One of my co-volunteers on this site wrote about the stages of grieving last week. She did a wonderful job of illustrating some of the signposts along the way from discovering you've been scammed to coming out the other side, healthier and smarter. I want to talk about one way of healing today, the twelve step way. I wrote about my experience with steps 1-3 about two weeks ago. I've been thinking about how Step 4 applies to romance scams since then.
"Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves." My first take on this was "Really? I didn't do anything wrong -- I merely got caught up in a scam because I have a big heart and believed the wrong person. . . why do I have to do all this work?" Well, you don't -- unless you want to try a proven method to "get over" the hate and anger you're likely to feel at some point after the scam.
Inventory is really a lot easier than it sounds. All it takes is a pen, paper, and willingness to look at your part in this whole ordeal. In AA, we make a list of the harms, resentments, fear and sex conduct and how this affected our relationships with others and ourselves. I believe strongly that the same approach will benefit scam victims, and help them move from victim to survivor. So give this concept some thought, and if you decide that you'd rather be happy than right, then send me an email -- firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll help you get started on your very own inventory. /mw