(Last Updated On: July 7, 2023)

Scam Victim Resiliency – Why It Is So Much Worse After The Scam

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

Resiliency After The Scam Is Over Is Rarely What Victims Think It Is!

Before we can explore what resiliency is for scam survivors after the crime is over, we first have to explore what resiliency is.

What Is Emotional Resiliency?

Emotional resilience is the ability to adapt to and recover from difficult or challenging experiences. It is a dynamic process that involves a number of factors.

Psychological resilience refers to an individual’s ability to adapt, cope, and bounce back in the face of adversity, trauma, or significant life challenges. It is the capacity to maintain a stable and positive mental and emotional state while navigating difficult circumstances. Psychological resilience involves various cognitive, emotional, and behavioral processes that enable individuals to effectively cope with stress, adversity, and trauma.

Your individual aspects of resiliency

  • Your individual personality: Some people are naturally more resilient than others. This may be due to factors such as their genetics, upbringing, and life experiences.
  • Your coping skills: How you cope with stress and difficult experiences can also affect your resilience. Some helpful coping skills include:
    • Positive thinking: Resilient people tend to have a positive outlook on life, even in the face of adversity. They believe that they can overcome challenges and that things will eventually get better.
    • Social support: Having strong social support networks can also help you to cope with difficult experiences. Friends, family, and other trusted individuals can offer you emotional support, practical help, and a listening ear.
  • Your belief in yourself: Resilient people have a strong sense of self-worth and self-efficacy. They believe in their ability to handle challenges and that they will eventually succeed.

The elements in each of us that create or contribute to a person’s resiliency

Key aspects of psychological resilience include:

  1. Positive Mindset: Resilient individuals tend to have a positive outlook on life and possess a belief in their ability to overcome challenges. They maintain a hopeful and optimistic attitude, focusing on opportunities for growth and learning even in difficult situations.
  2. Emotional Regulation: Resilient individuals are adept at managing and regulating their emotions. They have the ability to acknowledge and express their emotions in healthy ways while also maintaining emotional balance and stability. This allows them to effectively cope with stress and bounce back from setbacks.
  3. Problem-Solving Skills: Resilient individuals possess strong problem-solving skills, enabling them to identify solutions, make effective decisions, and take action to address challenges. They approach problems with a proactive and solution-oriented mindset, seeking alternative approaches when faced with obstacles.
  4. Social Support: Building and maintaining strong social connections is a crucial aspect of psychological resilience. Resilient individuals have a support network of family, friends, or other trusted individuals who offer emotional support, encouragement, and practical assistance during difficult times.
  5. Flexibility and Adaptability: Resilient individuals are flexible and adaptable in the face of change and adversity. They are open to new ideas, perspectives, and approaches, allowing them to adjust their strategies and plans when circumstances require it.
  6. Self-Care and Well-being: Prioritizing self-care and well-being is essential for psychological resilience. Resilient individuals engage in activities that promote physical and mental health, such as exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and relaxation techniques. Taking care of oneself enhances resilience and provides a foundation for coping with challenges.
  7. Sense of Purpose and Meaning: Resilient individuals often have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. They have clear values, goals, and a sense of direction, which provides motivation and a sense of coherence even in the face of adversity.

Psychological resilience is not a fixed trait but can be developed and strengthened through various strategies, including seeking support, cultivating positive coping mechanisms, engaging in self-reflection, and practicing self-care. Developing resilience can help individuals navigate life’s challenges with greater emotional well-being, adaptability, and overall psychological health.

But it can also be severely damaged by trauma & experience.

When Resiliency Meets Trauma

Psychological trauma can have a significant impact on emotional resilience. Traumatic experiences can lead to a number of negative consequences.

The most common effects that trauma can have:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. Symptoms of PTSD can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and avoidance of reminders of the traumatic event.
  • Depression: Depression is a mood disorder that can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness. It can be triggered by a number of factors, including traumatic experiences.
  • Anxiety disorders: Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health conditions that can cause excessive worry, fear, and physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, sweating, and shortness of breath. They can also be triggered by traumatic experiences.

The devil is in the details

Trauma can have a significant impact on resilience, affecting an individual’s ability to bounce back and adapt to challenging circumstances. Trauma can, in effect, destroy a person’s resilience or significantly damage it. Most importantly, is that it does not return immediately after the event, it can take a very extended period of time to return – if it returns at all to the level of resiliency that the person had before the traumatic event.

Trauma, whether resulting from a single distressing event or prolonged exposure to adverse experiences, can undermine an individual’s sense of safety, control, and well-being. It often disrupts the core beliefs and assumptions about oneself, others, and the world. This disruption can have profound effects on resilience.

One way trauma impacts resilience is by triggering intense emotional reactions and psychological distress. Traumatic experiences can lead to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, hypervigilance, and flashbacks, which can hinder an individual’s ability to cope effectively. These symptoms may persist long after the traumatic event, making it challenging to bounce back and regain stability.

