General Question

ImNotHere's avatar

Is my (soon to be ex) BF within his rights to destroy my property?

Asked by ImNotHere (441 points ) August 27th, 2011

Hi everyone,

I’ve been with my boyfriend on and off for about a year. We broke up for a few months but ended up getting back together earlier this summer when he supposedly had a change of heart and suddenly decided he couldn’t live without me. I was very hesitant to get back together but frankly gave in because he begged and made me feel very guilty about “breaking his heart” if I didn’t.

I stopped seeing the sweet, wonderful guy I was dating while we’re on our (supposed to be permanent) “break” to get back together with him and now I think about him everyday and wonder why I did it…

The reason we broke up in the first place is because quite frankly, I’m not enough of a perfectionist for him and he was making me cry me ALL THE TIME over not being good enough for him.

He’s a very type-A personality, who always has to be right. He likes everything done a very specific way and allows no margin for error. If I screw up, (i.e. not closing the shower curtain after I’m done, not loading the dishwasher exactly the way HE likes it, or I lose his socks in the laundry) he will berate me for it until I’m in tears. Sometimes, he makes me feel like a horrible, stupid person and if I beg him to stop yelling at me he just gets more angry until I finally crack and break down.

He’s 30 with an Ivy League education and a high-paying job, and I’m a 22 year old female student/intern who’s still getting her life together. He constantly uses this to hold over my head to make himself seem in-charge and more powerful than me and I hate to say it…but it works.

I ask him if he wants a girlfriend or a subordinate he said if I was “better” he wouldn’t have to treat me like a subordinate.

Today, like many days in the past months, I tried to leave him. He started criticizing and at yelling at me in front of a neighbor when I couldn’t get the malfunctioning lock in his apartment to work to let him back in. I was mortified because he lives in a nice building on the Upper West Side of NYC and I have to see his neighbors often.

When I was finally able to get it to work and let him back in, we were furious with one another. He was mad at me for locking the broken lock and I was mad at him for yelling at me and kind of putting me down to his neighbor whom we hardly know. I told him he was acting like an abusive person and it was making him very unlikable and I don’t want see him for a while.

I started gathering my things from around his apartment but couldn’t possibly get it all in one trip. He said that if I can’t get it in one trip that he’ll throw the rest down the garbage shoot for “breaking his heart” (there goes that f*cking line again.)

I told him that he wasn’t within his rights to do that but he said that he could and there could be no repercussions if he did and he would get a friend to help him destroy my property. I say that if he does that I’ll get the police involved and he said that they’ll have no evidence by the time they got to his place… :/

We ended up making up temporarily (unbeknownst to him) but mostly I did it because he threatened my property and I’m trying to buy time to think of a smart “out” in meantime.

If for some reason, I couldn’t get every item I own from him in one trip would be in his rights to throw my things away? I have a number of clothes items I keep at his house that are expensive and important to me because I’m on a budget right now.

PLEASE someone help me deal with this situation, this man is making me so unhappy and I want to escape him but I need to do it the smart way with as little damage to myself and property as possible. :(

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56 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

Your stuff isn’t worth this bullshit. Stuff is replaceable. This guy is a piece of shit. Just get out of there.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Classic abuser behavior, that, and he is not within his rights to destroy your property. Be very careful when you break up with this person, all the markers are there for violence. Contact a domestic violence counselor, take their advice. Be careful and good luck.

marinelife's avatar

This man is and has been abusing you. The kind of denigration that you describe is verbal and emotional abuse.

What you can do is get some friends (preferably large male friends or relatives) and go back to the apartment and get your things.

If you feel it is necessary, contact the police and have them stand by and observe the move. Tell them that he threatened to destroy your things.

Do not tell him (or anyone who may tell him) where you are moving to.

If he comes around or starts calling you, block his calls and get a restraining order.

Abusers try very hard to manipulate you into coming back. Have no contact with him afterward.

Do not have an online presence under your own name.

ImNotHere's avatar

Thanks for the responses. I do plan to escape this relationship but of course, I want to preserve my personal property as well. I know my safety comes first but he doesn’t have a history of physical abuse nor do I think he would take to that level. But I definitely agree that he is an emotional abuser at worst and a fucking bully at best.

I’ll admit this is further complicated by the fact that I do have strong feelings for this person and yes, I do love him. But I’m also self-aware enough to realize that just because you love someone doesn’t make them good for you…but it does make leaving them that much harder.

