Running on Fumes

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Linda Martinez-Lewi, PhD., author of, “Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life” shares, “Besides jeopardizing their psychological and physical health, those who live with narcissists, particularly spouses, rob themselves of the vital opportunities to develop their unique creative gifts.  They set aside their talents, drives, and dreams to spend huge amounts of time and energy at the disposal of a corporate wife or husband or an obsessive entrepreneur.”  She goes on to say, “For many husbands, wives, and children, who are expected to wait through the long weekends and late evenings, the recurrent pattern of making work “the priority” becomes wearying, discouraging, and exasperating.”  The author closes the paragraph stating, “They (the narcissist) are blind to the emotional harm they perpetrate in their eternal search for greater power and acclamation.  When challenged, they intone ready excuses:  “I’m the only one who knows how to handle this.”  “I’m doing it for my family.”  Or they utter the very familiar, “I’m indispensable.”

For years I made excuses for him.  I made excuses to my kids, to my family, to my friends, and sadly to myself.  I expended a great deal of energy justifying my ‘wasband’s’ behavior.  My son was barely an hour old when my ‘wasband’ excused himself to go to a job site and check on the work being done.  He slapped me on the ass, winked and said, “Good game!” as he walked out of the hospital room.  The nurses who were keeping an eye on me as the epidural wore off, looked as though they might follow him and have a coming to Jesus meeting with him in the parking lot.

I looked like death warmed over due to the lack of sleep I was getting on top of trying to heal after hemorrhaging so badly after my daughter was born.  Anytime she cried in the night, I would get up with her.  When I felt too exhausted to sit up let alone get out of bed one night, I woke my ‘wasband’ asking him if he might bring her to me.  His sigh said it all before he even snapped saying, “I have to get up in a few hours for work unlike you!” and with that he rolled over and went back to sleep.  I can remember my silent tears falling as I pep talked myself up out of bed ….. again.  I kept repeating the words my mom had said to me when my son was colicky.  After what felt like the five millionth night in a row walking circles in the family room with him as he cried and pulled his little knees in to his chest in pain, “This too shall pass ….. this too shall pass …..” 

Countless nights my ‘wasband’ either came home for a few hours to sleep and leave again or didn’t come home at all.  No explanation other than the business needed him, the job had to be run by him, nothing would get done without him there, etc.  Blizzards would close the highway and he would leave the kids and I to go “work”.  When people would ask him why he worked such ridiculous hours his response was that he wanted to retire at 40 and then he’d tell then in the same breath that the company just couldn’t function without him.  Though we had no money for anything “extra” and could barely buy groceries, he would say he was doing it for his family!

It’s hard to keep a marriage together when only one person is participating.  And trust me, I tried!  Even without any of the abuse, manipulation and appalling behavior (most of which I have not breathed a word of to anyone), our marriage was doomed to fail!  There was no honeymoon, he had to “work” the day after our wedding, hell, he was working the day of our wedding!  There were no family vacations, he had to “work”.  There were but one or two holidays that I can remember when he didn’t “work”.  Babies were birthed, celebrations came and went, preschool parties and elementary school events, those opportunities to celebrate family that are sprinkled in amidst day to day life were squandered to “work”.  And I was squandering my own talents and dreams as I used up everything I had in my tank to focus on him.

Involvement with a narcissist whether in marriage or otherwise is utterly exhausting.  I sacrificed my own dreams and desires at the altar of a man who made it very clear he was to be my sole focus.  As I grew more and more weary trying to maintain his charade I began to question everything I thought I knew to be true about myself.  He had disempowered me slowly over the years and as I began questioning my own worth, I was in reality finishing the job for him.  I was beyond discouraged and exasperated.  I was like a horse loping around the round pen, lathered with sweat, veins protruding due to the effort with an ear turned toward the handler in the center waiting for a release of any kind.  The handler, oblivious to the horse’s body language and attempts to engage and join up, continues to push the horse with more and more pressure.  At some point, the horse, in utter exhaustion physically and mentally, gives up trying.

If someone you know is in bad with a person who treats them with total and utter disdain, be kind, be loving and be … just simply be.  My guess is, they don’t need you to point out how terribly they are being treated, they already know.  They don’t need you to question why they stay.  They are likely running on fumes with little energy to consider leaving.  Their self worth, their self confidence, their belief in the good in life is likely a dwindling ember.  Healing from the abuse of a narcissist whether there has been physical abuse or not, takes time, patience and a whole lot of love.  You can’t fill the tank and watch the needle move to “F” like you can in a pick up.  No, healing this kind of damage and filling this tank requires professional skill and support.

