OK, this is going to be controversial. Let me clarify: I do not mean that Brits are the only ones to kill abroad. Nor do I mean that Brits have to go abroad to kill and crime doesn’t happen in the UK. Nor am I trying to find excuses for people to commit crimes abroad. No, I was simply musing on those tragic stories recently in the news: the mother who smothered her children in Spain and the man who killed his girlfriend in Greece.
Of course we can’t possibly know what was going on in those minds as they embarked upon those horrific deeds. And I do not want to find a neat, trite little model of an explanation for what must have been (at least in one case) a very complicated and particular set of circumstances. But I couldn’t help wondering if the fact that these individuals were abroad did contribute in some small way to the tragic outcome.
Life abroad, especially in a sunny clime, still seems very alluring to the British. And who can blame them? In this economic climate, a move abroad is not just a lifestyle change, but may also herald better career prospects, better housing, more money, a fresh start away from your mistakes.
Only it seldom lives up to expectations.
Expats nearly always tend to underestimate the hardship and loneliness of living abroad. The difficulty of dealing with unfamiliar bureaucracy in a foreign language. The length of time it takes to be accepted and start making friends. Floundering around until you find your bearings. It’s like a rollercoaster ride – one minute exhilarating, one minute the lowest of the low. No one, however well adjusted, will be able to entirely avoid culture shock.
If you are a vulnerable type already, prone to anxiety, jealousy, personality disorders, living abroad can exacerbate these traits and lead you to take extreme action. Just a thought….