Telling Your Story – How Can You Explain What Happened To Family And Friends?

A Guide to telling Your Family & Friends with Minimal Judgment


SCARS Webinar: How To Tell Your Story To Your Friends & Family

When Telling Your Story – The Simplest Explanation Is The Best Explanation

First, understand that telling your story is not going to be easy! But it is easier than hiding the secret inside!

By telling your story you will reduce your trauma and improve your chances for a solid recovery!

  • The simplest explanation is the best explanation but you do not need to say everything – but don’t lie
  • They mostly want to know if you are alright!
  • They will be concerned about your future stability!
  • Be honest – do not conceal – but you can exclude
  • Share your true emotional state!

Begin By Correcting Your Vocabulary & The Way You Phrase Things:

  • You were Groomed, Manipulated, and left Traumatized
  • You were NOT FOOLED because you are not a FOOL – but you did not see it coming!
  • You were not NAÏVE, GULLIBLE, or STUPID – smart knowledgeable people are defrauded all the time
  • You thought there was a “HE” or “SHE” but it turns out there was a whole gang behind the scenes – it was a “THEY”
  • You thought it was a LOAN – you thought you were going to get your money back
  • Yes, you had feelings for the FAKE PERSON (the CRIMINAL) but you see that it was really all LIES & DECEPTION

Your family and friends want to know:

  • Are you alright? You say no, you are very traumatized by the experience
  • How much did you lose? Tell them the amount.
  • How did it happen? Tell them simply that it was an investment scam (even a romance scam is an investment in your future).
  • Did you know this person? Say that you thought you did, but obviously not.
  • Didn’t you verify? You thought you did, but obviously not enough – you were totally fooled.
  • Can you get your money back? The police have the information but they do not think I can recover. However, they and the FBI (or national police) are investigating.
  • What can you do? Not much. You have to live with the situation and plan as best that you can.
  • What about your future? Everything has changed and I have to change my plans because of it.
  • Tell me the details or Tell me more? Just say that you are too upset to talk about it more. This was very traumatizing. Ask them for their understanding and support.

Things Not To Do!

  • Do not show them the evidence! it can complicate things & cause judgment!
  • Especially not the chats, conversations, and dialog!
  • Do not tell them how much time you really spent in contact with them each day. Instead talk about how you talked “daily” over weeks, months, etc.
  • If they ask if you have reported it to the police AND you have, just say so, do not show the police report.

If you do this, no one should blame you. No one should shame you.

Financial scams happen and people are victimized. But your friends and family only want to hear the basics so they can form an opinion, and then they will want to help and support you.

Everyone has heard about financial and online scams – this is now a normal part of our world. Your friends & family mostly want to know how they can help!

If you tell them the basics and then you say you are too upset or traumatized they will not ask more until you are ready to tell your whole story.

Victims often make the mistake of telling TOO MUCH INFORMATION upfront – this overwhelms their friends or family, and they start looking at YOU, instead of sympathizing with you.

Our experience is that if you can stick to these basics that you will not be made to feel blamed. Additionally, you will have a huge release of not having to maintain the secret. Keeping that secret is a cancer that grows and eats you from the inside. Let it go, even just the minimal information is a relief and helps you down the path to recovery.

Remember, just the minimal facts above. AVOID TMI – Too Much Information.

Of course, this is not what you tell the police. But with them also avoid TMI – avoid all the dialog, just stick to the basic facts and let them ask what they want to know.

This is your best path to share enough so that you are not hiding the truth, but not telling more than they need to know.

Also, Remember That You Will Need Their Support!

There may be many things in front of you that you will need support to better get through:

  • Going with you to file a police report
  • Recommendations for legal or financial professionals
  • If you are not coping – having someone that can come over can distract you for a downward spiral
  • When you need to talk – this will help you distract yourself from those darker moments that all victims face
  • To help you avoid depression & deep anxiety

The Type Of Fraud Does Not Matter – What Matters Is Telling Your Story

One last note. This also applies to almost all forms of scams – from phone scams to other online scams too.

The Hardest Conversation

You might have borrowed money from someone, a family member, or a friend, and you are going to have to talk to them.

  • If you borrow money and need to tell them what happened
  • This will be the most difficult conversation – be direct, firm, and honest
  • Tell them you were defrauded and cannot pay it back yet – but you will
  • Hard as it is, do not over-commit to a repayment plan
  • They may be very angry, but you owe them the truth and that you accept responsibility for their money


  • Think about what you are going to say and not say
  • Get an idea of the timeline
  • Control what you are going to talk about – but be completely honest – because this may shake their trust in you – but that is normal
  • Listen to their advice and suggestions – they just want to help – if they think they are helping it will help to avoid judgment



  • The money you lost is a major part of your story.
  • This is what will have a big impact on you—it is what will cause you to be angry and blame yourself. But you do not need to share the amount with others!


  • If you are very negative and blame yourself, you are giving others permission to blame you too!
  • Focus on the fact that you are a victim of criminals – nothing more!
  • The criminals are to blame – even if you do not yet really accept it!


  • Your family & friends will be anxious to know what is being done!
  • Just tell them it is in the hands of the police! Period!
  • You don’t know any more than that.


  • If you are hostile with your family & friends they will respond in the same way. You will get no results and only be more upset when you leave. They may respond in kind and it makes the whole process even more traumatizing,
  • Do not try to hide any information!
  • You have nothing to be ashamed of – you are the victim of a crime.


  • People respond to another’s victimization in many different ways.
  • They may be angry that this happened to you and this may leak into how they talk to you – but most of the time they want to help – remember that!
  • Do not expect immediate support, it may take them some time to digest this. Give them time too!
  • Let them offer support, do not demand it of them.


  • Make Sure you tell them to keep this confidential
  • Tell them not to tell anyone else. Let the police do their job, and you will tell others when you are ready


  • After this is all done, know that you did a very brave thing and you told your story!
  • This was probably the first time you did this, but it will not be the last. Telling your story takes away a little more pain each time you tell it.


  • Be proud of yourself—telling your story to friends and family is hard.
  • If you do it, you will be stronger.
  • You took one giant step forward. Now focus on getting on with your recovery.
  • Just remember, you will tell this story again.

Just Remember – This Is The Way To Recovery!

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