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The Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle and it's relevance to victims of TCI.
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For those of you who have studied psychology or grieving, you may have come across the work of Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a Swiss doctor who developed a cycle of stops along the process of grieving. She believed that we must go through each stop along the way but we all proceed at different speeds and may often get stuck in one stage for long periods of time, or cycle back into previous stages. I was thinking about these cycles recently and realized that all victims of TCI are grieving the loss of the hopes and dreams that were promised, and the loss of income and wealth. In thinking about my own process through these cycles, I believe that I have reached the final stage of acceptance, although I retreat into anger now and then, but I also recognize that my husband is at a different point in the process. He needs to deal with issues that I have gone through before and don’t want to revisit, but it helps to understand these cycles to be able to cope with what both of us are going through.

The stages of the Grief Cycle are:

Stability: The time before the cycle begins. For us it is the time where we believe that TCI is legitimate, our funds are secure and the interest being earned will provide security for our future lives and fund dreams that we all have had about things that are important to us. I find that I am particularly bitter about the hopefulness and happiness that TCI provided us, only to have it snatched away again.

Immobilization: That frozen time when the shock of the loss hits. It is most apparent if someone you love has been suddenly killed, and for me TCI was not an obvious and dramatic shock, more of a gradual awareness that I tried to keep out of my mind. For some members the recent disappearance of the TCI website might have put them into this stage, after trusting and believing Charles Gordon and their Marketers that everything was fine.

Denial: Trying to avoid the inevitable. We’ve all been there with TCI. Some members are still there, especially those who think TCIR are a bunch of vigilantes trying to stir up trouble. But we have all thought to ourselves: It couldn't be a scam, They wouldn’t do that to us, I couldn’t have lost all that money. There must be a solution to this problem. Much of the time Charles' messages appealed to those of us at this stage, making us feel secure and hopeful.

Anger: How could they do this to us? How could our Marketer lie like that? How can Charles live with himself when he continues to dangle hope and promises in front of us while really just protecting himself from the truth getting out, the legal ramifications. This is an area where many TCI members would not want to discuss their private thoughts. Some might find forgiveness, but my mind went to more concrete forms of revenge. This occurs once anger sinks in and the enormity of the loss hits. I would like to say that we are all above acting on our anger but I don’t trust that all members would agree with my hopes that we can obtain justice and closure within the legal system. It seems to me that our lawsuit has buffered members from acting on their anger since it gives some degree of hope for justice. 

Bargaining: Seeking in vain for a way out. That was a strange stage for me. I hit bargaining while I was in denial. I thought that praying might get me out of this mess, along with many other behaviors that I hoped would help, but eventually gave up trying to make a deal. I believe the legal route involves bargaining and deal making but so far Charles is not open to deals. He seems to be somewhat of a control freak where our money is concerned.

Depression: Final realization of the inevitable. I spent a long time there. It was not a nice place and involved a lot of self-recrimination. Anger visited often but it was more directed towards myself for getting us into this situation. I think my husband is still there and find I don’t want to join him back at that stage, it’s too uncomfortable. It is likely that many members of TCI are in this stage right now and may have sought medical help to deal with it. I am writing this article to help people in the stage: there is a way out of this place and I want to give hope to those of you who cannot see that relief. It does get better.

Testing: Seeking realistic solutions. This is where I finally began to find some peace. It involves looking at your own situation and figuring out what needs to be done to provide some stability and peace in your life. For me it involved looking at my financial obligations that I had assumed would be erased by TCI payments, and after dealing with feelings of hopelessness, coming to a plan to deal with the negative situation. Perhaps you have mortgages to pay off, loans to pay, retirement nesteggs to rebuild, any number of situations that must be faced to move forward. It may not be a situation that can be fixed, especially if you are already retired and don’t have as many options to replace lost funds. That might require selling of assets, moving to cheaper lodgings, taking on a part-time job that you never expected to need. Most of these solutions will be difficult to swallow and may put you back into feelings of anger and depression, but I think they do help you move forward.

Acceptance: Finally finding the way forward. We are all different, but after over 5 years in this process I have arrived at this stage with much gratitude. Steps have been taken to liquidate possessions and pay off debts and I realize I am very lucky to be able to do this. Not all members will have solutions that are accessible and may feel hopeless and depressed because they cannot find a way forward. I have heard from many members who have mentioned steps being taken to find stability again and some fear that they will never be able to erase the damage done, but perhaps ease the situation to a more tolerable level.

Those members who have survived the TCI Investment Club situation without the dramatic emotional turmoil mentioned above are lucky. I wish I had invested the minimum amount and could brush off the loss without much concern, but I was not able to do so. It has been a difficult ride, especially over the past three years and I doubt it will ever totally be forgotten. I have spoken with members who say that they are now unable to trust anyone at all, and I can relate to that feeling. I suspect we will not be duped again, even if we are able to recover funds from TCI, and that is a good outcome. We were led to believe that we had access to a level of investment return that was special, but what we found was something totally different. Something that has changed us. I suppose the therapeutic thing would be to look for something good that has come from this situation. It is a difficult process, but I guess we are going to be more careful with our money. We have made new friends and acquaintances and may have some outcomes that will make us happy in some way. I personally wish to see many people end up in jail, having lost their assets and unable to benefit from those things obtained from us. I hope they suffer in some way for their transgressions as we have suffered but perhaps we will never know the full extent of the outcomes. All we can do is continue to pressure those responsible in TCI for answers and return of our money.