In Our Experience, There Are Three Main Causes Of Anger In Scam Victims
Anger is nothing unusual to scam victims. Almost every victim goes through the grief cycle and passes through the anger phase. In addition, most victims are also traumatized and anger results from the fight response.
However, in addition to these major forms of anger, there are three forms of guilt-driven anger that we have observed over many years and tens f thousands of victims.
THESE THREE FORMS ARE:
- guilt caused by a victim’s inability to forgive themself
- guilt caused by a victim’s resistance to or abandonment of their recovery
- guilt caused by a victim’s inability to forgive the criminal
Let’s Explore These:
1. GUILT CAUSED BY A VICTIM’S INABILITY TO FORGIVE THEMSELF
It is completely accepted that the victim of a socially engineered financial crime is not to blame for their financial losses and are traumatized as a result of the manipulation and control they were placed under.
Essentially, the victim is not to blame for the scam. They were lured, captured, groomed, manipulated, and controlled into performing as the criminals wanted.
However, most new victims, and even many victims many months or even years after the scam ended still hold on to this self-blame.
The blame itself creates internal conflicts for the victim that mostly results in shame and anger. These victims know they should be able to forgive themselves but are unable to do it for a multitude of psychological reasons.
The result is very often a state of increasing agitation, self-loathing, and anger that can lead to rage and even hate. We see this manifested very often in the increased hate victims feel for both the criminals and those trying to help them.
Once this has set in, we believe that trauma counseling or therapy is the most viable solution to resolving this.
2. GUILT CAUSED BY A VICTIM’S RESISTANCE TO OR ABANDONMENT OF THEIR RECOVERY
In the days following the end of a relationship scam, victims are often in a combination of emotional states. These can include panic, fear, and desperation for answers.
In addition, the first responses to their developing trauma emerge. For victims that respond in fight mode, this includes anger – not specifically directed, just directed at almost everyone.
If they are sufficiently able to realistically assess their situation and seek help, they will find multiple programs available such as the SCARS Scam Victim Recovery Program approach. As part of this program scam, victims enter into support groups, as well as find local trauma counselors or therapists. At least that is what they are supposed to do, but too often victims do not seek local counseling and as such miss out on an important part of their recovery support circle.
Also, victims need to both report these crimes to their local police and national authorities, as part of their duty to help fight these crimes, but also because it is such an important step in re-establishing the victim’s own control over the crime. Most victims do not do this and it is harmful to their recovery.
One more step that all victims should do is to tell their story to family or friends to relieve the terrible burden of secrecy that they are living under. They do not need to tell every little aspect, just the broad strokes of the story to release themselves from the stress that secrecy places on them. Few do this in the early stages, so it can be a significant contributor to their ongoing trauma.
Victims often can become quite resistant to recovery, arriving at a point of resignation, such as “I am fine. This is never happening again. I do not what to hear or talk about it anymore.” They go silent and stop participating actively in their own recovery.
The combination of the failure to do their duty and report the crime, the maintenance of secrecy, and resisting or abandoning their own recovery manifests in guilt, and from that shame. Victims blame themselves for not being able to move forward.
Like other forms of behavior, such as procrastination (which can also play a role in this) this is something that victims can work on themselves. Though it may also benefit from trauma counseling or therapy. This is just one of the reasons why SCARS recommends that all victims see a local trauma counselor or therapist.
3. GUILT CAUSED BY A VICTIM’S INABILITY TO FORGIVE THE CRIMINAL
Most victims understand the concept of forgiveness. However, and this is normal, for many months, sometimes years, victims find it very difficult to explore forgiveness of the criminals that harmed them. This is quite normal.
Where it begins to be a problem is after the victims have passed 12 to 24 months after the scam ended and they are still not able to accept the concept of forgiveness – regardless of how imperfectly.
Time heals but not if the scam victim is holding on to anger and hate for the criminals that manipulated and controlled them and stole their money. Holding in that residual anger, rage, or hate is not healthy – almost everyone can agree on that. But many scam victims – perhaps as many as a third are unwilling to work on this.
This forgiveness is not easy, yet intellectually victims know they need to do it – but just do not want to or are unable to. Especially if the victim is religious, and forgiveness is a cornerstone concept of that religion, it creates an internal conflict that creates guilt inside the victim.
As time progresses this guilt turns into more anger against themselves and often is projected onto others.
This is perhaps the most difficult form of forgiveness, but it is possible. It begins with a decision to do it, and to release the anger and hate – it can be done slowly, but at least the decision has been made.
THE COMBINATIONAL EFFECT
It does not take much to realize that the average scam victim could be experiencing ALL THREE of these anger generation guilt-based effects.
These can have a profound impact and the victim’s trauma, their ability to have close relationships and trust, and long-term self-loathing that can result in many different types of mental disorders.
This is why it is so important for every victim to actively working letting these three forms of guilt go.
- Report to the police
- Accept that they are not to blame and forgive themself
- Tell friends and family
- Forgive the criminals
Each of these is both easy and maybe some of the hardest things a victim has ever had to do. But in doing them, they relieve a burden that can be crushing.
The first 3 are easier than the last. But at least if you can make a firm commitment that you are going to find a way, then day after day it will become easier.