Archive for the ‘Free Association Writing’ Category

On my blog entry entitled Other Forms of Free Association Writing, a reader posted the following comment:

hi faith, your blog is so helpful and i have learnt a lot from you. thank you. my comment today is this : if i wrote down all the thoughts and things said in my head i would be writing constantly – i cannot even comprehend how someone could write down all the noise in their head. maybe i am misinterpreting you ?? can you explain further please ? ~ Gracie

Gracie – I am sorry that you had to wait for me to get through my personal crisis to get your answer. :0)

My thoughts are constantly spinning as well. Through yoga and meditation, I have learned how to silence my inner chatter, although I confess that I am still not always very good at it, especially when I am under stress.

No, you do not need to write down every thought you ever have in your head. The idea is to set aside 10 or 15 minutes to access one thing in your subconscious that is brewing beneath the surface. For example, let’s say that you have been anxious but are not really sure why. If you do free association writing for a few minutes, you might wind up writing about what is really bothering you. It is a great way to get out feelings and emotions that you are having trouble purging.

I did this with my free association writing in this blog entry. I was feeling an enormous amount of anxiety for weeks. It took me about five minutes to type out those words from my subconscious. Once they were out, I knew what was bothering me and how to comfort myself. The next day, I felt much better.

In one of Dr. Phil’s books, he recommends writing down all of your internal chatter for one day so you can get an idea about how you talk to yourself (whether positively or negatively). While that exercise was insightful, I found it exhausting because my mind pretty much never shuts down. I about got a hand cramp trying to keep up!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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****** sexual abuse triggers **********
I have been writing this week to process my feelings over recovering the memory of my first vaginal rape. I have had such a difficult time dealing with this memory that I have been sick for six weeks. I have decided to sit in front of the computer and blog through all that I am feeling so I can heal and move on with my life. You can read about the event here, the physical manifestations here, and my anger about it here.

I am now going to give my wounded little girl a voice through free association writing:

It hurted. It hurted so badly. Make him stop. MAKE HIM STOP!

Why? Why are you doing this to me? It hurts so bad. It hurts. Please stop. Please, please, please, please stop.

Why? Why? Why? Why are you doing this to me?

I can’t leave! I can’t leave! I am stuck. He inside, and I can’t go!

I want to die. I want to die. Just let me die. Please let me die. Die, die die die die die die die. I want to die. I want to go away and never come back. Please let me die.

I hate him. I hate life. I hate me. I hate it. I hate it.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

Please make it stop. Just make it stop. I can take it. I can’t bear it. It hurt too much. It hurt too much. Help someone help. Why no one help? Why no one care? Why no one care? No one love me?

Just want to die. Please let me die. Die Die die

Other than cleaning up typos, I have nothing more to add to this. This is all I can handle for now in this sitting.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I have been sharing some methods of free association writing that worked for me to access my subconscious mind. These are not the only ways that I have read about – only the ways that were most successful for me.

One of the most common forms of free association writing I have heard of involves trying to write with your non-dominant hand (writing with your left hand if you are right-handed and vice versa). The idea is that you are accessing a different part of your brain by writing with your non-dominant hand.

If you want to try this method, place a pen or pencil into your non-dominant hand. Then, simply begin writing. Just write whatever comes to mind, even if it is, “I am feeling really foolish doing this.” Try to relax your mind and allow your hand to take over the writing. Many people report having lots of success access their subconscious minds in this manner. Let go of your need for good penmanship, and see this as a tool for accessing parts of your mind that have thus far remained hidden from you.

Another method I have heard of is for you artistic folks. You can do the same thing with drawing or painting. Using either hand, begin drawing or painting, and try to remove all conscious thought from your strokes. Allow your hand to do whatever it feels like it needs to do. This can give your subconscious mind an outlet for expressing whatever needs to come out.

I got another method from one of Dr. Phil’s books (can’t remember which one). He said to write down every thought you have for a couple of days to get an idea about the internal dialogue going on in your head. That was quite enlightening as well. I did not appreciate how frequently I told myself that I was “stupid” until doing this exercise.

I am sure there are other methods as well. Find the one that works best for you. Don’t just look at the results, but learn from them. As you change what you are thinking subconsciously, you can change your life.