I’m a 22 year old girl who’s by herself in NYC, trying to claw her way up the career ladder while finishing my degree so maybe I can go to an Ivy League grad school like he got to go on his father’s legacy. – _-

I’ve worked hard to have nice things and I would just think it’s sad that I have to lose some of that because this insecure f*cktard has to cut me down one last time.

linguaphile's avatar

Niki, Jill and Marine are right- you are being abused. This is a blatant form of verbal and emotional abuse and he will not stop. If anything, he will get worse and worse until you feel more alone than you’ve ever been in your life. I understand having strong feelings for him—I’ve been in your shoes, and am glad you are self-aware!!!

If you have a group of friends, (big guys), get them to help you. You deserve a support system—and if you only have 2 or 3 friends, ask them to bring someone with them that they trust. That should help you get your stuff out, preferably while he’s at work. It’s your property and you have a right to protect it in any way you feel you can (police, friends, etc) and no, he shouldn’t destroy it but he still might. If he does, move on—stuff’s replaceable, you aren’t.

The sooner the better. You’re in more danger now that he suspects you might be willing to leave.

Jellie's avatar

He has no right to destroy it. Just because it’s on his premises does not give him the right to touch it. He allowed you to keep those things there, you haven’t trespassed. He’s a jerk and sounds like someone I know. I think you did the smart thing by pretending but get your stuff out of there asap. Get a friend with a car and just go go go commando style. He doesn’t even deserve a proper good bye from your side of the story.

Trust me I’ve been in a relationship like this and it will bring you down to the point of hating yourself. You will be convinced that you are incompetent and inadequate and that he’s doing you favours by mentoring you. Drop him like a bad habit and watch yourself blossom!

ImNotHere's avatar

I know that it’s wrong for him to destroy my things but would he be LEGALLY within his rights to do it since it’s on his (leased) property?

Jellie's avatar

Yes procedurally is would be difficult to prove what actually happened with the stuff just because of the he said/she said thing and there being no proof or witness.

Just do it when he’s not at home so he doesn’t wise up to it all.

ImNotHere's avatar

I do have a key to his apartment so I could just have someone sneak in with me while he’s at work. Grab my shit, leave the key and ADIOS.

chyna's avatar

I would grab the most important things and just get the hell out. You can replace items, you can’t replace the self esteem he is shattering day by day.

Jellie's avatar

I wish I was there… I’d love to do it with you. I’m not in favour of leaving any of your stuff behind. I mean sure leave your toothbrush or towel or stationary but I wouldn’t leave behind any clothes and shoes and make up :P

Oh take a few giant totes or garbage bags with you to stuff it all in.

Cruiser's avatar

Belongs are replaceable….your dignity and self-worth is priceless. Protect that and bail on this selfish manipulating A-hole ASAP!

ImNotHere's avatar

@Cruiser I know that my belongings are replaceable but why should I let this abusive person hold one more thing over my head? To let him destroy my property would be to allow him to act with impunity which he has done for too long.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Run sweetie as fast as you possibly can! You have no idea how harmful he can be the longer you stay with him. He’s just a weakling with a number of complexes and he tries to boost his ego by treading on your dignity! Get what you can and just get out of there. I’d rather be left without a couple of things than be left without confidence and self-esteem. You deserve better and don’t rush into another relationship because at the moment you may be a magnet for that type of person. Get your head out of the water and BREATHE!

linguaphile's avatar

The collective has spoken—you need to get out. You want to do so with your things, okay—let’s work on the steps.

Do you have a car? If not, be prepared to rent something or find someone with wheels. Use a taxi if you have to.
Do you have a place to go? Make sure that place is ready.
How many boxes/bags do you think will contain everything you have there? (Overestimate, don’t underestimate.)
You might have to get someone to help you pack since you can’t pack in front of him, obviously, but you can organize your stuff and have it where it’s easily accessible and easy/fast to pack.
How many people do you think you can get to help you- figure out how much time it would take to pack and for these people to help you carry things out.
Focus on the happiness you’ll feel at the end of the mess, not the mess itself and act.

Plan, set things up, then execute plan. You’re in NYC— people don’t need a lot of advance notice (they can handle last minute plans), so you could have this planned and executed in less than a week if you put the wheels into motion.

Goodluck… let us know how it goes… I know jellies are concerned.

