What Is Faith And Why It Matters In Scam Victim Recovery

Helping Scam Victims to Find the Path To Recovery

Scam Victim Recovery

•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

This explores the role of faith in the recovery of scam victims, distinguishing between faith in oneself and religious faith. It discusses the profound impact of relationship scams on victims’ trust and self-worth, leading to feelings of betrayal and despair.

It highlights faith as a powerful antidote to this despair, emphasizing resilience and belief in positive outcomes. Faith in oneself reaffirms victims’ agency and empowers them to navigate the journey of recovery with determination. Ultimately, the article underscores the transformative potential of faith in guiding victims toward healing and renewal amidst the challenges of scam recovery.

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The Power of Faith: Accepting Challenges and Embracing the Unknown In Scam Victim Recovery

This is an article that , we hope, is going to challenge you if you are a scam victim because faith is both a destructive negative coping mechanism and it is the essential component in being able to move forward.

Faith vs. FAITH

Faith in oneself and in one’s principles is rooted in personal conviction, core belief, and confidence in one’s abilities, values, and moral compass.

It is an internalized sense of trust and assurance that guides individuals in navigating life’s challenges, making decisions, and pursuing their goals. This type of faith is grounded in self-awareness, introspection, and a deep understanding of one’s strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. It empowers individuals to persevere in the face of adversity, to stay true to their core values, and to cultivate a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives.

On the other hand, religious faith typically involves a belief in and devotion to a higher power, deity, or spiritual doctrine.

It is often based on teachings, scriptures, rituals, and traditions passed down through generations within a religious community. Religious faith encompasses a broader set of beliefs and practices that provide individuals with a framework for understanding the world, interpreting their experiences, and finding solace, guidance, and connection with something greater than themselves. While faith in oneself and in one’s principles is more focused on personal agency and empowerment, religious faith often involves surrendering to divine will or seeking divine intervention in one’s life.

Notice that last element of that! Surrendering to a higher power.

We do not want to speak about any religious faith or the value that it has to anyone, but when it comes to recovering from a relationship scam, surrendering your agency to anyone or anything can be dangerous. It can increase shame, self-blame, and guilt substantially, while at the same time, removing agency and responsibility for your actions. After all, it was GOD’s plan that all this happened. Even the scammers were a part of that plan. If that is so, why not just accept that this was meant to happen?

We do know that spiritual faith can have powerful healing benefits as long as the scam victim understands that what happened was because a criminal chose to victimize them and that they made the mistake of talking to a stranger. Everything that followed was the scammer’s plan, You are not to blame, the scammer is.

At its Core

This kind of faith, rooted in personal principles and commitments, is a deeply intrinsic belief system that transcends religious affiliation. It embodies a profound trust in oneself, in one’s values, and in the capacity to navigate life’s uncertainties with resilience and determination. Unlike religious faith, which often involves adherence to specific doctrines or the worship of a higher power, this kind of faith is grounded in individual convictions and a moral compass.

At its core, this faith is about embracing the unknown with a sense of optimism and hope, even in the absence of guarantees or certainties. It is about finding the courage to move forward, guided by one’s inner principles and a belief in the possibility of positive outcomes. This faith empowers individuals to confront challenges head-on, to persevere in the face of adversity, and to trust in the inherent goodness of humanity and the universe. It is a deeply personal and transformative journey of self-discovery and growth, where individuals draw strength from within to overcome obstacles and realize their full potential.

Uncertainty, Hope, and Faith Moving Forward

In this journey of life, where uncertainty looms large and the future remains shrouded in mystery, faith in our future emerges as a beacon of hope, guiding us through the darkest of times and empowering us to move forward with sometimes wavering resolve. Yet, while faith holds the promise of transformation and growth, it is not without its challenges and trials.

At its essence, faith requires us to confront our deepest fears and doubts and to step into the unknown with courage and conviction. It demands that we relinquish the comfort of the familiar and embrace the discomfort of uncertainty, trusting that our beliefs and principles will guide us through the tumultuous waters ahead. But we all must be careful because cognitive biases can easily be confused as faith – some of the worst atrocities in history were predicated on faith, which in reality were biases.

Faith, Adversity, and Setbacks

One of the greatest challenges of faith lies in the face of adversity and setbacks. When our beliefs are tested and when the path ahead is fraught with obstacles, it can be all too easy to succumb to doubt and despair. In those moments, faith calls upon us to dig deep within ourselves, draw upon our inner strength and resilience, and persevere in the face of adversity.