Trauma can also erode self-esteem and self-efficacy. The loss of control, feelings of helplessness, and self-blame associated with trauma can undermine an individual’s belief in their own capabilities and resilience. This diminished self-perception can further hinder their ability to navigate future challenges with confidence and adaptability.

Moreover, trauma can impact interpersonal relationships and social support networks, which are essential components of resilience. Individuals who have experienced trauma may struggle with trust, intimacy, and forming healthy connections with others. This can limit their access to emotional support and hinder their ability to draw upon social resources during times of adversity.

Plus, it is important to note that while trauma can disrupt resilience, it does not extinguish it entirely. With appropriate support, interventions, counseling or therapy, and a commitment to healing, individuals can rebuild their resilience in the aftermath of trauma.

Recovery from trauma often involves addressing and processing the emotional wounds associated with the experience. Therapeutic approaches such as trauma-focused therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based modalities can help individuals develop coping skills, regulate emotions, challenge negative beliefs, and cultivate a sense of safety and self-compassion. For more information about counseling or therapy resources click here.

Building resilience after trauma also involves nurturing a supportive network of relationships. Connecting with understanding and empathetic individuals, such as therapists, support groups, or loved ones, can provide validation, encouragement, and practical assistance throughout the healing journey. To learn more about support group options click here.

Engaging in self-care practices is another crucial aspect of resilience-building. Prioritizing physical well-being, engaging in stress-reducing activities, and practicing self-compassion can help individuals replenish their emotional resources and cultivate a stronger foundation for resilience.

While trauma can profoundly impact resilience, it is not an insurmountable barrier. With proper support, healing, and self-care, individuals can rebuild their resilience, tap into their inner strengths, and navigate future challenges with greater adaptability, self-assurance, and well-being.

If you have experienced a traumatic event, it is important to seek professional help. A therapist can help you to understand and cope with the emotional effects of trauma. They can also teach you healthy coping skills and help you to rebuild your emotional resilience. It is also important to join a competent support group such as the free support groups offered by SCARS for scam victims.

Remember To Be Cautious About Resiliency

Healing from the trauma of being a crime or scam victim is a complex and deeply personal process. While some individuals may feel that they have quickly recovered their resiliency, it is important to recognize that this perception can sometimes be influenced by biases or self-delusions.

In the aftermath of a traumatic event, individuals may experience a sense of relief once the immediate threat has passed. This initial response can create the illusion that they have quickly regained their resiliency and overcome the impact of the trauma. However, true healing and resilience-rebuilding require a more comprehensive and nuanced approach.

One factor contributing to the bias or self-delusion is the desire to move on and regain a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible. People often want to put the traumatic experience behind them and return to their pre-event state or mentality. This desire can lead to an unconscious downplaying of the emotional, psychological, and physical effects of the trauma, which can impede recovery and the true healing process.

Another factor is the instinct to project strength and resilience to others. Victims may feel societal pressure to appear strong and “bounce back” quickly, fearing judgment or being perceived as weak. This pressure can drive individuals to create a facade of resiliency, even if they are still grappling with the lingering effects of the trauma. This can even have in support group settings, where fellow scam victims do not want to fall apart in front of the other group members – this is essentially pride at work.

Additionally, the complexity of trauma itself can contribute to the bias. Trauma’s impact can be far-reaching and often manifests in various ways, such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, trust issues, and emotional dysregulation – and scam victims can continue to be triggered for a decade or more. These effects may not be immediately apparent or easily recognized by the scam survivor, leading them to underestimate the true depth of their healing journey.

It is crucial to acknowledge that healing takes a serious amount of time and varies for each individual. Recognizing and challenging the biases or self-delusions that may arise is an important step in the recovery process. Seeking professional support, such as therapy or counseling and support groups, can provide a safe space to explore the true extent of the trauma’s impact and work through the underlying emotions and beliefs.

True resilience-rebuilding involves facing and processing the pain, fear, and vulnerabilities associated with the trauma. It requires patience, self-compassion, and a willingness to confront the difficult emotions that may arise along the healing journey. It is through this deeper exploration and acknowledgment that genuine healing and long-lasting resiliency can be achieved.

By embracing the reality of the healing process, individuals can create a foundation for true resilience that is built on self-awareness, self-compassion, and an understanding of the complexities inherent in recovering from trauma. But it is also important to remember that scam victims typically lose their resilience and have to rebuild it over the long amount of time it takes.

