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The Healing Process

Posted: Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:25 pm
by Pinky
Wayne asked me to post this so he could make it into a sticky. I do think it's important for those who've been victimized by love scams, to understand that it will take time to heal. Thanks for this, Wayne.

It is perfectly normal and even healthy to grieve. A love scammed victim has been emotionally wounded. Like all wounds it takes time to heal. Our minds do not forget pain quickly, but it does lessen over time, otherwise no woman would ever give birth a second time.

Tears do help. I believe they are cathartic. I read somewhere that a chemical analysis of tears under different circumstances shows that different proteins, chemicals, toxins and hormones are shed from the body, depending on why the tears are shed. This suggests to me that there's a reason for them. I don't think men should hold them back, either.

The Kübler-Ross model first introduced by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying", outlines a grieving process that I believe is beneficial to anyone who's been emotionally damaged. This would certainly apply to victims of romance scams, as well.

The stages are:

1. Denial: Example - "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me!"

2. Anger: Example - "Why me? It's not fair!" "How can this happen, I hate this world!" (Or I hate my scammer, or I hate the person who informed me, or I hate all scammers-Africans-Russians-liars, etc.)

3. Bargaining (Or rationalizing): Example - "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything, can't you stretch it out? A few more years." I will give my life savings if..." (Or, "Maybe if he confesses and asks my forgiveness, or maybe if he really loves only me, or maybe if he's not too bad looking or too young for me, or maybe he was forced to do what he did because of hardship . . .)

4. Depression: Example - "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die . . . What's the point?" (Or, I'm really an idiot, stupid, dumb, etc. Certainly not worth anything to a real lover.)

5. Acceptance: Example - "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it." (I'm not going to let this happen to anyone else.)

I hope this helps a little. I wish I could offer more. The best advice I can give is to treat being scammed like a divorce or death, go a little nutty for a short while and then come back stronger and wiser.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:04 am
by camelion
Hi every one, thanks for the site. I am sitting here trying to read it but it is a bit hard to through the tears I cry everyday. I am feeling very mentally and emotionally drained and I am so ashamed of myself for being so stupid to get into this situation. At this time I am trying to find a way to eventually seperate the real person from the scammer as I think that is the only way to help myself at the moment. I hear his voice in my head everyday and night and see the photo that I looked at while we talked. I see them as being the one person and I need to seperate the good from the ugly. I hope you understand what I am saying. I know that it will take time and that I will probably never ever recover the money but I need to find peace of mind and get some life back. I hope that one day I will eventaully find the real person in the photo and this will be the start of the healing process for me. Thankyou to all for caring enough to help others in need of support. I do not have anyone to even talk to where I live and also I am too ashamed to talk to anyone and I have isolated myself from everyone as my scammer became my life. bye for now. take care.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:20 am
by Pinky
We here understand you completely. Feel free to pour your heart out. It's all anonymous. You will also find many women here who've been through exactly what you've gone through. I personally have met women who've lost up to $60,000 (USD). You can survive this. You will. Here is where you can make the first step.

Edit: I asked our good friend Ralph to send you a message. He's an Aussie member and he's been fighting these scammers for years. He will be able to give you good advice if there's any legal recourse or compensation to be had in your country. But don't hold out hope. I've spoken with Australian victims myself, many times. The best thing you can do for yourself is take time to heal and find things to do that distract you when you get down.

Writing it out and sharing with people who've been through this helps many, too. We're here for you.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 12:10 pm
by Moriarty
Hi ann-maree. So sorry you've had this dreadful experience. There's nothing for you to be ashamed of. It is the person who stole your money and played havoc with your feelings who should be ashamed, but he probably doesn't know the meaning of the word. I hope this site can help you a little.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:46 pm
by Crescentmoon
Please know that this is a wonderful group of people. They have helped me so very much! They will listen to you. Knowing that you are not alone really does help. I only recently posted on here after 5 months of a scam that ended in April. It took me some time to process and realize that it was not real. For me, posting and sharing was very healing. I personally felt like it gave me some power back. Also, understanding the psychology of it all and what was done to me and understanding that it was a crime has helped me begin the healing process.

If I can be of any help, please PM me and know you are not alone.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:05 pm
by sanneb
I am sorry to hear you got scammed. You did nothing wrong. Your a caring person who trusted someone that decived you. They are criminals and use every tatic to get money. It is them that are wrong not you. We are just trusting and caring by nature and there is nothing wrong with that. Take time for yourself go out with friends or just go wild anything you enjoy to do. Just treat yourself to a good time and get away from everything. Don't be hard on yourself you did nothing wrong. We are all here for you.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:23 am
by sunliqi617
Hi Ann-maree, I can't share your feelings more. I went to the Western Union 8 times and sent the scammer USD$25,000 in 10 days! I cried for weeks. All I had wanted was just to love and be loved....Actually I'm still in a post-trauma status. I'm a single mom with a 5-year-old daughter. The money was all my savings for a condo downpayment. Compared to my financial loss, the emotional loss is even harder to bear, and takes longer to heal. (I posted my scammer in the Nigerian scammer-white male section).

