Quincy Iwediokpulu: When Your Partner is From a Dysfunctional Home

dreamstime_s_55581142So I’ve seen where several love birds try to wiggle themselves out of major love battles by insisting that their marriages or relationships is about them alone and never about their families.

And in my church mind, I’ll just be whistling and passing and be like: nọrọkwa na, you go soon jam motor!

Because for everybody already married, I’m sure you would all agree with me that, that theory is very flawed. Marriage isn’t just the fusion of two people but the fusion of both their families as well, and the sooner we singles accept that, the sooner we would be able to accept a lot of issues that come along the way.

These days there are cases where relationships and marriages break up due to the fact that at some point, one or both  partners discovered something weird and unsettling about the other partner’s family; like traditions, culture, circumstances or situations.

For example, a partner found out that despite how religious his or her partner is, the mother-in-law is into juju or that, there is a member of the family who doesn’t seem to behave normally( SEE When There’s a Mentally Ill Spouse) or there is the fact that back in the day, the ancestors of the family used to worship a certain god(rollingmyeyes at this one. Biko, is there anyone whose ancestors weren’t fetish back in the day? Before Christianity came, what was our people doing? No be only juju them sabi then? abi na too much nollywood film dey do me?)

Whatever the case, the other partner didn’t think he or she could handle it and got scared that such a discovery might transcend into their lives together; might be a generational something and so, he/she ran for the hills.

In their defense, they may not have been told because, who wants to tell their partner that their great grand father used to be a butcher (sacrifices virgins for a god) or comes from a line of Babalawos/native doctors. Who wants to tell their partner that madness runs in their family? Of course no one would want to do that. It’s very natural for us to always want to put our best foot forward and try as best as we can to forget such situations after all, they may not have been our doing. Or Is there anyone that have chosen the family he or she was born into?

Biko, if you did, let us know o…so that we would queue up at God’s tabernacle and be like, “Bros why like this nau?” I am sure some people would not hesitate to sign up for Dangote’s family or President Buhari’s lineage. hehehehe….

As long as we believe it is all in the past, not our doing,  the other person doesn’t need to know.

So we smile at him or her, giggle, blush, wink, tell only the good stuffs and leave the rest to Jehovah. After all, old things have passed away. We are now new creatures. We forget that in as much as these information don’t matter anymore, they actually do explain how we are….

I can see some people already looking at me with bad eye. Wooh chere biko… Hold your vaginas and testicles and all those your kpokus instruments first , let me explain.

Being born again doesn’t erode memories (oh I wish it does sometimes). It doesn’t change the past or situations. It certainly doesn’t change your genotype or your surname. It doesn’t change your mother to Archbishop Margaret Benson Idahosa or any of the top female preachers you know. It certainly doesn’t change the fact that your grandfather still runs around trees or kisses the foreheads of doll-babies. In other words, being born again is more of a personal and spiritual thing than physical. However, as time progresses, it begins to affect your mind and perception about life, which in turn begins to transcend into your physical activities and relationships with others.

Hehehe…I don dey sound like preacher abi?.  But then, you get my point, shey?

So for someone who comes from an abusive family, being born again doesn’t erode the memories. It doesn’t make one un-see the fact that their parents fought constantly or that their father turned their mother into a punching bag. Even though in this case, they have absolutely nothing to do with the actions of their parents or relatives, it still affects how they view life and relationships. And this is where the Holy Spirit comes in. Even though He doesn’t make the person un-see any of it, He gives he or she the strength to forgive the abuser and proffer the power to not continue in that circle of abuse.

For someone whose parents believe in the other extremes of life, when times gets difficult and he or she hasn’t been in a constant relationship with God, it is easy and usually very tempting to fall back into such extremes and ideologies.

So in summary, it takes a constant fellowship with God, whether from a dysfunctional home or not to really move pass all that.

But anyway,  there are some people that are solidly against giving such information especially when they are still in a dating/relationship phase. They insist that it is better to let the other person know when they are already in the fore-walls of marriage, because then they will be sure the other person wouldn’t leave, after all it isn’t their past (their choices-So they cannot be responsible for the actions of their ancestors or families).

