We do not often talk about PITY. Especially self-pity!
While it is a real thing, just talking about it sometimes creates barriers to working with victims – though it should not.
Pity, after all, is just a symptom of larger emotional problems, just like trauma 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. responses, such as freeze Trauma Freeze Response:
While fight-or-flight is the better-known way humans respond to certain stressful stimuli, the additional less known third response "FREEZE", was not as widely studied until this last decade. Freezing as a response to a threat might seem effective, a sort of “playing dead” in the face of danger; however, in humans freezing manifests as an inability to communicate, react, make decisions, or take any action of self-preservation or defense..
What we are going to talk about here is Self-Pity, which is different than denial 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., anger 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 trauma responses. It is a thing separate from shame 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., grief, and self-blame Victim blaming occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befell them. SCARS seeks to mitigate the prejudice against victims and the perception that victims are in any way responsible for the actions of offenders or scammers. There is historical and current prejudice against the victims of domestic violence and sex crimes, such as the greater tendency to blame victims of rape than victims of robbery. Scam victims are often blamed by family & friends for the crime. Scam victims also engage in self-blame even though they are not to blame., but it can be just as powerful and destructive.
We thank PsychCentral for portions of this.
How to Recognize and Redirect Self-Pity
If you often think “Why does everything bad happen to ME?” you may be feeling self-pity. But you can escape this state of mind.
Many people experience some form of self-pity when life gets stressful. Self-pity is when you’re preoccupied with your own troubles. You feel sorry for yourself.
Sometimes, self-pity is confused with depression. When you’re living with depression, you may sometimes feel pity for yourself.
However, feeling self-pity in depression is often secondary to the symptoms of despair, disinterest, and emptiness that come with depression. You can also feel self-pity but not have depression.
While it’s natural to feel a little self-pity at times, staying in this state of mind can prevent you from moving forward and being present.
The problem with self-pity
When you’re wrapped up in self-pity, it can prevent you from “seeing the forest through the trees,” as they say — meaning it may be hard to see past self-pity to the present moment and the joy in everyday life.
“When we don’t get what we want or feel like we weren’t appropriately validated for the work we did, it’s not uncommon to withdraw into a state of self-pity,” explains Dr. Wayne Pernell, a clinical psychologist out of Benicia, California.
Self-pity can make you feel like nothing ever goes your way, and so there’s no point in trying to solve your problems.
It’s an “energy suck,” according to Pernell.
“Self-pity isn’t something a person just suddenly snaps out of,” he says. “Several pints of ice cream and numerous friends offering supportive comments don’t make it better.”
Sometimes, what you’re feeling presents as self-pity, but is really a need for validation.
Scam victims have unique problems with validation. This is particularly true in their need to tell their story and to be believed.
Chronic feelings of self-pity may not always stem from an overwhelming amount of stress (trauma) that resulted from the fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.
A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. they experienced.
A need for validation can mean — for good or bad — that you feel you deserve the outcome of events. When something negative happens, you can feel as though it’s because you did something to warrant the unpleasant result.
That negative self-validation can then be reinforced by sympathetic reactions from those around you, creating external validation.
“Self-pity is a form of external validation that something bad has happened to us or that our circumstance is out of our control,” says Rebecca Mores, a licensed psychotherapist in Beverly, Massachusetts. “The validation happens when a person gets attention from others, reinforcing a way to get attention,” she explains.
The antidote to self-pity
“The best way to snap out of self-pity is to have a strategy to interrupt it when you can feel it coming on,” Pernell recommends.
This requires self-awareness to recognize when you’re entering into a self-pity state and allows you to focus on a healthier state of mind: self-compassion.
Research in 2011 suggests self-compassion is made up of three critical components:
- being understanding and kind to yourself during times of failure
- keeping painful thoughts and feelings in a mindful state
- viewing your negative outcomes as part of the overall human experience
Having self-compassion can mean accepting that sometimes “these things happen,” rather than asking yourself: “Why do things always happen to me?”
Switching self-pity to self-compassion can start with your perspective. When you’re focused on self-pity, the problems of those around you can seem insignificant.
By reminding yourself that everyone struggles and has stress, you can help shift your perspective. You’re not the only one who faces problems each day.
If other people can overcome, there’s a chance you can, too.
“Self-pity becomes a negative thing because it maximizes the victim mentality,” Mores says. “If you believe you hold the role of the victim, you are removing your power and personal responsibility.”
Have you noticed that Mindfulness comes up in so many of our articles about self-help and recovery from scams 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.?
Mindfulness is the practice of allowing thoughts to come and go, without getting “stuck.”
When you practice mindfulness, thoughts of self-pity can surface, but you let them pass rather than allow yourself to dwell on them.
Mindfulness lets you live in the moment and meet all thoughts with curiosity and openness.
Mores states that lingering on self-pity “keeps you stuck in the past, which is also harmful for your self-esteem moving forward. Someone who sits in a perspective of self-pity is unable to take the opportunity to choose happiness because they’re instead choosing to focus on all that has gone wrong.”
Coupling mindfulness with gratitude can help encourage a sense of contentment — the opposite of what happens during self-pity.
Even small moments of enjoyment during the day, like savoring a well-cooked meal, are positive experiences you can be grateful for.
Gratitude may do more than just help you focus on the positive. Recent research suggests gratitude is directly tied to a positive sense of overall well-being.
Similarly, 2019 research found that gratitude has a positive influence on individual aspects of well-being — such as social, emotional, and psychological health.
Self-pity can be isolating and repel those who’d like to support you.
External validation from others during self-pity can also create a vicious cycle.
You may have told yourself you deserved something negative, and loved ones offer you comfort. Now, to get that comfort again, you may be tempted to come to them with more negativity.
People who care about you can lend a sympathetic ear if you vent productively, and they’re there to help support you through difficult times.
Identifying the sources of your stress briefly and being solution-focused instead of problem-focused can help you overcome challenges in life.
Almost everyone has moments of self-pity. Daily life can be a challenge — and when it rains, it sometimes pours.
Staying wrapped up in those negative feelings can keep you feeling stuck.
“Entertaining a state of self-pity takes you away from your core being, the one who expresses joy in life,” Pernell says.
“The problem with being in a fog is that you can’t always tell when the fog layer will lift, so it feels like it’ll last forever. Then, we humans have a habit of telling ourselves stories to validate what we’re feeling. And that is a negative thing. Because in reality, it’s a lie,” he says.
You can develop the skills to forgive What Is Forgiveness?
Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. your setbacks and see situations clearly, without a need for validation. Focusing on self-compassion — not self-pity — can help you change your internal narrative.
Doing this can have a big impact on your scam recovery!