Photo credit: Faith Allen

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In my last couple of posts, I have shared my own experience with free association writing. That was the most powerful way that I found to access my subconscious mind. However, it was not the only way.

Another way that worked for me was writing a letter, using pen and paper, that I never planned to send. This was when I was trying to learn how to access my anger toward my mother/abuser. I decided to sit down at the table and write her an unfiltered letter that I would never send. The purpose was to help me access my anger, so there was no reason to involve another person in the process.

I began the letter along the lines of, “You stupid b@#$%,” and it went from there. At first, my own conscious thoughts were going down on paper. However, once my anger realized that it finally had a voice, it took over. What happened next was incredibly healing but also kind of freaky because I did not understand what was going on.

My rage started tumbling out of me, and my pen could not keep up. However, this did not even matter. All of the words that I needed to say were flooding my mind and exploding out of me, even though my pen could not keep up.

As the intensity escalated, I stopped even trying to form words on the page. Instead, my pen kept coming into contact with the paper, but it was no longer forming words. To quote my kid, it looked like “scribble scrabble.” I filled up seven pages of papers with nothing but a bunch of wavy lines that were imprinted deeply on the paper through my rage.

My head and body shook as I filled page after page with no words at all. However, as I did this, the words that I needed to express were tumbling out of my head. I could “hear” the “loud thoughts” expressing all of the rage that I had held back for decades. Even though there was no record what I was thinking on the pages of scribbling, my rage had somewhere to go, and the process was incredibly healing and empowering.

Afterward, I was emotionally spent, and I felt a little foolish throwing away seven pages of “scribble scrabble.” However, I felt much better than I had in a long time. I felt empowered by the release of all of the pent up rage.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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On my last blog entry, Techniques for Accessing the Subconscious Mind: Free Association Writing, I shared a sample of my free association writing from 2005. I sat in front the computer, let go of all conscious thought, and allowed my fingers to fly over the keyboard in whatever way they chose. I posted the result of that free association session.

Now, I will explain the memory as I remember it (after recovering the memory through flashbacks) as well as my sister’s recollection of the same event. I am referring to my sister as LS for “little sister.”

Our mother started sexually abusing us when we were toddlers, but our father never did. He was inappropriate at times (such as giving my mother a back rub topless while the four of us watched TV), but he never touched us. He later walked in my mother sexually abusing me, and he made her stop. Even though he never got me therapy or talked with me about it, I saw him as the one adult in my life who was “safe.”

That changed the night of the free association memory. My sister and I were in our usual places around the bonfire for a cult ritual when my father was brought in as a “newcomer.” He was in a white robe and blindfolded. They walked my father over to me to give him a hand job. They then walked my father over to my sister to rape her. They took pictures of my father raping his own daughter. (I am fuzzy on how old she was – probably about four or five.)

My father had grown a beard around this time, which was unusual. The next morning, my sister was petrified of my father (for obvious reasons) and did not want to be around him. It took our mother months to get her to stop being frightened of him, and it helped after he shaved his beard. To this day, my sister is repulsed by people with facial hair.

My parents used to drink a lot. After that event, both parents gave up alcohol forever. I never once saw my father drink after that night. I suspect that my abusers put drugs in his alcohol and that he was bombed out of his mind that night. I also suspect he thought it was some sort of kinky sex orgy and never suspected that it involved children.

Both my sister and I remember the cameras, which you can see in the free association writing. My sister suspects that the cult used the pictures of my father raping his daughter to buy his silence, and that is how they had access to us for six years. The cult abuse only ended after we moved 30 miles away. I always thought it was odd that my father chose a 30+ mile commute to work one way just so we could live in out in a rural area.

My sister and I both remember the box in the free association writing. The cult abusers gave use this huge wooden box (large enough to fit both of us in it) with a latch on it. My parents thought it would make a great toy box, but my sister and I were terrified of it. I just “know” that we were locked in that box (and that is clear from the free association writing), but I have yet to recover the specific memory. It clearly ties into that awful night somehow.

Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

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On my blog entry entitled Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID): Recognizing That Parts Were Always There, a reader posted the following comment:

Faith, You said, “I used some techniques to access my subconscious mind”. Is that something you could elaborate on? ~ blueorchid

I have heard of different ways to access the subconscious mind. Some methods work better than others depending upon your own personality and history.

