Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Some of Those Things That Make No Sense

by Soraya

You have just learned the relationship that captured your heart and soul was not a relationship, but a calculated scam. It is a confusing time, made all the more confusing by the strange things you feel compelled to do. Some of those things may feel wrong or harmful on the surface, but will be an important part of your healing from the pain of the scam. Others sound like they'll bring you comfort, but will only add to your own pain.


Two Things That Feel Harmful But Will Help

Joining a Group Designed for Scam Victims

When you first see the Scams of the Heart page, you may have a lot of questions, but you may also be reluctant to log into the chat or join the online board. "I don't want to sit around discussing the scam. It will just make me dwell on it," is a common thought. It is okay to feel this way, but SOTH (and any other reputable support group) will not force participants to do anything they find upsetting. You are welcome to join only to ask questions about scams. There is no obligation to attend regular sessions, befriend anyone you meet in the chat room, or perform any of the tasks you read about on this web page. Joining a group, whether it be for a day or two or becoming a regular chatter for several years, provides the opportunity to be open and honest about the scam in an environment populated by people who understand what you are going through.


Learning All You Can About Scams

After a scam, the last thing you may want to sit and read about or watch on television is scammers, but it is important to understand what happened to you. Educating yourself about scams and scammers teaches you that you are not alone, helps you to avoid scammers in the future, and provides you with knowledge you can use to help others as soon as you feel ready. Read through the older articles on this web site for some basic information. There are also a few books currently available about romance scams. The MTV television show Catfish is also a popular resource for romance scam information. Just remember that Catfish is a television show. They have a huge crew researching each situation before the hosts and guest arrive and the scammers know they are on camera in front of millions of people. It is never safe for anyone else to confront a scammer. Television shows, even reality shows, are filmed to make the situation look much more positive than it may be offscreen. The hosts are nice to the scammer because they have to be for the sake of their show, and it is in the scammer's own interest to talk about how sorry they are and how much they want to be friends with the victim for real. Nobody has any idea what happened once the camera crew left or how honest the scammer is being during the followup. That said, Catfish does illustrate many of the basic red flags and encourages healing from the scam.



Three Things That Feel Comforting At First But Will Only Cause More Harm

Plotting Revenge Against the Scammer

The only true way to get revenge against scammers is to cut off their supply of victims by educating yourself and others about scams and speaking up when you see a friend or relative in a potentially dangerous situation. Sending them a nasty letter explaining precisely how you found out the romance or friendship was a scam will only provide them with notes on how to run a better scam next time. Threatening them with legal action will not phase them. If the scammer is based in Nigeria or another foreign nation, they know that the laws of your country do not apply to them. Scammers from your own country have probably made sure to do things that are unethical, but not illegal, and know you can't call the police about anything they did. Sending a message that you or a friend is coming to beat them up should also be avoided. Scammers from across the world know you cannot come to their country, find them, and attack them. All they will do is send you a virus in an email to get you back for the nasty message. Scammers from the United States could save your threatening messages and get you in trouble for making the threats. Never confront, threaten, or vow revenge on a scammer. It will only wind up hurting you. If you must plot revenge, write out a scenario in your journal, or craft a fiction story about getting revenge on scammers.....but never attempt any of the behaviors you write about.


Clinging to the Good Memories and Mementos

You received a beautiful piece of jewelry from a man you thought you were dating, and now somebody in a scam group is telling you to take it to the thrift store and donate it. You also don't see the harm in keeping those photos of that hot man or woman the scammer sent you, and you like that television show you started watching because it "our show." You see no reason to delete all your digital copies of it. Here is the reason: keeping anything you started or acquired solely because of the relationship that turned out to be a scam will only keep you emotionally connected to the scam. It will make it even more difficult to fully accept that the scam was not a real relationship, and you have to accept this if you ever hope to get your life back on track. Get rid of anything; links to web pages, photos, messages, plush toys, vases from flower deliveries, jewelry, clothes, makeup/aftershave, decorations, songs, movies, and foods that you either received as a gift from the scammer, obtained at the scammer's urging, or got because you thought the person who turned out to be a scammer would like it. If it is something you liked before the scam but just got more interested in because of the scammer, set it aside or modify it to remove the parts that were added for the scammer. If you have always done yoga off and on, but the scammer encouraged you to set up a home practice and you got really into it, let the yoga go for a while, or switch to a class in your community. If you've always loved to read and the scammer talked you into switching from historical romance to true crime, don't stop reading....but do stop reading the books the scammer suggested and go back to your own true tastes in literature.

Being "Positive"

It seems to be a trend these days to "just be positive." We're told to just walk away from anything that doesn't feel great all the time, ditch people without notice, and transform our whole world just by thinking happy thoughts. Neither the world around us nor the human mind is that simple. You will not heal from the scam by pretending it never happened, ignoring all the emotional and financial distress it caused, or attempting to rewrite the situation into a "bad relationship" or a "friendship with a jerk." In order to heal from the scam, you are going to have to face what happened to you and admit that there was nothing good about that situation. This does not mean deciding that your life is over, thinking you're never going to be anything but a scam victim, locking yourself in your room with a pile of junk food, and refusing to get up out of your bed. It means taking an honest look at the scam, fully accepting that it was a scam, educating yourself about scams and scammers, and taking the steps necessary to heal on all levels. These activities will not always leave you brimming with perky thoughts. But they will help you return to a state of genuine contentment and peace.

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