(Last Updated On: February 4, 2024)

Scam Victims Will Never Be The Same – A Harsh Truth

The First Step in Healing is Understanding How These Crimes Affect Their Victims – and Accepting It!

Recovery Psychology

Authors:
•  Vianey Gonzalez B.Sc(Psych) – Psychologist, Certified Deception Professional, Psychology Advisory Panel & Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.
•  Tim McGuinness, Ph.D. – Anthropologist, Scientist, Director of the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc.

About This Article

In the aftermath of falling victim to scams, many individuals defiantly proclaim, “I won’t let the scam define me!” or “I refuse to let it affect me!”

Yet, these assertions, though spoken with conviction, often veil a deeper truth. Each scam victim is intimately connected to the events they’ve endured, and denying this connection hinders their journey toward healing. The impact of scams, whether financial or emotional, lingers long after the initial deception.

Denial, a coping mechanism for scam victims, perpetuates a cycle of suffering and victimization. To break free, victims must confront the truth, seek support, and embrace their resilience.

By acknowledging their experiences and seeking help, victims can transform into survivors, reclaiming their power and agency. It’s time to confront the pain, honor the journey, and emerge stronger than before.

SCARS Scam Victim Support & Recovery Program

So Many Scam Victims Say They Will Not Let The Scam Define Them! Or They Will Not Let The Scam Affect Them!

We are Sorry to Tell them this, but These are False Statements – they are Statements of Denial!

Each scam victim is exactly what has happened to them, and they will always be that. However, let us explain!

Facing the Truth: How Scam Victims Can Embrace Healing and Recovery

In the wake of becoming a victim of scams, it’s common to hear defiant declarations from those affected:

I won’t let the scam define me!” or “I refuse to let it affect me!

These statements, though spoken with conviction, often serve as a shield against the painful truth lurking beneath the surface. The reality is that each scam victim is intricately intertwined with the events that have transpired, and denying this connection only prolongs the journey toward healing and recovery.

The Changes

The crime that each scam victim experienced is a part of their history. It affected their financial future, so the choices available to them now are different than what they would have been.

But more importantly, almost every scam victim experienced trauma, that many want to deny. That is fine, but trauma never goes away. Trauma remains in their mind and body, and it can reemerge when triggered. If this has not happened to a specific victim, that is great, but that potential always remains.

No one comes out of these experiences as the same person they once were – this is the reality of life. Every experience good or bad changes us. Believing that it is not true is denial or worse.

Hear the Truth

It’s a harsh reality to accept, but the first step towards true healing is acknowledging the profound impact that scams have on victims’ lives.

Whether it’s a financial scam that drains one’s savings, a romance scam that shatters trust and leaves emotional scars, or a cybercrime that violates privacy and security, the repercussions of falling prey to deceit are far-reaching and enduring. Each scam victim carries the weight of their experience, and denying its significance only serves to bury the pain deeper.

It is important to recognize that each scam victim is now a different person than they were before, and they always will be. However, the can be better, smarter, wiser, and a more capable person than they were before. They can be a survivor, but they cannot be a survivor unless they acknowledge what they survived!

They have learned many things about these crimes and are now better prepared to avoid them in the future too.

The Psychology of Victimhood

To understand why statements of denial are counterproductive, it’s essential to delve into the psychology of victimhood.

Denial serves as a coping mechanism and offers temporary relief from the overwhelming emotions that accompany being scammed.

By refusing to acknowledge the full extent of the harm inflicted, victims create a buffer zone that shields them from confronting their vulnerabilities and shortcomings. However, this protective barrier also prevents them from accessing the support and resources needed to facilitate healing and recovery. In other words, this kind of denial is a trap that holds the victim in place.

Furthermore, denial perpetuates a cycle of victimization, allowing scammers to continue their nefarious activities unchecked. When victims dismiss their experiences as inconsequential or unworthy of attention, they inadvertently enable perpetrators to prey upon others with impunity. The fact is that most victims will not report these crimes, and one of the strange reasons for this (other than shame and guilt) is this denial that it does not affect victims unless they let it.