Do you think this is right and advisable?

If you meet someone new, would you want them to give you all those weird information? Would it be a turn-off for you?

If you come from such family background, would you wait till you were married to reveal all of these or would you tell your partner while still dating?

Finally, if such information was withheld from you till you were married, would you be okay with it or would you run?

Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime.com

53 Comments on Quincy Iwediokpulu: When Your Partner is From a Dysfunctional Home
  • Mr. Egghead February 21, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    If she grew up in a dysfunctional home (e.g abusive/super-feminist), and she is showing all her mother’s signs and symptoms, it is better to jump and pass. The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
    Always check your partner’s family before you commit.

    • Tee February 21, 2016 at 11:02 pm

      which one be ‘super-feminist’?? Carry leg abeg..

      • Nahum February 22, 2016 at 4:35 am

        Don’t worry, Eggy over here is looking for the woman who will treat him like an egg, that is why he hates feminists. He is very fragile, take it easy with him.

    • msy February 22, 2016 at 1:22 am

      What if she doesn’t show signs? Do you hold it against her for fear it may rear its ugly head one day?

    • Caligula February 22, 2016 at 1:35 am

      Most Nigerians are raised in dysfunctional homes.

      I grew up in a dysfunctional home. Dysfunction caused by my father’s verbal, physical & mental abuse. He came from an affluent family but just wasn’t raised right. He is the first son so he was allowed to get away with a lot… Anyway, he’s almost 70 but he’s changed compared to the way he was….. Why? Because My siblings & I don’t condone his BS anymore. (We’re older now so we can stand up to him). I, especially, check his bad behavior & call him out on his BS on the spot (something that nobody hever had the nerve to do because he’s always been very intimidating). I also moved far away and shut him and my mum out…..plus I gave them an ultimatum. When they realized me too sef, I can be gangsta, he started to chill out ???

      Although I grew up in a dysfunctional setting, I think church & having a kind mother helped us turn out okay. My hubs grew up in such a positive environment. Lucky guy..haha we rarely ever argue and when we do, it’s like polite disagreement. We do this because we have kids, we don’t want to set bad examples for them…

      • jade February 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm

        @ caligula

        Your story is the story of many Nigerian families. The dysfuntionality of Nigerian women is hidden so well under self righteous and being religious. We know about dysfunctional nigerian men but many naija women are just as dysfunctional.

  • Wetin February 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Nice writeup Quincy! It was as u read my mind…however whether we like it or not we still hv to reveal d past……but certainly not too early! Checked out ur blog: U really have Potentials…..The world is Yours! Keepitup

  • Mr. W’s wife February 21, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Well, if I had any inkling my father in law was verbally and physically abusive to his wives I for no marry my husband or at least I’d have taken a closer look at his conflict resolution pattern.. The man who never said a cross word to me in our 8 months of dating/courtship has less than year into our marriage started beating me. It began with verbal abuses and curses and escalated into full on beating. Of course his mother said I should kneel down and beg him! Despite the fact that she saw him beat me and even had to call the neighbours for help when he didn’t listen to her cries to stop.

    Biko, ask all the questions you can ask oh. Sometimes this issues may not show up in courtship but the answer to your questions may give you a heads up.

    • anon February 21, 2016 at 10:28 pm

      You can ask the questions during courtship, but what if they lie? OR….. worse still, what if they tell the truth and don’t realize they were damaged, or HOW damaged they still are? Just thank God for individual and couples therapy.

    • Dr.N February 21, 2016 at 10:51 pm

      Honey, are u safe? Please, life and health 1st.

    • Honeycrown February 21, 2016 at 11:08 pm

      @Mr. W’s wife, I empathize with you o! This backward mentality of having the victim apologize to the perpetrator also needs to stop! Nonsense & Jagbajantis!!!

  • Asher February 21, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    The place that really caught my attention- “and the sooner WE singles”

    Quincy Beebii, omalinchawa 1…Are you Zzingle? ?

