Inspiring Change Through Literature and Media
They either make or mar you.
They either build or destroy your relationships.
And if you are female- you really should watch it because being a mother of nations and a builder of our society, your attitude is about everything!
And I’m not talking about obviously bad or nasty attitudes like anger, bitterness and pride.
I’m referring to those hidden and subtle ones!
‘Poor attitudes’ I chose to call them.
Didn’t the Lord Himself once mention that the thief cometh not but for to steal, to kill and destroy? (John 10:10)
That kind of gives a summary of how these poor attitudes operate!
Talk of attitudes which trigger defective thinking patterns: attitudes like self- pity, guilt, shame, apprehension, the victim mentality, negativity, pessimism, cynicism, inferiority complex to mention but a few!
Smooth operators they are really; because they creep in, operate and abscond unnoticed, leaving their victims practically dead without any clues as to the cause of death!
Eventually, they leave behind such a bitter aftertaste – and set in motion such compelling chain reactions that keep their victims and the whole of humanity plagued from generation to generation!
Even after they are long done and gone!
Talk of the negative aftermath of these poor attitudes. Consequences like
and the likes.
Such unnecessary evils!
Such needless pains!
Probably, just because …
Somebody became manipulative when he lost faith in the fact that just a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ should be just enough… Or because …
While trying to cover up his faults, somebody exaggerated someone else’s faults and blew the truth out of proportion… Or because …
Somebody who had experienced a heart break could not trust again … Or because…
Somebody who had been hurt apportioned blames inappropriately, accusing the guiltless while the real culprit went scot-free…
But thank God for Jesus who came to interrupt the natural order; redeeming us from the power, guilt, pains and consequences of sin through the shedding of His blood!
Glory to Jesus, the power in Whose blood is able to cleanse, save and deliver anyone from the power, guilt, pains and the ugly repercussions of sin; as well as put an end to those hideous chain reactions which have over burdened mankind from generation to generation!
He erases the sinful history of whosoever believes, sets him free from the web of negative penalties and gives him the chance to live all over again -totally free from the painful repercussions of sin that plagued his predecessors.
Now to our story:
A Bad Day for Rose…
Rose arrived work sulky.
With her head bowed, she walked past the two elderly security men at the car pack slowly without a word of salutation.
And from the look of things, she wouldn’t have responded even if they had greeted.
“Na wah o” , they wondered aloud. “Wetin come do this ‘anty’ today?”
Rose had had an argument with her fiancé the previous evening, which had left their relationship seriously threatened.
They should be talking of formalizing things by now, having being in courtship for over a year.
Besides, they had all it takes to settle down, and they weren’t getting any younger.
However, Fred was being very reluctant!
Out of the blues!
He had once been overly excited about settling down- when their relationship first started; but suddenly, he started growing cold!
This had been the case for about three months now!
Worse still, Fred had been coming up with series of excuses why he couldn’t and shouldn’t settle down now- as though to confirm her fears!!!
Rose was an innocent beauty- a very good and humble girl indeed!
She had this chaste look about her; and it was that angelic look which had drawn Fred to her to start with. He simply adored her!
She was another passionate Church girl: another dedicated member of the 20, 000 congregation Praise Assembly, one of the fastest growing Churches in town.
She was a tenor in the 800-man church choir, and had caught Fred’s attention in Church while actively in the Lord’s service.
She was another ardent follower of Reverend Tunde James, who walked the walk and talked the talk.
Nevertheless, Rose’s major weakness was this herd-instinct:
She had no problems as long as everything went fine. However, she sometimes found it hard to find her way to the Lord on her own – especially when faced with life’s challenges.
As for Fred, he was a dashing young man in his thirties- about a year older than Rose.
He was a Sociology graduate from UniPort with about four years of post graduate experience.
Fred was a man of unparalleled intelligence with great leadership qualities.
Besides he was very kind and morally upright; and beyond being a very sound Christian, Fred was a man of integrity- he kept to his words!
Ironically, his recent behaviour was really putting his uprightness to the test in Rose’s records.
She had first noticed this strange behaviour about the time when Fred, who had been a Civil Servant for about two years, got a job in Apex Bank – the industry leader. And she had wondered at the coincidence!
Fred had been reluctant and full of excuses ever since- lame excuses in Rose’s opinion!
“I need to acclimatize to my new job; things are done differently here…”
“I need to make more money”
“I need a bigger apartment”
“There is this project I’m working on…”
“My parents say to hold on a little …”
And the list went on and on…
Now Rose was not the type of person who believed in highs and lows of life! In fact, cold and winter did not exist in the dictionary of her entire little world!
