Dr. Rhoberta Shaler is the relationship health doctor, she provides urgent and ongoing care for relationships and advices. Her mission is to provide insights, information and inspiration for clients and audiences which transform relationships 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 partners, executives, exes, and enough children of relentlessly difficult, toxic people, she calls “hijackals” to stop the crazy making and save their sanity Author of 16 books including, “Escaping the Hijackal Trap, and Stop! That’s Crazy-Making.” She focuses the internationally popular podcast, “Save Your Sanity, Help on Toxic Relationships” a YouTube channel for relationships’ health has reached over 360,000 views.

Listen to the podcast here:


Dealing with Toxic Relationships in a Crisis with Dr Rhoberta Shaler


Welcome to this Podcast “Your Life by Design: A proven system to live fully and finally achieve your Best Year Ever”. I am going to help you get more productive, set awesome goals and achieve the life of your dreams.

Hi I am Dr Sundardas D Annamalay, CEO of the NTC Alliance Group of Companies, author of “Life by Design” and founder of “The Freedom Formula – Mastering, Energy, Money and Leverage in 9 Steps”. I am a Naturopathic Physician and professor of Natural Medicine practicing in Singapore. I also mentor coaches, trainers and experts building their expert businesses.

Hi! I’m delighted that we’re here on this session. I am really happy to interview Dr. Rhoberta Shaler. Dr. Rhoberta Shaler is the relationship health doctor, she provides urgent and ongoing care for relationships and advices. Her mission is to provide insights, information and inspiration for clients and audiences which transform relationships 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 partners, executives, exes, and enough children of relentlessly difficult, toxic people, she calls “hijackals” to stop the crazy making and save their sanity Author of 16 books including, “Escaping the Hijackal Trap, and Stop! That’s Crazy-Making.” She focuses the internationally popular podcast, “Save Your Sanity, Help on Toxic Relationships” a YouTube channel for relationships’ health has reached over 360,000 views.

So, Dr. Rhoberta, it’s such a pleasure to have you here with us and I really enjoyed our discussions with you in the U.S. when we last met.


Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yes, it was great to finally meet you after emailing each other and having great talks. And I’m delighted to be your guest today.

Dr. Sundardas: You know we are living in interesting times. I think that…that was supposed to be a mis portal phrase from the Chinese and later on I discovered that they never quite say it that way. But nevertheless, we are living in stressful times and I believe the offering that you bring to the table is even more important at a time like this than ever before.

So, I’m just curious right? Do you see the current situation that we’re experiencing in that world and U.S. and the many different parts of the world, do you see it as crisis or opportunity, especially when it comes to toxic relationships?

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Well, bringing up the Chinese, the crisis and opportunity. Well, it’s an opportunity if we’re sure to recognize that we maybe in a more toxic situation than we ever thought. I know around the world we’re seeing significant increases in the percentages of domestic violence as a result of people being confined to their homes. So, it’s exacerbating people with anger problems, people who are hijackals, like I speak about. They do not like, not being in control. So, when they can’t control the climate, they can’t control the virus, they can’t control whether or not they can go to work they look for someone else to control. And it’s usually the person closest to them at home. So, this is a crisis for sure, because it’s going to really shine light on a very dangerous and toxic situation. And it’s an opportunity to say, “Okay, now I really know this is going on and I really have to do something about it.” Unfortunately, until things are lifted a little more it’s not as easy to just leave so I often spend a lot of time with my clients all over the world helping them prepare to leave. And that’s what we’ve been doing a lot of during this time.

Dr. Sundardas: Yeah, and that’s a great point. It brings out whatever’s under the table, what is being more subtle and hidden. And it brings it to the core, so that however much the partner or the other person may have denied the reality of his situation, you see it for what it is. And in that sense the crisis brings up an opportunity. Don’t you think?

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Oh! I think it does. Unfortunately, it forces an opportunity as well. Because, you can’t really sort of say, “Oh, isn’t that lovely I never seen a toxic person as someone I have to leave.” So, it’s not an opportunity in that way, but it’s saying, “Alright, I’ve been pushed to the point where I have to take action.” And there’s an opportunity in that.

