Romance Scams Trauma Recovery Tips

A SCARS Recovery Insight

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Scam Victim Frequently Suffer From Trauma

Here are tips from recognized experts to provide a direction for scam victims or any individual that may be suffering

These are only a general guide, but if you feel that you are experiencing trauma see below for a link to trauma professionals that can help.

Recovery Tip 1: Get Moving

Trauma disrupts your body’s natural equilibrium, freezing you in a state of hyperarousal and fear. As well as burning off adrenaline and releasing endorphins, exercise and movement can actually help repair your nervous system.

  • Try to exercise for 30 minutes or more on most days. Or if it’s easier, three 10-minute spurts of exercise per day are just as good.
  • Exercise that is rhythmic and engages both your arms and legs—such as walking, running, swimming, basketball, or even dancing—works best.
  • Add a mindfulness element. Instead of focusing on your thoughts or distracting yourself while you exercise, really focus on your body and how it feels as you move. Notice the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the rhythm of your breathing, or the feeling of wind on your skin. Rock climbing, boxing, weight training, or martial arts can make this easier—after all, you need to focus on your body movements during these activities in order to avoid injury.

Recovery Tip 2: Don’t Isolate

Following a trauma, you may want to withdraw from others, but isolation only makes things worse. Connecting to others face to face will help you heal, so make an effort to maintain your relationships and avoid spending too much time alone.

  • You don’t have to talk about the trauma. Connecting with others doesn’t have to involve talking about the trauma. In fact, for some people, that can just make things worse. Comfort comes from feeling engaged and accepted by others.
  • Ask for support. While you don’t have to talk about the trauma itself, it is important that you have someone to share your feelings with face to face, someone who will listen attentively without judging you. Turn to a trusted family member, friend, counselor, or clergyman.
  • Participate in social activities, even if you don’t feel like it. Do “normal” activities with other people, activities that have nothing to do with the traumatic experience.
  • Reconnect with old friends. If you’ve retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect.
  • Join a support group for trauma survivors. Connecting with others who are facing the same problems can help reduce your sense of isolation, and hearing how others cope can help inspire you in your own recovery.
  • Volunteer. As well as helping others, volunteering can be a great way to challenge the sense of helplessness that often accompanies trauma. Remind yourself of your strengths and reclaim your sense of power by helping others.
  • Make new friends. If you live alone or far from family and friends, it’s important to reach out and make new friends. Take a class or join a club to meet people with similar interests, connect to an alumni association, or reach out to neighbors or work colleagues.

Recovery Tip 3: Self-Regulate Yourself

No matter how agitated, anxious, or out of control you feel, it’s important to know that you can change your arousal system and calm yourself. Not only will it help relieve the anxiety associated with trauma, but it will also engender a greater sense of control.

  • Mindful breathing. If you are feeling disoriented, confused, or upset, practicing mindful breathing is a quick way to calm yourself. Simply take 60 breaths, focusing your attention on each ‘out’ breath.
  • Sensory input. Does a specific sight, smell, or taste quickly make you feel calm? Or maybe petting an animal or listening to music works to quickly soothe you? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment with different quick stress relief techniques to find what works best for you.
  • Staying grounded. To feel in the present and more grounded, sit on a chair. Feel your feet on the ground and your back against the chair. Look around you and pick six objects that have red or blue in them. Notice how your breathing gets deeper and calmer.
  • Allow yourself to feel what you feel when you feel it. Acknowledge your feelings about the trauma as they arise and accept them.

Recovery Tip 4: Take Care Of Your Health

It’s true: having a healthy body can increase your ability to cope with the stress of trauma.

  • Get plenty of sleep. After a traumatic experience, worry or fear may disturb your sleep patterns. But a lack of quality sleep can exacerbate your trauma symptoms and make it harder to maintain your emotional balance. Go to sleep and get up at the same time each day and aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Their use can worsen your trauma symptoms and increase feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings. Avoid sugary and fried foods and eat plenty of omega-3 fats—such as salmon, walnuts, soybeans, and flaxseeds—to give your mood a boost.
  • Reduce stress. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Schedule time for activities that bring you joy such as your favorite hobbies.

Seeking Professional Help

Recovering from trauma takes time, and everyone heals at their own pace. But if months have passed and your symptoms aren’t letting up, you may need professional help from a trauma expert.

Seek help for trauma if you’re:

  • Having trouble functioning at home or work
  • Suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression
  • Unable to form close, satisfying relationships
  • Experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks
  • Avoiding more and more anything that reminds you of the trauma
  • Emotionally numb and disconnected from others
  • Using alcohol or drugs to feel better

Working through trauma can be scary, painful, and potentially re-traumatizing, so this healing work is best undertaken with the help of an experienced trauma specialist. Finding the right therapist may take some time.

It’s very important that the therapist you choose has experience treating trauma. But the quality of the relationship with your therapist is equally important.

Choose a trauma specialist you feel comfortable with. If you don’t feel safe, respected, or understood, find another therapist.

Ask yourself:

  • Did you feel comfortable discussing your problems with the therapist?
  • Did you feel like the therapist understood what you were talking about?
  • Were your concerns taken seriously or were they minimized or dismissed?
  • Were you treated with compassion and respect?
  • Do you believe that you could grow to trust the therapist?

Treatment For Trauma

In order to heal from psychological and emotional trauma, you’ll need to resolve the unpleasant feelings and memories you’ve long avoided, discharge pent-up “fight-or-flight” energy, learn to regulate strong emotions, and rebuild your ability to trust other people. A trauma specialist may use a variety of different therapy approaches in your treatment.

Finding Help

Click here for a directory of trauma professionals (counselors and therapists) to choose from.

It Takes Time