    • Ch February 22, 2016 at 8:39 am

      Hehehe, yes she’s single and ready to mingle but you need to go through me!

      • Asher February 23, 2016 at 1:18 am

        Lool! Who are you

  • anon February 21, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    @Mr. W’s wife, please leave that house, you can seek help from the safety of your own space individually and as a couple, no point getting pummeled after counseling sessions.

  • Anon February 21, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Ohhh dear God..when I met my husband he was the sweetest thing ever…or maybe I was blind in love and naive..I believed everything he said because I just didn’t know that people lie..from telling me how he had a PhD to so many other lies..ohhh and how he pretended everything was great with the family..so I was shocked when I found out that he didn’t grow up with his parents, he doesn’t talk to his sisters,siblings don’t give care…when I had a baby no call…wow… And coming from a family of soooo much love..it broke my heart a million times…and then his anger….I just kept asking myself…why me?

    • Joke February 22, 2016 at 12:14 am

      Oh girl, unfortunately, such men are reserved for lucky girls like you because you are oblivious to many things. I grew up in a semi-polygamous (dads other wife and kids lived outside) dysfunctional family and I trust nothing and no one. I see things a long time before they happen. I have a friend who grew up like you and is so unaware like you. She is from a nuclear family and she married the first son from a polygamous family and all I can say is e no ay!

  • Anon February 21, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    Ohhh then I found out about his mom’s verbal abuse towards the dad…I have told him several times..I am not your mama..he is so afraid of letting in people…he needs help and I have tried to get him help but…….

  • miss pee February 22, 2016 at 12:05 am

    OK ooh biko I need an advice. My eldest brother told my parents he’ll be bringing someone home soon and it’s being the desire of my parents for he and his twin to get married after two failed relationships the issue now is this lady in kweshun her parents are separated. My step mom was so upset when my brother told her and she was telling me her fears about it. Me I shaa quoted 2corinthians 5:17 to her cos I feel until she hears what caused the separation she shouldn’t judge and also the lady if she’s born again is a new creature in Christ. But with these comments from Mr. W’s wife and Anon. Afraid dey catch me. Wisdom the bible says is very profitable to direct.

    • Mr. W’s wife February 22, 2016 at 4:43 am

      Your brother needs to sit with his babe and have a good talk. He also needs to study her to understand how her background affected her. Sometimes, people grow up in dysfunctional families and recognise this and so they work on themselves to be better than their parents. Some other people simply emulate the pattern they have been seeing in their parents. So the family is simply an indicator. Yoruba people say when you are born, you still need to re-birth yourself. A person may be raised by a single mother and as an adult question the actions and events that led to his parents’ divorce abd be determined not to repeat those same actions.

      The things I know about my husband now, the stories my MIL fondly shares about their family give me an inkling of why he is the way he is. Raised as a demi-god who is feared by both elder and younger siblings., kept and is still keeping malice for over a year with 2 of his siblings … if I knew those before, I would have had a rethink of how he’d hang up the phone if a convo wasn’t going the way he wanted and not talk to me for days till I called to apologise even if I wasn’t wrong. I thought the fact that he used to hang up the phone meant that he will walk away when issues escalate at home. Who dash! Its just a small step towards keeping malice with your wife for weeks.

      • sparks February 22, 2016 at 8:58 am

        I totally relate with wat u have said. My hubby n I have been separated for years now cos of dis dysfunctionality. His parents have been separated for years n I didn’t know .His mum even came in from the UK for when still wearing her wedding band thereby
        giving my family n I the impression they are still together.Unfortunately for him(my ex) he towed d part of his parents and never regarded our marriage but his siblings r still making their marriage work irrespective of wat they may b going thru.i hate him so much right n for all he put me through. Thank God I have a wonderful family who took me back in with my daughter. So please singles(including me now .lol) ask questions and even do ur own investigation before u enter into any family. Follow ur head n not ur heart every time.