Dr. Sundardas: Yeah, and ah, and I think you talked about preparing people when situation changes. Will you expand a bit more about that? Because we all know that change can be challenging. And you know, in my book I speak about “Stages of Change” and the first step is, when somebody is going to go, “Look, I don’t even want to hear about it.” So, how will you help somebody walk through that state and go through that or get ready to even think about it.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Sure, well the important thing when I say prepare, is that when people are in a toxic relationship under, and as they… they are often, really tired, they’re exhausted. They’ve been worn down, torn down, put down, they’ve been giving up a little. Don’t even know who they are on some days. Don’t know how to set boundaries if they had tried to have such work, so many considerations. So, the preparation comes from this fact, “I don’t want people leaving, unless there’s physical or sexual abuse. I don’t want people leaving in a disempowered way. I want them to prepare. I want them to have strategies they’ve tried in a relationship to see what they can accomplish. I want them to have learned to mediate within themselves. To come to the place where they honestly know everything isn’t their fault. They honestly know they’re not the horrible person that the hijackal is telling them they are, or they’re abused or insane.”

So, that’s where the preparation comes, as well as financial preparation, and physical preparation. You know, getting ready to go out the door, getting…knowing what’s best for the children. Knowing when the timing is best for the children. And then, we have to prepare and practice our new skills, practice our new mindset, practice inhabiting our body again. And saying, “I deserve to be treated well and I’m not. And so, therefore, I deserve to take action.” And we all know that different cultures have different ways that we can go about this.

You know I’ve had people in some countries calling me from telephone booths that still exists in, just because it’s the only safe place. So, everyone’s timeline is different, everybody’s possibilities may be slightly different but that preparation, that mental preparation, the emotional preparations, spiritual preparation, financial preparation needs to be underlying the decision.


Dr. Sundardas: That’s a great point, that’s a really great point that you are making because one of the challenges that many caregivers and people working in a new dimensional situation have, is…. And I used to make this mistake before, you figured that you’d define the problem, you’ve laid out the solution and you may be frustrated that a client and a patient you’re working with is not ready to move on and you’ve said it really well. That life is a journey and it’s going to be on your time, timeline and it’s like really making sure that it still says and you feel safe enough to do what it takes and I think that’s so powerful.

Because, it’s very often the hardest thing for a therapist to really get. And when I’m working with clients, who are therapist or people, who have a…well…toxic relationships of some kind and they are actually learning these new skill sets. I’ve gotten to have formally recognize as a journey so I’m no longer impatient. But sometimes they get impatient that they are taking so long. You know, and I have to reassure them that this is a journey and they are learning new skills and some of these skills are invisible out there.

So then, it’s so hard to see, it’s not like you get a degree or you go for a cause and you have a digital test that you sit where you know your progress. This is really a mental state, so I’m curious, how do you find out about or know what happen, she pays…and be aware that they’re actually making progress as they going through that whole process of re-learning new skill sets and mindsets. What were you thinking cross referencing? What do you say? How do you help mentor that process? I’m really, really interested to know.


Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Well, first of all, as I’ve said, that person comes to me, usually says, ” I don’t know what to do”, you know, I’m confused and tired, I’m worn out, I don’t know how to proceed, I just know I’m fed out and something has to be better than this.” Now, occasionally, people come and say, “I am ready to leave. I need help to do it in the best most empowering way possible”. But for many people they just don’t know where to start. So, we start with somebody’s situation and I validate the situation that therein. They tell me about the difficulties because they’re wondering is it just me, because a hijackal will always blame you. They will project on to you their greatest failings. So, people invariably will say, “Am I the hijackal?” (laughter) Because they’ve been put into that question and the answer is, if you were asking me if you’re a hijackal, there’s very little likelihood that you are, but they’ve been put into that situation where they second guess themselves all the time.

And that’s the only way they’ve been able to find some safety and to feel secure. And now we have to verify and validate that what the facts are in alignment with what is actually happening when you are in a relationship with a hijackal. Because for most good, happy or somewhat healthy people, it’s almost unthinkable that they are people who want to have continuous power over, continuous control, continuously be right, continuously put you down, continuously use strategies all-or-nothing thinking or making everything your fault. Were you aware that there are people like that?

We don’t even want to think there are, but there are. And the numbers are growing according to the research. So, first thing, recognize and be validated for ES. Those are the behaviors of a hijackal. Now, just a word, the reason I trademark the term “hijackal” is because so many people were going to the internet and they were putting in what was happening, and they were getting that clinical diagnosis. So, they were hearing words like “narcissistic personality disorder”, or “sociopaths”, or “anti-social” or borderlines or whatever. And what they were doing, they would say, “Oh, I’m with this person, who has this diagnosis.” No, you don’t know that. All you know is that, that set of traits and patterns and cycles is occurring in your relationship. And why I didn’t like the fact that they were using that clinical diagnosis, they were distancing themselves from the problem. Because, others are saying, it’s all your problem, but the actual fact is you’re in it.


