Coping with the Holidays After the End of a Relationship
Portions courtesy of NOVA – National Organization for Victims’ Assistance
When Grief Comes Home for the Holidays
Many among us have struggled with the cloud of sadness that hangs over the holidays after a loved one has died or a relationship has ended suddenly. Sometimes a romance scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. being discovered is like the other person died – so complete is the ending, without warning, and without any possibility of recovery.
Regardless of how the relationship ended, the onslaught of holiday cheer may seem too much to bear. Holidays can give rise to new or returning bouts of depression, panic attacks, and other forms of anxiety for those whose lives have been affected.
Many of us often re-experience life-changing traumaTrauma Emotional and psychological trauma is the result of extraordinarily stressful events that shatter your sense of security, making you feel helpless in a dangerous world. Psychological trauma can leave you struggling with upsetting emotions, memories, and anxiety that won’t go away. It can also leave you feeling numb, disconnected, and unable to trust other people. Traumatic experiences often involve a threat to life or safety or other emotional shocks, but any situation that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and isolated can result in trauma, even if it doesn’t involve physical harm. It’s not the objective circumstances that determine whether an event is traumatic, but your subjective emotional experience of the event. The more frightened and helpless you feel, the more likely you are to be traumatized. Trauma requires treatment, either through counseling or therapy or through trauma-oriented support programs, such as those offered by SCARS. through flashbacksFLASHBACKS A flashback is reexperiencing a previous traumatic experience as if it were actually happening in that moment. It includes reactions that often resemble the client’s reactions during the trauma. Flashback experiences are very brief and typically last only a few seconds, but the emotional aftereffects linger for hours or longer. Flashbacks are commonly initiated by a trigger, but not necessarily., nightmares, and overwhelming sadness. Some have trouble sleeping, while others don’t want to get out of bed. Tears come easily, often when least expected. Old ailments, including headaches, gastrointestinal problems, and aches and pain may return.
Those who have made this difficult journey offer the following suggestions to help those who may be just starting down this path. Many were surprised to discover that the anticipation of a holiday without that relationship can be harder than the actual holiday itself. Holidays can be manageable if you take charge of the season, rather than letting it take charge of you
Things You Can Do
Trying to make this holiday seem like holidays of the past, especially during the scam, will only intensify the difference. You can decide which traditions you want to keep and which ones you want to let go. If there was something special that you did during a holiday during the fake relationship, you can wilfully abandon it now.
Change holiday plans to accommodate the needs and wishes of those who are hurting the most.
Create a Special Tribute To Your Recovery
You do not need to explain it to anyone, but you can light a special candle and place it on a holiday table to honor your struggle and recovery.
Some write a remembrance at the end of the year to both remember the wrong done and to bury the past. You can then burn the remembrance in the fireplace or by hand and place it in a bowl to watch it until it is reduced to ashes. Or you can create a more elaborate “Viking Funeral” to make the end of it in your own mind.
Plan Where to Spend the Holidays
Many people think going away will make the holidays easier following a relationship or a romance scam. This may be helpful if you are traveling to a
place where you will feel loved and nurtured. However, if travel is arranged as a means of trying to avoid the holiday atmosphere, remember that holidays are celebrated throughout the world. It is impossible to escape holiday reminders entirely.
There are two schools of thought on going somewhere to help you recover. One is to go to where you feel safe, such as visiting parents or family. The other is to create new memories by going someplace completely new, but be careful of this, being alone is not always advisable.
Balance Solitude with Sociability
Rest and solitude can help renew strength. Friends and family, however, can be a wonderful source of support, especially if they accept you as you are and do not tell you how they think you should feel, or that they “understand” how you feel. If you are invited to holiday outings, try to go. Attend musical or other cultural events that lift your spirits. You may surprise yourself by enjoying special outings, even if you feel like crying later.
Relive Fond Memories
It is a heavy and unrealistic burden to go through the holidays pretending that nothing has happened.
Think about holiday seasons you have enjoyed in the past and identify memories you want to hold in your heart forever. No one can take those away from you. Celebrate them and be grateful. If feelings of sadness pop up at inappropriate times, such as at work or in a public gathering, try thinking about what you have rather than what you no longer have. Focus on the blessing of the memories in your heart.
Set Aside Some “Letting Go” Time
Schedule time to be alone and release sad and lonely pent-up feelings. You may want to cry or write about your thoughts and feelings. You may choose to write a letter to your scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. to say “goodbye,” “I forgiveForgiveness What Is Forgiveness? Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. you,” or “I’m sorry.” Allow your emotions to flow through your pen. You may be surprised at what you write. By setting aside special times to allow painful feelings to surface, it becomes easier to postpone expressing them in public.
Counter the Conspiracy of Silence
Family members may consciously or unconsciously conspire to avoid mentioning the scam. This is usually a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to protect your feelings. If this seems to be happening, take the initiative and talk to your family about the importance of talking openly about what has happened. Tell them that it is ook to ask how you are and how your recovery is going.
Never let yourself or anyone refer to them as “He/Him” or “She/Her” – it was not one scammer, always refer to them as “They/Them.”
Notice the Positive
Some people conclude that facing the holidays is simply “awful.”
