The abusive mindset does not change without significant therapeutic intervention, and matters did not improve when Linda left. He continued to live in the family home while she rented a house near her parents. Despite living there, he refused to contribute to the mortgage, and she had to bring him to court for maintenance money. He treated the court agreements with the same disdain as he treated Linda and their child. He emigrated to Canada, owing her thousands of Euro maintenance, and to this day she continues her struggle to pay mortgage and bills.
The pinnacle of his abuse became apparent when she repossessed the house following his departure –
“One day he posted the key our family home to me, so I presumed he had moved out. I had been asking him to do this for a while. So I could rent it and start paying the mortgage. I went up to the house and what I found was a shell. Everything was gone- all the family possessions – gone! Cooker, washing machine, dishwasher, furniture, couches, TV unit, conservatory furniture, beds. Everything that was in the house was gone. He had even unscrewed the curtain poles and the tieback holders for the curtains and taken them, as well as the curtains. He took the drive-on lawnmower, the garden furniture, and everything that was in the shed. He even took the shed.
He took the flower pots, but left the clay and flowers. He also took the Oil Tank. All that was left were things that couldn’t be taken because they were part of the house like the Kitchen presses and the bath, toilet and shower. Everything else was gone! I was gutted! Totally gutted! This was spite as well as greed. Who needs tie back holders for curtains? These items were half mine, and Jack had a right to them as well. Now they are gone, and so was he. He had taken off, and was freeing himself of all these burdens. I was left with every single debt, a child to raise, a house that was cleared out that I couldn’t rent, because I didn’t have the funds to refurbish it. I couldn’t exactly ring the garda and tell them I was robbed because in criminal law I wasn’t robbed because he owned these things as well. Of course, in the family law sense this is very much wrong. Of course, as regards family law, it is unlawful to remove family chattels until the assets are split in separation.”
This was not, as Linda supposed, either spite nor greed. It was control, and a desire to humiliate. It was a sense of entitlement and extreme disrespect. As he fled from his wife and child, Stephen’s actions spoke eloquently about how he felt about them –
“The empty house was filthy, with rubbish everywhere – bottles and cigarettes inside and outside the house, and rubbish bags everywhere. He had left me with nothing, I didn’t even have a good car, because he had sold his precious car, and had crashed my car a few days before I left. So, I bought a car worth about one thousand euro to get around, and had to cope with a mortgage and bills, and platefuls of worry! I felt really hard done by. He had just gone to another country to start fresh with no bills, or responsibilities, while I was left to pick up the pieces of this mess.”
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press
THERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
PSYCHOTHERAPISTS IN TIPPERARY
COUNSELLORS IN TIPPERARY
DEATH OF A CHILD