Dr. Sundardas: Yes

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: So, it’s your problem, too. And it changes the dynamic when we look at it that way. So, it became important to do that, and so first of all validate what it is that they’ve seen, and feel, and what their fears are, if they are real and if they are actual. Things that you should be afraid of that are common to be afraid of, and then start the empowering process of, “Okay, what would it take for us to know, for you to know that it is not your fault? Eventhough you’re being told that everything is your fault. It’s not your fault.” To get people to understand what projection is. Projection is, simply put, what I’m most afraid is true of me, I would say it’s true of you. So, I get it off me and project it on to you. We people, people give away their hand all the time because they tell you what’s going on for you and once you learn that that’s what they’re afraid is going on for them or is going on for them, they just tip their hands so you can see it and they clearly told you. So, there are things like that that we have to start with.

Dr. Sundardas: Wow! You know something it just solved something that we’re running in our life for a long time. I sorted it out but you put a label on it and it’s very, very real. It’s a relief actually to hear you say this.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Good.

Dr. Sundardas: It’s a relief, the one that you…especially when you said that it’s a difficult maneuver is that whatever they’re afraid of, they project on you and if you are in a relationship like that you actually may wonder if that’s true. And your line there, if you wonder if that is true then you’re probably not it. Because if you are it, you’ll never wonder if that is true.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Exactly, and it happens all the time, you know I have Facebook groups and I have a membership program, so I am in contact with people all the time. And the groups that people say what, “You know, I’m a part from them but now I’m wondering, was it me, was I the difficult person, was I relentless, was I all those things that you read about?” And that’s the crazy making, that’s the second guessing that goes on. And when they finally hear me say exactly what you were repeating, like if you ask those questions it’s highly unlikely to be you. That relief was palpable because okay now I can take that off the table. And then, that’s the beginning of the empowerment, “Alright, everything isn’t my fault. I’m not crazy. I do not have to second guess everything I say or do, or feel, and then we need to make very clear when you’re being gaslighted.” Because gaslighting is a huge thing when you’re with a toxic person. And for your audience to know that gaslighting simply put, is when another person wants to define your reality for you. They want to tell you what you think, feel, need, want, prefer, remember. They want to be…they want to take you over and say, “Oh, no! You’ve got it wrong!” Eventhough you were there, and you were the one with the feeling, but they want to rewrite your narrative for you and get you to believe in it. And hijackals do that all the time.


Dr. Sundardas: Yeah, I remember that one, they really do that.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: It’s very difficult because you start to think, “Is it me again?” you know, “Is there something wrong with me? Do I mis-remember that?” you know, “How dare you tell me how I feel?” I mean get up in your back legs when someone tells you how you feel, and be indignant, “How dare you! If you want to know how I feel, ask me and I’m happy to tell but don’t pretend you know, that’s outrageous!” You can never have a healthy relationship when someone else pretends they already know what you feel and how you think or what you want or what you need. It’s just not possible. Between adults we have conversations, to find those things out. We don’t make assumptions.

Dr. Sundardas: Yeah, with conversations, not monologues, that’s the other key, when somebody’s in a situation like that it’s a monologue, it’s not a conversation.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: I know you’re right. And that thing in that situation is, when somebody really wants to continue as they make you wrong, they will keep at it. You know that old adage, if you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Well, I’m just going to keep pounding on you, to keep you down, keep you down, keep you down. You know being with a hijackal is a bit like that carnival game. Are you familiar with that game called “wackable”?

Dr. Sundardas: Yes

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: The moles keep popping up and you…

Dr. Sundardas: And you keep making them down.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Being with one is that if that can’t win over here, then they pop up over here like they’re looking for the strategy to win. And so, you’re looking over here, and over here they changed. And so, you have to have some techniques and some skills to understand what’s going on. So that becomes that next layer, and then to learn to communicate in integrous ways. You know, I love the adage that I learned about 13 years ago, I was reading a book called “The Secret of Staying In Love”, from oxymoronically, or paradoxically it was written by a Jesuit Monk, so I don’t know about you…

Dr. Sundardas: [Laughs] That sounds a whole new discussion for me..