Legally… if you had to go to court, the judge will probably expect you to prove it’s yours because it’s on his property, but I doubt, from what you said, that he would allow it to get as far as a court case. It’ll be long gone and unless you have an inventory with proof, you won’t be able to sue.

Last, when he’s saying “don’t break my heart,” he’s really saying don’t disrupt my control system.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I say play the drama for awhile and keep evacuating your stuff (Secretly) in the process while he’s away. I believe dignity is important but valuable materials are also important especially if they could sustain your life in the future or simply your personal emotional-related stuff that you need to keep.

When you’ve done all your tasks you can run away in the middle of the night and leave a message saying that you done all these ‘good woman’ things for merely your stuff, and he deserves that for abusing you. It’s safer that way since he could physically hurt you if you confront him right away for the sake of your belongings.

ImNotHere's avatar

He’s ordering Chinese takeout on the phone right now and he sounds like such a sweetheart to strangers. He has no idea I’m secretly hoping he gets washed away in this Hurricane. :-x

ImNotHere's avatar

Also: If I told the police that he was threatening my property what could they do?

nikipedia's avatar

No offense dude, but I think the NYPD has other things to worry about beside whether you get all your clothes back. You have some good advice up there. This is a job for your buddies.

ImNotHere's avatar

Thank you @ZEPHYRA for the comprehensive answer. I have my own apartment a little further uptown but I’m leaving it in a few days to return to school in Westchester now that this summer’s internship is done. My school is close enough that I could take a Metro North train to his place while he’s at work sometime and grab my shit without him knowing. I think I’ll just do that.

And @nikipedia I’m inclined to agree with you but it would be nice to have some kind of support while I’m doing this so he can’t accuse me of something I didn’t do (like taking something of his) or even turn violent. I wonder if there’s some kind of advocacy group that has volunteers to offer escorts for people in this kind of situation…

JilltheTooth's avatar

And again I say, talk to a domestic violence counselor, s/he can point you in the direction of help for all your stuff related to this. I used to work in a battered womens’ shelter, this is a very typical scenario for abusers. Remember, no guy is a physical abuser until he is. Don’t think he won’t. He might not, but he might, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Now you see a good reason for picture phones and small digital cameras. You can make a visual record of the stuff that is yours. If you can have a friend there witnessing it as you record it, so much the better. Then as you have been told, gather it in easy to snatch bites. Then you can either get about 3 to 4 other friends, and hopefully some are big rugby player types, go in there and get everything, or you can ferret it out a little at a time until you get it down small enough to grab in one last trip. If for some reason he ditches any of your stuff, you will have a record of it, and evidence if you need to file small claims on him. But he doesn’t have the right to dispose of your property. Even if you left, you have a set time, you’d have to check, to go back and get it before it is considered abandoned.

flutherother's avatar

I would run, run, run to freedom and not look back. There are organisations that give advice to people in your situation. I would give them a call.

Londongirl's avatar

Sorry to hear that, he doesn’t sound very nice. I think may be talk to him when he calm down a bit and have a break between you and then talk to him about the issues then decide what to do next… If you love him I guess it is hard to just leave him, but then if he’s abusive then you need to think about whether you want to live with someone who treats you like shit.

chyna's avatar

I think taking it a little at a time could be setting her up for harm if he realized she was doing that. I don’t recommend that as a course of action. Going over while he is at work with a friend and getting all you can in one visit is the only way to accomplish this. After that, block him from your phone, your emails, your facebook, your life.

asmonet's avatar

I had barely finished the second paragraph and I already made a decision.

Call your friends, pack up all your shit in one go and explain to them in the most urgent way that you need to get the fuck gone while he’s away at work. Block his number, block his emails, ignore him on any social networks and don’t look back. The dude is a fucking psycho waiting to snap.

Your head seems to be in the right place, so that’s good. The sooner the better sweetheart.

Move it!

Can’t find friends? Hire someone on Craigslist for $20 offering moving or maid services, chances are someone will help you get your shit packed and out for cheap.

marinelife's avatar

Let us know if and when you are able to move out.

WestRiverrat's avatar

There should be a crisis abuse center somewhere in NYC that can help you get out.

Jeruba's avatar

I emphatically agree with everyone who says to go, get out, and don’t worry about leaving a few things behind. Sure, you don’t want him to end up with your stuff, but really, so what? Even if he’s got your diamond tiara, he can’t really hurt you with it.