More than that, faith requires us to confront our own limitations and insecurities, and to acknowledge our vulnerabilities and imperfections. It challenges us to confront the voices of self-doubt and criticism that whisper in the recesses of our minds, urging us to retreat to the safety of the known. Yet, it is precisely in those moments of vulnerability that our faith is truly tested, and our capacity for growth and transformation is revealed.

Faith and Inherent Uncertainty

Another challenge of faith lies in its inherent uncertainty. Unlike blind certainty or dogmatic belief, faith is a dynamic and ever-evolving process. It requires us to navigate the complexities of life with humility, gratitude, and openness, to embrace the uncertainty of the journey, and to trust in our guides and in the wisdom of the unknown.

This kind of faith demands that we confront our deepest fears and insecurities, to confront the possibility of failure and disappointment. It requires us to acknowledge the inherent risks and uncertainties of life and to embrace them with courage and resilience.

Yet, for all its challenges, faith holds the promise of profound transformation and growth. It is through the trials and tribulations of life that our faith in ourselves is truly tested, and our capacity for resilience and perseverance is strengthened if we can live up to our faith. It is through the uncertainties of the unknown that we discover our true potential and find the courage to embrace the limitless possibilities of the future.

In the end, faith is not about having all the answers or knowing what lies ahead. It is about trusting in ourselves, our principles, our clear mind, and our ability to work through the complexities of life with courage and conviction. It is about embracing the uncertainties of the journey and finding solace in the knowledge that we are guided by our own inner compass and the belief that everything will ultimately unfold according to plan. But as we said, faith can easily be confused for not-faith – shame, biases, and the toxic voices that would lead us away from the right path. To know the difference we must listen to our true faith and find the courage to go forward.

As we navigate the challenges of life, let us remember that faith is not a destination, but a journey. It is a journey of self-discovery and growth, of courage and resilience, of hope and transformation. And it is through this journey that we find the courage to let go of the past and embrace the limitless possibilities of the future.

Faith and the Relationship Scam Victim

Relationship scammers wield a devastating impact on individuals’ faith in themselves and in others. By preying on the innate desire for connection and companionship, they exploit vulnerabilities and manipulate emotions, leaving behind a trail of broken trust and shattered beliefs.

Victims of relationship scams often find themselves grappling with profound feelings of betrayal, self-doubt, and disillusionment, as the very foundation of their faith in humanity is eroded. These scams, which prey on individuals seeking companionship and connection, manipulate victims into trusting someone who ultimately exploits their vulnerability for personal gain. The realization that the affection, attention, and promises were nothing more than deceitful tactics can shatter victims’ trust not only in the scammer but also in themselves and others.

The aftermath of such scams leaves victims questioning their judgment, their ability to discern truth from fiction, and their capacity to trust again. They may experience intense feelings of shame, embarrassment, and isolation, as they struggle to come to terms with being deceived and manipulated. Plus, the financial losses incurred can exacerbate the sense of betrayal, leaving victims feeling not only emotionally violated but also financially devastated. As they attempt to rebuild their lives and recover from the trauma, victims may find it challenging to reestablish their faith in humanity, fearing that they will be taken advantage of again.

The aftermath of a relationship scam can be deeply traumatic, as victims confront the harsh reality of being deceived and exploited by someone they believed to be genuine and trustworthy. The emotional toll of such an experience can be overwhelming, leading to a loss of confidence in one’s judgment, a fear of opening up to others, and a pervasive sense of isolation and loneliness.

Rebuilding faith and trust after such a profound betrayal is a Herculean task, requiring immense resilience, support, and self-reflection to overcome the scars left behind by these manipulative predators.

Hopelessness and Despair

These scams can exacerbate the sense of hopelessness and despair in scam victims by inflicting significant emotional, financial, and psychological harm. Beyond the immediate shock of realizing they have been deceived, victims often face a daunting road to recovery, grappling with the aftermath of their exploitation. The financial losses incurred can lead to a profound sense of despair, especially if victims lose their life savings or fall into debt as a result of the scam. This financial strain may further exacerbate feelings of hopelessness, as victims struggle to regain their financial stability and security.

Also, the emotional toll of being manipulated and betrayed by someone they trusted can deeply impact victims’ mental well-being. They may experience a range of emotions, including anger, grief, and profound sadness, as they come to terms with the betrayal. Victims may also struggle with feelings of powerlessness and helplessness, questioning their own agency and ability to protect themselves from harm. This sense of despair can be compounded by the realization that the scammer’s actions were driven solely by greed and exploitation, with little regard for the devastating impact on their victims’ lives.

