You just want to have a calm talk about a problem that needs solving. Or, where to go for dinner? Large or small, it’s all going well and then WHAM!
What would in the best of well-regulated conversation be an equal, mutual give-and-take, quickly escalates into the explosives zone. It didn’t seem to take more than two sentences and your Hijackal™ is going off like a Roman candle!
Out of proportion responses are scary, fierce, and way too common when you’re with a Hijackal. Zero to sixty is often instantaneous, and frightening.
That’s why most partners of Hijackals step back, seldom speak up, and carefully choose their conversations, let along their battles.
This video will help you understand more about what’s going on.
A hallmark of Hijackals™ is out of proportion emotions. Now, you’ve experienced this, if you’ve been anywhere near a Hijackal™ and sometimes you’ve experienced it when you’re with someone who isn’t at all a Hijackal™. It’s something that happens in the moment for most people. But, when it’s a pattern, when you see it frequently, regularly perhaps, then you have to notice that this may be much more than something that is just fleeting.
So, the need to win that we talked about in the other video is very, very important and here we have this out of proportion emotions, this out of proportion response to something. And it catches you off guard because maybe you were just talking about what movie they would like to see on Friday night and instead of them saying, “Well, I don’t care,” or “I’d like to see this,” or whatever, they might say, “There you go again, trying to make something happen. You’re always trying to rule the roost.” And there you are like, “No, I was just simply trying to get us to decide on going out together to see a movie on Friday night.”
So, something very small becomes something very large and part of that is because Hijackals™ have emotional reasoning and that is on all the time. It’s like their on button has been pushed. And their emotional reasoning is that because they feel it, they believe it is so. So, they may be completely on the wrong page, not anywhere you are, because they are not reading you very well. All they are following is their agenda, their need to win. So, they are not really reading you, and they are absolutely fearful that they are going to make a mistake and of course they are not going to allow that to happen.
So, imagine when you are there, in a heightened state of emotion. A Hijackal™ is always in a heightened state of emotion, a hyper-vigilant, looking to see where the next potential, and imagined usually, slight is coming from. Or somebody is not thinking that they are wonderful or that someone out to get them, or whatever is going on. they are living in that hyper-vigilant state. And then you make a comment, and it’s usually worse at home than anywhere else, and you make a comment and they just blow it out of all proportion and their emotional response is much bigger, perhaps much more damning, perhaps much more violent, verbally and hopefully not physically, but it happens. And they, you just shake your head like, “How do I talk to this person? How do I engage in any kind of reasonable conversation when they go off like a Roman candle every time I mention anything?”
So, what you do is you withdraw, and you withdraw, but unfortunately because they’ve chosen you carefully, because they know you will try to please them, you will try to do the right thing. You will try and work around them. They know that they can have these outbursts and you will take it on yourself. And that’s unfortunate, but they read you well usually and they know that you will then try to be more nurturing, more kind, more careful, taking care of them in the best ways possible, pussy-footing around them, walking on the eggshells, and they are counting on that. So, when they have their explosions, they don’t expect you to go away. They expect you to take care of them. They expect you to take what they have to say or to even, they would love you to believe what they have to say. I hope you won’t. But, notice that the out of control, out of proportion emotions, unmanaged explosive emotions or feigning deep depression or feigning being very terribly hurt.
I remember dating a Hijackal™ at one point and I did something, and really it was something very small, but he decided to make it into something overblown and then he was sitting there on a park bench one day and he said, “I don’t know if I could have this relationship.” And the tears started pouring down because what you did, what you did. I found myself, because I was raised by Hijackals™ you know, plucking that string that went, “Oh dear, did I do something terrible?”
And it was at that moment that I realized, “Oh no, this these are crocodile tears. This is manipulation, This is exploitation. He is trying to pull me in to take care of me, forget about you, take care of me.” And he was doing it with these out of proportion emotions. So, that relationship didn’t last long.
If you recognize in this that you are on the receiving end of these out of control, out of proportion emotions, then know that that is a hallmark of a Hijackal™ and if you have several others of these ten hallmarks you need to be recognizing that maybe what you thought is your fault, is not.
Maybe what you’ve been told by your Hijackal™, that you are not working to capacity, that you are not worth the time of day, that you don’t deserve to take up space. Because they do talk to people like that. Start to see these patterns. They are so important. They can save your emotional life, if not your real life.
Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, The Relationship Help Doctor