Sadness & Scam Recovery

SCARS Psychology of Scams

A SCARS Insight

Are You Sad?

Being unwilling to experience sadness can hold you back from recovering after a romance scam. But if you can experience it & share it you can move forward!

About Sadness

Sadness is a normal human emotion that every single person will experience at stressful or somber times.

A number of life events can leave people feeling sad or unhappy. The loss or absence of a loved one, divorce, loss of job or income, financial trouble, or issues at home can all affect mood in a negative way.

Failing an exam, not getting a job, or experiencing other disappointing events can also trigger sadness.

However, a person experiencing sadness can usually find some relief from crying, venting, or talking out frustrations. More often than not, sadness has links to a specific trigger.

Sadness usually passes with time. If it does not pass, or if the person becomes unable to resume normal function, this could be a sign of depression.

If your low mood gets worse or lasts longer than 2 weeks, the person should talk to their doctor.


We use different words to talk about sadness: agony, anguish, broken heart, hurt, sorrow, dejection, dismay, homesickness, distress, unhappiness and more. All these emotions are a response to a negative situation – the end and realization of the reality of your scam!

Sadness is also often a result of another feeling, such as anger, stress, guilt, grief, anxiety, or hopelessness. Sometimes, the other feeling may be so strong that you don’t realize you are sad. This is very common for scam victims too!

So what does sadness feel like? It may change how you feel physically. Perhaps you have a stomach ache or a headache, or you can’t sleep.

Sadness may also change how you feel emotionally. Perhaps you are teary, grumpy, bored or frustrated, or just keen to avoid other people.

But recognizing your sadness, and understanding that it is okay to feel sad is a sign of a stable sense of wellbeing.

Depression And Sadness Are Linked But Are Not The Same

Sadness is an emotion that everyone experiences, often after stressful or upsetting life events. Depression is an overpowering and ongoing mental health disorder that can drastically impact you on your daily living.

Specific triggers will often cause sadness, whereas depression may have no identifiable cause. Sadness is a part of depression but is more temporary in nature.

Seek a medical opinion if sadness seems to continue for a disproportionate amount of time. This could indicate the development of depression.

How Sad Is Too Sad?

Everyone gets sad sometimes; it’s a part of being human. But feeling sad for a long period of time makes life really hard and isn’t good for your overall health.

Here are some signs that sadness is taking over your life:

  • You’ve stopped seeing friends and family.
  • You get angry easily.
  • You get emotional and/or cry for no apparent reason.
  • You’ve stopped caring about things that used to interest you.
  • You’re sleeping more or less than you used to.
  • You’re eating more or less than you used to.
  • You’re finding it hard to do all the things you used to do (such as work or chores).

What’s Causing Your Sadness?

Not knowing what’s making you feel so sad makes it hard to find a solution. There are some simple things you can do to help figure it out.

First, it’s good to understand some obvious things that can get people down, such as experiencing grief or loss of a loved one, caring for someone who is unwell, being sick, or having a medical condition or chronic illness.

Then there are other, less expected causes for sadness, such as:

  • Going through something stressful
  • Being around people who are going through a tough time
  • Having an argument with someone
  • Problems at school/uni/work
  • Big life changes (such as moving to a new house)
  • Being bored
  • Not sleeping well
  • Not exercising enough
  • Hormonal changes.

Of course, for scam victims, it is the discovery and loss of the fake relationship, and the loss of the money (if any) – but these are usually not the only underlying cause. Many times it is the tip of the iceberg. It is the thing that caused the cascade that brought you here!

Also, all of the above can be caused by the scam too!

This is a major reason why we (SCARS) recommend counseling for all scam victims. If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit

Sadness Will Ease

Feeling better can involve taking one step or many. It may happen quickly or over a long time. Just remember that emotions ebb and flow, and you can move through sadness to a more positive emotion. This is part of the recovery process.

First, Acknowledge That You Are Feeling Sad

Then, look at ways to deal with your sadness. You may want to try some of these tips:

  • Be honest with yourself and the people around you. Talk to someone whom you trust.
  • Seek help from a professional (a doctor, psychologist, or another health professional). You may need support, advice, or a referral to a specialist.
  • Join a real scam victims’ support group – there are a few real ones (such as SCARS), but avoid amateur groups who focus on hate.
  • Think about whether your sleep and eating patterns are good for you.
  • Help someone else. Just improving someone else’s life, or being part of a community, can lift your spirits. Become a volunteer with SCARS and help others! It is good for you!
  • Find a creative way to express your sadness. Writing your thoughts in a diary, for example, may help you find a new perspective.
  • Keep yourself safe. If you feel at risk of hurting yourself, let someone know immediately.
  • If a prescribed medication makes you feel down, let your doctor know. And talk to your doctor before taking any non-prescribed medications or complementary or alternative medicines.
  • Do things that you enjoy and that are good for you. Find ways to make your life more pleasurable: listen to music, go for a walk, read a book, call a friend.
  • Tackle one problem at a time. It doesn’t matter if you start with the biggest or smallest problem, just make a list and begin. This works for chores or tasks that you just can’t get done too!
  • Have confidence that things will improve. You need to trust that your sad feelings will lessen with time and effort. Recovery is a process and it takes time – trust the process and you can make it through!
  • If you can work out what’s getting you down, then you’ll be in a better position to turn your feelings around. Problem-solving strategies can be really helpful in overcoming some issues. If the cause of your sadness isn’t really something that can be solved, though, you might need to focus on developing coping strategies instead.

You Feel So Alone

You never have to cope with emotional problems on your own. A counselor can help you figure out what’s going on, guide you through strategies to overcome your sadness, and recognize if something more serious is going on.

SCARS offers support groups for scam victims too where you are a part of a community. There is always someone in the groups where you can share what you are feeling and get the benefit of their insights – since they went through it themselves too! Here is a link to one of our groups on Facebook: Scam Victims’ Support Group : SCARS Official Group

If you are looking for local trauma counselors please visit

If you need to speak with someone now, you can find phone numbers for crisis hotlines all around the world here:

Healthy Ways To Deal With Sadness

We all feel sad sometimes. Sadness is a normal emotion – especially for scam victims – that can make life more difficult.

Sadness almost always accompanies loss. When we say goodbye to a loved one we usually feel sad. The sadness is even deeper if a close relationship has ended or a loved one has died. In the case of a romance scam, the ending of the scam is many times worse than the death of a loved one, since it is immediate, unexpected, and a profound shock.

Sadness also helps us appreciate happiness. When our mood eventually changes from sadness toward happiness, the sense of contrast adds to the enjoyment of the mood. But in the case of a scam victim, happiness is not always immediate – it can take months or more.

Ways to Experience Sadness

Here are some ways to experience normal sadness in healthy ways and to allow this emotion to enrich your life:

Allow yourself to be sad. Denying such feelings may force them deeper and turn them into long-lasting trauma, where they can do more damage with time. Cry if you feel like it – no one will judge you for it. Notice if you feel relief after the tears stop.

Write in a journal, listen to music, spend time with friends or family, and/or draw to express the emotion of sadness. Share your sadness in a SCARS Support Group.

Think about the context of the sad feelings. What are you most sad about? Think about the feelings in a non-judging way and ride the wave of the experience. You might be surprised by this analysis and find you are sad for a different reason than you thought.

Sadness can result from a change that you didn’t expect, or it can signal that you might need to make changes in your life. Obviously, both of these happened with the end of the scam. Your emotions are changing and will come and go – expect this. Recovery is a rollercoaster!

Know when sadness turns into depression. Get help if this happens rather than getting stuck in it.

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