Goals vs Trajectory – Coaching yourself after narcissistic abuse

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I just got off the phone with an amazing person who has focused her 2019 activities into a few important goals which feel energizing and empowering to her. Let’s call her Sally.

Sally has had a history of narcissistic abuse, and she is actively healing from it through awareness, inner transformations, better boundaries and healthier relationship choices.


For many people, goals can seem “big” and “out there”… making a person feel “small” and “separate from” this thing/experience they say they have to reach.

What I know for sure is that after narcissistic abuse, the choice to feel small – and unconsciously repeat the abuse – can be sneaky and insideous.

Goals and smallness

Strangely, a “goal” can be used to take the place of the narcissist: something outside of yourself to measure yourself against. For Sally, what worked for her as a child (to feel powerless or small due to fear of important authority figures) is not the best choice for her adult aspirations.

Goals can work. But they don’tcreate sustainable joy. They can actually work against you Although it can be tempting to set goals because they are manageable and control-able, there can be a hefty price for them which is this:

You begin to identify with a smaller sense of self that is not worthy of Who You Really Are. Who You Really Are is so much bigger than any particular goal.


An example: I’d prefer to watch a soccer player who feels a THRILL at the feeling of kicking a ball where she wants it to go rather than a soccer player who feels PRESSURED to make a certain number of goals. It’s like 2 different personalities. One is joyfully playing and one is “working hard”. The one who is working hard can feel happiness at reaching their goal, but they will miss the joy of being fully involved in the game.

Goals vs Trajectory

Whereas goals are external things to aim for and measure yourself against, a trajectory is a compass letting you know if you’re on track, or not.

A trajectory is based on your deepest, most important values.

For example: Honesty and spunk. Or faith and intuition. Or love and beauty.

A trajectory can guide your behaviors because those values become your “north” on the compass.

Your brilliant intuition, rather than being forced toward a goal, is empowered and unleashed when working in alignment with a trajectory.

Are goals bad?

I don’t see goals as bad. I see them as part of our world. We have been conditioned to meet external standards and measure up to other people’s expectations. That conditioning and training is cultural and widespread. It’s not going to go away overnight.

I see goals as training wheels if you aren’t used to working with trajectories.

When I coached this beautiful woman to line up with her trajectory, she became aligned with her larger self. She started to see herself as “bigger” than her goal, and her clarity and joy immediately became more sustainable.

Her joy is no longer dependent on whether she “reaches” her goal or not.

Her joy is affirmed each time she feels the thrill of taking steps in the direction that means so much to her.

When someone does this, they become magnetic and charismatic. It’s a practice that automatically transforms a person into a great leader.

In Sally’s case, as she steps forward with a sense of her “true size”, she will create more opportunities for more joy and inside of that, she will attract more people to support her path. People who see her, know her and appreciate her for who she is being in the world.


In your life, what are your most important values? What is your trajectory? What are the steps you can take to maintain a life-size expression of Who You Really Are?


11 thoughts on “Goals vs Trajectory – Coaching yourself after narcissistic abuse

  1. WAY INSPIRING, DEBBIE!!! I needed to read this AND take it to heart with regard to attuning myself to the progress I’m making in the TRAJECTORY of my writing (vs. “trying to reach” the GOAL of completing my novel)… And IMMEDIATELY I felt a sense of relief with the notion of adopting this POV/approach you put forward… like a mantra I effortlessly come back to. Muchas Gracias! 🙂

  2. Happy D
    You make me so proud…

    This trajectory thing makes total sense.

    Goals n conditioning is another bingo!

    Cant you change the third world countries??? Hehe

      1. Hehe….
        Am glad I make you smile
        I believe smiles cause magic to happen…wink wink
        I imagine a few of us…sitting around a fire…a talking laughing about these “glory days”…,-)

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