Moving the goalposts is usually seen as being a negative thing, especially when someone else is doing it to you.
Narcissistic parents constantly move goalposts for their children. Its one of the ways they maintain control and assert their right to feel their child is , well, just a little bit shit. They can feel justified in their criticism if they constantly make sure that what ever their child is achieving - its not as good as it should be in some way. Sometimes they don't even move the goalposts - they just hide them completely and expect you to guess where they are - and how much you are missing them by!
But after finally starting to get out from under the cloud of F.O.G. ( Fear, Obligation and Guilt) It becomes apparent that lots of things can be looked at differently, especially if you are prepared to question the basic structure of your thinking.
Often it can be as simple as the use of a different word in a sentence.
I am a ..........................................?
My past was.................................?
My present is................................?
and my future will be....................?
Currently, as I said in a previous post, I am choosing winner.
It was unexpected that I could fit this into my world view - but interesting I hadn't tried. I thoroughly recommend trying replacing a few of the words you might use to describe yourself with altogether more positive ones - just to force yourself out of the rut of endless criticism that can become habitual.
I wondered, if you were to describe one of the nicest people you know what words would you use, and can you get those into a description of yourself? Are you any less kind, creative, thoughtful, hardworking and oddly optimistic? (Many children of narcissists survive on optimism - so don't forget to credit yourself with that one)
When I look at events in my past through using these positive words It is quite revealing and it validates all of the hard work and suffering I put in to make sure that I protected the positive choices I made for myself.
There were a lot of lost battles - but I won the War, even if it took me such a long time to realise this.
The point of this post is not to reiterate the last one, it is that in order to consider yourself a winner - you have to pass some kind of demarcation that you would find acceptable to mark yourself out as a winner. You get to decide what that is.
I'm going to repeat that in-case it gets lost.
You get to decide what that is!
not anybody else
no false voices you have learned
no second guessing what other people might think
You get to decide what that is!
So if you want to think of yourself as a winner - why not gather up all the positive wins you have had and take a damned good look at them, I'd bet there are a lot. Then ask yourself, Why would you continue the abusive pattern of putting your goalposts out of reach?
Problem solving often involves breaking things down into small and do-able chunks - each of those chunks being achievable either independently - or built upon the last one. Most people know this and most projects are planned with this in mind, so why would we not look at our own lives this way?
Whilst I have spent some of this last year looking for my own happiness, trying to define what it is and how to achieve it I know state of endless bliss is not realistic so what would be?
- Almost never happy
- Happy occasionally
- Happy most of the time
- Eternal bliss.
or what about the inverse:
- Totally miserable
- Occasionally unhappy
- Never unhappy at all
I decided I'm happy to be: "Only occasionally unhappy, with occasionally very happy", because that's what I already am, in-fact I might be a little better than that.
This means ...goalposts passed!
Sure I had to drag the goalpost back from the edge of some pink fluffy cloud it was stuck in , because I'm "supposed" to set rigorous and demanding goals for myself that I can't really achieve...except...
The very act of doing that precludes me from my own happiness, as does sticking to a way of thinking that used to be imposed on me, but is in reality not my own.
When I make a list - I always put stuff on there I have already done, it gives me something to tick off straight away and I like to start on a positive and achievable note. I don't think this is cheating because If I am at the planning stage with something - then I have probably already been thinking and working on it for a while, so I will have achieved things towards its completion already - I like to acknowledge the hard work put in already, so my lists start with a thing done.
When I look at "Project Me" I realise how much hard work has gone into that.
I can tick off lots and lots of things that have gone well for me, many of which required a lot of work - and I can acknowledge them, and what a good job I have done so far.
- Taking the best from a bad situation
- Failing and trying again
- Saying no to a Narcissist
- Making an independent life
- Looking at the past without fear or grief
- learning forgiveness and compassion for myself
- Putting down anger
- Not hiding
- Seeing the negative for what it was and naming it
- Seeing the positive in what I have achieved and naming it
My story being told in my words and I get to choose them, and change them, and rewrite them if I get it wrong.
But I don't have to beat myself up with them. My story is not the story of a loser, but the story of someone who overcame a loss.