By deciding prematurely that “everything about life is awful,” you are generalizing irrationally from your personal tragedy. Although you may have difficult times during the holidays, you also may experience joy. Accept the love and care of others. Reach out to someone else who is suffering or hurting. Give yourself permission to feel sad and to experience joy.
Find a Creative Outlet
If you have difficulty talking about your feelings, look for a creative way to express yourself. Write a memorial poem or story that you can share with others. Buy watercolors or oils and put your feelings on paper or canvas, even if it’s only splashes of color. Contribute to a favorite charity or organization, either financially or by volunteering to help. Buy gifts to take to less fortunate children, a hospital, or a nursing home.
Protect Your Health
Physical and emotional stress changes the chemical balance in your system and can make you ill. Eat healthy food and avoid over-indulging in sweets. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
Try to avoid too much alcohol, which can be a depressant. Take a good multi-vitamin. Get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Talk with your doctor about an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication if you think it will help. If you are unsure about how the medication will affect you, talk to your doctor about your
Utilize Available Resources
People of faith are encouraged to observe services and rituals offered by their church, synagogue or temple, mosque, or other faith community. Many “veterans of faith” can offer you serenity, a quiet presence, and healing wisdom. You may want to look for a support groupSupport Group In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers. of persons who have suffered similar experiences – SCARS offers support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers. in English and Spanish, as well as other languages through our partner organizations.
The Mental HealthMental health Mental health, defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community". According to WHO, mental health includes "subjective well-being, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, intergenerational dependence, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional potential, among others". From the perspectives of positive psychology or of holism, mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and to create a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how one defines "mental health". Association or your local hospital in most communities has a list of local support groups that may be more easily accessed during the holidays.
The most valuable helper is usually someone who shares a common experience or understands something about what you’re going through. Spend as much time as possible with the people you love the most.
Most important, remember that you can’t change the past, but you can take charge of the present, and shape the future. Total recovery may not be immediately possible, but what you make of your trauma can be largely up to you
Essential Tools For Every Scam SurvivorSurvivor A Scam Survivor is a victim who has been able to fully accept the reality of their situation. That they were the victim of a crime and are not to blame. They are working on their emotional recovery and reduction of any trauma either on their own, through a qualified support organization, or through counseling or therapy. And has done their duty and reported the crime to their local police, national police, and on Anyscam.com From SCARS Publishing
Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 32 plus years of experience.
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SCARS GREEN BOOK
Self-Help Self-Paced Recovery Program Guide
LEARN HOW TO RECOVER ON YOUR OWN
This program is designed to help scam victims struggling to recover on their own and for those who want to understand the overall process. You can be using other resources, such as trauma counselingCounseling Counseling is the professional guidance of the individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and testing interests and aptitudes. A mental health counselor (MHC), or counselor, is a person who works with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. Such persons may help individuals deal with issues associated with addiction and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging. They may also work with "Social Workers", "Psychiatrists", and "Psychologists". SCARS does not provide mental health counseling. or therapy, qualified support groups, or completely independent – on your own!
The SCARS Steps program is a complete program and is provided for the purpose of helping scam victims to overcome this experience. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues and challenges that a victim may have and help guide them through their recovery. But each person is different and it is important to understand your own reasons for being vulnerable to being scammed.
After the trauma of being scammed, you need to take steps to recover and move on. This may be an alternative to counseling in the short term, but we still encourage you to seek out professional help & support. Throughout this SCARS Steps Program, we speak about issues, challenges, defects, or problems that a victim may have in a generalized way.
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A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims
HOW TO HELP ROMANCE SCAM VICTIMS FOR FAMILIES & FRIENDS OF SCAM VICTIMS
This SCARS Publishing book represents a complete guide to help the families and friends understand how these scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. work and how to help the victim.
The SCARS Slate Book should be purchased by family and friends to better understand what happened to the victim and the traumatic impact on them. But it can also be shared by the victim so that they do not have to explain to family and friends about the scam. This publication is to help others to help Scam Victims to make it through this traumatic experience and recover.
Each person is different and it is important to understand how relationship scamsRelationship Scam A Relationship Scam is a one-to-one criminal act that involves a trust relationship and uses deception & manipulation to get a victim to give to the criminal something of value, such as money! Click here to learn more: What Is A Relationship Scam? work and why people are vulnerable; to being scammed, how they were lured in, then groomed and manipulated. This understanding is essential in helping them through the process of ending the scam and then on to recovery. The SCARS Slate Book will provide the information necessary to help support a victim through this process.
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Helps you get and stay organized. This publication is to help Scam Victims organize their crime information. Complete this information before reporting to the police then bring this book with you
Before or after reporting to the police the RED BOOK gives you a dedicated tool to record all the essential facts of this crime. The Victim, the Scammers, the Money, and your Police interactions. Everything that really matters can be easily recorded for your immediate use and for the future!
As we have seen, money recovery/repayment programs can become available years after the scam ends and you need to keep all the details of this crime in case it is needed. We have also seen scammers being extradited to the U.S. and other countries, this will help in the event you testify or give statements, Additionally, this helps you have your information ready to qualify for victims’ benefits, compensation, or aid.
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