Ever heard your partner say something that was so outrageous, so beyond cool, that it made your jaw drop? That’s incredulity!
And, it doesn’t fit with our way of thinking about someone, so our brains rapidly try to make it fit.
We make excuses for the person. We rationalize. We justify. We can’t believe they said or did what they really just said and did.
Hijackals™ do things like that frequently. You just shake your head….until now!
Watch this video to understand the phenomenon of incredulity and why you’re not going to fall for it any longer. (transcript below)
Hijackals™ do and say incredulous things. Things that make you go, “Wow, who says that? Who does that? Did I really hear that? Nobody in their right mind would do that. How dare she? How could he possibly get away with that?” Those are the kinds of things that are going on in your head while your jaw is dropped. And that’s what Hijackals™ count on. They will do something so overt, something so obvious, and they will get away with it because they catch you like a deer in the headlights. And you don’t believe it. You don’t believe it happened, so you quickly scurry to make rationalizations, justifications, excuses for them. “They’re having a bad day. They didn’t really mean it.” On and on and on the list of excuses goes. And you know that you’ve probably done that. They’re just, these moments when you have to explain it away somehow because it is so wrong, so too big, so too off-base that you just can’t get your head around it in any other way than to find a way to make it an anomaly.
Something that is not usual. That’s not who they are. No, no, no, that’s not really who they are. They couldn’t just be that person. But they are, and you really need to understand that. They don’t have the ability to moderate their disordered behavior. This is them being them. They are just doing that. That’s who they are. And it will spill out. It will spill out unexpectedly and it will spill out in ways that just cause you to shake your head and you have to wake up to the fact that when that happens, it’s an absolute key for you to go, “Ah, no. I’m going to get with the program right now. I’m not going to stand there in disbelief and let them carry on, saying what they’re saying, and thinking that I’m agreeing with them. I’m going to kick into action right now and say, ‘No, my boundaries will not allow you to speak to me like that. That is way beyond my value system. That’s not going to happen. The children are not going to be doing that.’” You need to counter with assertion. Strong assertion of your boundaries. That they will be maintained and that this is not all right with you on any level at all. Because when you’re dealing with a Hijackal™, a true Hijackal™, you’re dealing with an emotional manipulator. That’s the way they make their way in the world. That’s the way they feel secure.
They need power over you. They need status and they need control of all situations and all people at all times. And they will manipulate you, they will exploit you, they will seduce you, they will charm you, they will turn on whatever means they need in order to meet their ends and goals.
So, I use the word ‘emotional terrorists’ for them because they strike terror at your heart because you’ve got to step up and do something about it. And they terrorize you because you’re always looking over your shoulder because you don’t know when stuff is coming at you, I know that. I’ve lived that. I’ve told you about that. But when there are just these times when they say or do something that just causes you to just freeze, like, “Really? No kidding. That didn’t really come out of your mouth”.
So, it’s very important to catch yourself at that moment, pick up your jaw and respond. Respond quickly because they have to be right and they will deliver these incredulous statements with a lot of conviction, a lot “Of course you know this, of course, it’s the way it’s going to be” and they will put it right in the flow of conversation so they are not doing anything that is as drastic as what they really are doing. So they will catch you off guard, you’ll be their deer in the headlights and do nothing, and they’ve moved on. And they believe they have your agreement for what happened because you didn’t say anything, you didn’t do anything, you didn’t set a boundary. So, by the time you’ve picked yourself up and realized that this was a terrible situation and not at all what you want, they’ve already moved on and they think you’re on board and that’s what they intended to do.
So, when you hear a jaw-dropping proclamation or you hear, ah, something that they’ve done that you just can hardly believe. Know that is a hallmark of a Hijackal™. That they get away with that stuff. They get away with that stuff all over the place because it is so out of the ordinary. Most of the people that they are speaking to would never say or do what they are doing. So, at that moment, all those people are going, “Oh did that really happen?” And in that moment, the Hijackal™ is getting away with what they want to get away with. And we have to get into the moment.
Now, I put a graphic up on my Facebook group the other day. My Facebook group, which you’re of course welcome to be a part of if you’re not in it already. It’s a closed group called Optimized Life. And I had been working with a client that day and I found myself saying these words so I put them into a graphic. And it was: regardless of your background, you are in the foreground. Focus on now.
So, we have to come into the moment, no matter what has happened. We need to come into the moment. Be there fully. And that takes a little bit of practice when you’re with a Hijackal™ because you’ve got all that concern and all that is going to happen and are they going to make a scene and is this going to be an endless argument? Will they have an explosion of temper? Will they go off and tell lies about you? All of those things are running through your mind and so there you are, you’re just quiet and you don’t know what to do. Then they do this incredulous thing and you’re not ready for it. So, you just lie down and take it and then they are off and running with whatever it is they wanted to do.
So, I’ve saved this one for last because it is the one that will just stun you when you start to realize it. When you get that sinking feeling like, “Really? You didn’t. Oh, no, you didn’t.” Then, know, Hijackal™ behavior. Hijackal™ alert. They are trying to get away with something and you have to step up and have a boundary.
So now you have heard all of the hallmarks of Hijackals™. There are ten of them and you can read them, of course, in any order. Remember that they are under the first one which is called Introduction to the Hallmarks of Hijackals™. And then there’s one video on each one of those hallmarks to help you identify it. To help you identify how you feel and what’s going on at the time that you need to recognize as Hijackal™ behavior.
In the next series, I talk about strategies they use that can catch you off guard. And often do. And you want to be really aware of what those strategies are, so be sure to make sure you watch the next set, too. And in the meantime, don’t be a deer in the headlights caught with the incredulity of a Hijackal™.
©Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
The Relationship Help Doctor