Psychological & Emotional Abuse During A Romance Scam

Last Updated on by SCARS Editorial Team

Psychological & Emotional Abuse During 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.

Manipulation & Control Often Include Abuse!

SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Advocacy

A Romance Scam Is A Form Of Violence

There Is Also True Psychological & Emotional Abuse!

As any scam victim can tell you, their scam left them profoundly changed. Sometimes they are in denialDenial Denial is a refusal or unwillingness to accept something or to accept reality. Refusal to admit the truth or reality of something, refusal to acknowledge something unpleasant; And as a term of Psychology: denial is a defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality. and simply cannot face it. Sometimes they lose themselves in their angerAnger Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability. and rageRage Anger, also known as wrath or rage, is an intense emotional state involving a strong uncomfortable and non-cooperative response to a perceived provocation, trigger, hurt or threat. About one-third of scam victims become trapped in anger for extended periods of time following a scam. A person experiencing anger will often experience physical effects, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline. Some view anger as an emotion that triggers a part of the fight or flight response. Anger becomes the predominant feeling behaviorally, cognitively, and physiologically. Anger can have many physical and mental consequences. While most of those who experience anger explain its arousal as a result of "what has happened to them", psychologists point out that an angry person can very well be mistaken because anger causes a loss in self-monitoring capacity and objective observability.. But almost all come out for he experience traumatized, and 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. is not just a psychological problem it manifests in physical effects to the victim.

The purpose of this article is to explore the Abusive Side of Romance 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. and their effects on Victims

SCARS Recommends to all scam victims that they should talk to a local trauma counselor as soon as possible. Even if you do not believe that you were traumatized, you are not an expert in trauma. Make an appointment with a qualified trauma counselor and find out for sure! To find a trauma counselor or therapist near you, go here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/trauma-and-ptsd

Effects Of Trauma

Trauma often manifests physically as well as emotionally. Some common physical signs of trauma include paleness, lethargy, fatigue, poor concentration, and a racing heartbeat. The victim may have anxiety or panic attacks and be unable to cope in certain circumstances. The physical symptoms of trauma can be as real and alarming as those of physical injury or illness, and care should be taken to manage stress levels after a traumatic event.

All effects of trauma can take place either over a short period of time or over the course of weeks or even years. Any effects of trauma should be addressed immediately to prevent permanence. The sooner the trauma is addressed, the better chance a victim has of recovering successfully and fully.

Short-term and long-term effects of trauma can be similar, but long-term effects are generally more severe. Short-term mood changes are fairly normal after trauma, but if the shifts in mood last for longer than a few weeks, a long-term effect can occur.

Men vs. Women

The scam experience is quite different for men and women.

Men are triggered, groomed and manipulated to play the role of protector more often than not. As a result, they have a different experience from women. What happens to men most often does not apply to the experience of women.

Men do suffer from emotional abuse during a scam through manipulation, but it is most often of a different type. Rather than overt psychological abuse, it is covert, hidden in subtle controls based more on threats of withdrawal of the relationship (though this happens in both cases). Men more often come away from the romance scam with feelings of anger and rage, and this, in turn, makes it very difficult to support them through their recovery. They often will refuse to recognize any trauma and not be interested in emotional support, they tend to only want “Justice” (aka revenge.)

A Woman’s Scam Experience

Traditionally, women play a different role in the family from men, and in scams, this role – in the views of third-world scammers – is substantially reinforced.

As long as the victim is doing what the 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. wants there is very little over abuse, though there will almost always be gaslighting, which is used to isolate the victim.

However, a woman will experience (typically) much more emotional and psychological abuse during a long scam relationship. Partly this is for control, but it also reflects the scammer’s views of women in general. African & Asian male scammers are especially abusive at times during the scam relationship.

Is Emotional Abuse The Same As Psychological Abuse?

There is no clear agreement among experts in the field whether there is a meaningful difference between emotional and psychological abuse. There is some research that suggests that there are slight differences between the two. Emotional abuse is believed to be broader and so psychological abuse is often considered to be one form of emotional abuse. Also, psychological abuse involves the use of verbal and social tactics to control someone’s way of thinking, such as “gaslighting,” which is not necessarily the same as other forms of emotional abuse.

However, for the purposes of the following, we will group the terms together since the behaviors described by both concepts are similar enough that there isn’t a real difference when considering the victims of these behaviors.

What Is Emotional And Psychological Abuse?

Abuse comes in many different forms. Even when there is no physical violence, abusive language can be very damaging to almost anyone.

Emotional and psychological abuse includes mostly non-physical behaviors that the abuser uses to control, isolate, or frighten their victims. Often, the abuser uses it to break down the victim’s self-esteem and self-worth in order to create a psychological dependency on him/her (the abuser.) This is true of most types of crimes where such abuse occurs but especially true of romance or 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?.

