Writer’s Block: When Abuse is Used to Stop the Voice

ballerina legs
Ballerina Legs, part of Operation 365, watercolor on paper, by Caroline Allen.

I am in my counselor’s office in Portland, a pretty room on the top floor of a house. The slanted ceiling reminds me of my childhood room. You know how when some therapists do inner child work, they put a chair across from you and have you talk to your inner little girl? Well, I am having a conversation with a man’s crotch. Specifically, a man’s crotch in worn Wrangler jeans, a man with a redneck accent. I think it was my idea, this conversation with a crotch. I’m asking him questions and in the silence waiting for his answers. To understand how I got to this place of talking to a man’s crotch, it is first necessary to back up.
A week or so earlier, I was outside in the backyard throwing a ball to Atlas when an image came unbidden, hitting me square in the face. In front of me, so real I could see — and unfortunately smell — it, was a man’s crotch in Wrangler jeans. He was threatening me. He was unzipping his fly. “Suck my dick,” he was saying in a Missouri accent.
The vision was gone as suddenly as it arrived. As a metaphysical type, as an artist, I have such visions sometimes, but rarely are they so scary, so threatening and so full-on creepy. For example, when I painted my recent Operation 365 series, one painting a day for one year, sudden visions would come to me of what to paint. The little ballerina box I had as a child would flash in front of my eyes, the white mesh skirt so real, the wind-up music, the reflection of the dancer in the vague mirror.
So, these visions are not new to me. Still this one was outrageous, unacceptable. If I hadn’t been doing therapy and spiritual work for 20 odd years, I probably would’ve just had a glass of wine or two to try to forget about it. But these days, I’m just done with all of the trauma. I want it cleared out. I want a happy life. I’m just done with it.
I decided to go get some energy work, see if someone else could help me clear it, or at least make sense of why it was there. As I was waiting for my appointment other creepy visions followed, some much much worse than the first.
I got to my appointment and told the energy healer the story. I asked her to give me any insights she had while giving me Reiki. While I was on the table, as she put her hands on me, she broke into sobs, several times. I was worried she might pick up my trauma, but I had to trust she knew what she was doing.
Afterwards we sat on a small sofa, drank water and talked. I’d brought a copy of my novel, Earth, to show her, and it sat on the coffee table in front of us.
She told me that in writing the semi-autobiographical novel I was the first person ever in the entire history of my family to speak the truth. First person. EVER. The publication of the novel was a very big deal for ancestral healing. This helped me tremendously as I was going through the wringer over the past 9 or so months and didn’t know why. It gave me a reason, a vision to hold onto. I was brave. I was a hero. I was changing the world, starting with my own ancestry.
The ancestors, she said, felt threatened, like I wanted to kill them and kill their way of life. They would use every possible means to shut me up. The visions were an overt representation of the tactics used subtly and not so subtly on me as a child. Nothing like that vision of the man unzipping his trousers had ever happened to me personally, but there was always threat of abuse — physical, sexual, psychic, emotional. This threat, the Reiki Master told me, had made me terrified to love. I knew what she meant by this. On the massage table, I almost had a panic attack when she was trying to heal my heart. I almost lost my shit when she tried to open me to love.
I wondered aloud what I might do to get the creepy ancestors to quit visually threatening me. The energy healer said: “It always comes back to love. Come from love.”
I told her it was nearly impossible to expect love in such a scary moment from someone who had a history of abuse, to tell them when they see a vision of a crotch that’s threatening them to open to love. It was basically saying to them to let themselves be abused.
Still, it’s been 20 plus years of therapy and I’m so sick of the trauma. I tried to open myself to at least agree to think about what the energy worker had said. Anyway, we both hoped nothing more would need to be done, that the Reiki had cleared the energy and I would have no more visions.
Well, it didn’t work that way. Other visions followed over the next few days. I was overwhelmed. Scared. Tired. So fucking tired.
I don’t blame the energy worker for not fully clearing the energy. Trauma is a bitch to clear. I know. I have 20 years’ experience in this.
So, I go to my counselor. I tell her about the crotch vision. As we’re discussing it, she also mentions going toward love. I recoil, but I try to listen. I mean it, I’m done with all this trauma.
I decide to ask the crotch to join us in the room. In front of me, next to the counselor appears the Wrangler clad hips of a large man. He’s not unzipping, but the force is heavy and dark. The counselor says even she can feel it. I decide to talk to the crotch. See what it is exactly he wants. See if I can get him to just STOP bombarding me.
I can’t remember exactly how the conversation went. It was something like this:
Me: “What do you want from me?”
Crotch: “Shut your mouth, bitch. Or I’ll shut it for you.” (I’m listening for a response, hearing it in my mind and saying it out loud for the counselor.)
Me: “Why are you trying to shut me up? Earth is already published. The information is already out there.”
Crotch: “We don’t want it to spread too far and wide.” (This is interesting to me because I knew there was a block that was stopping Earth from getting out there in a bigger way.)
Me: “How can I get you to stop this?”
Crotch: (This the counselor hears and says out loud to me.) “You don’t see our pain.”
Crotch: (This I hear.) You don’t see how hard we worked. You have EVERYTHING. You got a good education. You lived all over the damned world. You’re doing work you love. How do you think you got there? Because we worked so hard.
Me: “I know my mother worked hard, but…”
Crotch: “You think the men didn’t do anything. You don’t see us at all.”
We stop and my counselor and I discuss what’s been said. We need more information, so I go back to my conversation with the crotch.
Me: “So what do you want from me?”
Crotch: “Tell some good stories about us.”
Me: (I’m taken aback by this. I love storytelling. The way to my heart is through story.) “Okay.” (I pause.) “Okay. That’s fair. Will you collect the stories for me?”
Crotch: (His energy changes dramatically. He softens. I don’t feel threatened anymore at all.) Yes, I’ll collect the stories. I’ll go get you some stories. I’ll get you some stories and you can put them in your book.” (I know the stories will come to me in a channeled way as many did when I was writing Earth. )
Me: “OK, but I’m just finishing AIR. I’ll have to put the stories into Fire or Water. OK?”
Crotch: (He’s leaving. The vision is fading.) “Fine.” (His voice fades. I hear him telling other spirits in an excited voice: She wants to write our stories. She’s going to write about us!)
I come home utterly shattered. I can barely walk. I know the visions have stopped. Still, what I really feel all night and into the next day is a deep grief. For the little girl who spent her life with the threat of a crotch thrust into her face. For a woman who has been chosen to spend her life healing her ancestors. For what a load it is. For how overwhelming the generational abuse is. For that sweet, ballerina-loving little child who is so very tired, so utterly spent.
Caroline Allen is the author of Earth, a novel. Read more about her Elemental Journey Series at carolineallen.com.


2 thoughts on “Writer’s Block: When Abuse is Used to Stop the Voice

  1. I would love to read your book. Where can I buy it. Coincidentally, I’m looking for Caroline Allen who wrote or contributed to Sub-Saharan Africa Report 1983 I think Issue 68-74.


    1. Hi Eunice, it’s on Kindle, ITunes, Amazon — both in ebook format and you can order it as a trade paperback as well. No, I’m sorry, I’m not the caroline allen who wrote for the Sub-Sharan Africa Report. Good luck in your search.


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