip away at your esteem, wear it down, tear you down and degrade you. And the next thing you know, you’re doubting and questioning your sanity, and you’re thinking, maybe they’re right. Maybe they see me better.

And you should know, Hijackals are happy to tell you that they know you better than you know yourself. These eventually gets you to conclude that maybe they’re right. And because they isolate and keep you away from other people, particularly your family and friends, no one gets to see what’s actually happening. They carry on in a way that says, “I don’t care what you think. I don’t care what you want. I don’t care what you prefer. Your opinion doesn’t matter to me.”

Now, if at any moment you talk about leaving them, they go back to number one, love bombing, or they go to the silent treatment, they’ll walk out and discard you.

Now, I didn’t put discarding on this list because that is something that they do in order to have power over you. But it is not really under the auspices of emotional domestic violence. I’m talking about the things that they do to hurt you, discarding may hurt you, but at least they leave, which is great.

In the end, it is a good thing, because while they have been hurting you, now they will just discard you. They will just not care what you think, feel, need, or want. You almost don’t exist to them anymore. Because they have no power over, and you no longer serve their purpose.

Manipulation: Hijackals have a very loose relationship with the truth. They will manipulate facts and makeup things up as they go. They put their own spin on everything to make themselves look better, feel better, and justify their actions. They make promises that they never intend to keep. They lie about everything.

There is a lot to unpack in manipulation. This piece is just an overview of everything. We’ll talk more about each one of them in the future, but in the meantime, you can find more resources on my website and on my YouTube channel.

And the manipulation is atrocious and relentless. You may get a little respite every now and again when they’re afraid of losing you. And in those brief spells, they treat you nicely, and you’re hooked on the hope that they have returned to being the sweet person that you fell in love with. But of course, it’s only a ruse, and they are soon back to their toxic ways. When you feel drawn to their antics, you will do well to remember my ABB formula, which is an acronym for Always Believe Behavior.

Gaslighting: many of us are familiar with this term. This describes what happens when a Hijackal tries to define your reality. They try to tell you how to feel, what you need, what you believe, and what you remember. They’ll say thing like, “I know you better than you know yourself. You don’t know. You are always forgetting the details.” That’s classic gaslighting.

They impose their version of events on you, and they cause you to doubt your memory and your sanity. And it’s all just absolutely crazy-making and destructive.  And they make their claims seem reasonable by telling a plausible lie. When you think of it, gaslighting is a form of manipulation, the manipulation of facts and events.

Projecting: What this means is what they’re afraid they did, or they feel or they have done or is true about them. They project it onto you and say it’s true about you, but not about them.

Now, this is a very important concept to understand in emotional domestic abuse. Because whatever they’re thinking, if you can stand back, if you can get some perspective on the relationship for a little bit, you will begin to realize that, whoa, they told me that I was like that, hey, that’s how they are. And you need to have that stepping back moment because they count on you being confused in the moment and believing what they’re saying.

And you step back and say, Hey, no, that’s not true. And you can see these things; you know that they are projecting on you the things they’re afraid is true of themselves. And when you can step back and maybe get a little help, I often help my clients see this, that they were telling you who they are, by what they were projecting on you. They were telling you what they were thinking or what they were afraid of was true about them by telling you what is true of you.

So when you start to understand the projecting behaviors that they’re doing, it gives you a moment to be able to step back and go, which has nothing to do with me.

Deflection: Hijackals are obsessed about being seen as blameless. They don’t want anything to land on them. They’ll move around in endless circles to avoid addressing a situation, conversation, or topic.

They deflect from anything that rightly puts the blame on them. They deflect by choosing to talk about something different or by focusing on the wrong part of the topic. And when they do this, they are relentless about it. And in the moment when they are doing it, it can be absolutely crazymaking because you clearly wish to talk about something else.

Sometimes they use word salad; you know that one, where they deflect by kind of talking phrases that don’t make sense and don’t connect to each other, but it serves to interrupt you and derail the conversation. They know they don’t have anything valid to say, but they’re sure not going to let you talk.

All or nothing thinking: This is a form of emotional domestic violence where they tell you, you always do it this way, or you never do it this way. One moment, they love you more than anything. The next moment, you’re the scum of the earth. There are no gray areas with Hijackals; it’s all black or white. There are no shades whatsoever or elements of nuance.

And if you were raised by a Hijackal, you may have to look out for these kind of binary thinking within yourself because it may well have become a part of you such that you don’t even see it anymore because you’ve been subjected to it for so long. I have found that you were subjected to it by a parent, you won’t really notice it as much when you’re subjected to it by a partner.

And if that’s the case, you really need help. But the good thing is it can be reversed if you put in the work.

Moving the markers: They’ll make promises or enter into agreements saying things like, if only you do this or this arrives, or that happens, I will do so and so.

But as soon as whatever it was they said would be the thing that would cause them to do something or act differently arrives, they move the marker and say, Oh, no, I never said that or this is not enough, or I’ve changed my mind.”

And that is terribly distressing because you honestly thought you had an agreement, but they didn’t make an agreement. They put out an idea, and they gave you a plausible lie. And they made you feel as though they meant what they said. They were just leading you on leading you astray or maybe promising you something that they never plan to give you.

