(Last Updated On: December 19, 2022)

Humor As A Tool In Scam Victim Recovery

Psychology Of Scams

A SCARS Insight

Humor Is More Than Funny – It Can Also Be Healing!

It represents an alternative means of expressing ourselves in moments of both crises and in talking about extraordinarily difficult situations. It can also be a tool that can help heal trauma!

Gallows humor often is viewed as an expression of resilience and hope that has the power to soothe suffering. When the minority has few tools to combat an oppressive situation, gallows humor can be used as a sort of secret weapon.

Black or gallows humor has long been recognized as having therapeutic value, particularly when used by individuals dealing with traumatic incidents. With this in mind, it is no surprise that this type of humor is commonly used.

A sense of humor that trauma survivors have can be used to assist them in mitigating the intensity of their traumatic stress reactions. A brief review of the literature on the nature of humor and its ability to diffuse stressful situations and reactions can be found here » It is suggested that despite the fact that humor is often underappreciated and ignored in the therapeutic process, it can actually be a powerful healing tool when both the practitioner and the client/survivor are willing to openly discuss it. Humor does not minimize the significance of a terrible event, but it does allow the survivor to see how they can cope and thrive in their environment.

We believe it has use especially in helping to break through denial by helping victims see the absurdity of the situation where a full view of the facts is overwhelming. The same is believed in the case of anger, where humor can be a defusing tool and a means of finding common ground.

According to PsychCentral:

Humor As Weapon, Shield and Psychological Salve

Humor has long been recognized as more than mere fun and games. It presents an alternative means of expressing criticism about injustices, arrogance, pretentions or hypocrisies that can’t socially (or legally) be expressed otherwise.

Court jesters could say things to the royals “in jest” that others would have been beheaded for uttering. When King James I of England had trouble fattening up his horses, court jester Archibald Armstrong reportedly suggested that His Majesty make the horses bishops and they would fatten in no time.

Most people know that schadenfreude, defined as satisfaction or pleasure experienced as a result of the misfortunes of others, is of German origin. But most aren’t aware that “gallows humor” was also coined by the Germans. The original term, galgenhumor, has been traced to the 1848 revolutions and refers to cynical humor that derives from stressful or traumatic situations. Antonin Obrdlik said that “gallows humor is an index of strength or morale on the part of oppressed peoples,” and it has historically been associated with the persecuted and condemned.

An example of gallows humor can be seen in the Soviet-era joke in which two Russians debate who is greater, Joseph Stalin or Herbert Hoover. “Hoover taught the Americans not to drink,” [referring to the U.S. Depression of the time] says one. “Yes, but Stalin taught the Russians not to eat,” replies the other [referring the the great famine in Russia in the 1930s].

Placing a comical spin on dire circumstances that are outside one’s control was an effective coping mechanism long before the Germans named the phenomenon, and continues to serve the oppressed, victimized and suffering today.

Gallows humor often is viewed as an expression of resilience and hope that has the power to soothe suffering. When the minority has few tools to combat an oppressive majority, gallows humor can be used as a sort of secret, subversive weapon. The danger that ridicule poses to those in power is captured by the Italian phrase “Una risata vi seppellirà”, which translates to “It will be a laugh that buries you.”

The fear of the weapon of humor was alive and well in Nazi Germany, and it was dangerous business. The legal code of the time reflected Joseph Goebbels’ interpretation of the political joke as “a remnant of liberalism” that threatened the Nazi state. Not only was joke-telling made illegal, but those who told jokes were labeled “asocial” – a segment of society frequently sent to concentration camps [very much like today’s “Cancel Culture”]. Hitler’s second-in-command, Hermann Goering, referred to anti-Nazi humor as “an act against the will of the Fuehrer… and against the State and the Nazi Government,” and the crime was punishable by death. Article III, section 2 of the 1941 code (the Reichsgesetzblatt I) stated: “In cases where it is not specifically provided for, the death penalty will be imposed whenever the crime reveals an unusually low mentality or is especially serious for other reasons; in such cases the death penalty may also be imposed against juvenile criminals.” Since Nazi informants could be within earshot at any given moment, it was important to hold one’s tongue and suppress any witty desires. A Nazi prosecutor revealed that he determined the severity of punishment for a joke based on the following theory: “The better the joke, the more dangerous its effect, therefore, the greater punishment.” [today it would get you banned from Twitter, but remains prfoundly serious]

According to “A Laughing Matter: Transforming Trauma Through Therapeutic Humor and Expressive Arts Therapy”

Humor and trauma share two characteristics: they are both perspectival in nature and hold incongruity at their core, however, their impacts are  profoundly different for the perceiver. As humor and laughter open one’s psyche and invite positive social exchanges, trauma produces more  dissociative, dysregulated and dysfunctional interactions. While fundamental to interpersonal experiences, there has been limited research about the  use of humor and laughter as essential tools within the mental health therapeutic alliance. Neurological research and case studies have shown that humor and laughter can have hormonal, physiological and psychological benefits. Due to the perspectival nature of humor and trauma, attunement within the therapeutic relationship is vital for personal transformation. Here, the opportunity is offered to synthesize verbal and non-verbal  expression through decentering and play methods that incite humor and laughter and aid the transformation of debilitating associations with past traumatic experiences into perspectives of self-awareness, self-empowerment and an acknowledgment of resilience.

The trauma-informed treatments, like the ARC Framework, provide a safe and solid foundation where expressive arts therapy and therapeutic  humor can be utilized. Thus, the findings of this capstone thesis recommend further investigation into the intentional implementation of therapeutic humor within the expressive arts therapy approach especially when working with adult survivors of developmental trauma, to cultivate attunement  between the therapist and client.

The thesis can be viewed here

Essential Scam Humor

We always must remain conscious of the pain that victims have experienced, and not all survivors will regain sufficient stability to where humor can help them through the final phases of their recoveries. However, there is inherent humor in the absurdity of these situations when presented in a non-blaming manner, where the victim can see their situation from a different perspective.

SCARS believes that humor can help heal victims’ trauma and employs it sparingly to help both victims and nonvictims observe the insanity of the world we live in today. Humor can be universal and can help everyone see these new relationships, traps, and traumas. But we also have to remember that victims go through processes where any alternative views are beyond their ability to see and thus can be threatening.

What is Funny About Scams?

In the real sense nothing. Except the situation has elements of humor throughout. If we can take a step back from the edge we can see that.

For that reason, we recommend that new victims avoid all scam-related humor, but at the same time do not let themselves be triggered by it. It is not intended to offend you, just to help expose how truly bizarre the world really is.

Here is a Collection of Scam Humor

TRIGGER WARNING: Scam Humor is not for everyone!
Leave the page now if you are offended by it.

If you like it, great – if you hate it, that is ok too!

If you are triggered by it, then that tells you something about your state of recovery also. Just don’t look and ignore it! We are not here to make fun of victims or to blame them, these just serve to help victims and nonvictims alike to see the absurdity and irony in this whole experience.

Always Report All Scams – Anywhere In The World To:

Go to reporting.AgainstScams.org to learn how

U.S. FTC at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/?orgcode=SCARS and SCARS at www.Anyscams.com
Visit reporting.AgainstScams.org to learn more!