I told few friends about it. Only two of my Christian coworkers comforted me. I know what my family and friends would say to me. And I'll keep it a secret from them forever. I can only share my feelings on this site, with people who have similar experience and who can understand.

I reported it on the FBI's scam site, I also reported it to the local police station. A police officer told me they won't start an investigation on this. There are too many out there. He said as long as your life is preserved, the rest is not important. I know it is right in a sense. But I still cry over my wounds, especially at night. And I feel most depressed when I wake up and open my eyes every morning. If not for my daughter, I wish I could rest in peace. But I can't, I have to be strong, to live, to work, to raise my child. Many times I feel so lonely, feel hopeless, feel desperate, and feel drowning. My Chrisitan coworker said to me, put everything in God's hand. If God let this thing happen, there must be a purpose in it. We might feel terrible now but God can turn bad things into good. Let's encourage each other, we WILL be stronger, we WILL find our love that is prepared for us, we WILL be happy. For with God, nothing is impossible.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:19 am
by Pinky
There is life after this. Maybe the only lesson to be learned here is that money doesn't matter. Life goes on. You still can love and be loved. You didn't lose your character and integrity, which is priceless.

What I have learned is that being single is hardly a fate worse than death. Take some time ladies, to do things for yourself. Soak in scented bubble baths, reading a book by candlelight surrounding your tub. Get your hair or nails done. Oooooooooo a pedicure works for me. Eat chocolate. Buy yourself fresh flowers. Go see a beautiful sight of nature somewhere nearby. Pretend you're a tourist. Shop a great sale and buy some utterly useless, inexpensive trinket. Get a puppy or kitten. Visit someone whose company you enjoy. Wear your favorite outfit that you look best in. Eat off the good china. Cook yourself full course meal. Take naps. Sunbathe. Meditate. Take a mental inventory of the things you are grateful for. Do something for YOU only.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:40 am
by duped2009
I'm sitting here reading all of this and every post is me....I'm reading about myself. I cry but out of anger for being so stupid. I spent my children's graduation money with the promise that he would pay me back. I almost bought a plane ticket to see glad I didn't have my passport. Now I'm finally getting my life job, sending my kids to college, and building my savings back to where it was....BUT his image and voice still haunts me. Like most, I am too ashamed to talk to my family about what happened. For the next guy that comes along, it will be difficult for him to get close to me because of what this guy did. I am so hoping that he contacts me, knowing what I know now, it would be extremely satisfying to get revenge :twisted: . I have always been told that things happen for a reason. I'll be rewarded in the end. :angel:


Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 10:35 am
by FrumpyBB
Good luck with everything :)

And should he contact you back, it is better for everyone to vblock him completely and never talk or write to him again so that he never knows what "went wrong"; otherwise he would continue to stalk you AND become a better scammer if he knew what went wrong this time :(

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:41 pm
by Pinky
. . . for being so stupid.
I hate for anyone to write that about themselves here. You are not stupid! You were deceived, but even Einstein could be deceived. You are loving, kind, generous and were naive to online relationships. A criminal took advantage of this.

Those of you who are too ashamed to speak to family or friends about your experience, just might be passing up the greatest source of love, compassion and assistance in healing, available. Sure a true loved one might overreact at first and maybe even say something hurtful, but how much worse can that be coming from someone close to you - who will get over it - than what the scammer did to you? Families are forever. Scammers are not.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 8:00 am
by Snarfbladder
Understandably, there are few (if any) books that deal with finding out why others were able to manipulate our lives in the way that romance scammers do.

I'd like to suggest, as a resource for some insight into this area, that the "codependency" books by Melody Beattie [such as The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today's Generation by Melody Beattie] may offer some insights. While these books specifically deal with people who have relationships with alcoholics and other addicts (who are also excellent manipulators), the range of behavior that they deal with is the impulse to repeatedly be drawn into attempting to "fix" the lives of others, instead of taking care of our self.

My own story with scammers: I was married to an extremely intelligent "dry" alcoholic for a decade, during which she had no association with AA, so I wasn't familiar with the psychology of AA (I don't, and never have, drank or used drugs). But she dropped very heavily back into AA after our separation.

However, I watched for a decade as my Ex's adult children (not the ones we were raising together) scammed her over and over again for various things. Her eldest daughter Melony is a consummate scammer - though she specializes in scamming her relatives, new husbands, and boyfriends out of housing and money, her doctors out of pain medication, and her newest boyfriends into traveling states away to have sex with her and entertain her until they are driven away by her harpy-like habit of endlessly screaming at her children. Like most scammers, Melany almost always has a new victim or two on the hook while she's disposing of the current one.

It didn't get me very-well liked, but I even burned the bridge behind one of Melony's relationships by informing her poor husband (of two months) that not only had she left him for another man, but that she'd had it already planned in advance when she scammed him out of bringing her back to [home state] on the pretext of "deciding" whether the relationship was sustainable. She was quite shocked when she met an icy wall of self-preservation when she tried to later reverse her tracks and go back to him. I'd have attempted to save more, but understandably Melony has always been somewhat adverse to letting any of her relatives have any unguarded contact with her victims.