But it got you off their back for a few minutes, and they’re very happy about that. So they keep moving the markers. And that is very distressing. Because you’re never good enough, you never get there. You never arrive. What you want to never happens.

Evasion: they really do not want to talk about what you want to talk about it anytime. So with evading, they are going to change the subject. They are going to say; I don’t want to talk about this right now. I promise I’ll talk about it later. You know, again, moving the marker. They’ll never find a good time to address an issue. When they want to evade, they will blame you for something and then give you the silent treatment.

And then on the silent treatment side, people who have been with a Hijackal for a long time ask me, they share their story of what they’ve been going through, and they say, “I hate the silent treatment.”

But I say well, if you’re with a hijacker, maybe it’s a good idea to learn to love the silent treatment. Don’t consider it as abuse, see it as incredible relief, for you’re not hearing from them.

Yes, you have to learn to deal with all these things. You have to learn to make good decisions about how to respond to them. And sometimes you have to come to a lot of clarity to know whether or not you want to stay with them. But if they give you the silent treatment, and you don’t respond by trying to get them to talk because you’re enjoying the silence, they’ll soon start talking. Because they don’t want you to be happy about that.

Drying: withholding themselves from you, removing themselves emotionally from the relationship and communication.

Threats: Now, they may or may not ever do what they threatened, but they love to wield a big stick and lord it over you. They’re always threatening with something. Threatening to tell on you.  Threatening to report to your boss, threatening to cut off your supply of money, threatening to leave you, even threatening to hit you are. Threatening is definitely a form of emotional domestic violence. Because the Hijackal goes like, I will show you that I can make you do whatever I want you to do, and I’m bigger than you and stronger than you, and I will crush you.

And it must be said that these threats, clumsy and ineffective as they are the only communication tools the Hijackals have. They don’t know better, so they use threats as a form of control.

Stalking and surveillance: Hijackers will stalk you and mount all kinds of surveillance around you. They would blow your phone up over and over. You know, I work by video conferencing. So I have clients all over the world, and I was working with a client the other day, and she had her phone on the table near where we were talking by video. And it kept buzzing and buzzing and buzzing and buzzing, and it was her partner who was angry. Now in that one hour, I’m sure that

That phone buzzed at least seven times. And then twice her children came in because he had called them and told them to tell their mother that he was trying to call them. That’s surveillance. I need to know where you are. I need to know exactly where you are. And I’m going to make up something about where you are so I can make you wrong. And that is stalking and surveillance. If you ever think that this person has put something on your phone or your car, and if you haven’t thought about it until this moment, you find out if they have put GPS on your phone or your car, so they know where you are, that is inappropriate.

While two consenting adults may decide to do that for safety reasons, a hijacker will do that without your consent or impose it on you. So they’ll insist on monitoring your movement, and they never believe you what say about your movement. And all of that is totally invasive and inappropriate. It’s their a way of keeping you small and its unacceptable.

Condescending and patronizing: they would act towards you in a way that is arrogant and superior. They would carry on in a way that says, I am big enough to put up with your foolishness. I will listen to you, but you know, you don’t have a thing worthwhile to say. There you go again. That’s just silly. It’s stupid. It’s not worthwhile. That’s the way they talk to you in a way that says, your little pea brain can never come up with anything worthwhile.

And it is all just condescending and patronizing, and it is not the way to emotionally mature adults behave towards one another in a supposedly loving relationship. Now Hijackals are not emotionally mature. So maybe you want to be with somebody who is more emotionally mature. But first of all, you’re going to have to make decisions about the relationship in which you find yourself. And if you’re out of that relationship, get some help to heal all these things, because I just bet you’ve been reading and going, “Yeah, that happened. Oh, I remember that happened.”

And those things get kind of stored like tentacles around your heart, and we need to work with them. We need to find them, and we need to change them. We need to empower you not to have that.

Control: at the top of the mind of most Hijackals is the desire to dominate and control you. They do whatever they can to be the one in charge. They want to become the King of the Hill or Queen of the Valley; they would do whatever it takes to be the one who makes the decisions and control the levers.

Control is a big thing for Hijackals. And it’s control because they’re so afraid that they don’t have that kind of power. Now don’t have a compassionate minute there for any more than a second to say that’s too bad that somehow they learned that when they were young, but you didn’t teach them that, and you can’t change that. So very important to know.

So I hope that these 16 things have struck a chord with you. I’m sorry that you have been in situations where you suffered emotional violence with a Hijackal.  But it is important to realize that none of what we have described should be going on anywhere near a healthy relationship.

Now, as I mentioned before to you that you can go to be a if you’d like to have my one-hour full session for only $97 to see what kinds of things we could accomplish in your relationship. And I mentioned the Patreon community. So if you’d like to support this podcast, please go to slash save your sanity. I’m Dr. Roberta Shaler, and you can always find me at

And before I go, I like to remind you to treat yourself very well. Because you are precious, and you matter.

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 do your children.

If you found value here and would like to support what we do with $1 of five each month, please do so at Learn more about how to work with me by a video conference, join my optimized circles, or subscribe to this podcast on my YouTube channel at my website, talk soon.

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