For her, every thing had to come out perfectly: precisely as wished, planned, and prayed for.
Moreover, she was totally oblivious of the fact that everything in life has its seasons- relationships inclusive.
She couldn’t comprehend that there are periods when one just needs to be a little patient while prayerfully holding on in faith.
For her, things had to be on the high side: it just must be ‘summer’ all of the time!
Hence, it never even crossed her simple mind that the demands of Fred’s new job could be responsible for his mood swings… No. Everything had to be about her!
“Fred must have fallen out of love with her…”
“He is certainly ‘tripping’ for someone else right now…”
And similar thoughts had been plaguing her mind ever since the change started.
As said earlier, the problem with Rose was that she found it difficult to talk to the Lord about pressing issues of her life- recent developments in her relationship with Fred inclusive.
In challenging times like this, she would rather whine and complain to friends and ‘sympathizers’ , or worst case (in the absence of ‘pity parties’), follow her addictive negative thought cycles.
Expectedly, the psychological outcome of this would always drive Fred even further away- leaving the gap between them wider by the day!
Rose, who had worked with Unity Bank for over three years, had earned more than Fred throughout their courtship; that is, until his recent appointment.
About Last Night…
Eventually, while hanging out together at the City Mall after work the previous night, the bone of contention had come up again.
One thing had led to another, and Fred had told her point blank she was free to go get another guy if she couldn’t be patient enough for him!
Rose had walked out on him quietly and taken a cab to her apartment.
Fred did not stop her. Neither had he called to retrieve his words since then.
Expectedly, this had left Rose shattered.
She hardly slept that night.
As usual, neither did it cross her mind once to offer a word of prayer about it all or at worst, try to talk to someone whose opinion she could trust, for example, Pastor Femi- her Zonal Pastor, or may be someone like Mrs. Idris, her motherly Branch Manager at work who took special interest in young people like her!
Instead, she had lapsed into good old Self- pity:
That deadly ‘Why Me’ Syndrome!
That spirit of deception which clouds the sense of judgment of culprits and so twists their perception that they see themselves as innocent victims while transferring all the blame to their preys …
That “why ‘harmless’ me?” feeling
Actually, Rose was one of the countless Nigerian women plagued by the subtle but venomous ‘Victim Mentality‘– one of the maladies which silently but rapidly poisons and destroys relationships.
You guessed right!
“Fred is the meanest guy ever in the world!”
“Such an ingrate”
“How could he treat her that way? Her who had always supported him and stood patiently by him when he had nothing…”
“In fact, she can remember taking a five hundred thousand Naira loan from her mum on his behalf, which he hasn’t even paid back till date”
“Now that he has just a taste of good life, he wants to ditch her”
“He must be seeing someone else”
“Most likely one of those Apex Bank babes”
And the cycle went on and on
Now consider the defective thought pattern.
Imagine the negative mindset!
Never for once did she pause to consider what challenges Fred might be facing or what she could have done wrong to trigger such reactions from him.
She was the saint and Fred the two-horned and two-fanged devil!
She was the victim, and Fred the culprit.
In her opinion, Fred was solely responsible for the decline in their relationship! Fred was the bad guy and she, the good girl.
She was just unfortunate, definitely.
“See what she gets despite how hard she had tried for the relationship…Despite all her investments and sacrifices…
From Generation to Generation…
Rose had picked that Victim Mentality from her mother, Ann, whom she had unconsciously watched ‘black-list’ her dad till they got separated when she was 12.
Anne and Wale had met while studying in the U.K. and had returned to Nigeria shortly before their wedding.
Rose was the first of three kids- all girls (rather unfortunately for attitude transfer tendency reasons)
Ann was a very sweet, innocent and gentle woman. She had this angelic disposition (almost naïve) and would easily pass as a saint (to herself and others).
YET Ann was a perfect complainer!
This shows clearly that good outward nature or perfect external behaviour is not the same as and cannot pass for good morals, maturity or a good heart. A lot depends on what goes on inside, which will always take their tolls on our lives some day!
Ann’s case was even trickier because being such a gentle soul; it would always be hard for anyone to perceive her as a wailer because of her sweet and angelic nature.
And naturally, whoever she disliked or picked on always bore the brunt because anyone could easily empathize or take sides with her without even hearing her out critically.
Ann nagged about every single thing in life and could hardly ever see any good in any situation or find anything to be grateful to God for.