Emotional and psychological abuse is hard to easily recognize because the abuse is spread throughout the victim’s interactions with the abuser. Unlike physical abuse, there are often no isolated incidents or clear physical evidence to identify. However, in hindsight, it is often very clear, especially in the case where much of the interaction is in writing, such as in romance scams.

See The National Domestic Violence Hotline on What is Emotional Abuse!

What Are The Signs Of Emotional And Psychological Abuse?

Emotional and psychological abuse is a normal part of the relationship scamRelationship 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?. It is an active part of the scammer’s manipulation and control mechanisms.

The level of abuse depends on the victim but there is almost always some. It may begin suddenly or it may slowly start to enter into the scam relationship.

Some abusers behave like a good partner in the beginning and start the abuse after the relationship is established and the scam is nearing the point where there will be an ask for money. When this shift in behaviorBehavior   Behavior / Behavioral Actions Otherwise known as habits, behavior or behavioral actions are strategies to help prevent online exploitation that target behavior, such as social engineering of victims. Changing your behavior is the ONLY effective means to reduce or prevent scams. occurs, it can leave the victim feeling shocked, confused, and even embarrassed. However, abuse is never the victim’s fault even if the abuser tells them it is or if family or friends blameBlame Blame or Blaming is the act of censuring, holding responsible, making negative statements about an individual or group that their action or actions are socially or morally irresponsible, the opposite of praise. When someone is morally responsible for doing something wrong, their action is blameworthy. By contrast, when someone is morally responsible for doing something right, we may say that his or her action is praiseworthy. Blame imparts responsibility for an action or act, as in that they made a choice to perform that act or action. the victim for “allowing” the scam and the abuse.

It is often difficult to decide whether or not certain behaviors are emotionally or psychologically abusive, especially if someone grew up witnessing abuse. However, as with all other types of abuse, such as domestic violence, the behavior is intended to gain and keep power and control over someone.

In the case of a romance scam, signs of abuse include:

  • Putting the victim down for their beliefs, practices, or habits
  • Condemning their doubts about the sincerity or honesty of the scammer
  • Ridiculing the victim when they have doubts about some action the scammer wants the victim to perform
  • Threatening to end the relationship
  • Creating fear that others will not understand or will interfere in the relationship
  • Threats against the victim at the end of the fake relationship

In other kinds of abusing relationships there may be different signs that someone is being emotionally and psychologically abused:

  • Humiliating you in front of others;
  • Calling you insulting names, such as “stupid,” “disgusting,” or “worthless”;
  • Getting angry in a way that is frightening to you;
  • Threatening to hurt you, people you care about, or pets;
  • the abuser threatening to harm him/herself when upset with you;
  • Saying things like, “If I can’t have you, then no one can;”
  • Deciding things for you that you should decide, like what you wear or eat;
  • Acting jealous, including constantly accusing you of cheating;
  • Continually pretending to not to understand what you are saying, making you feel stupid, or refusing to listen to your thoughts and opinions;
  • Questioning your memory of events or denying that an event happened the way you said it did, even when the abuser knows that you are right;
  • Changing the subject whenever you try to start conversations with the abuser and others and questioning your thoughts in a way that makes you feel unworthy; and
  • Making your needs or feelings seem unimportant or less important than those of the abuser.

See U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Office on Women’s Health, Emotional and Verbal Abuse page

What Are The Effects Of Emotional And Psychological Abuse?

Emotional and psychological abuse can have severe short- and long-term effects.

This type of abuse can affect both your physical and your 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".. You may experience feelings of confusion, anxiety, shameShame Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self; withdrawal motivations; and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness., guilt, frequent crying, over-compliance, powerlessness, and more.

In a normal relationship, a person might stay in the relationship and try to bargain with the abuser or try to change the abuser’s behavior, often placing blame on themself, even though they are not at fault. In a romance scam, it is much the same – the victim tries to extend the relationship even as awareness begins to dawn that something is wrong.

After dealing with the potentially severe emotional abuse that can take place during and at the end of a relationship scam, it’s possible for a victim to lose their entire sense of self and begin to doubt their self-worth or their abilities, which may make it even harder to recover after the scam relationship ends. This emotional abuse can also result in several health problems, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic pain, and more. It’s important to get emotional support to help you deal with the trauma of emotional and psychological abuse.

As said before, SCARS recommends 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 for any scam victim that has suffered any ill effects from their scam.

What Can I Do If I Am A Victim Of A Scam?

If You Suffered From Emotional And Psychological Abuse:

If you are the victim of emotional and psychological abuse during a romance scam, you may be hesitant to seek help or tell your friends and family because you fear they will not believe you or take you seriously, or even worse blame and judge you for allowing it to happen.

You may feel shame or confusion as to what happened, how it happened, and why. However, seeking help and support is essential to recovering from this emotionally or psychologically abusive relationship.