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: It does but he did say a brilliant thing about communication. And he said that the genius of good communication is to be totally kind and totally honest at the same time.

Dr. Sundardas: That’s an incredible paradox if you can actually do it.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: It is, but you can actually do it.

Dr. Sundardas: Work in progress.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yes, so if you have that as a goal and you say, “Alright, I want to be the person who communicates in ways that is totally kind and totally honest at the same time. I want to be that person, no matter how hijackal behaves over there. I want to be this person. I am this person. I do things in this way.” This is the beginning of empowerment, for you to just be able to say, “This is alright with me, that’s not alright with me.” To have boundaries, to express them, to hold them and if the other person doesn’t honor them, to have consequences for them. And that’s extremely empowering, it’s so important for someone to realise that, you know you breathe therefore you’re allowed to have boundaries.

Dr. Sundardas: That’s a fascinating point, because I set a goal for myself 25 years ago of being compassionate with my truth. Because before at that point, being somewhat autistic it was about truth or nothing else and I said, “Let them settle consequences.” Let’s talk about being compassionate first and then being honest and it had been an ongoing journey. So this thought about being kind and honest, okay, that’s the next level. [Laughs] Something else to aspire to.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Well, if I could take a phrase. There are two phrases that I would happily take out of the English language. I’d like them to be abolished. And the one that’s pertinent here is “brutal honesty”.

Dr. Sundardas: Yes

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: There is no need for brutal honesty unless you want to hurt someone. If your intention is to hurt someone.

Dr. Sundardas: Good point

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: If your intention is to hurt someone and… you know what people say at conversation, they just put it in, “Well if I could be brutally honest for a minute.” “No! You can’t! You know, stop right there! You don’t get to be brutally honest.” You know and when I’ve said that to people, they said, “What do you mean? Can’t you take it?” I said, “You can be honest with me.”


Dr. Sundardas: Without being brutal.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: But don’t be brutal. That’s on you, if you’re being brutal that’s telling me who you are.

Dr. Sundardas: I think even when I thought I was being brutally honest…I don’t think I was; I was just being honest. And it was this honest individual I was in a relationship with who kept that…now it’s part of my journey.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: I think it’s part of everyone’s journey, really. I mean it may have been a pertinent part of your journey, but I think it’s part of everyone’s journey to come to realise that you’re the author of your communication. And you need to take the opportunity to say, “How do I want to be perceived in the world?” And make sure that your communication is in alignment with that. You know if I just want to be brutally honest spilling whatever it is, I have to say venomously over everyone, don’t be surprised if people move away from you.

Dr. Sundardas: Yes, ofcourse.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Right? But if that’s not the person you wanted to be then you need to change that and that goes back to your earlier question of, “How do I move people through this?” Because it’s who are you. Like here’s another example, people would say to me, “Well, you know I have a hijackal mother and I haven’t spoken to her for 10 years. I just got word that she’s ill. What should I do?” And my answer is always, “Who are you?” And they say, “Well, what do you mean? Tell me what to do.” I said, “I can’t. I need to know who you are. What can you do in your life that exemplifies who you are living by your values that you can do without regret? I don’t know the answer for you.” Well there is no right answer. So, “Who are you?” is the question. You know for some people it would be just going lamb to the slaughter, to go back into a situation where you’re going to get crucified. And it would not be healthy for you or for your family or anybody around you and the answer is, “That’s unfortunate but, no.” But for other people, they know that they have some breadth and depth to be able to do things and walk away when they need to, and go back when they want to, and so they can go on, “I have two hijackal parents. I am an only child.” Great, you know, two of them, you’re only one.

Dr. Sundardas: That makes you an expert on them. [Laughs]

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yes, well another reason is because when you have hijackal parents, you sub-consciously choose hijackal partners. So there was a lot of work I had to do and I realize nobody could help me when I went to them because they didn’t see it.  So that’s why I’ve done all these work for the past 35 years to help people understand that, you know, when my parents were unwell, there was no siblings situations to turn to, so I have to say, “Who am I?” Now, I already have 3 kids of my own and had a full life but for me, I knew that I could be in a boundary and situation where I could take care of them, and hold my boundaries and come out of it okay, so I did but I wouldn’t recommend that to anybody else, that’s very breachable situation.

Dr. Sundardas: You have the skills sets, you are a professional, you have the abilities and that’s why you could. Be not everyone…

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Well, I have the skills set.