      • teeyyyy February 22, 2016 at 1:05 pm

        Is this Mr. W’s wife married to my hubby??? same trait, same pattern… same setting… I hope I am strong enough someday to put all I am going thru in writing… cos ability to write about it is actually healing…

    • Ann February 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

      Your brother’s girlfriend should not be made to pay for her parents’ mistakes, that’s just unfair. Just make sure that they sit down and talk it through and advice them to go for premarital counseling. They’ll be fine jare.

    • Tutu February 25, 2016 at 6:50 pm

      Please, advise your family not to judge your brother’s girlfriend based on her parents separation. It’s the fear of such judgments that keep abused women/men in marriages that are detrimental to their health/lives “…for the sake of the children..’. or “Who will marry mu daughter if she comes from a broken home?” Divorces happen for several reasons, and he family could have made the best of the situation and raised their children to be well-adjusted.

  • shandu February 22, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I would never had married my ex if I knew the disfunction in his family. I come from a family where we talk about everything. These people walk around and pretend everything is fine even when there is fire on the mountain. We were separated for several years during which he was living with another woman yet his father kept telling me he believes we will work out. Here i was thinking who are these people? Your son is living with another woman and you tell me it’s okay? .I have since filed for divorce and happy raising my children alone by the grace of God
    Very good idea to dig deeper into the family you marry.
    Marriage is never just between two people it’s both families.

  • msy February 22, 2016 at 1:19 am

    Dear writer, yes marriage is about families too but as in your case what happens if people refuse to marry you because of your father’s violence? How would you feel? You talk about forgiving him – cool, but what if a potential suitor feels you may have your father’s violence running through your veins? Therefore making you undateable/not good for marriage?

  • alwayshappy February 22, 2016 at 2:12 am

    Dig, Unearth, Hire private investigator sef,… even if hindsight is 20/20, where our human diligence fails may God’s supernatural love and grace be ever enough to see us through. Never will i forsake or abandon you is a promise from a sovereign God.

  • Ebere February 22, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Wow…I’ve really gotten a lot more scared than I was. Make God help us sha

  • Nahum February 22, 2016 at 4:46 am

    Most Nigerian homes are dysfunctional and raise dysfunctional children. How many marriages have broken down because the men have refused to communicate with their wives and work on their marriages? Where did these men learn such behavior from? Their fathers of course. Anytime the first wife pisses off Papa, he will run to second wife and so on. The men learn from this and rather than working on their marriages, they run to side chicks, who now feel special and think they are the goose that laid the golden egg. What they don’t know is that bros will repeat the cycle with them. This is why Nigerian men don’t like feminists. We call them out on their bull s*it.

  • tope February 22, 2016 at 7:28 am

    I grew up with ma parents and ma dad used to beat ma mom. Very abusive father en he is still like that even at old age. When i met ma wifeshe told me negative tins abt her dad en when i met him he showed me his bad side d way he talked. Nice to me but i noticed he was into spiritual tins-cele ways. I didnt allow all dis to affect us we got married with 2kids en we r happy. Ma wife is ma best friend. We talk abt EVERYthing. So it doesnt mata it depends on individual

    • Oma February 22, 2016 at 11:43 am

      No, it matters, but it depends on the individual as you also rightly said.
      And whats the ‘ma’ instead of ‘my’ it takes about same amount of time and energy to write both doesn’t it?

      • tope February 22, 2016 at 1:44 pm

        Ma en my na same. So far u get wetin i dey write. Na typing i no speak. I fit type yours as urs. Im used t txt tying

    • Caligula February 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Hi Tope, I’m feeling your comment! You’re a good dude. God bless your family, happy you found a wonderful wife. 🙂 At least you both know your past and you know what you don’t want to carry on into your nuclear family. That’s what you call progress ????

  • Dysfunctional!!!! February 22, 2016 at 8:34 am

    As adults I think the onus is on you to either pick or drop traits inherited or adopted from your upbringing. As most Nigerian families, my father was both verbally and physically abusive to my mum and my siblings. He had an awful temper and was(still is to a large extent) overly sarcastic. I grew up with the mentality that all guys cheat and they aren’t to be trusted because of that. In my first relationship I realised I also had anger issues and even slapped my ex once when stuff got real heavy. I had to remove myself from that situation and take conscious steps to work on myself so that I didnt turn into the thing that I hated the most. I prayed and took control of my emotions and I can firmly say I’ve been worked on. My siblings and I took bits and pieces of the bad traits of our parents especially my pops but we worked it out.
    For partners I would say be vigilant and more importantly try to discern how much the disfunctionality has affected their adult life and if the effect is still overmuch then please by all means scram!!!!. However I won’t say because family members are dysfunctional then the person is not to be associated with. Na!