I encourage you to reach out for an exploratory call:  http://untetheredhearts.com/            It will change your life in ways you never thought possible ❤

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”

 

 

Good Vibrations

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There are BFO’s and then there are B – F – O’s (Blinding Flashes of the Obvious)!!!  I was slapped upside my head with one that has been staring me in the face with little to no acknowledgment from me!  It’s like looking for your sunglasses when they’re on your face!  Ummmm … yes, I actually did this recently.  I was standing outside a round pen in the beautiful Santa Fe sunshine observing as our instructor was working with a client and I thought to myself, “It’s bright out here.  Why don’t I have my shades on?  So weird, that’s the first thing I do when I step outside.  Hmmm …” And I reached to the top of my head where they normally are if they aren’t on my face.  Pat, pat, pat ….  Panic!  Where the hell are my sunglasses!!!  I looked over at a friend as I was patting my head and then realized, they were on my face (slap your hand over your eyes and shake your head, it’s okay).  All I could do was grin at her!  This ‘Blinding Flash of the Obvious’ was that kind of BFO for me.

I’ve ridden most all of my life.  I’ve spent more hours with horses than I have humans and for more years than I care to count, I trained and competed with horses professionally.  I have coached youth and amateurs alike and truly love sharing with others the wealth of knowledge that’s been shared with me.  I haven’t trained outside client horses for several years now.  And why, you ask?  Burn out.  Plain and simple, I burned out.  At the height of business, I’d ride 16 in a day without batting an eye, eat supper, go to bed and do it all again the next day, 7 days a week.  It doesn’t take brilliance (and there’s no question regarding my brilliance after the sunglasses moment) to figure out I could only do that for so many years.

After we left the roundpen and gathered in the bunkhouse for our lecture around trauma, PTSD, and the human brain, I felt a nudge (my “nudges” are equivalent to a punch in the shoulder) and heard my heart say, “And you aren’t coaching people as they work with their own horses because???”  My initial response sounded something like, “Sssshhhhhhh!!!”  I knew I was in trouble when I began arguing with myself about why that was a terrible idea!  Some might call it trying to run away, I call it putting my fingers in my ears and saying, “La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la, I cant hear you!”   Truth be told, I have come to the realization that I am doing all who have invested their time and knowledge in me a HUGE disservice by attempting to surgically remove myself from the horse world!  If people gain awareness around what horses are here to share with us, the life lessons they are happy to impart to us and the healing of mended, stitched up, broken hearts, how much better of a world would we all be living in, equine and human?

My horses are my coaching partners and that is a huge draw in this EGCM work for those who haven’t had much if any exposure to horses.  What about those individuals who have horses and lots of horse experience?  You know, the ones I have for the most part, more or less avoided like the plague!  Our horses offer us grounding, healing and the occasional slap upside our heads (figuratively of course) as we wrestle with tough decisions only to have those offerings fall on deaf ears, blind eyes and hard heads.  And not necessarily intentionally on the part of the human.  How can you know what you don’t know until someone sheds light upon it for you?

As we broke for lunch, my gears began grinding and the wheels in my head started spinning.  So much so that my friend that witnessed my brilliant moment with the sunglasses, asked me what the smoke coming out of my ears was about!  Lol!  She smiled and laughed as I shared with her what was rolling around in my head.  It was the same smile she had for me when I realized my sunglasses were on my face, not the top of my head!  She simply said, “What’s taken you so long?  We all see this in you!”

As horsemen, we make so many assumptions regarding our equine partners.  What I would like to offer is an opportunity to see your horse in a whole new light.  Your horses have likely been patiently offering you healing in ways you are totally oblivious to due in part to the assumptions we all carry into the pen with us.  Our horses willingly volunteer to co-regulate us even when we are clueless as to the work they are doing.  Consider for a moment how large the horse’s heart is.  The sheer mass of the muscle that pumps blood throughout that 1200 pound body.  Now consider the size of our heart, some the size and withered shape of the Grinch’s due to the sum total of our experiences throughout life.  Now, bear with me for a moment, this may be a stretch for ya.

There is energy in everything!  From living, breathing organisms to solid masses such as steel and concrete.  We are big balls of energy and the movement of this energy puts off vibrations to a varying degree.  Horses have a higher vibrational frequency than humans (consider all the crapola we needlessly pack around in our minds and hearts).  Horses offer to raise our vibrational frequency (I’m pretty sure they feel a bit sorry for us, 😉 ).  That big ol’ heart of theirs draws us into their magnetic, vibrational field and it’s what causes us to feel better after spending even a short amount of time in their presence.  They raise the vibration of our hearts.

Now what if I shared with you that they have soooooo much more to offer?  So along with working with women healing themselves from the wounds inflicted by narcissists, I am beginning to work with people and their own horses.  Not, I repeat, NOT horse training rather offering an opportunity to shed some light on the gifts your horse has to offer you, to change the way you look at horses!  If you are fortunate enough to have horses, you have some of the most powerful gestaltists at your disposal!  Allow me the opportunity to co-coach you alongside your horse, you will be blown away!!!  It will feel like discovering your sunglasses are on your face when you’ve searched everywhere else for them!  Lol!