I watched, with some bemusement, as soon after our separation, my Ex let dear Melony talk her way into my Ex's house with her two children and a damned cat, in spite of the fact that she never intended to let Melony anywhere near and being allergic to cats. She didn't get rid of her until Melony crossed so many of my Ex's boundaries simultaneously that she fled before my Ex could kick her out. So when my Ex told me that she had a very hard time getting through Codependent because of all the realizations it forced on her, especially about her relationship with Melony, I believe it to be a very relevant recommendation to understanding the impulse to "fix" or "rescue" the things that allegedly "go wrong" in scammer's lives.

I read the book, and believe it to be relevant and a pretty good book - but I'm not the best judge as I have virtually no impulses to rescue anyone from their own actions, so I didn't identify with it the way some would. I can see many of my Ex's actions in there though. OTOH, it has aspects regarding dealing with alcoholics and or addicts that may not be directly relevant to dealing with scammers.

So no guarantees - but worth a try at coming to a better understanding of why it is better to focus on making the life that we can control (our own) rather than attempting to "fix" the lives of others - even if we love them.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:52 pm
by duckhunter
Thank you Snarfbladder. I don't doubt that this book will ring a few bells for some of us, myself included.

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:55 pm
by Pinky
the "codependency" books by Melody Beattie such as The New Codependency: Help and Guidance for Today's Generation by Melody Beattie] may offer some insights.
I've read that book. Tried to get my mother to read it as she was co-dependent with my father's and brother's alcohol and drug addictions. The problem is getting co-dependents to recognize themselves so they're even willing to explore possibilities like that book.

It sounds like you've had a lot of life experiences that have lent you the wisdom to avoid being hurt by these scammers. Unfortunately a lot of people here haven't had the years or the opportunities that we've probably both experienced. I'm not sure a book on co-dependency would mean much to them at this point.

Currently Wayne and I are both working on books regarding this subject. Wayne is approaching it from a humorous viewpoint - poking fun at the bizarre statements and behaviors of the scammers - while interspersing his text with educational material. I, on the other hand, am approaching this issue from a sociological/psychological viewpoint. I have many interviews with victims to draw on and also a considerable amount of time and fact gathering from the scammers themselves.

From my observations, there are some typical patterns of behavior and emotional states that most victims share that I plan to explore thoroughly in hopes that in publication, many will recognize themselves and take steps to avoid being scammed entirely. I also intend to expose the real motivations and organizations behind the scammers so that they can no longer rely on sympathy or any tolerance what-so-ever, from civilized societies. The entire world needs to abjectly condemn this type of aberrant and abhorrent social behavior and prosecute the perpetrators!

Re: The Healing Process

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 10:05 am
by howling21
I haven't read co-dependency books, tho I think they might be helpful, but have read much on Borderline Personality Disorder. I personally know several w/this. They are the Ultimate Con-artists, which shows up in their psychological testing, tho if you've lived with one, you don't need a test to know it. While they desperately need help(likely Snarf's ex-stepdaughter is BPD), they need to be avoided in a relationship at almost any cost.

They can severely Traumatize even those who love them most(and who they, in all honesty, also love-of course, not so in the case of a scammer), but you cannot allow them to keep doing so to yourself. Books on BPD not only explain it(not needed in the case of scammers), but they also tell how to deal with living with or being close to Someone who does & how to deal with the Trauma that comes with it(this is the part that would help in Understanding and Healing from the Trauma-as I mentioned, BPD's are ultimate con-artists-I know one personally that scores at genius level on tests of psychological cunning).
Maybe one of these books would be helpful for some. The best is Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder. Oldest is referenced in the 1st book and is also excellent, called I Hate You, Don't Leave Me. And the 3rd one I know of, but haven't read, however caught my attention immediately, is Stop Walking on Eggshells(understanding the border-line person. disordered).
They basically help you deal with the trauma caused by someone you love the most, who is often destroying you both mentally and physically, (tho they are fairly helpless themselves, but are capable of understanding BPD and getting help if they truly want it).

Scamming non-stop, perfecting their craft all the while, and traumatizing victims left in their wake, are the 2 things I believe these criminal/pro-scammers and those with the extremely disabling Borderline Disorder have in common. The books are written to help not just those impaired with BPD, but esp. their Family and Friends, who have been traumatized by their actions. They can be found at most large bookstores such as Borders, Barnes & Noble, Hastings, etc. (Btw-borderline means borderline between reality & being psychotic-it is very severe-which is why the trauma that comes with it is also severe-if anyone finds these books to be helpful or not helpful, please post. While I've read one fully, it's been quite a while. Haven't read any more yet, since dealing w/a scammer, tho hope to.)

Very encouraging to know the books being worked on here. They sound extremely useful & helpful. Learning about the grieving process would prob. also be very helpful. Sometimes it depends on each individual. What helps some, may be less helpful for others.

Also, as far as why has this happened, I feel for me, it has given me a much greater understanding of the whole pitiful situation facing the country of Africa. I have much more awareness & sympathy for the Everyday non-criminal people living in the various areas there, and would actually like to be able to be a part of something to help change their situation.

Thanks to all for their contributions to this post. Just reading through them has encouraged me.