Wale, Rose’s dad had catered for the family’s upkeep, school fees, accommodation and everything else till date; yet in Ann’s opinion, the guy couldn’t do anything right.
Though Wale doubtless had his faults, he did have some very good qualities as well, which could have at least sustained their marriage given the chance.
However, Ann just couldn’t see anything good about him!
The picture Ann had painted about their separation was that Wale had ditched her for another woman because she couldn’t give him male children…
“She who had fed him, supported him when they were abroad, been there for him when he had nothing…”
“How could anyone ever do that to such a harmless angel as her?”
Wale was totally at fault while she was completely innocent.
Notice any trends?
Back to how Rose’s Work Day was going:
Rose’s Branch Manager Mrs. Idris noticed her mood as soon as she entered the office that morning and wondered what could be eating her up.
Mrs. Idris was a sweet natured woman in her mid-forties.
She had a first degree in Psychology. Not by choice, but she didn’t meet the cut off point for her dream course which was Accounting in those days.
She had however ventured into Accounting as a second degree and had since taken up various appointments in that capacity.
Mrs. Idris was happily married with two kids who were studying in Canada.
The recent increase in the level of assault against the family institution, as well as the various mistakes young people make coupled with the dire but avoidable consequences on their later lives and relationships have been of major concern to her.
Just some few years earlier, news of how a beautiful colleague had been gruesomely murdered by her husband had made the headlines.
Similar news of assault, violence, separation, divorce and related issues bring great burdens to her heart and tears to her eyes. And consequently, she had vowed to be a guide to as many young people as possible in matters pertaining to life and relationships.
This personal commitment made her pay very close attention to most of the young people she worked with: their welfare was a major concern to her.
just like the proverbial ‘Elder’ in the market place who wouldn’t watch the head of a baby dangle akwardly on its mother’s back without making amends as goes the Yoruba adage.
Adebimpe’s case had happened barely two weeks earlier, and her heart still bled thinking of the confused young woman.
Mrs. Idris had married at an early age.
Being married for close to twenty five years, she knew certainly from experience that whenever there are conflicts in relationships, no party could be totally right leaving the other totally wrong. In all cases with no exception at all, both parties contributed to the decline to some extent.
She had returned to Angela’s house to have a lengthy discussion with Adebimpe. She had also had a similar meeting with SOJ without anyone’s knowledge.
She had practically dug for her facts, and had made her verdict on the premise of her findings.
However, she had resolved to allow the dust settle down a little before inviting the couple over to her place for a dinner so they could really talk.
The summary of her conclusion is this:
SOJ doubtless had issues with anger management, and agreeably, battering a woman is a really hideous act which should by all means be punishable under the law!
Nevertheless, Adebimpe had her major faults also which, shouldn’t be swept under the carpet by any means for the future of their relationship!
The sad thing about cases of domestic violence against women is that the sense of judgment of onlookers gets beclouded by the gravity of the man’s offence coupled with the level of pity and empathy it generates for the woman.
And in most cases, the woman, who might very well be equally or even more guilty, is left to go scot-free and ‘unattended’!
But she might very well have even graver issues to deal with!
From her little findings, Adebimpe was very rude!
Or how could a woman ask her husband whether “his mother” forgot to teach him how to treat women?
That is a very grievous offence which, any man would take very personal!
Again, why did Adebimpe strike her husband back in ‘self defense’? She should have escaped for her dear life- knowing his weakness!
Adebimpe’s case was like someone tempting a cat with fish, or tempting a thief with money.
She knew her husband’s weakness. Why play on them and tempt him to assault her?
In her own words, didn’t her mother teach her too that you don’t toy with your man’s weakness?
Didn’t she teach her that you don’t play the spoilt brat beside a temperamental man like SOJ?
SOJ sure loved her and had been trying his best to cover up for his weaknesses- (only his best wasn’t enough – he really should have gone for a kind of therapy).
However, Adebimpe also should have been responsible enough to appreciate his efforts, and to honour him by not taking chances with certain things while with him!
“Hmmmm… kids of nowadays!” Mrs. Idris sighed out loud. “Will they ever learn?”
And here was her lovely Rose all sullen and sulky since morning!
She had been observing her since resumption, and when she hadn’t cheered up till lunch time she got concerned.
From the look of things, she could tell that trouble was looming big time!
She decided to ask what was amiss- once again, risking her normal initial fear of looking like a busy body…
“Another redeemed future is worth the tag anyways…” she concluded, sighing aloud!
Read a preview of Chapter 6 here…
Funmi Adebayo © 2013