Manipulation Techniques 101: Moving Goal Posts

Manipulation Techniques 101: Moving Goal Posts manipulation techniques 101: moving goal posts
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Picture this: You’re in a game of emotional cat and mouse with a manipulative person. Just when you think you’ve got the upper hand and are about to meet their expectations, they cleverly move the target, leaving you chasing an elusive victory. You strive to please them, bending over backward to meet their demands, but no matter how hard you try, it’s never enough.

Welcome to the world of the moving goal posts, a cunning manipulation technique designed to keep you perpetually striving but never truly satisfied. The moving goal posts manipulation technique revolves around consistently changing the expectations or standards required to gain approval, validation, or recognition.

In manipulative relationships, just as you think you’ve reached the pinnacle of their satisfaction, they subtly shift the criteria, raising the bar yet again. What you thought was a surefire way to their heart suddenly falls short, leaving you puzzled and doubting your abilities. You try even harder to regain their approval, but with each step forward, they push the finish line further away.

Just as in sports, if the goal posts are shifted every time you are close to scoring, success becomes an elusive and unattainable feat, leaving you perpetually chasing an ever-changing target.

The manipulator’s ability to move the goal posts with ease leaves you feeling like you’re running in circles, chasing an ever-changing prize. It’s as if they’re playing a psychological game of “catch me if you can,” leaving you bewildered and emotionally exhausted.

So, Why Do Manipulators Move Goal Posts?

1. Power and Control

A manipulative relationship is all about power and control and by continuously changing the goal posts, manipulators keep you off-balance and uncertain. This power dynamic allows the manipulator to maintain control over the relationship, as you will always be striving to meet new and often unattainable demands.

2. Validation and Admiration

Manipulators crave constant validation and admiration from others. Moving the goal posts ensures that you remain in a perpetual state of trying to win the manipulator’s approval, providing them with a steady stream of admiration whenever you seem to come close to meeting their new expectations.

3. Emotional Dependence

The manipulator’s shifting criteria can create a sense of emotional dependence. As your self-esteem becomes tied to gaining the manipulator’s approval, you may feel increasingly reliant on the manipulator for validation and self-worth. The manipulator’s ever-changing criteria leave you tirelessly striving for validation, leading to a constant sense of inadequacy and the false belief that meeting these elusive standards will finally make you “good enough.”

4. Confusion & Gaslighting

Manipulators use the tactic of shifting the goal posts to sow seeds of doubt and confusion in your mind. By constantly changing expectations, they create a psychological maze, causing you to question their own perceptions and memory of past interactions. When you find yourself doubting reality, you become more vulnerable and dependent on the manipulator’s version of events, allowing them to maintain control over the narrative and your emotions.

5. Avoiding Accountability

By constantly changing the rules of engagement, manipulators evade accountability for their own behavior. They can deflect blame onto you, accusing you of not meeting the new expectations, instead of taking responsibility for their manipulative actions.

6. Preventing Progress

In some cases, manipulators may fear that if you achieve your goals or gains independence, you will no longer be under the manipulator’s control. Shifting the goal posts keeps you in a perpetual state of striving, preventing you from making significant progress or breaking free from the manipulator’s influence.

Effect of Moving Goal Posts

The impact of being subjected to this manipulative technique can be deeply disorienting and damaging to your mental and emotional well-being. As you find yourself continuously chasing changing expectations, it may feel as though you’re running on a treadmill, exerting immense effort but never truly progressing.

The unpredictability of the shifting standards creates an atmosphere of insecurity and self-doubt. You might begin to question your abilities and worth, believing that your failure to meet the manipulator’s expectations is a reflection of your inadequacies.

This constant striving for an ever-changing target can also lead to feelings of anxiety, emotional exhaustion, and frustration.

You might find yourself in a perpetual state of confusion, questioning your own judgment and reality. This unsettling state of affairs may make you more susceptible to further manipulation and control, causing a profound impact on your self-esteem, personal growth, and overall sense of happiness and fulfillment.

Move Your Own Goal Posts

Taking charge of your own goals and moving the goal posts in life is a powerful way to counter the manipulative techniques of others. Instead of allowing external influences to dictate your worth and success, embrace the autonomy to set and adjust your own objectives based on your growth and self-discovery. By adopting a growth mindset, you free yourself from the shackles of unrealistic expectations and avoid falling into the trap of constant validation-seeking.

Embrace the idea that setbacks and failures are opportunities for learning and improvement, rather than reflections of your worth. Trust in your abilities, prioritize your well-being, and remember that the true measure of success lies in the progress you make on your own terms, not in appeasing the shifting demands of manipulators.

By establishing clear boundaries and pursuing your genuine aspirations, you empower yourself to navigate life with authenticity, resilience, and the strength to overcome the ploys of manipulation.

Note from the Author

If you’re ready and you’d like my help with healing, finding peace in life and breaking free from these subconscious patterns for good (in less than 2 months) using Mind Shifting, then you can book a FREE BREAKTHROUGH CALL with me HERE. Happy healing 💙💙. Feel free to share and comment! Use this information with caution, it comes from my own thoughts & bias, experiences and research😊.




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Edwin Bii
Edwin Bii

I'm Edwin Bii, a trained advanced conversational hypnotherapist (ACH) and Mind Shifting Coach from Kenya offering mental health support, and life coaching to help you crush your goalsand overcome your problems. Together, we'll navigate challenges, build self-awareness, and create a happier, healthier you. Let's unlock your potential.

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