Additionally, the psychological effects of the scam can linger long after the initial betrayal, leading to ongoing feelings of anxiety, depression, and trauma. Victims may struggle to trust others or form new relationships, fearing that they will be deceived and exploited again. This sense of isolation and mistrust can further isolate victims, exacerbating feelings of despair and loneliness. Overall, the profound sense of hopelessness and despair experienced by scam victims underscores the urgent need for support, empathy, and resources to help them rebuild their lives and regain a sense of control and agency.

Faith as the Antidote

Faith can serve as a powerful antidote to the hopelessness and despair experienced by scam victims. While the betrayal and trauma inflicted by these scams can shake victims to their core, faith in oneself, one’s principles and the possibility of a positive outcome can provide a shining beacon of hope in the darkness. This kind of faith is rooted in resilience, inner strength, and the belief that even in the face of adversity, one has the capacity to overcome challenges and emerge stronger on the other side.

First and foremost, faith in oneself and one’s principles reaffirms a sense of self-worth and agency. It empowers victims to reclaim their narrative, recognizing that they are not defined by their victimization but by their resilience and capacity to heal. By holding fast to their core values and convictions, scam victims can make sense of the complexities of recovery with a sense of purpose and determination, refusing to let the actions of scammers undermine their fundamental beliefs.

Applied well, faith instills a sense of real optimism (not the optimism bias) and possibility, reminding scam victims that even in their darkest moments, there is always the potential for growth, transformation, forward movement, and renewal. It encourages them to look beyond their immediate circumstances and envision a brighter future, filled with real hope, the possibility of joy, and new meaningful connections.

This kind of faith is not about denying the reality or letting biases or other coping mechanisms take control, or pretending that the pain and suffering caused by the scam never happened, but rather about embracing the inherent resilience of the human spirit and trusting in its capacity to overcome even the most daunting challenges.


Our true faith serves as a guiding light that illuminates the path forward, offering solace, strength, and courage to those who have been victimized by scams.

It reminds all of us that we are not alone in our journey and that with faith as our compass, we can navigate the stormy seas of recovery and emerge as survivors on the other side.

Just remember that false faith and hope are destructive. The challenge is to find the path to your true self but it may take rebuilding for you to recognize it again!

Important Information for New Scam Victims

If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit counseling.AgainstScams.org or join SCARS for our counseling/therapy benefit: membership.AgainstScams.org

If you need to speak with someone now, you can dial 988 or find phone numbers for crisis hotlines all around the world here: www.opencounseling.com/suicide-hotlines

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PLEASE NOTE: Psychology Clarification

The following specific modalities within the practice of psychology are restricted to psychologists appropriately trained in the use of such modalities:

  • Diagnosis: The diagnosis of mental, emotional, or brain disorders and related behaviors.
  • Psychoanalysis: Psychoanalysis is a type of therapy that focuses on helping individuals to understand and resolve unconscious conflicts.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnosis is a state of trance in which individuals are more susceptible to suggestion. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • Biofeedback: Biofeedback is a type of therapy that teaches individuals to control their bodily functions, such as heart rate and blood pressure. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including stress, anxiety, and pain.
  • Behavioral analysis: Behavioral analysis is a type of therapy that focuses on changing individuals’ behaviors. It is often used to treat conditions such as autism and ADHD.
    Neuropsychology: Neuropsychology is a type of psychology that focuses on the relationship between the brain and behavior. It is often used to assess and treat cognitive impairments caused by brain injuries or diseases.

SCARS and the members of the SCARS Team do not engage in any of the above modalities in relationship to scam victims. SCARS is not a mental healthcare provider and recognizes the importance of professionalism and separation between its work and that of the licensed practice of psychology.

SCARS is an educational provider of generalized self-help information that individuals can use for their own benefit to achieve their own goals related to emotional trauma. SCARS recommends that all scam victims see professional counselors or therapists to help them determine the suitability of any specific information or practices that may help them.

SCARS cannot diagnose or treat any individuals, nor can it state the effectiveness of any educational information that it may provide, regardless of its experience in interacting with traumatized scam victims over time. All information that SCARS provides is purely for general educational purposes to help scam victims become aware of and better understand the topics and to be able to dialog with their counselors or therapists.

It is important that all readers understand these distinctions and that they apply the information that SCARS may publish at their own risk, and should do so only after consulting a licensed psychologist or mental healthcare provider.


The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. The author is solely responsible for the content of their work. SCARS is protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) section 230 from liability.







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