SCARS Scam Victims’ Actionable Steps to Improve Their Chance at Rebuilding Resilience and a Successful Recovery
Hold on One Minute!
Yes, we know you are ready to jump right in and start doing stuff! But hold on!
There is something you MUST do before you begin with all the actionable steps. You MUST start a journal.
Journaling is vital to a scam victim’s journey of recovery for several reasons:
- Emotional Expression: Writing in a journal provides a safe and private space for scam victims to express their emotions. It allows them to release pent-up feelings, share their thoughts, and articulate the impact of the scam on their lives.
- Self-Reflection: Journaling encourages self-reflection, enabling scam victims to explore their experiences, reactions, and coping mechanisms. It provides an opportunity to gain insights into their emotional responses and thought patterns, contributing to greater self-awareness.
- Processing Trauma: Scams can be traumatic experiences, and journaling serves as a tool for processing and making sense of the trauma. Victims can revisit their feelings, experiences, and the events surrounding the scam, gradually integrating the experience into their narrative.
- Tracking Progress: Journaling allows scam victims to track their progress over time. By documenting their emotional states, challenges, and achievements, individuals can observe positive changes, identify patterns, and celebrate milestones in their recovery journey.
- Setting Goals: Scam victims can use journaling to set realistic goals for their recovery. Whether it’s rebuilding trust, improving financial literacy, or enhancing emotional well-being, journaling provides a platform to outline objectives and track the steps taken toward achieving them.
- Cathartic Release: Writing about the impact of the scam can be cathartic. It provides a release for overwhelming emotions, reducing the emotional burden that scam victims may carry. This cathartic process contributes to a sense of relief and emotional well-being.
- Empowerment: Journaling is an empowering activity that allows scam victims to reclaim control over their narratives. By documenting their experiences, victims become the authors of their stories, emphasizing their resilience, strength, and capacity for growth.
- Identifying Patterns: Through consistent journaling, scam victims can identify patterns in their emotions, behaviors, and triggers. Recognizing these patterns enables individuals to develop effective coping strategies and make informed decisions in their recovery process.
- Communication: Journaling can serve as a form of self-communication. Scam victims can address themselves with kindness, encouragement, and understanding. This self-communication fosters self-compassion and a positive internal dialogue.
- Building a Support System: Journaling can be a tool for reaching out to others. Scam victims may choose to share their written reflections with trusted friends, family, or support groups, fostering understanding and empathy among their support system.
- Documentation for Legal Purposes: In some cases, scam victims may find it useful to document details related to the scam for legal purposes. Journaling can serve as a contemporaneous record, capturing important information that may be relevant in legal proceedings.
- And, but Not Least: Keeping Track of how well you are doing with all of those Actionable Steps to come below!
In essence, journaling provides scam victims with a flexible and personal medium to navigate the complexities of their recovery journey. It offers a means of expression, reflection, and empowerment, contributing significantly to emotional healing and growth.
Why are SCARS Actionable Steps Important?
The SCARS Model of Actionable Steps is crucial for several reasons when it comes to rebuilding resilience, processing grief, and moving forward after a traumatic event:
- Empowerment: Actionable steps empower individuals by providing them with a sense of control and agency over their situation. Taking concrete actions allows individuals to actively contribute to their own healing and growth, fostering a sense of empowerment and self-efficacy.
- Progress Monitoring: Breaking down the process into actionable steps allows individuals to monitor their progress. It provides tangible markers of achievement, helping them recognize and celebrate small victories along the way. This progress can be motivating and affirming.
- Behavioral Change: Rebuilding resilience often involves changes in behavior, habits, and perspectives. Actionable steps provide a structured approach to behavioral change, making it more manageable and increasing the likelihood of success.
- Skill Development: Actionable steps often involve the development of coping mechanisms, communication skills, and other tools necessary for resilience. By actively engaging in these steps, individuals can acquire and strengthen these skills, enhancing their ability to navigate challenges.
- Prevent Feeling Overwhelmed: Traumatic events and grief can be overwhelming, and the path to recovery may seem daunting. Breaking down the journey into actionable steps prevents individuals from feeling paralyzed by the magnitude of the task, making the process more approachable.
- Focus and Direction: Actionable steps provide a clear direction forward. They help individuals focus on specific aspects of their healing journey, reducing feelings of ambiguity or uncertainty. This clarity contributes to a sense of purpose and direction.
- Encourages Consistency: Gradual, consistent effort is often more effective than attempting radical changes. Actionable steps encourage a steady and sustained commitment to the recovery process, increasing the likelihood of long-term success.