The tactic I was referring to in that blog entry involved free association writing. I type very quickly (over 90 WPM), and my handwriting is terrible, so I prefer to do free association writing at the computer rather than with a pen and paper. I closed my eyes and just started typing. I would let go of any conscious thought and allow my fingers just to type whatever they wanted to type.

This is an example of some of my free association writing from 2005. It is very long, so I will continue the topic again on Monday. I am including the whole thing because I think it helps you to understand free association writing a little better. I later recovered the full memory and talked it through with my sister (I used LS in the dialogue for “little sister” — I wrote the original spelling of her real name in the free association writing. She has since changed the spelling of her name.)

****** Graphic trigger warning – sexual and ritual abuse – profanity triggers ******

Box. Thrice. Box. Thrice.

Box. Children in a box. Box locked up. Children suffocating. Children die. Children. Box. Box. Box.

Thrice. Thrice. Three times. Three times three Daddy. Three times three.

Daddy. Why? Daddy why? Daddy too? Daddy too? Not daddy too. Not daddy too.

Not daddy no. No fuck LS. No fuck her. No daddy stop. No daddy stop. LS. Stop Stop LS LS LS LS LS LS

No no no no no

Daddy stop daddy stop daddy stop

No daddy no fuck no fuck not LS

Daddy in a box in a box

Box dark cold scared

LS tied to chair to chair tied blind blind daddy blind blind daddy blind daddy fuck no daddy fuck no no no no no no

Daddy no fuck LS no fuck LS no fuck no fuck no no no no

Daddy come bonfire bonfire pictures photos bonfire pictures photos daddy daddy daddy

No daddy no daddy no daddy no daddy no daddy

Fire high hot high hot like sun hot big fire big fire big fire

Daddy in robe white robe daddy in robe in robe why here? Why here? Why daddy in robe? Why hurt me? Why hurt me? Why come over here to me no want to touch his thing not want to not want to don’t make me no no no no no

Not touch not touch not hard not touch not touch not touch not touch

Touch gross sick bile vomit not want no going over to LS going there no don’t go there no daddy look daddy look look look why not look why not look

Not stick out penis not do that not to LS no not to LS no not to LS no no no no no no no no no no no no no

Stop daddy stop daddy stop stop stop stop stop stop stop

Why daddy why he do this to us why daddy why be here why at fire why at bonfire why here why here?

Bright bright like day bright light see all see all see fire see people see lawn chairs see people see robes see men and women see people see daddy see box

Fit in box children fit in box both fit in both latch lock latch lock locked in suffocating hot no air no air hot musty scared locked in box locked in box locked can’t get out with LS

Locked inside hurt scared want to die want to get away want to die die die die die die die die

Not daddy too not daddy too not daddy too not daddy too

Not him too no no no no no no no no no

Not betrayal not from him not all not all not all all all all all grown ups all bad all bad all mean all bad all bad

Hate grownups hate all hate people hate life want to die die die die die die die

Kill me kill kill kill die die die die bang head bang head bang head stop stop stop stop stop want to die die die die die

Kill me die die die die die

Hate box hate daddy hate box hate bonfire hate hate hate hate hate

Hurt LS why hurt LS why why why why why

Why hurt LS why hurt in box why

Bonfire box thrice thrice thrice thrice three three three three three three three

Why three why three why three

Three times he did me. Three times he did me three times he did me three times he did me three times he did me three times he did me three times he did me three times he did me three times he did me three three three three three

Hate hate him hate him hate him for all didn’t stop didn’t stop didn’t stop hates me hate him hate him hate him didn’t stop hurt me didn’t stop hurt me hurt LS hurt me didn’t stop didn’t stop hurt me hurt him hurt hurt hurt

Want to die want die

Beard hate beard wore beard hate beard hate beard beard to disguise in case caught beard to disguise to hide to hide hurt hurt me didn’t know hurt me

Eyes covered eyes hide photos proof photos proof

Hurt me hurt me hurt me hurt me hurt me

Hurt hurt hurt hurt hate hate hate hate hate hate bang head bang head bang head want to die die die die die die

Kill die kill die die kill die die die die die

Why why why

Photo credit: Rosanne Mooney

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