“It’s the release that teaches.” I said. “The pressure we put on him is only enough to encourage him to search for the answer. As soon as he so much as looks your way to ask a question like, “This way?” or “Are you asking me to move my feet?” etc., we MUST reward that by releasing the pressure. Does that make sense?” I patiently waited as I watched the young man roll around what I’d just said. “We MUST reward the slightest try. If we don’t or we miss the opportunity, then the horse will begin to feel frustrated and eventually quit trying.”
I spent 17 years feeling as if I couldn’t win for losing. The pressure was constant though I wouldn’t say entirely unbearable, I just couldn’t get out from under it. The house was never clean enough or orderly enough. I was never thin enough, fit enough, pretty enough. What I cooked was never what he was hungry for. You name it, it was never enough … I was never enough. Though I wanted to quit trying, I just didn’t have it in me. I was frustrated, resentful and mostly sad and disappointed.
The day I bolted out of there, the pressure increased 100 fold! There were times I was sure I would buckle at the knees, crumbling to the ground under the weight of it all. The narcissist is masterful at applying increasing amounts of pressure to their subjects watching with delight as they attempt to find the right answer, the right button to push, so that the narcissist will back off. The thing about it is, there is no answer (right or wrong) and there is no button. The narcissist is waiting for their dutiful subject to either fall to their knees under the load, giving up trying or explode out of furious frustration so that they can shame them for getting emotional. Either way, the narcissist wins!
The initial filing for divorce and subsequent incessant filings, contempt of courts, and outlandish accusations hit me as if I were standing at the base of a dam as it gave way. I felt as though I was under the surge of water being pummeled and tossed about unable to come up for air. The pressure to defend myself against the falsified contempts and accusations was unrelenting and for a very long time, he had me right where he wanted me, knocked off balance and going down. That is, until I made a decision to be calm in the midst of the storm, to push off the mucky, debris ridden floor below me and swim with the current. It was then and only then that I began to feel some of the pressure release itself.
Each and every one of us at some point or another feels under pressure. We may be the ones applying the pressure. We may be applying pressure to our kids, our spouses, siblings, co-workers, etc. The thing about it is, much like the horses, if there is no release in the pressure, if the slightest try isn’t rewarded, then bitterness, resentment and frustration build. Living under constant pressure heightened my sensitivity to this and wound up benefiting the horses I was working with. I could relate to their need to find the release and I was quick to offer it.
“Great! Your timing and release couldn’t have been more perfect!” I yelled over the tractor working the pasture next to the arena. “See that! He’s licking and chewing … Oh, and there was a huge sigh! That’s conformation for you that you released at just the right time and now he’s able to process your request. Once he’s finished processing let’s ask again. I bet he’ll offer it more quickly this time.” I watched as the young man began to make his request and his beautiful four legged partner contemplated what he was being asked to do.
I discovered as my head breached the surface of the water and I began to swim with the current hitting each court filing, contempt of court and falsified accusation head on with facts backed up by documents and painstakingly detailed notes, was the pressure I felt lessened more and more. He remained true to his covert narcissism, spewing made up tales, stories, and outright lies, playing the victim (a role he’s perfected), to combat reality. The tables were turned and the pressure was increasingly on him.
I could hear the Wicked Witch of the West in my head the last time we were in court. As my attorney and I walked out the courtroom doors, I did all I could to maintain my poker face, refusing to gloat or crack a smile as he and his then “girlfriend” began shredding his attorney to pieces in the conference room down the hallway. What I heard was, “I’m melting … melting …. melting …!” though I’m pretty sure what they were yelling was more along the lines of, “How could you not win a case based upon all the perfectly packaged lies we gave you!”
The beautiful gelding, ears forward, attentive to the young man, eyes searching him, began to place his feet precisely where he was being asked to and as I watched the young man release with ease and perfect timing, the biggest smile crept across his face. “Don’t hide it!” I laughed! “Let that smile take over your whole face! It’s a beautiful and well deserved smile! And don’t look now, but I’m pretty sure your horse is smiling too!” Both walked out of the round pen with an air of accomplishment and confidence all because the young man was willing to release the pressure and reward the slightest effort the horse made.
As humans, the release in pressure isn’t always the reward for the slightest try however often times, it is. It can be hard to understand in a way that allows us to utilize this in everyday life however I know the most perfect coaches, perfectly suited to teach this lesson! These four legged beauties have so much to offer us humans if only we would grab hold of the opportunities that are before us and run with them! To tease your curiosity a bit, go to: http://untetheredhearts.com/
“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave” ❤