However, it seems like he is much less likely to destroy your belongings than to hold them hostage to bring you back. Don’t play into that game. It’s a trap. Don’t have any contact with him at all. Put this man completely and permanently out of your life.

The main thing is to get yourself out and away from this conniving, manipulative abuser. He is never going to treat you any better than he does right now. You’re not his partner. You’re his victim.

CWOTUS's avatar

@BringsTheNight what you feel for this man is not “love”. You’ve been debased I hate to say it to the point where you may not recognize what real love is.

You absolutely need to get away from him and stop listening to him. Whether you get your stuff or not, all of it or even any of it, is of tertiary consequence. Not even secondary. No, what you need to do second, after you get away from him – and stay away – is get some heavy-duty counseling.

You have apparently been abused so much and for so long that you have mistaken your position of servility to this man, and some perverted “respect” for his opinion, that you think what you feel for him is love. It is not. It is more akin to an addiction, and it can kill you.

If you can get your stuff back after that, with the assistance of large male friends, yes (more than one, because this guy is a snake, whether you recognize it or not, who may even turn a single friend “against” you, even if only briefly, and then start in on you again).

Get away.

Get counseling.

Get the stuff later, if you even believe it has any value after you recognize your own value. That’s what you’re not seeing right now.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You bought yourself some time so quicky get a couple a friends and move out in one shot. Don’t leave anything behind.
He’s a dick. You were dazzled by his income, earning potential, and apartment. But he is still a dick. Not worth it.
Admit to yourself that the money, jewelry and clothes were nice but they were not worth the pain.
Make the move swiftly and decisively and do not let him talk you back. EVER!
Good luck.

blueiiznh's avatar

Sorry to hear all this. Nobody has a right to do what you describe to you or your things.
You have a right to gather your things.
That said, things can certainly be replaced, but please be careful.
If you really want to leave, leave.
If domestic violence is involved make sure you report it and certainly control yourself too.

This too sadly reminds me of the Pearl Jam song Better Man. You deserve better….

geeky_mama's avatar

I apologize if I missed this suggestion above—but I happen to know you can call the non-emergency police number and request to have an officer present while you move out.
You need not take everything at once, you can have the officer witness your leaving some items and if anything is missing after you and the officer leave and come back, or if he does something like change the locks and doesn’t surrender your property—the police have all they need to charge him.

snowberry's avatar

Here’s a novel idea. Are any Jellies in the NY area willing to help this gal move out? I know it’s iffy, but it’s worth a try.

ImNotHere's avatar

@snowberry Thanks for the help but I was thinking I could do it like this…

This Monday or Tuesday I’ll be moving back to campus in Westchester County. He works from 9–6ish every weekday and since I pretended to make up with him, I still have a key to his apartment.

I could leave campus and take a train to his place with an empty suitcase sometime while he’s working and grab my stuff then. I’ll leave him a note notifying that I’m breaking up with him and please not to contact me again. Then, I’ll drop my key off with his doorman and never see him again. :)

How about that?

blueiiznh's avatar

@Snowberry my first gut feeling was to help if I was closer than 3 hours away.

chyna's avatar

If you only have stuff to fill one suitcase, then that should work without having to get help. Good luck, but be safe while doing this. Let us know how it went.

jca's avatar

I am about an hour north and if it were not for the hurricane, I would come right now and help you out. After tomorrow I’m picking up my child so I won’t be free.

Don’t you have family or friends that are local that can come (just one friend even), keep it simple. Is there a small enough amount that it could be carried by one person?

As far as legally, if you have no proof that you own it, he could say it’s his. That’s why, unless it’s really important to you, fuck it, let it go.

What will happen if he gets an idea that you’re trying this is he will either start yelling and screaming, or begging (like he did last time) and acting sweet, and win you back that way. I went out with a guy like yours once, and he would constantly try to make me “change” and he would go on and on and on for hours of lecturing. Why I put up with it I don’t know – it was over 10 years ago. Now I would just tell someone like that to go fuck themselves, but when you’re in a relationship, you’re all wrapped up in feelings and emotions and stuff. This guy you have sounds like he might be mentally ill. Good riddance to him.

Please post an update as to how things turn out.

JCA
The Update Lady

ImNotHere's avatar

@jca He would have a hard time convincing somebody that he owns my dresses and boots…though it would he hilarious if he tried!

