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In flashbacks, she is shown to be mentally unstable. She displays erratic behaviour, such as throwing objects and drawing on the walls, mood swings, lurching from agitated to kind in a split second, and is eventually submitted to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), against her will. Despite her struggle, she attempts to be good to her son, and is shown cooking a meal for him in a season four flashback.
Ultimately, when faced with continued ECT sessions, she runs away from home, abandoning her marriage and her son. These flashbacks build upon Healy's psychological issues as an adult, where he has difficulties understanding women, is easily swayed by the more manipulative ones and takes his anger out on the ones he feels "betray" him. His sexism has been called out by numerous characters. Healy is also unsuccessful at dating, eventually resorting to purchasing a mail order bride, Katya Healy.