When identity theft happens to you, it can seem like the whole world comes crashing in. I can fully empathize because I too was a victim of identity theft. If you haven’t heard my story, it’s a pretty common one these days. Someone somewhere managed to get their hands on my Social Security number and they filed a false tax return using my identification information. When I logged online to e-file my taxes, I got an error that told me I’d already filed my taxes.
Thankfully that’s the only thing that has happened to me so far. Some other victims of identity theft aren’t so lucky. They have to contact numerous account holders, write hundreds of letters, and spend hours on the phone trying to convince collectors and other account holders that they really didn’t purchase the items or services that are being claimed. A few that are very unlucky have to deal with law enforcement, the court system, and even jail time. All of that leads to some very difficult emotions like:
- embarrassment, or even
It’s important to not let these difficult emotions build up, because not only will it affect how you work on recovering from identity theft, but they can also be detrimental to your health. Let’s take a look at some easy ways that you can process these difficult emotions in a healthy ways so that you can get back to the business of restoring your identity.
1. Keep a Journal
Nothing beats the examination of your emotions than attempting to put them into words. A journal also carries a secondary benefit because it can help you to keep track of the tasks you have completed, know what account holders have said to you, and gives you a day by day glimpse of life itself. Many people will find that after just a week or two, they can look back, read their initial journal entries, and realize that they’ve worked themselves into a better spot than they were when they started journaling.
2. Just Talk to Someone
When you become a victim of identity theft, it can feel like there is not a single soul out there that understands the pain, turmoil, and stress that you are encountering every day. Instead of keeping all of that bottled up inside, which will eventually cause you to implode, take a few minutes and schedule a chat time with someone. And remember – coffee makes every conversation a little bit better! But when you are talking with someone that you trust about how you are feeling and why you feel that way, you’ll be able to better process why you are encountering these difficult emotions and you’ll be able to get a plan set that can help you overcome them.
3. Realize That It’s Ok To Be Angry
Is anger a negative emotion? When used incorrectly, sure. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not natural to feel angry about the fact that someone stole from you one of the very things that makes you be “you.” What matters is that you give yourself permission to be angry, and then fuel that anger into something positive, such as working to repair your credit. I wash the dishes when I get angry. Then I clean the house. When my wife comes home to a sparkling clean domicile, she knows something has been bothering me and I’ve been working to figure it out. Some people paint. Others write. Find a niche that works for you.
4. Go for a Walk
It can be extremely easy to get wrapped up in the world of identity restoration. Phone calls, letters, more letters, more phone calls, a couple e-mails… it can really add up, and before you know it, the day or even the week has flown by. Take a little me time and just go out for a walk somewhere. A little exercise will help your mind decompress from your internal checklist you’ve been going through, and a break from the action helps to bring a fresh perspective to your restoration chores when you come back to them.
5. Seek Out a Counseling Group
One of the things that many identity theft victims feel is loneliness. They feel like they can trust no one, so walls are built up to protect against further damage from occurring. Just about every community has a support group that can help bring you together with other identity theft victims so that in a safe, group setting, you can talk about what has happened, share experiences, garner new ideas, and even make new friends. Just a conversation with someone who truly understands your circumstances can change a bad week into a good week.
There’s no doubt that identity theft is a traumatic experience. You don’t have to carry the burdens alone, however, and you don’t have to just live with the difficult emotions that identity theft can bring. Take the time to process through these difficult emotions and you’ll find that the light at the end of the tunnel seems just a little bit brighter.