The effects of the abuse, control, and manipulation during a romance scam are serious and it is common for there to be emotional and psychological damage.

SCARS provides free resources here and on social media to help scam victims to better understand what, how, and why these scams happen, but just as important is to understand their potentially lasting effects.

As always, we recommend talking with a trauma counselor or therapist. You may also be able to obtain assistance from your local domestic violence organization, look in Google for one near you. Local domestic violence programs often offer free counseling, 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., and the advocates in these organizations could point you to other local help and support options – while these are not about scams, they effects are very similar to domestic abuse.

Of course, SCARS also offers its own Professionally Managed Support Groups just for Scam Victims in both English and Spanish Languages. Here are links to a SCARS English and a Spanish 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.:

Essential Tools For Every Scam Victim From SCARS

Each is based on our SCARS Team’s 30 plus years of experience.

SCARS GREN BOOK - The SCARS STEPS Guide to Scam Victim Recovery

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 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.

The SCARS GREEN BOOK will help you recover from your scam offline and it will always be there when you need it!

Get it here

SCARS BLUE BOOK - Survivor's Recovery Journal

SCARS BLUE BOOK
A Unique 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’s Recovery Journal

THE PERFECT DAILY JOURNAL FOR SCAM VICTIMS IN RECOVERY

Give yourself the perfect tool to measure and track your recovery progress while getting the therapeutic benefit of journaling!

This official SCARS Self-Help Recovery Program Journal allows you to record your journey day by day, to be able to look back and see your progress, and measure your achievements. While this is a difficult time in your life, it will get better in time and journaling is an important way to help you through many of those moments, but also to show yourself how strong you are!

The Official SCARS BLUE BOOK is your way of recording this struggle and help yourself through it.

A special discount is available when buying 3 at a time.

Get it here

SCARS RED BOOK - Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

SCARS RED BOOK
Your Personal Scam Evidence & Crime Record Organizer

ORGANIZE YOUR INFORMATION TO MAKE THE REPORTING PROCESS SIMPLE!

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.

The Official SCARS RED BOOK is your way of recording all the important facts of this crime so that you do not lose essential information, Complete the RED BOOK then put it away with the confidence that you will have it if or when it is needed.

Get it here

SCARS LIME BOOK - Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims

SCARS LIME BOOK
Wisdom & Motivation for Scam Victims

A SURVIVOR’S GUIDE FOR MOTIVATION & WISDOM ABOUT SCAMS & RECOVERY

After the scam, life is filled with challenges and uncertainty. So many things are going wrong and how do you recover from the experience. There is a way. In the SCARS GREEN BOOK we present the complete SCARS Steps Recovery Program, but there is more to it.

You need to keep yourself motivated and understand that you are not the first person to go through this. The SCARS LIME BOOK helps you stay positive and motivated, and gain the wisdom that comes from helping millions of scam victims that SCARS has done.

This small book is packed with motivational insights and survivor wisdom to help you get up every day, make it through the through times, and sleep assured that time heals all emotional wounds.

The Official SCARS LINE BOOK is your way of reminding yourself every day that you are strong and can make it through this!

Get it here

SCARS SLATE BOOK - A Guide For Families & Friends Of Scam Victims

SCARS SLATE BOOK – 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 scams 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 scams 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.

Get it here

SCARS PEARL BOOK - The SCARS Online Safety Password Log Book

SCARS PEARL BOOK – The SCARS Online Safety Password Log Book

AN ONLINE SAFETY TOOL FROM SCARS HELPS YOU TO STAY SAFE ONLINE!

We all know that we need to create and maintain stronger & safer passwords, but how can anyone possibly manage them? Actually, the process is not that hard with the right tools. Every only user needs to have two items: 1) a Password Manager App (such as LastPass or TrueKey), and 2) a master password log book!

But if you have a password manager app why do you need a logbook too? Because what if you are unable to access your password manager? What do you do then? The truth is that all software can be unavailable at times, or what do you do if you forget the password to your password manager? The answer is to have a backup logbook where you store all of your passwords in an organized way.

The SCARS PEARL BOOK helps to remind you about how to create strong passwords and how to keep them safe, but most importantly organizes all of your passwords in one place by accounts wor websites, making them easy to maintain and find when you need them.

Get it here

Find Real Scammer & Fake Stolen Photos On ScamsONLINE.org
The SCARS Scammer Photo Gallery Website
Click Here To Donate To SCARS

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SCARS the Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Incorporated

By the SCARS™ Editorial Team
Society of Citizens Against Relationship ScamsSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Inc.

A Worldwide Crime Victims Assistance & Crime Prevention Nonprofit Organization Headquartered In Miami Florida USA & Monterrey NL Mexico, with Partners In More Than 60 Countries
To Learn More, Volunteer, or Donate Visit: www.AgainstScams.org
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