Welcome to RS . We are very sorry that this happened to you too. Please know it does get better in time. All begins with a baby steps. Maybe information below will help you.
There are many romance scam victims that come here to learn and heal. I am also a romance scam victim. I know how devastating a romance scam encounter can be. I lived a horrific nightmare and lost lots of money. It was all about not knowing these crimes exist online, and I had no awareness of these crimes being online. I was trusting that websites would do background checks; at least that is how the websites I was involved at did. I now realize they were closed sites and not open to the internet public. Big difference there. Some people do not understand how a victim can fall to multiple online scammers. One day they might understand how that is done.
The scammer have victims well programmed, groomed to do his/her will. He/she fed your emotional emptiness and that is what led romance scams victims to fall for the attention and emotional bond that would fill the void in our lives. Victims will experience anticipation attacks because you were groomed to the scammer schedule, the hours the scammer worked into your daily routine; knocking you off schedule and depriving you of needed rest and family time. Scammers scripts vary but are similar in general.
When previous relationships fall void of the honeymoon attention and affection, the relationship begins to suffer, the couple drift apart, leaving no other solution than for a breakup; for others it is being a widow.
When we are communicating with a scammer we don't hold back about our life issues and downfalls. Scammers quickly pick up on our emotional void and loneliness so that is a cue for the scammer to groom the victim with online affection and promises the scammer knows will never come true. Scammers do not feel empathy, they don't fall in love nor do they become committed to the romance scam victims. Scammers only build illusions woven out of lies and elaborate illusions.
The romance scam victim is left hurt, ashamed, and devastated. The reason victims are romantic with the scammer is the scammer chooses the correct picture and profile to hide behind. Scammers know they do not fit the image a man or woman is seeking in a relationship; scammers use stolen photos to lure victims into a romance scam. The stolen photos are the most powerful visual tools scammers use to visually entice romance scam victims. With time, the loss of the dream, and the illusion, we will get better. We will learn to let go of the scammer and the scam as a whole.
After the scam; we learn to occupy the scammer hour away from the computer, keeping the computer turned off and enjoying activities away from the computer monitor and keyboard. We learn to de-program ourselves from the routine the scammer had us groomed, programmed or brainwashed.
Life does get easy, with appropriate help and support it can be done.
This might help you understand some of the “WHY's” you are asking yourself...
Scammer use psychology to get the victim under their manipulation and control with their excellent profiling skills, they know how, and when to place those skills into play to make the victim feel pity, dutiful, and guilt.
Yet we don’t see specific replies from the scammer addressing our questions, they do not address honestly in any emails, chats and IM responses. Their natural response is brb, because scammers do not have an answer and must turn to a more skilled scammer to divert the victim from the question. Victims misinterpret devotion from the online scammer; scammers feel no empathy toward the targeted victims.
We allow our emotions to fall prey to flattery, attention and manipulation created by the online scammer. Victims have built trust and confidence with the online scammer. At this level unknowingly, we are recruited to send money, cash checks, reship boxes and envelops without second thoughts. Finally, when the romance scam is over we are left not only broken hearted, emotionally, mentally, psychologically and financially devastated, we are also left facing arrest to federal felony charges for “helping” the love of our dreams, an illusion, a cyber-ghost.
Unfortunately for the victim, when we reach this stage the illusion is imbedded so deep into our mind, heart and soul, our emotions blinding our intellectual and logical understanding, and we begin to believe this is the exception to the rule; we ignore all the red flags. Not one scammer has turned out to be real, nor honestly in love with their victims. No matter how many hours they spend communicating with the victim; it was all a carefully orchestrated illusion of love, an online romances scam.
For the scammer it is business as usual and they continue their scam with multiple romance scam victims at one time. What the romance scam victim does not understand is while all this illusion is being built, the scammers’ routine is business as usual, not feeling emotional ties to any of the many online victims he/she is in contact with at that precise moment the scammer is in contact with you.
After the scam, for the victim it is not the death of the beloved we mourn, but the death of the dream, the illusion, the fantasy, and false hope that was nourished with love, a single-sided online affair or cyber relationship with belief it was a real relationship with a real person; not with an illusion. What we don’t understand and find it difficult to do is we must let go of the illusion along with the scammer and the stolen image of an innocent photo victim; or it will be emotionally destructive to the romance scam victim. Later we will learn we can raise new hope, faith, trust and our dream, but it will take time.
Some victims will come to the realization and acceptance of the fact we were scammed, but will continue to want the relationship with the scammer; leaving the victim to think the scammer is experiencing honest feelings towards the victim, which is exactly what the scammers want their online victims to think. The fact is the relationship never did exist. The online romance scam was all an illusion in the scammers’ mind of fantasy and fraud. Scammers don’t feel empathy nor love for anyone. They have no place in their daily business to be exclusive to any relationship; online or face-to-face.
