Blog 130. Business, Money And Your Career:: Find Out Why Some People Steal And Some People Commit Fraud.
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Some steal as a career and others may steal as a result of practical or addictive needs. And some steal in an attempt to fill an emotional void. Understanding the difference should lead to different types of treatment.
1) Some steal to feed their families:
In some cases, if the minimum wage is low then theft might seem to offer a better option, especially in poorer countries where people need to feed their families.
2) Some steal to feed an addiction.
Addictions can prove expensive and often the quickest way to pay for alcohol or drugs, etc, is to steal.
3) Some steal as a career:
– Some steal because they feel that it’s easier to steal than to work for a living.
– Some steal in order to actually go to prison.
This is where they will get a bed and they’ll get fed. And in some cases, they can even make money – especially if it’s drug related. This is because certain prisons allow a certain level of addiction to take place, so that the prisoners don’t become too disruptive (I know this as years ago, I taught ceramics in two prisons in London, UK). Also, some people are forced or coerced into belonging to gangs, and some of these members may be required to be in prison so that that can make money via drug dealing, etc. Others may be required to keep an eye on other gang members, and so on.
4) Others may steal in an attempt to fill an emotional or physical hole:
Sometimes people steal as a result of something lacking deep within. And sadly, they may not even realise that a void exists. They may, consciously or unconsciously, feel that something is missing, but often they’re unable to articulate the emptiness they feel.
Usually the emptiness originates in childhood and possibly even as a result of abuse, neglect or abandonment – or indeed, if they were a child of an addict or a narcissist. But because the feelings are eventually normalised – a victim may not realise why or even that they indeed, feel emotionally empty.
And in the case of abuse, a victim may feel emotionally annihilated and their dignity removed – which can impair or damage their inner self-esteem even though, they may seem confident on other levels. This could happen especially, if the abuse has been buried deep within the psyche.
Then if a victim for whatever reason, finds themselves associating with more confident, secure, even well off people, this could trigger feelings of insecurity.
However, people from all classes etc, can and do steal. But being around those who may be more emotionally secure – may symbolise the opposite of what the victim feels or what they may want for themselves. This may leave the victim feeling empty. And one way of filling this emptiness can be to steal – but sadly, the act in itself then becomes an unconscious cry for help.
Worst still – the victim may not realise why they need to steal. If they get caught, they may feel shocked and guilty – but often they will have absolutely no idea why it happened. If they are fortunate to enter therapy, this may help them join the dots and identify the issues. But, if they manage to get away with it, they may even try again and again. And thieves can be intelligent. Even if they get caught, they may come up with all sorts of credible excuses, in order to get themselves off the hook.
And sadly, they may even steal things they don’t even need – if it’s clothing, the clothing may hang in their closet unworn or whatever they steal may also have little value.
And if they are caught stealing, few realise that the repercussions could be very serious. This is because it never occurs to them that they might actually get caught. Often it’s just a spontaneous action to fill a spontaneous need.
However, sometimes their lives change and they stop thieving. Others are not so lucky. Some become what is known as kleptomaniacs or compulsive thieves, and they can become addicted to the thrill.
And similar to any other addict, once the thief begins to enjoy the thrill of stealing, what Gabor Mate, a Canadian physician specialising in childhood trauma, wrote becomes relevant. He writes, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction that, “It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour. Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there.”
So they can become addicted to the thrill – until they get caught that is. And then they may land up in prison and punished.
But sadly, for many, stealing is just a cry for help, or this sad cry from the soul that needs to be loved and cared for, and this can be helped not just via a prison sentence – but via therapy too. Unfortunately, this is not what most prisons provide and as result, the thief could keep reoffending until solace is found which usually is highly unlikely.
This is why understanding the difference types of people who steal – should lead to different types of treatment. Sadly, this is often difficult to monitor.
However, if you think this might be you, then please do consider therapy.
It is a far better course of action than being caught and enduring the unspeakable shame – which is usually only a conscious or unconscious reminder of childhood issues. In Blog 4 I explained the inner desire to be punished, if we feel bad about ourselves as a result of abuse, neglect, abandonment, and so on. And prison is often a way of achieving this inner need for punishment.
Instead, it is important to recognise that
- Theft is usually a cry for help – and then,
- Finding that help.
5) An inner poverty mentality can also lead to theft and fraud:
We have all heard and seen reports of wealthy business people becoming involved in fraud, theft and so on.
Often we ask ourselves why.
As a therapist this is what I discovered with regards this vast area:
When someone has worked really hard to achieve a good lifestyle, and a lifestyle that most would envy, why would anyone demean themselves by stealing and committing fraud? It just doesn’t make sense – or does it?
When things happen it always pays to look back at a person’s childhood – as this is usually where the clues lie. If someone felt less poorer than others or those living around them – then no matter how rich they become, that mindset may always stay with them throughout their lives. They may always FEEL poor – no matter what happens, no matter where they live or what they own or how wealthy they become.
Sadly, this may be reflected in their inner self-belief system, even though they may emit a sense of self-assuredness. Also, if they were not as well educated, this too may hang in their psyche – leaving them with feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. Hence the saying – never judge a book by its cover.
However, the normal pattern of behaviour is that birds of a feather flock together and wealthy people will mix with other wealthy people – and all will be well. But if someone with an insecure mindset starts feeing emotionally threatened or poorer than the rest, they may easily be tempted to succumb to offerings of more money – even if what is offered comes at a price. This may happen when they suddenly want their own private jet or yacht, in order to impress their wife or indeed, their new young wife, and so on.
These offering may involve fraud or theft – and it may be the only way they feel they can remain ahead of the pack.
Unfortunately, many are eventually caught. But even if they are not sent to prison, they may land up losing their reputation or in some cases, they may just never find work again.
Sadly, this can happen in later years when it becomes harder to pick oneself up and start again. And for those who are sent to prison, some may even thrive, but most wish they had done things differently and had been more aware.
This is why it pays to develop self-awareness. And it pays to gain self-knowledge and an understanding of what you may feel in relation to others, and what these feelings may mean for you – before you act without understanding the wider repercussions, not only for your family but for yourself as well.
Many forget that when we feel poorer and not good enough, if we are not aware, we could land up punishing ourselves – and these feelings could start gnawing or chipping away at the inner psyche. Often this can result in self-sabotage.
But once we address these feelings – we can start validating ourselves. As a result, we may feel less inclined to need money or objects to fill empty emotional voids. Finding inner acceptance brings relief and an inner peace that doesn’t require outside frills to boost the ego.
This is why Jim Rohn once said, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”
And you may find that by doing this – you won’t have to commit fraud, because sadly, this is what gives being wealthy a bad name. It leaves people with the impression that all rich people are corrupt – when in fact the corrupt ones are often the ones with self-worth issues.
But also there are those who think fraud pays. It may – only if you never get caught. But sadly many others usually get damaged in the process.
Sadly however, fraud is also about self-deception. And actually, anyone who thinks they can get away with theft or fraud are usually only deceiving themselves. At some point that knock on the door happens.
And Fyodor Dostoevsky in The Brothers Karamazov, wrote, “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so he loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
But surely it was love which he craved all along.
© 2020 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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