Dr. Sundardas: Yeah, the skills set and the mindset.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yes, that was the thing, I mean…I remember one day just an example, you know, there were hospice workers I had coming in to be with my mother at night and sometimes during the day. And I said to them, “I’m getting really word down, so I’m taking 3 days away to go to a cabin in the mountains.” And they were horrified, “How there you, your mother is dying! This is terrible!” I said, “She is not dying today, and I will be no use to her if I can’t be present when she is dying.” So, I went off and I had my 3 days. I came back and I spent 10 days with my mother, and she passed. That’s an example of how people perceive you supposedly doing the right thing, that you’re somehow supposed to suffer, you’re supposed to give ‘til it hurts. Which is the other phrase, I would like taken out of the English Language. Because if everybody give ‘till it hurt, everybody would be hurting.

Dr. Sundardas: And then, they will be exhausted. And they will not be good to themselves…yes, useless to themselves.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: And to everyone else. Right. So, it’s a paradigm that needed a little turning, a little different point of view.

Dr. Sundardas: I think you have raised so many interesting and fascinating points, brutal honesty and I had long term relationship that taught me a lot, but I think now introspect when I hear you talked about what hijackal is and all the things I went  through there. You just define, nailed it really well. I think the giveaway was when this other individual will keep telling me what I’m feeling.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yeah, let me give you the definition, my definition of the term hijackal. A hijackal is a person who hijacks the relationships for his or her own purposes and then relentlessly scavenges it for power, status, and control.

Dr. Sundardas: Yeah

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: And it is that relentless. You know, let me take a little bit off you here, let me make a little demand here, let me put you down here, and it’s just relentless! Holding at, tugging at you, pushing you down, and you know that’s where it becomes really important to understand. You know, hijackals don’t need clinical diagnosis because they’re not going to get one. You don’t get someone to go off to get a diagnosis when you think they’re already perfect and everybody else is wrong, they’re going to go. So, that’s why it’s really important for you to fortify yourself as the person who is with them and get a new mindset, get new skills, get new insights into how to look at this. And to do your work because you will come out of it empowered and changed. They’ll be the same at the end, they’ll be angrier but they’ll be the same unhappy hijackal.

Dr. Sundardas: Yeah… it was easier when I met an old college acquaintance and be reconnected. It was easier then because we did about second or third time we met for lunch, I felt this fuel of toxic material, so it was easier to see it then…

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yeah, it’s important to learn these things so that you get what I call hijackal radar because if you’ve been in these situations and it turned around there was a part of you that was set up for you that I call hijackal baits so it’s almost  like pheromones. Hijackal can smell whether you are already groomed, you know, that they can take you over and you want to be resistant to that and you need to become like I call it “hijackal proof”.

Dr. Sundardas: Yes.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: No, thank you I see it clearly, you know, it’s very important, you know. I keep this here all the time because I’m pressed to recognize that healthy people go into a relationship, they kind of got their rose-colored glasses on. They try to make nice and they see all the good things and a hijackal is love-balming in, so they just show you the good things and because you got your rose colored glasses on, you failed to see the red flags, right? They just kind of disappear, when they pop up, you go, “Oh, no, they must be having a bad day, they didn’t mean that.” You start already making excuses for them and they’re brand-new new in your life when you should be sitting back auditioning them, saying: “I saw a red flag, hmm, I’m going to follow that one up.” But oh, no, we’re in this hormone days, and we think, “Oh, you know, well, it’s alright, once they feel stable, once they feel loved, once they feel this nurturing of my presence they will change.” Oh no, that’s the hijackal going on, got a live one here.

Dr. Sundardas: And I think that, there are so many great points,  and I think that…I suspect, that phenomenon of hijackal is a lot more common and under reported and it’s because I think, that merely every client I speak to has got some kind of hijackal influence although we may not address it in those sense.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yes, and when we think about health, you know, let us just add that into the conversation. That if you have something that’s wearing you down, tearing you down and someone is putting you down, remember that also it’s likely to happen in your immune system.