After the victim loses not only the money, we are left feeling hurt, humiliated, angry and ashamed, with thoughts of dying or killing oneself. We then begin to isolate ourselves from family, work, and daily routines. We neglect to care for ourselves, we don’t bathe regularly, we don’t eat, our health begins to deteriorate, and it feels like life is over for us. And those are the intentions of the online scammer and the scam ring.
When we wake up from this nightmare feeling desperate, in a fog or daze, we begin to search for answers or help. We find that we are suffering from a traumatic abuse, or abuses the scammers lead us to experience. Without being present the abuse was all online on the phone, or chat, unseen, unheard of, not reported, there was no physical sign to prove the abuse; but it was deeply embedded into our heart, mind and soul.
The first thing learned in our personal healing journey is;
DENIAL; being in denial. Not want to accept being scammed. Not want to accept the ghost in the screen is an online scammer. Not want to believe, not accept that the online relationship was an Illusion, a ghost love affair. Not accepting the victim was the only person in love with the dream, the illusion, and the thought of hope.
GUILT; feeling guilty, what did I do wrong? It is my fault for the scam to end. I am stupid, a fool. Victims questioned why me? Why? How did I not know this was all an online scam? This is what the scammer has programmed onto their victims mind; to feel guilty. Not to blame the scammer for scamming the victim.
ENLIGHTENMENT; we learned the online abuse received from the scammer is not justified. We come to realize the scammer is a criminal, a thief, a terrorist, who has no empathy for human life. Many victims of this online crime had thought so many times if only? But those “Ifs” only were the aftermath of the psychological grooming the scam-ring had their targeted victims under; manipulation and control. We had to find a way to de-program ourselves from the scammer’s control.
RESPONSIBILITY; find a way to change ourselves. Victims can never change a scammer, that is their way of life and nothing will ever change a scammer. But victims can find how to change themselves. Here on RS victims find the tools and guidance to begin their personal healing journey. Victims will get over the scam experience as a whole, once the personal healing process begins.
Eventually; working your personal healing process and de-programming the scammer schedule and abuse, you’ll find full acceptance. Victims learn how to deal with financial responsibility and debtors. Learning a new way to manage and save our finances and manage our time to attend to financial issues and not ignore them.
When you learn to love you before any other person you do not search for anyone to feed your emotional emptiness because you do not hunger for it anymore.
I realized after the scam, if I can fall deeply in love with an “illusion” and gave it life, the instruments given to me by the scammer; I learned to turn those emotions to myself. I learned to love myself deeply. I moved forward, I brought new activity into my life, which led me to meet new people. I am happy with friendship, best friends for the time being.
Mending after the Scam:
Occupy your time, don’t sit idle. Do something. Idleness is the foundation of self-pity and depression. The best thing is to help others. It is a universal principle, when you begin to focus on helping others your personal problems are diminishing, one service at a time.
Write a list of things you like. Pick 3 things you want to do now. Make sure you can afford them, and they are not harmful. When our hearts are broken we often deprive ourselves of things we enjoy. Make an effort to place enjoyment back into your life.
Do not return evil for evil. Do not wish something horrible on the other person. Hope for their good fortune in your spirit, it may release your good fortune in your world. To forget about someone, truly wish them well.
Life is not over. You can live without them. You can live happier. Even with the negative in in your world right now, there’s probably plenty to be thankful for. You can’t be thankful and sad at the same time.
When victims harbor bitterness and resentment they imprison themselves, they hold on to anger, and rage, they are like a vessel full of acid. Your anguish eats at you day after day, like acid disintegrating flesh. Not only did we suffer a cyber-abuse, we continue to be harmed by our own unwillingness to let go of the bitterness.
Getting even always makes you less than what you are. It is best to forgive and say good-bye. The love and pain you feel in your heart for the scammer will eventually turn to indifference and free your heart to give your love to someone else, someone deserving of your love. Allow the healing to unfold and comfortably wrap serenity around your mind, heart and soul.
It will take time; it is a work in progress at your own pace. There is never a time frame, just your personal healing in progress. Life will be better. You will be stronger, wiser, and knowledgeable, you will regain your control, and Empowerment.
Confronting the scammer is WRONG!!! DON'T enlighten criminals with your wisdom. REPORT & BLOCK.
PHOTO VICTIM - "Do not confront the owner of the pictures, as they are victims themselves! You will only serve to further the terror and harm !" Silence Is Golden!!! I speak Polish.