Ways To Improve Resiliency

Here are some additional tips for building emotional resilience:

  • Take care of yourself: Make sure to get enough sleep, eat healthy foods, and exercise regularly. These activities can help to improve your physical and mental health, which can make you more resilient in the face of challenges.
  • Connect with others: Spend time with loved ones, join support groups, or volunteer in your community. Having strong social connections can provide you with emotional support and a sense of belonging, which can help you to cope with difficult times.
  • Learn to manage stress: There are a number of techniques that can help you to manage stress, such as relaxation exercises, deep breathing, and meditation. Find what works best for you and make a habit of using these techniques regularly.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: When you have negative thoughts about yourself or your situation, challenge them with more realistic and helpful thoughts. This can help you to see things in a more positive light and cope with difficult experiences more effectively.
  • Be patient: Building emotional resilience takes time and effort. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results immediately. Just keep practicing the tips above and you will eventually see improvement.

Daily Affirmations

Affirmations are positive statements or phrases that individuals repeat to themselves as a way to shift their mindset, reinforce positive beliefs, and cultivate a more empowering perspective, and rebuild resiliency. They can be used as a tool for self-empowerment, healing, and personal growth.

For scam victims recovering from trauma, affirmations play a crucial role in the healing process. Here’s why they are important:

  1. Rebuilding Self-Worth: Scam victims often experience a significant blow to their self-esteem and self-worth. Affirmations can help counter negative self-perceptions by instilling positive beliefs about oneself, reinforcing a sense of self-worth, and reminding victims of their inherent value and strength.
  2. Empowering Mindset: Affirmations help shift the focus from victimhood to empowerment. By repeating positive statements, victims can reframe their perspective, embrace a more optimistic mindset, and regain a sense of control over their lives.
  3. Rebuilding Resilience: Affirmations provide a daily reminder of one’s capacity for resilience and growth. They serve as a source of encouragement during difficult times, reinforcing the belief that one has the inner strength to overcome challenges and rebuild their life after trauma.
  4. Challenging Negative Self-Talk: Scam victims may engage in negative self-talk, blaming themselves or feeling ashamed for falling victim to the scam. Affirmations counter these destructive thoughts by replacing them with affirming and compassionate statements, encouraging self-acceptance and self-forgiveness.
  5. Cultivating Positive Mindset: Affirmations help victims cultivate a positive mindset and create a more supportive inner dialogue. By consistently reciting positive statements, victims can reprogram their subconscious mind, gradually shifting away from self-blame and self-doubt towards self-compassion, self-belief, and optimism.
  6. Promoting Emotional Healing: Affirmations support emotional healing by providing a soothing and comforting internal dialogue. They can help victims process their emotions, validate their experiences, and reinforce the belief that healing and recovery are possible.
  7. Enhancing Self-Care: Affirmations serve as a reminder to prioritize self-care. They encourage victims to engage in activities that promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being, fostering a holistic approach to healing and self-nurturing.

Remember, affirmations are not a substitute for professional support or therapy. They are a complementary (supplemental) practice that, when used consistently and in conjunction with other healing modalities, can contribute to the recovery journey of scam victims, supporting their emotional well-being and empowering them to rebuild their lives with resilience and strength.

Here are some daily affirmations that can help individuals improve their resilience as they rebuild their lives after a traumatic event:

Tip – say each one three times and speak it out loud in a strong confirming voice!

  1. I am a Survivor
  2. It was not my fault!
  3. I am deserving of love, compassion, and healing. [AXIOS]
  4. I am no longer a victim!
  5. I am resilient, and I have the strength to overcome any challenges that come my way.
  6. Each day, I am growing stronger and more resilient.
  7. I embrace the lessons from my past and use them to create a better future.
  8. I am not defined by my past; I am creating a new story of resilience and triumph.
  9. I have the power to heal and restore my sense of well-being.
  10. I am worthy of happiness, peace, and a fulfilling life.
  11. I release the pain of the past and welcome joy and positivity into my present.
  12. I am resilient, and I choose to face challenges with courage and determination.
  13. I trust in my ability to adapt, grow, and thrive in the face of adversity.
  14. I am supported by a network of caring and understanding individuals who uplift and empower me.
  15. I celebrate each small step forward as a testament to my resilience and progress.
  16. I am resilient, and I honor my journey by practicing self-care and prioritizing my well-being.
  17. I am resilient, and I trust in the healing process unfolding within me.
  18. I embrace my emotions with kindness and allow myself to heal at my own pace.
  19. I have survived and thrived before, and I will do so again.
  20. I am resilient, and I choose to focus on the positive aspects of my life.
  21. I let go of what I cannot control and focus on what I can influence in my life.
  22. I am resilient, and I have the power to create a future filled with happiness and fulfillment.
  23. I am resilient, and I am grateful for the strength that resides within me.

Feel free to choose the affirmations that resonate most with you or modify them to fit your personal circumstances. Recite them daily or when needed to hold off negative emotions, write them down, or display them in visible places as reminders of your resilience and capacity for healing.

Remember, affirmations are tools to help shift your mindset and reinforce positive beliefs about yourself. With time and consistency, they can contribute to your journey of rebuilding resilience and finding strength in the aftermath of trauma.

More:

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.

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The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of the Society of Citizens Against Rleationship 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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