Repetition Syndrome in Scam Victims

Repetition Syndrome in Scam Victims

(Last Updated On: December 18, 2022)

Repetition SyndromeSyndrome It is a group of symptoms that can consistently occur together or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms. in 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. Victims

It Is A Common Reaction To Distress 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.!

Scam Victim Recovery Psychology – A 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. Insight

Do You Feel That You Are Experiencing Repetition Syndrome?

It Is A Common Reaction To Distress And Trauma!

What is Repetition Syndrome?

Repetition syndrome, also known as “repetition compulsions,” is a psychological phenomenon in which a person feels an intense need to repeat certain actions or behaviors that are related to a traumatic experience, such as a 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?.

This can take many forms, such as repeating specific rituals or routines, repeating the same phrases or words, or repeating the same activities or behaviors over and over again.

Repetition syndrome is often a manifestation of underlying anxiety or other 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". issues, and it can interfere with a person’s daily life and functioning, and ability to recover from a traumatic experience.

Treatment for repetition syndrome typically involves therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to help the person learn coping mechanisms and break the cycle of repetitive behaviors. A peer supportPeer support Peer support occurs when people provide knowledge, experience, emotional, social or practical help to each other. It commonly refers to an initiative consisting of trained supporters and can take a number of forms such as peer mentoring, reflective listening (reflecting content and/or feelings), or in a support group. Peer support is also used to refer to initiatives where colleagues, members of self-help organizations and others meet, in person or online, to give each other connection and support on a reciprocal basis. Peer support is distinct from other forms of social support in that the source of support is a peer, a person who is similar in fundamental ways to the recipient of the support; their relationship is one of equality. A peer is in a position to offer support by virtue of relevant experience: he or she has "been there, done that" and can relate to others who are now in a similar situation. Trained peer support workers such as SCARS Volunteers receive special training and may be required to obtain Continuing Education Units, similar to clinical staff. Some other trained peer support workers may also be law-enforcement personnel and firefighters as well as emergency medical responders. environment can also be helpful (such as a SCARS Support & Recovery Group.)

What to know about Repetition Compulsion?

Repetition compulsion, or repetitive compulsion or repetition syndrome, is sometimes also called trauma reenactment. It involves repeating physically or emotionally painful situations that happened in the past.

The reenactment may take the form of recurring dreams and may affect relationships in various ways.
We see this in scam victims through their repeated need to relive the fake relationship, playing over the dialog over and over constantly in their mind.

Experts have several theories to explain the factors that may cause this phenomenon

Sources report on some of these theories from various experts, including Sigmund Freud, who is the father of psychoanalysis. His view is that a person’s inability to discuss or remember past traumatic events might lead them to repeat these traumas compulsively.

One possible strategy for overcoming repetition compulsion is trauma therapy, exploring and identifying early trauma that may be responsible for later traumatic reenactions.

Repetition compulsion refers to an unconscious need to reenact early traumas or current traumas. A person with this condition repeats these traumas in new situations that might symbolize the initial trauma.

Repetition compulsion can act as a barrier to therapeutic change in a person. Therapy aims to help the person remember the trauma and understand how it is influencing their current 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..

Examples

There are different forms of reenactment, one of which is dreams.

According to a 1990 case study, someone with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) might have recurring dreams of the experience or initial trauma, which might cause them to become preoccupied with it.

Research also notes that many people relive past traumas in their present lives. For example, people who experience sexual abuse during childhood are more likely to experience it as an adult.

Additionally, someone who experiences violence in their childhood may be more likely to become a perpetrator of violence in later life. The helplessness they felt as a child might motivate them to take the extreme measure of committing violence to avoid feeling it again. This behavior is a form of reenactment.

Although these examples show the negative effects of repetition compulsion, reenactment can also potentially be positive. An example of an adaptive reenactment might be when a grieving individual repeatedly tells stories about their lost loved one. This enables them to work through their loss and can reduce the pain that typically comes with grieving.

Causes

Some possible causes of repetitive compulsion behaviors include:

RIGID DEFENSES

People may have a rigid or inflexible way of defending themselves against experiencing a repetition of their trauma, but having these mechanisms can inadvertently result in the reenactment occurring anyway.

For example, a person who experiences abandonment in their childhood may act possessively in relationships later on in life to avoid past feelings of loneliness or neglect. However, the person may risk losing their partner if they behave in this way and may end up feeling those emotions anyway.

AFFECTIVE DYSREGULATION

Affective dysregulation relates to having poorly regulated emotional reactions in response to negative stimuli. For example, people who experience frequent, harsh disapproval from a parent or caregiver may have low self-esteem. They may also be very sensitive to criticism. Consequently, in later relationships, these people may consider criticism harsh, even when it is not, and respond with hostility.

EGO DEFICITS

Ego deficits can refer to a limitation in mental resources. This limitation might manifest as various psychosocial problems in a person.

Long-term abuse may result in psychosocial effects that can include:

  • Self-abusive behavior
  • Low self-esteem
  • Substance use disorders
  • Inability to trust
  • Difficult interpersonal relationships

For instance, a person with a history of growing up in an abusive environment may feel reluctant to leave an abusive partner later in life. This reluctance may stem from the inability to trust others to provide the necessary help.

Theories behind the repetitive compulsion

Experts propose several theories that may explain this type of behavior. These include:

FREUD THEORY

Some people are unable to talk about or remember a past trauma, so they express it through actions rather than words. Freud states that those who do not remember past trauma may have the drive to repeat the repressed experience in their present life.

In the case of relationship scam victims, we see this as repeating the same experience that led to the scam – such as returning to online dating or accepting connections with strangers online.

ACHIEVING MASTERY

Mastery in this context may mean that a person with traumatic past experiences is reenacting their trauma as a way to cope and heal. The problem with this theory is that reenactments rarely lead to mastery without treatment. Instead, traumatized people often lead traumatized lives.

We see this manifest in scam victims through a need to master other victims. Not exactly Savior Syndrome, but an urgent desire to help others as a way to master their own trauma.

HYPERAROUSALHYPERAROUSAL A common symptom that arises from traumatic experiences is hyperarousal (also called hypervigilance). Hyperarousal is the body’s way of remaining prepared. It is characterized by sleep disturbances, muscle tension, and a lower threshold for startle responses and can persist years after trauma occurs. It is also one of the primary diagnostic criteria for PTSD. THEORY

An older 1989 study adds that physiological hyperarousal may play a role in repetition compulsion. This means that a person displays increased responsiveness to stimuli that remind them of the initial trauma. Hyperarousal can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including anxiety, elevation in heart rate, and stress. This type of response can hinder a person’s ability to make rational judgments.

The common response in this case for scam victims is compulsive exposing (posting) scammers or fake profile reporting.

Strategies To Overcome It

Repetitive compulsion can be very challenging to treat.

However, research notes that therapy can be effective. It involves exploring a person’s past or present traumatic relationships and experiences to identify how and why they are reenacting a trauma. The goal is to help a person understand the unconscious forces that drive them.

Once the individual understands the effect that the trauma is having on the present, they have the opportunity to integrate the traumatic experience. This may lead to less intense feelings and better judgment. The aim of support or treatment is to break the pattern of repetition.

Some people may not wish to undergo in-depth therapy. For these individuals, other types of talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), may be a more suitable approach.

Summary

Repetition compulsion, or trauma reenactment, may occur due to various painful experiences early in life, such as 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?, or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. An inability to resolve or integrate the trauma which can result in the person reliving the circumstances repetitively.

Therapy can enable someone to work through the trauma, which can help stop these reenactments.

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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 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., or completely independent – on your own!

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