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Trapped By a Hijackal in Sheep’s Clothing? Beware!

Scary difficult person who mkaes you feel trapped and anxious.

Hijackals™ are chameleons when you first meet them. They will be just what you want them to be...and that's the beginning of the path to feeling trapped.

It's like they can read your soul and give you the love, attention, and understanding you have longed for.  

S/he scooped you up, engaged you fully, and stole your heart. Then, when secure that you were completely enthralled, s/he shed the 'nice' and showed you true colors you could not believe you were seeing. You feel trapped.

That's why it's not your fault if you find yourself with a Hijackal.

Who are these creatures? I created the term, Hijackals, to describe people who hijack relationships for their own purposes, while relentlessly scavenging them for power, status, and control.

When those true colors start to show, you are so shocked that you are certain you must have misunderstood. You turn on yourself, and question what you have done. Did I cause this? You dismiss the behavior as a one-time thing, caused by stress. You do anything to put the picture back together and make it fit. (Again, that leads you to being trapped in that mindset, avoiding facing what's really going on.)

That's where the Hijackal Trap begins to show up.

Yes, it is wise to ask yourself if something you did contributed to the conflict. That's self-awareness. The problem is that you found your partner's behavior so shocking that it did not fit the pattern you had made for him or her. You, then, tried to make it fit by taking on the issue, or by dismissing it as a momentary slip. The jaws of the Hijackal Trap began to close at that moment.

Hijackals must every moment. It's a win for them when they make you second-guess yourself. It's a win when you take the blame as they are so sure you will. It's a win for them when you question your sanity, rather than theirs. Why? Because you were carefully chosen.

Hijackals have an innate sensor for possible prey,  people who:

  • accept blame...readily
  • give them the benefit of the doubt...repeatedly.
  • really want to be in a relationship...badly.
  • do not question their reasons, excuses or manipulations...ever.

They troll for for those people, radar always on. Once they find them, they pounce...gently at first, and then, they get their claws into you, under your skin. You cannot believe they would do that, and soon you are trapped.

If this sounds--or feels--familiar, stop now and learn more. It will save your sanity...and your self-esteem!

In Volume One  of my ebook series, Escaping the Hijackal TrapI outline all the ways to identify Hijackals and exactly why they are crazy-making. If any of these ring true to you in your relationship with your partner, your ex, your mother, your child, or a co-worker, you need to know more.




Disclaimer: All advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, video, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than twenty-five years, she offers her insights and opinions  for your consideration only.



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  1. rebecca - Reply

    I’ve been seeing a therapist to work through conflict with my husband, but she has never mentioned the severity of this problem with PA behavior that he exhibits. It’s severe. It appears that the most change that may come from marriage/individual counseling is on the wife. This seems pretty hopeless.

    I’m at the end at this point and do not want to continue to both work on my relationship or work with this therapist. Trust is lost in both cases.

    • DrShaler avatar
      Rhoberta Shaler, PhD - Reply


      I can certainly understand your frustration with both your husband and the process of resolving issues. As this is my specialty, I often hear from clients that they previously felt frustrated working with others who were not specialist in the area.

      What I have learned after working with clients on these issues for more than twenty-five years, is that the best thing to do is to get all the learning you can while you’re still in the relationship. That means working with me, or your choice of experienced therapist, to gain all the insights and skills you can. You then apply them within your relationship. If change can occur, it will. Of course, the best thing is to work together as a couple so that you can both see the issues from each other’s perspectives.

      Does your husband have any interest in working on the relationship?

      I invite you to take advantage of my free half-hour consultation and we can talk about this. Use this link to schedule a time, if you like:

      I look forward to speaking with you soon.

      Warm regards,
      Dr. Shaler

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