In the telling of your stories, what drives understanding are the facts – the truth of each crime and experience.
But what is the truth?
Often, victims tell the story of the crime as though it was a movie plot & dialog, detailing the story spun by the scammers along with the victim’s responses and actions. But is this really the truth?
Many times victims attempt to make sense of the crime by detailing their assumptions about criminal actions, motivations, organization, and techniques. Yet these are not really understood by any victim, certainly not soon after the scam ends. These are assumptions and usually false information.
After the scam ends, many victims try to find meaning and elaborate on their meager knowledge presenting themselves as experts on these crimes. The desire for understanding is so strong that victims convince themselves of facts that are not true, but rather assumed or imagined or heard from other amateur instant experts. Although for many these insights feel right.
However, the truth is far simpler and most often overlooked by victims in the telling of their stories. So much energy is given to the scammer’s side of the tale that often the victim’s own side or truth is diminished and nearly forgotten.
Ironically, this is one of the things that makes listening to their story by their friends and family so very hard. The victim’s stories are saturated with the falsehoods, lies, and drama from the scammer’s side of the narrative, but rarely from the victim’s. The “he” said/”she” said is irrelevant most of the time.
As we have presented in many other ways, we suggest to victims early on to separate out the hard data or facts from the drama and lies of the scammer. None of the scammer’s lies matter in telling your stories. They are just misdirection. They matter to the victim because they lived them, but after the scam, they need to be the first thing thrown away.
So what are the facts? What is the truth?
Simply put it is the reality of what happened during the scam:
- Milestones during the scam
- Any identities – real or otherwise (though fake IDs need to be very clearly identified as such)
- The financial losses – money sent and how and when
These are the basic facts. Notice that none of the dialog or story that the scammers gave was included. It does not matter anymore. It was just lies.
By staying focused on the false dialog victims keep themselves anchored in the mud of the drama and are unable to move forward. Plus it does not matter to the police or to their families. The more the fake story side is told the more others will have a hard time understanding how a victim could have been so misled. It promotes victim blaming, guilt, and shame.
Now for the real truth!
When a victim tells their truth there are a few critical things that must be told:
- How long the scam lasted
- What did the victim feel for this “person” and how devastated they are over the deception
- And what they want to happen next
Now, these are critical, not only for police, friends, and family to understand but also for the victims.
In the first few 2 to 3 months after the scam ends, victims are going through shock, fear, and desperation, so much of what they can share and they think is highly emotionally charged and often misdirected.
This is where victims separate themselves into 3 (three) distinct groupings:
- In denial
- In anger and rage and hate
- In realism and the desire to recover
We have talked about these before, but those in denial will withdraw and pretend it did not happen, does not matter, they are fine and are going to forget about it. This group will tend to have lasting lifetime trauma.
The angry group demands justice and will chase it to the exclusion of their own well-being. They form groups, chase justice, and waste time on exposing or baiting scammers. They do not come to terms with their grief or their trauma and carry it forward throughout much of their lives.
The realists seek professional guidance, find counseling or therapy, and apply themselves to their recovery – though many will give up at various stages in their grief cycle. Those that stay with it and work on their recovery will make it through and have a happier life in their future.
These are the real truth for every victim
Not just what happened but what they are committed to doing about it.
This is what family and friends really need to hear. And other victims too!
Too often victims continue to tell the same stories about what the scammers said derailing other new victims by hearing it. Far too few victims understand what it takes to recover, and instead lose themselves in their denial and anger – using the fantasy and lies as a cover for the devastation inside.
3 Critical Things
As a victim, when you tell your story, tell the 3 critical things and only these, unless someone wants more:
- The basic facts – no lies no drama no fantasy
- How are you feeling – the trauma and grief you are feeling and their effects and symptoms
- What you want or plan to do to help yourself to recover from this experience.
These 3 elements are the essential truth that every victim should include in telling their truth to others.
This is also the most therapeutic way of telling your story to reduce its impact on you and be an inspiration to other victims.
If you can do this, you are on the road to recovery.
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