Are you hoping the Hijackal™ in your life will see things from your point of view?
Do you hope for some sense of understanding and a little empathy?
Of course, you do. That's what we would do for the checkout person in the grocery store, the sad person on the subway, or for our nearest and dearest. So, why isn't it coming your way right now.
Watch the video below to learn about why it is so that the only kind of empathy you'll get from a Hijackal is "pretend empathy" to score points. (see transcript below)
Hijackals™ lack empathy.
Now, you may have noticed this because you just don’t get the response that you were hoping for when you’re dealing with a Hijackal™. In fact, you may tell a person something that’s terribly bothering to you - maybe your mother is sick or someone you know is in the hospital. And the person asks you what’s up with you or how you are - and you tell them about your mother being in the hospital and you look at them and they say “oh well, I gotta go”.And there’s nothing there for you! Nothing at all! And if you’re living with a Hijackal™ you know that this is a pattern. That they don’t have empathy to give you.
If they were empathetic, they wouldn’t be Hijackals because they couldn’t lie and cheat and manipulate and seduce and exploit if they had empathy. That would mean they had concern for your suffering, concern for your feelings and that they could put themselves in your spot - but they CAN’T. And that’s a hallmark of a Hijackal™ - the lack of empathy.
They don’t like to deal with the emotions of other people; they don’t like to acknowledge the emotions of other people. And they will certainly not ever admit to being the cause of your feelings. Empathy is something that healthy people have. Hijackals™ are not healthy in that regard. They don’t have remorse, they don’t have guilt, they don’t have shame, and they certainly don’t have empathy.
However! You may say “oh yes, they do! They say the right things”. Oh, they are very, very skilled at saying the right things - they mimic empathy. They mimic it to give it to you to get what they want from you. Was that just an “ah ha!” moment for you?
Sometimes, they really seem to be listening, they’re really leaning in and they seem to be really caring about what you’re going through. And then, when the moment has passed, they’ve dismissed it, it’s gone completely out of their head and now it’s back to getting and wanting and having power over you. Because they lack empathy.
They will manipulate you. They will suck you deeper and deeper into taking responsibility for what’s going on for them and they will NOT return the favor in any way. They won’t even return the favor of being interested in what’s going on for you. They will quickly come to the place of telling you why you shouldn’t be upset by that, why you shouldn’t be concerned about that, and what’s wrong with you for feeling that way.
I know. That feels familiar, doesn’t it?
That even in your most needy times, they are not there for you. They may put on a good show but they will not be there for you on an emotional level. They can’t! They don’t have that capacity, they don’t have that to give. And if they did have it to give, it would be to manipulate you further or exploit you in order to have a return on their investment for them.
I know it sounds cold. I know it sounds harsh. And I know it sounds sometimes unbelievable but it is true. You know, people who have Hijackal™ tendencies or traits, these are people who have high trauma in their background. They have things that may not have been trauma to you or I but they were traumatic to them when they were growing up. They may have it in their DNA and that trauma triggered it.This is a real thing - I hope you get that. That this is not just a “us” or “them” thing, a way of making other people wrong. It’s not that at all. Hijackals™ are people who hijack relationships for their own purposes while relentlessly scavenging them for power, status, and control. Wow. When you’re having a down moment, when you really want some empathy, wouldn’t that be the ideal Hijackal™ time to come in and grab you and get your power away from you? Sure! Because you’re vulnerable. Because you want something from them. You need something from them… and they can withhold it. It is cold. It is harsh. It is reality. That’s what happens.
When you do the Hijackal™ checklist, you’ll notice that there are degrees of Hijackalness. I divide that into three parts. There are people who are not really Hijackals™ they’re just very high-conflict, assertive people. Then there are the second and third which really is Hijackal™ behavior. Some more overt than others but it’s there. And when it’s there, you have to know that it’s up to you to manage those behaviors within yourself and within the relationship. There’s no point in going to a Hijackal™ and saying “I really felt terrible when you did this”. A - we don’t directly confront a Hijackal™ because that’s never going to get you the result you want but B - you are asking more than the Hijackal™ has to give or will give. By wanting something from them on an emotional level, it’s just not there for you. You know they manipulate; you know that they lie and lie and lie. And because of their ability to split, they can go back and forth between loving you to death in one moment and theeenext they’ll never want to see you again. No grey area in between.
So there’s no opportunity for empathy to enter into this equation. They don’t have it to give. They are kind of parasitical. They live like a parasite on you. I’ve known people in relationships with Hijackals™ where the Hijackal™ simply won’t go to work and they guilt and shame their partners into “well, I shouldn’t be expected to go to work, I do things around here”. Or “I take care of our food” or whatever. But they don’t go to work and they don’t help, they don’t share and they make you feel as though you’re wrong for even expecting that. “A good person would take care of them. A good person would understand their needs and be willing to give it to them”.
And they’ll say things like that to you. “You say you’re a loving, compassionate human being and then you tell me to go and get a job.” or “you tell me to look after myself”. That’s the gotcha. That’s a terrible gotcha but that is what they traffic in. And so watch for this. They have a lack of empathy. They may sound like they care about what you’re feeling but they’re going to use that against you. And you may not even notice for a while. So just know that a hallmark of a Hijackal™ is their actual lack of empathy.