Beliefs about sexual trauma


I’m uncovering a lot of deeply rooted beliefs related to past sexual trauma that, when I say them out loud, I don’t even believe them. Or I guess I don’t want to believe them and didn’t even realize I was believing them until they came out in my thought downloads.

Here’s an example of an unconscious thought: “If I act sexy and flirtatious with my boyfriend, he’ll want to have sex with me, which means I’ll either have to have sex, or I’ll have to say no. Saying no didn’t work in the past, so I’ll probably say yes, even if I don’t want to.”

Which can be boiled down to “If I act sexy and flirtatious with my boyfriend, I’ll have to have sex with him.” which has resulted in years of withholding my sexual energy, just so I won’t have to say no.

Now, I KNOW that it’s not true. It’s so absurd. I don’t actually believe that. But I must, somewhere deep down. And I’ve been thought downloading like crazy and realizing that I blame myself for being sexually assaulted 20 years ago. Even though I’ve never consciously believed it was my fault.

So I believe that it wasn’t my fault, but somewhere in there, I believe that it was. I know it’s called cognitive dissonance, but I can’t remember what to do with opposing beliefs. Are there any exercises in scholars about that specifically?

I wrote down all my thoughts related to it being my fault, as suggested by my coach. There’s a lot of pain in there. I’m not sure what to do next. Just sit with the pain of it? I haven’t even attempted a model yet. So far, I’m just unveiling a lot of surprising thoughts. It’s intense but I feel relieved at the same time. Should I just keep writing?

I don’t want to rush this process, but I don’t want to prolong it either by staying in the past. What would be a good next step to move forward?