  • Rohi February 22, 2016 at 8:57 am

    I wish i had listen to all d advises from people that knew abt my husband’s family history 8yrs ago, yes in my case i knew abt his abusive, violent and adulterous background but i was so stupidly in love and i refuse to listen. Coming from a polygamous background myself i thought that no one was perfect and believed we will make things work. 8yrs on and i am living with a man that has no conscience chases me with cutlass and mortar pestle at will, am so afraid for my life and can’t leave my children behind. I sincerely wish someone out there should learn from me

    • Another angle February 22, 2016 at 11:21 am

      Are you financially dependent on him? How many kids do you have?

  • Mr x February 22, 2016 at 8:58 am

    @tope i totally agree with u! As a kid from a dysfunctional home…(parents divorced at a young age, average income,) i have always wondered why kids from sopposedly good homes (with money and caring parents) turn out wrongly…i have always wished to be like these kids but when i see them…i am surprised how they waste the opportunities they have.

  • Chynwe February 22, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Family background really affects individuals. Most ladies take after their mum’s behavior. Investigating before jumping in always the best. In my language it’s called “I ju ajuju”.Not looking well before leaping make a lot of younger spouse jump out as soon they jump in.

  • Noname February 22, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    People are using the word most and people are liking those comments? I hardly saw a dysfunctional family while growing up in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I grew up around normal monogamous families. It’s from the 90s I started hearing of dysfunctional families which arose from my generation getting married, not getting it right and leading to dysfunctional homes. Even then just a few not most. @caligula you said you can be gangster and you think you didn’t get that from your dysfunctional home? SMH.

    • bridget February 22, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      Mayb people in the 70s/80s/90s didnt notice dysfunctional families as the idea of “dysfunctionalism” wasn’t and isnt that well accepted in our culture. Just a thought. …

      All the examples listed in the comments also happened in those times, none of them is particular to modern times. it’s just that we have only recently started questioning/trying to understand the behaviors and their implications.

  • LEM February 22, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    @Noname, I was just wondering myself if ‘most’ families where dysfunctional then I must have been living under a rock. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, my family and those who lived around (family friends and neighbours) were normal families with few exceptions (note: FEW exceptions). So I don’t know where people get this notion that MOST Nigerian families are dysfunctional. Please that is not true.

    • LEM February 22, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      ‘were’ not where

    • Manny February 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm

      Were you inside the house with them? The normal family might be very very abnormal behind closed doors.

  • teeyyyy February 22, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    i am coming to terms that husband is from a dysfunctional family… it is from one terrible attitude and pattern to another. at this moment, i cannot deal with all his family anymore!!! and finding it hard to relate with hubby cause he has got a huge and heap of ‘demon’ to deal. the good part is i and our kids are not financially dependent on him and my family has been so supportive… looking at taking it a tad bit further by getting my kids to live with me… hubby wants us to stay together but i am scared… i don’t know if i can live with him anymore