By breaking free from the grip of denial and speaking out about their experiences, victims not only reclaim their agency but also contribute to raising awareness and preventing future victimization.

Trying to Reclaim Their Life the Wrong Way

Scam victims often find themselves trapped in denial of their pain, convincing themselves that they are fine and don’t need help.

Often this comes later – some months after the scam is over – but it can come early too!

One of the primary reasons for this denial is the desire to maintain a facade of normalcy and avoid showing their trauma to others.

Fitting in with family, friends, and colleagues becomes paramount for scam victims, who fear being perceived as weak or incompetent if they admit to struggling. They may worry about burdening loved ones with their problems or facing judgment and stigma from their social circles. As a result, they suppress their feelings, put on a brave face, and carry on as if nothing has happened.

Also, the pressure to maintain their professional life adds another layer of complexity to the situation. Scam victims fear repercussions at work if they reveal their vulnerability or seek assistance. They worry about being seen as unreliable or incapable of handling their responsibilities, which could jeopardize their job security or career advancement. Yet, in reality, by not getting the help they need, their trauma almost assures poor work performance.

In essence, the denial of needing help stems from a deep-seated fear of being ostracized or marginalized by the people they know. Scam victims strive to uphold the illusion of normalcy to preserve their social status and avoid the stigma associated with victimhood. However, this denial only serves to exacerbate their suffering, as it prevents them from accessing the support and resources they desperately need to heal.

How to Shake Free of This Denial

How can scam victims begin to embrace healing and recovery in the face of such denial?

The answer lies in facing the truth head-on and seeking support from trusted allies and professionals who will tell you the truth and nothing but the truth. Far too many people tell victims that they are just fine and that they will easily make it through this. However, the sad fact is that most victims never recover from these crimes because they do not let themselves recover.

Scam victims do not need encouragement, they need the truth – hard as it is to face. These crimes cause serious injuries, that in many cases will stay with the victim their whole life. This is simply the nature of trauma. If traumatized scam victims do not learn to manage their trauma, it will manage them.

Acceptance

Acceptance is the first step towards liberation, allowing scam survivors to shed the burden of shame and guilt that often accompanies being scammed. By acknowledging the impact of their experiences, survivors can begin to unravel the tangled knot of emotions and beliefs that hold them captive.

The most important thing for every scam victim to understand is that they remain vulnerable to scams and that means they have to always be vigilant to spot them before they are trapped again. That they were traumatized and both emotionally and psychologically affected is just reality. They may think they are just fine, and that is excellent, as long as they are not lying to themselves.

Moving Forward

Additionally, seeking out support groups and counseling services can provide a safe space for victims to process their feelings and rebuild their lives. Connecting with others who have walked a similar path can offer validation and solidarity, reminding victims that they are not alone in their struggles. Professional guidance can also equip victims with the tools and strategies needed to navigate the complexities of recovery and reclaim a sense of control over their lives.

Remember

Denial serves as a barrier to healing for scam victims, perpetuating a cycle of victimization and suffering. By acknowledging the profound impact of scams on their lives and seeking support from trusted allies and professionals, victims can break free from the grip of denial and embrace a path toward healing and recovery and becoming survivors.

The only way to make it into a better future is for scam victims to always be honest with themselves about what happened and the effect that it has had on their lives and minds. If they can do that then they will have recovered well, but if they cannot then there will be problems in the future.

It’s time to face the truth, confront the pain, and reclaim the power and agency that scammers stole from their victims.

Afterthought

All of that is well and good, but consider for a moment those victims who had the sense of reality to move forward, seek help, and begin walking the path of recovery! Unbelievably hard though it was or is.

Isn’t that the definition of courage?

Seeing adversity and doing what needs to be done regardless of the pain and difficulty? This is what makes them a true survivor.

Why would anyone want to pretend that they are not that, and just forget their amazing journey denying that anything stayed with them?

Be PROUD of your struggle. Be proud of the pain you survived, and if you are not yet finished know that you will if you commit to it.

If a scam victim can do this, they transform into something more than they were! They are a survivor and the hero of their own epic hero’s journey!

Be proud of your scars!

Now that is a story worth telling!

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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.

Opinions

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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