Toxic relationships can occur at any age. You might have grown up with difficult parents or ended up in a toxic marriage. Like menopause, this is not a subject that is openly discussed. People in this type of relationship can feel guilty or shamed or frightened. And it can be a dangerous place to be for your physical and emotional health.
My guest on the Hot Women Rock Radio Show this week was Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, The Relationship Help Doctor. She provides urgent and ongoing care for relationships in crisis. Her mission is to provide the insights, information, and inspiration for clients and audiences to transform relationship with themselves and other humans to be honest, respectful, and safe in all ways. Even the United States Marines have sought her help!
Dr. Shaler focuses on helping the partners, exes, and adult children of the relentlessly difficult, toxic people she calls Hijackals® to stop the crazy-making and save their sanity.
“Both of my parents were Hijackals©. I was an only child and I was 9 years old when I said to my parents, ‘You’re nuts!’. They were arguing all the time. I knew they didn’t like each other and I started advocating for them to divorce. They stayed together until my father died. The house was filled with tension and resentment.
When you have those types of people in your life you will attract more of them. They are familiar and comfortably uncomfortable. You will probably marry one and, if you know what I know, you will get out of that relationship quickly. And there were no resources to support me. Other people were judgemental when I talked about what my parents were like.
I really enjoy figuring things out and diagnostics and I was going to train to be a medical doctor. I had just finished my pre-med when I found out I was pregnant. I thought that I can’t do that to a child. That won’t work. So, I shifted to do a PhD in psychology so I could set my own hours.
I tell people all the time that Hijackals© paint a public picture of perfection while at home they create a private place of pain. It became my focus to help partners and exes in this situation.
I mostly see people between age 32 and 65. They think they can solve it. They don’t want to admit they made a ‘mistake’ choosing their partner. But let that go. Hijackals© are love bombers at the beginning of a relationship. They are on their best behaviour. They do not show their nasty sides.
And then quickly or slowly there are intermittent bursts of nastiness that their partner may just think is a ‘bad patch’. Eventually, their cover is blown and the partner realises who the person is that they have been living with.
Hijackals© are often attracted to the children of difficult people because you are pre-groomed to respond to them.”
- Recognise that you are living with a Hijackal©. The signs are:
- They hijack a relationship for their own needs a purposes.
- They scavenge the relationship for power status and control
- You begin to feel dispirited and like you can’t do anything right.
- They will blame you for everything.
- They will ‘love bomb’ you if they think you are planning to leave.
- They withhold from you what you need.
- Your problems are an inconvenience to them.
- They love to take charge of the finances.
2. Recognise that you may be enabling the abuse. Notice if you frequently step in to fix, solve, excuse, rationalise, justify or make the consequences go away for the poor choices of others.
3. Understand that their behaviour is not your fault or responsibility. You can never satisfy them even if you do what they said they wanted.
4. Call it what it is. Be prepared to say that you are being abused.
5. Educate yourself so that you understand what is happening.
6. Learn communication skills so that you can put in place incremental boundaries. Never set a boundary that is negotiable.
7. If you decide to leave, make your plans carefully and safely. Seek help from the police if your partner is physically abusive or could become so.
8. If you go to the police, do not renege on the charges.
9. Give up living up to the expectations of others, and live your own values, vision, beliefs and goals…assertively.
10. Write on the inside of your forehead ABB – Always Believe Behaviour. Their fine words don’t mean anything unless they align with behaviour.
Remember – you matter!
For more resources and information about toxic relationships go to https://www.forrelationshiphelp.com/
For more help with your menopause contact me