  • Damseldami February 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Hmmmmmm… I was having this conversation with my friend some time ago. it was when I separated with my ex I realised he is the result of a dysfunctional home. His father had two wives, his parents separated, father dead since when he was little, mother had two more husband. Ex grew up in boarding school and grandma, mum was too busy making money not caring for her children upbringing. Likewise me I grew up with my parents and siblings. We were close. now I understand why ex still have that egocentric behaviour , he’s always about himself and no one can talk to him. Threw away a beautiful gifts God gave him. A wife, two children both male and female. A family but he threw it away because he chose not to be different from his upbringing. Recently he told me that I can keep the kids that it doesn’t stop him from having more elsewhere!!! Yet he wouldn’t grant me a divorce smh. Pls to the lawyers in the house living in UK how can I get a DIVORCE. Ex refuse to grant me one. Expect me to grace the expense which I do not have and I believe both should financial it. We have been separated a year now but the marriage has not been working about two years and he has moved on having relationships and all that. Whereas me I have been on my own I cannot move on cos I feel married and in my eyes I will be committing adultery cos am married more reason I need to finalise the divorce. A friend told me that if ex is not ready to give me the divorce then I will wait 5 years after that whether ex like it or not the judge will say yes to it is that true? Oh I even asked him if he want divorce he said not now until when he want to remarry imagine so I should waste my life away and be single till he divorce me only God knows when! Seriously the heart of men are wicked. Am still young just 28 o pls advice me e joor biko!

    • Anon February 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm

      Yes I have heard about the 5 years thing but you should talk to a divorce lawyer..good luck

      • damseldam1 February 22, 2016 at 7:47 pm

        tried to talk to lawyers but they saying before they can ope their mouth i need to pay and also i inquired about the total cost for it all u know the advice , court etc they gave me a quote of about £900 which i do not have at the moment . Even ask ex to let us split the cost he was chatting bulls of not having money likewise he has money to pay for his PHD kmt

    • DeeDeee February 22, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/relationships/relationship-problems/ending-a-marriage/

      you need to contact citizen-advice in your area for free advice….you may also be able to get legal aids and get your fee pay for. if you husband decide he does not agree he will need to pay when he fill in court paper. DO NOT GO ON WHAT PEOPLE TELL YOU DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.

      If one of you doesn’t agree to the divorce

      If you start divorce proceedings and your partner doesn’t agree, they will have to fill in court papers called an Answer. They have to say why they don’t agree that the marriage has broken down. There might be a court hearing for a judge to decide whether the marriage has broken down. These hearings are very rare, as in most cases a defended divorce will be resolved before a court hearing.

      If the court agrees to grant the divorce, they will grant a decree nisi. Six weeks after the court grants the decree nisi, the partner who applied for the divorce can apply to the court for a decree absolute. This confirms the divorce. After a decree absolute has been made, either partner can marry again or enter into a civil partnership.

  • Doxa February 22, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Aunty, cutlass, pestle and you are worried about your kids.
    Carry your kids and run o, carry them and run!

  • Then no one will marry any one February 22, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    If you all are saying this, then no one will marry anyone.

    Truth is your own parents have their eish while that of your partner has theirs.

    Going by that, no one is fit for marriage cos you both came out from a dysfunctional home

    sefini

  • Asake February 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    I lay all my cards on the table from day 1. If you want to go, leave. Maybe because i am a chatterbox ????? but I say it at as long as you ask.

    • Toba February 22, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      This is so me!! Maybe not from Day 1 sha.

  • Teezy March 1, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Am happy i bumped into this page. We humans like to put family’s past into consideration. am not saying that it is a bad thing but sometimes we have to look past that. i was in a similar situation though with my ex boyfriend whom i thought we were gonna have a future together. But had to crash the 6yr relationship just because my parents said that we don’t marry from his place. According to my Dad, he said that his people are Osu. Even though i tried to talk sense into my dad’s brain, all to no avail. Same thing with my mum too ( i thought she could see matters with me)……we both became confused when i had to tell my ex bf about it. We tried to hold on for so long but what is the point when your parents do not approve of the man you wanna spend the rest of your life with. These days, most especially the Igbo’s, we tend to take culture and tradition to chest and forget that those things have gone. I think Parents need to know that the world is becoming more advanced each day and Christianity has come to stay.
    Sometimes i wished he wasn’t from the village and we would have a life. sometimes i wished that we eloped to another country and start a life.. but whats the joy if you don’t get to see you family again or get disowned. Am the first Daughter and i have siblings who look up to me too.
    if i was to come back to this world in another lifetime, i pray to meet him again cos he is one of a kind. He doesn’t know this but i still love him very much but i have to suppress that feeling inorder to move on, i dont wish any one to be in my shoes.

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