Dr. Sundardas:  Absolutely.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: As you become immune to this. So, you’re going to have physical manifestation showing up. Now, when you have a physical thing that happens in a hijackal relationship, the hijackal will not tolerate people around them being sick. You know, like, “How dare you, you don’t make me look good anymore.” And so they’ll do the initial thing where they’d be overly concerned, and, “Oh, you’re my partner, I’ve got to take care of him or her.” And they’ll do that while they are getting some goodies from the outside, but if you’re sick for more than 2 weeks, “Yeah, all bets are off.” Like if you have something chronic, you’re just an added weight around their neck, an albatross, you know? Like, “I don’t have time for this.” You know, I was once in a relationship more than once, in a relationship with a hijackal, and I happen to break my ankle, and, you know in the beginning it was solicitous, like, “Oh, you poor thing!” After four days of the spiral fracture and having to get, you know, a lot of orthopedic consults and everything happening, it was, “I’m going back to work, manage on your own.” You know, I was crawling around the house in all fours and he didn’t care. He simply didn’t care. He was not going to be inconvenienced by my having a broken ankle, and if you have something less visible, maybe you have anxiety, maybe you have fibromyalgia or something that really does not show up.


Dr. Sundardas: “My, my, you’re making it all up. You’re not really sick. You’re just looking for sympathy.” Yes.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Exactly! Like it’s not visible. You’re just doing it to f** off having sex with me. You know it’s all the story in your head, you know, buck up and get straight. And that’s bad because that person now, your…they’re the cause, you know, there’s research in Canada, there’s a doctor there. I followed for 25 years, his name is Gabriel Mate, and he did a piece of research, small study, but still significant because he’d done so many pieces of research similar and he found that, and I extrapolated from my hijackal crowd, he found it in his study that women who lived with chronic stress and anxiety were nine times more likely to get breast cancer. So, by extrapolate that to my population who constantly are in anxiety and stress, hyper vigilance, looking over their shoulder, getting their exercise by walking on eggshells, they are going to have that stress embodied, right? They just to, and so, it’s very important for people to realize that when you are living in  a chronic stress and anxiety, it is taking a toll on your physical self as well as your mental, emotional, spiritual self.

Dr. Sundardas: That’s interesting piece of research because we actually measure people in my practice and we have two markers, one is the Anova system and the other one is a KP test to adrenal stress. Everyone with autoimmune or chronic illness, has these, at least one of the two markers activated. One of the conversations I had with all of that, is about some kind of emotional work, selfcare work and actually recognizing that a major marker for, one of the major function details with the health condition is actually this ongoing, unremitting emotional stress. You know, this is the hardest piece of the conversation which really had…they are okay with the supplements, the nutrition, the diet, changing lifestyle, that we even get them great knowledge that there is a significant emotional stress off, that it would take anything from weeks, months, for years.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Well yes, and I think one piece of that puzzle is that there is an underlying belief in the person who is suffering that they should be able to handle it. If they, if they had it together, they should be able to handle it. And the thing I find speaking to clients all the time is, “No, there’s no way that you’re supposed to handle getting hit over the head, metaphorically, every time someone looks at you.” You do not stand there and let them keep hitting you over the head, right?

So, when you are constantly thinking, “Can I say his?” “Can I do this?” “Could I ask for this?” “What will happen?” “What will happen to my children?” How long will they give me the silent treatment?” And you’re weighing all of these, you tend to stay very quiet and you subjugate all your needs and this unhealthy, really unhealthy. So, no, you are not supposed to be some kind of super person who could withstand other people’s abuse and it makes you a good person. It makes you an unwise person. Unwise people subjugate themselves to ongoing abuse. So, be wise, you know, wake up and smell the herbal tea and get on your way out of there.


Dr. Sundardas: I think that’s great advise and I really like the stuff about, helping them see that continuing to take that punishment is punishment.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: Yeah, it’s abuse and many people don’t want to call it that. “Oh, he has a problem. Oh, she’s high maintenance. Oh, they’re going through something.” Yeah, but what they’re doing is going to your immune system destroying it. You know, stop making excuses justifying, rationalizing other people’s bad behavior. Just don’t do it! Whether you are healthy or unhealthy at this moment. Do not justify, rationalizing, making excuses for other people’s bad behavior, just don’t!

Dr. Sundardas: Thank you so much, that was incredible! So, we’ve had a session with Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, talking about toxic relationships. And if you are in a toxic relationship right now, Dr. Shaler, how do they get in touch with you?

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler: They go to my website: forrelationshiphelp.com and if you want to listen to my podcast you can see it there, forrelationshiphelp.com and also on my YouTube channel is also called: For Relationship Help. So, you can find lots of things that can help you without my presence and if you want to work with me, you’ll also know how to do that.

Dr. Sundardas: Thank you very much and this is Dr. Sundardas with Life by Design. I look forward to       helping you on your journey through life. Thank you, have a great day!

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