- Coping Mechanisms: Actionable steps often involve the identification and practice of healthy coping mechanisms. Engaging in these activities helps individuals build a repertoire of strategies for managing stress, grief, and the challenges associated with trauma.
- Promotes Accountability: Actionable steps create a sense of accountability. When individuals actively commit to specific tasks, they are more likely to hold themselves accountable for their progress. This accountability reinforces a commitment to the healing process.
- Encourages Reflection: Actionable steps provide opportunities for reflection on one’s experiences, emotions, and growth. Reflection is essential for gaining insights into the recovery journey, fostering self-awareness, and promoting continuous learning.
Basically, our Actionable Steps serve as a practical roadmap for individuals seeking to rebuild resilience, process grief, and move forward after a traumatic event. They offer a structured and manageable approach, fostering empowerment, progress, and the acquisition of essential skills for long-term well-being.
SCARS Actionable Steps for Building Resilience & Recovery
- Embrace Failure: Understand that failure is not only an option but a necessary step towards building resilience. Embrace mistakes and view them as opportunities for growth. Each scam victim made a mistake talking to a scammer, after that the scam was not their fault. But now the scam is over and the victim is going to make many more mistakes during their recovery.
- Face Stressors: Resilience and recovery involves facing life stressors and challenges rather than avoiding or eliminating them. Approach stress as a natural part of life and an opportunity for learning. One of the biggest things that scam victims avoid is telling their story to family & friends (see our SCARS webinar about how to do that.)
- Learn from Mistakes: Resilience and recovery are cultivated by learning from mistakes, not by avoiding them. Acknowledge and reflect on your errors, using them as stepping stones for improvement. When you make a mistake own it! Talk about it in your support group!
- Rebound from Failure: Being resilient and recovering means bouncing back from failure. Develop the ability to recover and adapt in the face of setbacks, using them as opportunities for personal and professional growth. This is going to take a long time, so embrace each failure along the way because there will be many.
- Explore New Experiences: Resilient individuals are open to new experiences and challenges. Embrace opportunities for personal and professional growth, even if they come with the possibility of failure. Scam victims are not who they used to be, these crimes change people, so take advantage of new opportunities to enjoy your changes.
- Build Social Connections: Resilience is associated with strong social connections. Foster relationships with friends, family, and community members. Seek support during challenging times and offer support to others. For most victims, this is their support group, but you have to be present and participating, helping others as you have been helped – this builds new lasting trustworthy connections.
- Pursue Meaningful Experiences: Engage in activities that bring joy and meaning to your life. Pursue hobbies, volunteer work, or educational endeavors that align with your values and contribute to personal growth. SCARS recommends volunteering at local places where you can see and experience gratitude for your help – a zoo, a school, a hospital, or any place where your help has real value.
- Practice Compassion: Be compassionate towards yourself when facing challenges or setbacks. Avoid self-criticism and instead approach behavior change with understanding and patience. You should never blame yourself for the scam or want to punish yourself!
- Gradual Behavior Change: Implement slow and gradual behavior changes for long-term success. Start with manageable steps and gradually build on them, acknowledging progress along the way. When you want to change your behaviors start with the 5-minute rule – do the new thing for just 5 minutes a day, over time you will find you are doing it much longer.
- Exercise Compassion in Behavior Change: When striving to change behaviors, be compassionate with yourself. Avoid self-criticism if you miss a step and focus on the overall progress. Compassion enhances the likelihood of sustainable behavior change. If you forget or miss doing something don’t stop, start up the next day – the idea is just to keep going.
- Find Meaning in Pursuits: Engage in activities for the joy they bring rather than solely for stress reduction. Meaningful pursuits contribute to resilience by shifting focus away from stressors. As hard as it is for scam victims, within a few months you will have a smile on their face again.
- Welcome Stress: View stress as a natural part of life’s challenges. Embrace stress as an opportunity for personal and professional growth, allowing it to be a catalyst for resilience. Never let it shut you down. If you get too stressed or overwhelmed switch to something else for a while and come back to it when you are feeling less stressed – usually an hour or two is all you need.
- Capture Meaningful Moments: Like astronauts taking photos of Earth to manage stress, engage in activities that hold personal significance. Meaningful pursuits provide a sense of purpose and resilience. Record your achievements and happy moments in your journal, start taking photos again, and reward yourself for EVERY accomplishment.
- Enjoy the Journey: Whether navigating daily challenges or pursuing long-term goals, enjoy the process. Celebrate accomplishments, rebound from failures, and find joy in the journey towards resilience. This may be very difficult but be grateful that you have a process to follow, don’t waste it or the opportunity you have been given to rebuild and recover. Always remember to thank those helping you!