You can reach out to me through my website:  http://untetheredhearts.com/

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” ❤

 

 

Cliff Jumping & Opportunity

 

 

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I climbed up the mountain pass watching the dark storm clouds churning and the lightning flashing as I traveled south.  I checked my mirrors, glancing down each side of my horse trailer checking off the mental list in my head: drop windows still secured, tires still rolling, doors to the mid-tack and dressing room still shut, lights working, etc.  After many, many years hauling horses all over the country, I have learned to vigilantly observe what’s happening behind me, around me and way up in front of me.  If it can happen, you can bet I’ve experienced it.  From brand new tires shredding and tearing off fenders to watching an empty horse trailer dive down through a ditch after the hitch sheered off and everything in between … yep, you could say I’ve learned a thing or two.

I had my veteran, Cricket and my younger partner, Liam safely tucked away in between the slant dividers in the trailer behind me.  As we topped the pass my exhaust brake engaged, holding back the motor on that sexy one ton dually and the boys and I eased on down the other side into New Mexico.  I took in the open space that spread out before me.  I had just traveled this stretch of highway a few weeks before headed to a continuing education opportunity in Santa Fe and the changing landscape around me reminded me of my own journey.  “Wow …” I thought to myself.  “How different my life looks now.  Such a stark contrast from the way things once were.”  I thought about how the most ginormous decision of my life has shaped and shifted the path I’m on.  As the rain began beating on the windshield and the landscape flattened out, I took in a long deep breath, amazed and deeply grateful for my freedom and independence.

That decision to bolt out of my marriage was not an easy one.  I had thought about it for years!  Every time I was close to leaving, I would chicken out.  I’d talk myself off the cliff, pull myself up by my bootstraps and dig in deeper, determined to stick things out.  And, I was scared ….. that’s not entirely accurate ….. mostly, I was scared.  For sooooo many years, my ‘wasband’ threatened me telling me if I left, I’d never see my kids again.  I believed him.  I had no money, nothing of value, the kids were (and are) my everything.  What better way to immobilize me than by using the kids as pawns in “convincing” me to stay?  He was sure to solidify that fear in me by “disappearing” with them or taking off down the driveway in the car with them only to throw the car in reverse and seethe, “That fast Jess!  That fast and you’ll lose them.”  His ploy worked for years until that fateful day when I could no longer bear to stay.

The song, “Love The Way You Lie,” by Eminem and Rihanna, started playing over the radio. I smiled to myself … it was my divorce theme song.  I turned up the volume listening to the lyrics like I had a million times before, tears welling up in my eyes.  Leaving … leaving led me to freedom and independence.  Leaving had my inner compass saying, “Recalculating …”  That seemingly simplistic decision to leave has opened a treasure trove of opportunity for me.  Things I NEVER would have even considered being possible have been unfolding before me.  As I headed for The Ranches – New Mexico’s Boys and Girls Ranch, to support them as they begin implementing their revamped horse program I considered that I may not have ever even known they existed had I stayed in that toxic situation.  Had I stayed in that abusive and potentially deadly relationship, had I continued to allow myself to remain intimidated and fearful, had I turned my back on what could be for the umpteenth time ….. I would not be experiencing the beauty of living.

The highway began to climb in elevation and the scenery began shifting as I entered Santa Fe county.  I watched as the outside temperature began to cool down a bit and felt reassured that my partners were probably quite comfortable back in the horse trailer as we pressed on.  I continued to reflect and contemplate how that one decision completely changed the trajectory of my entire path.  Some of the hardest, most pain filled, stressful decisions we face are the very decisions that offer the potential for our greatest reward.  It’s hard to know what’s around the next bend.  Taking the risk that’s before us, that first step off what we perceive as a cliff ….. well, I won’t argue that it’s slightly terrifying however, I choose to believe that whatever it is, everything will work out for our greater good.

I was almost dead inside before I finally jumped ship.  I was like a beautiful mustang mare in a pen with little life in her eye, head hanging in defeat, body slumped, barely able to lift her head, getting jostled to and fro as the herd around her cries out to be returned to their native pastures.  Pushing through Albuquerque I made my way over into the hammer lane.  With so many people merging on and off of the highway, I knew my best bet to stay out of trouble and avoid unnecessary brake checks was to roll along in the far left lane.  With about 75 miles to go I felt my excitement growing.  I was a little more than an hour away from hugging one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met!  And to think, had I not taken action and followed through on that monumental decision, we likely would never have met each other!

As the highway congestion began to give way to the more rural outskirts of southern Albuquerque I took another deep breath and thanked God for the beauty of my life now.  I thanked Him for holding the kids and I close as we navigated that hell and I thanked Him for all the possibility that lays before me.  Each opportunity I’m being presented with is much like each off ramp.  I don’t necessarily know where the ramp leads.  What I can see from the highway is but a glimpse of what may lie beyond my line of sight.

Maybe you are on the brink of making a HUGE decision.  It may not be like mine however that doesn’t mean it’s any less scary.  Those feelings of what if and doubt, of uncertainty and unknowingness … they can give rise to indecision, which in and of itself is indeed, a decision. Ask yourself, what opportunities may be waiting for you once you take that leap, faith filled, believing that it will all work out for your greater good!  The horses and I are here to support you, encourage you and cheer you on.  All you have to do is make the decision and take action by reaching out.  You can contact me through my website at:  http://untetheredhearts.com/

“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” ❤