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Adedoyin Adebayo: Being the Child of Separated Parents is Not a Deficiency

Years later, while studying and living in a boarding secondary school, I often wondered why kids whose parents were divorced or separated cried and went about with sad faces. That is because I never considered my parents’ separation a thing to cry about.

Adedoyin Adebayo

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For most of my life, my parents have been separated. As a little girl, I remember often moving from one place to another, living with different people and changing from one elementary school to another.

When I wasn’t with either of my parents, I lived with relatives – uncles, aunties, grandparents (maternal and paternal) in different locations within the country. So I had the privilege of attending and experiencing life at both public and private schools in Nigeria. You could say I had quite the adventure growing up.

In primary one, I remember being called “fatherless” by a fellow pupil when I was in public school. My guess is that he assumed I was fatherless because he had never seen my dad at the school, and the only person he knew me with was my grandma who worked at the school at the time. The incident made me so sad and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The next time my father visited me at my gran’s, I reported the boy to him and daddy gave me his pictures to take to school and show to the boy that “that’s my father right there”. And oh, I did! I took the pictures to school the next school day and I rubbed it in his face. With that, the boy never had the gut to call me fatherless again.

Years later, while studying and living in a boarding secondary school, I often wondered why kids whose parents were divorced or separated cried and went about with sad faces. That is because I never considered my parents’ separation a thing to cry about.

Majority of my peers and friends at the time spoke a lot about their parents. How their mum and dad did this, how they did that, how they went to this place and that place together. They had lots of pleasant things to talk about and for me to listen to. I remember being internally ashamed a lot because I didn’t have that. So for a very long time, I kept it to myself. I mean, I couldn’t contemplate being the “Doyin” kids talked about in class, hostel and dining hall when the gist of “did you know that Doyin’s parents are “divorced?” came up.

But as I grew, something in me longed for depth. For more. To live. To accept what I have been given, who I am and where I came from. So, I gradually started being open about my parents not being together.

With time, I soon noticed majority of these people began to pity me. Sometimes, I’d meet older people and when the topic of parents came up and I say “No, my parents aren’t together”. Some of them with similar backgrounds will have this really sad look on their face and then go, “I’m also from a broken home so I understand what you’re going through and how you must be feeling. Just stay strong”. But I’m always left wondering what is going on. I mean, “what’s with the talk of ‘broken home’? Can you please not be like this? Nothing is wrong with me. I’m perfectly fine. This right here, what you’re doing now, is what will make me feel bad.”

But then, I realized that the reason some of those people with similar background give pitiful looks while saying things like that is because:

They lack understanding

Some assume that since your parents aren’t together, then automatically you must be a sad person.
Truth be told, the separation of two people who once loved/professed love to each other is a sad thing and it often has an effect on the children. However, the kids don’t remain kids forever. They eventually grow up, realize and come to an understanding of why their parents are not together and they move on with their lives.

A habit of self-pity

For some of these people, they react that way because of a personal habit of self-pity. They could be the type that sit and feel sorry for themselves for a very long time because of unpleasant happenings in their lives.

I believe that as humans, it’s okay to be sad when you go through terrible experiences or witness unpleasant things. What’s not okay is staying in that state forever. You may be tempted to get into the self-pity mode, but don’t fall for it. Don’t accept it. Realize that you’re better off without self-pity.

More importantly, it is better to not give people the chance to plunge you into self-pity by highlighting your deficiencies and rubbing it in your face.

However, if you’re already there, it’s time to get up, take charge of your life and move. I challenge you to leave the self-pity zone and go make beautiful things happen.

Adedoyin is an ambivert, pregnant with so many ideas and is super excited to share them with the rest of the world one step at a time! You may follow her on Twitter - @_Dedoyin, Instagram - @hi.doyin or LinkedIn (via https://www.linkedin.com/in/adedoyinadebayo/ )

13 Comments

  1. Dee

    October 25, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Valid points here. The adult (child from broken home) needs to make a conscious decision not to allow the parents experience shape the way s/he sees things.