As for getting a friend to help – I managed to get most of my stuff out today under the guise of consolidating to move back to campus. The rest could probably go in one suitcase, it’s just there’s no way I could have gotten it in one trip today with the weather and everything else… :-/

I figured that when I’m settled in at school just leaving campus sometime next week and avoiding a face-to-face mess by grabbing it while he’s at work. I would leave a not telling him that I’m tired of his controlling, abusive behavior and that I want no more contact with him. I would then leave my key with his doorman and hope he’s out of my life forever…though admittedly in spite of everything, I’m a little sad about it. :(

Jeruba's avatar

I sure hope he’s not reading your fluther account.

It’s always sad when things don’t work out. But you’d have a much sadder life to look forward to if you stayed, darlin’. Now you’re opening the door of possibility to a future relationship that’s happy and nurturing and free of fear.

jca's avatar

GA to @Jeruba : I hope he doesn’t know your passwords!

It will probably be with mixed feelings when you break up, because you probably had good times and good memories as well as the present day bad ones. The way he is treating you trumps all, and it’s obviously deteriorating. He seems to take you for granted, that he can yell and scream and rant and rave and embarass you, and he knows you accept it. Fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

dogkittycat's avatar

Regardless of whose place it is it’s your property if he does anything to your stuff he can get in legal trouble for it. With this kind of behavior you can get a police escort to go with you and gather your things. O suggest you rent/borrow a vehicle cable of containing all of your belongs as well a have a police escort with you to avoid any issues. No matter what you decide to do get out one way or another he sounds dangerous.

jca's avatar

@dogkittycat: Two things: 1. He can throw it out and say “What stuff? What are you talking about?” 2. We’re talking about New York City. The cops will ask if he has ever threatened her, and when she says no, they probably don’t have time to accompany people moving out of apartments. Just a guess, I may be wrong.

snowberry's avatar

Until you get out, try to start a text or e-mail conversation with him. See if you can get him to say some of this stuff that way. E-mails and text conversations are documented, and you can show it to the police, or use them in court. I’ve done it and it’s very helpful.

Also, call the domestic violence task force in your area and enlist their support.

SuperMouse's avatar

I agree with all who said to get out now and not to worry about the stuff. As I read trough the responses I just kept wondering if your going into the apartment while he isn’t there could get you into trouble. I wonder if Dude is so whacky he could file a police report claiming you broke in.

snowberry's avatar

@SuperMouse that’s one reason why I recommend starting a paper trail with text or e-mail. It puts things in context, especially if he pulls some of his passive aggressive nonsense in the text or e-mail. Also if she has mail coming to the apartment it’s proof that she lives there. Needs to be a bank statement or bill of some sort- not a personal letter.

jca's avatar

I guess ideally the best thing would be to remove the stuff when he’s there, with a friend or two (or relative). That way, he can’t say you broke in. Plus if he tries to say your stuff is his, you can all call the cops right away and be up front about it.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
asmonet's avatar

@BringsTheNight No matter how tempting it would be to leave a scathing note, resist the urge. You having your last petty say on things will only give him a reason to try and contact you and tell you off. Keep it simple, avoid rough language and name calling. State that the relationship is not good for either of you and you are leaving, tell him where he can find his key and be done. You don’t want to do all this work just to piss him off that one last time – I mean, is it even worth it?

Jellie's avatar

You mentioned he was sitting there while you were on fluther. If you guys share a computer it would be best to delete your history. He can still your question and the answers without having a fluther account. Be careful and keep us updated. It would be nice to know your safe and sound (with your things).

jca's avatar

Please post an update as to how things are going or how things went. I think I can safely speak for all of us when I say we are concerned for you.

JCA
The Update Lady

dogkittycat's avatar

@jca if she has any reason to think he’ll get violent with her they are legally required to accompany her. If anything were to happen and they refused the police could be held liable. I work in the courthouse, I’ve seem dozens of these cases.

jca's avatar

@dogkittycat: I’ve worked in Children’s Services and I know from helping clients who were DV victims that if they have not been threatened or are victims of DV, it’s not likely (especially in NYC) that the cops are sitting around waiting to accompany someone who was insulted or has boyfriend who yells at her.

everephebe's avatar

The OP was trolling? If so… lame.

jca's avatar

Very interesting and good research on Gail’s part. Instead of hearing about how she got away and escaped from a bad relationship, we get to help pick his birthday gift!

marinelife's avatar

Saddest would be if it wasn’t a troll, but was real and she did stay with him.

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