    Then the ”stigma/pity” comes from the period leading to the divorce.
    Fighting, silent treatment, tears, neglect or violence within this period and all in the presence of the kids. People naturally expect the child to be sad.

    2
  2. Akinyemi

    October 25, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    This is the best article I’ve read so far this year. Turning your weakness to your strength. God bless the writer 😘😘

    1
    • Akinyemi

      October 26, 2019 at 11:54 am

      Hello Deaf Architect, Sitting back and reading your comments, I just came to realised the kind of world we live in right now.How could you write things of such? Do you know what it takes to come out of your past and let the public know and learn from it?
      Are you thinking just because she didn’t post all the weird experience she had as a kid she had everything smooth from her divorced parents too? Nope bro, I’ll say she deserves an accolade if you know what she passed through and for her to have decided to come out publicly for people in this kind of situation to learn from. I’ll advise you to pick from the story bro. It’s not an easy thing to be a victim of things like this. It took me years before I could come and accept this kind of dilemma life brought. So,let’s encourage someone who is bold to come out and speak on it.

  3. Taiye

    October 25, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    Nice write-up ‘Doyin.

  4. Ayo

    October 25, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Great write up. This has changed how I see people

    1
  5. Deaf Architect

    October 25, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    I can’t believe this write up. How can you feel so smug and give ill advice. Do you know what their circumstances are due to them being from separated homes? No but you have appointed yourself to give advice without understanding the issues. Let me give you some real life examples People from separated homes who later get molested by their step mom or dad or relative. just because it didn’t happen to you that way doesn’t mean it is the same for everyone. Others who were abandoned by one of their separated parent who is capable of providing for them financially. I’m sure if you looked hard enough you will find more examples. Maybe do a good research first before you start giving misinformed advice or come from a place of understanding and empathy before you can dish out sage words.

    • Akinyemi

      October 26, 2019 at 7:49 pm

      Hello Deaf Architect, Sitting back and reading your comments, I just came to realised the kind of world we live in right now.How could you write things of such? Do you know what it takes to come out of your past and let the public know and learn from it?
      Are you thinking just because she didn’t post all the weird experience she had as a kid she had everything smooth from her divorced parents too? Nope bro, I’ll say she deserves an accolade if you know what she passed through and for her to have decided to come out publicly for people in this kind of situation to learn from. I’ll advise you to pick from the story bro. It’s not an easy thing to be a victim of things like this. It took me years before I could come and accept this kind of dilemma life brought. So,let’s encourage someone who is bold to come out and speak on it.

  6. Borokinni

    October 26, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    Beautiful piece! Thank you for the vulnerability. Love you!

  7. Gmatt Matthew Afolabi

    October 26, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Nice post! I can imagine what going through those moments of depression feel like because I’ve been there before.

    You’ve really made a valid point, hard to take though, but nothing as letting go the past and making the best out of the present. Yap, not that easy but in my own way, I feel that is the first healing point…

    Meanwhile, I must say, you’ve really done a great job by sharing this…

    1
  8. Deaf Architect

    October 26, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Dear Akinyemie you didn’t get my point. She comes out publicly to talk about how she got on being a product of seperated parents. She then makes sweeping generalisations about the people in the same situation as her that have pitiful looks. She says they have such demeanor because they lack understanding and have a habit of self pity. How did she come to these conclusions? Did she do any research on the issue or she came to her conclusions based on how she feels about them? My point was and still is that just because she saw them having “pitiful looks” doesn’t mean it is about self pity, they might be going through worse things that happened as a result of their parents being seperated but she has no idea about this.

  9. Ibitoye akinbobola

    October 27, 2019 at 8:12 am

    Grace to manage the situation and manage it without grudge and offence has kept you going. You went through it just because of today and to give light to those that are down. Similar experience dear. Keep going, your background should not have your back on ground. Kudo!

  10. Oladimeji Alaka

    October 28, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    I really love this article. Don’t be drawn back by what has happened in the past. The best we can do is to move on.

  11. Dare

    October 28, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    What a torchy story! It takes courage to
    to be focus. Keep your head up and never let your past wey you down.

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