Sunken Ships: There’s Not Much I Need My Father For Now

July 29, 2022

Tobi* loved their dad. They were the best of friends and did everything together. But things changed and they started to fight too much, until Tobi felt the only solution was to put as much distance between them as possible. 

How would you describe your relationship with your dad growing up? 

Tobi: My dad and I were super close when I was younger. We used to wear “and co” and read the books he liked as a child. We always had something to talk about. Everyone around us knew how close we were. If anyone did anything to me, I’d go report to my dad. I trusted him a lot. 

What changed? 

Tobi: Entering JS 1 in 2009. Growing up, I was never made to do things like wash my own clothes and sweep. Being thrown into boarding school was hard. He could tell I was going through a lot, but he didn’t want to do anything about it. It seemed like a very wicked choice to me. 

With the amount of time I spent around my classmates, we would share experiences of our family lives. I soon realised there were some things my dad did I casually dismissed because they seemed normal. It wasn’t always like that, but something changed once I entered secondary school. 

He would passive-aggressively preach about me. He always complained I was too quiet, and he took my quietness as anger. Every time we prayed in the house, he kept trying to “deliver” me from anger. Then, there were the strange punishments — he would tell me to kneel in a wardrobe knowing fully well I hate the dark, or fast compulsorily, or lock me in my room. 

During holidays, I’d try to avoid everyone by spending a lot of time in my room, hiding. If I wasn’t in my room, there’d be something he’d berate or punish me for. 

RELATED: Sunken Ships: My Cousin Grew Up

How was it like when you finally graduated from secondary school? 

Tobi: It got worse. I didn’t get admission to the university because I was too young, so I spent some time doing tutorials for exams. In the lessons I attended, there were these boys from our church who I occasionally hung out with. Once that started, my dad complained about people seeing me talk to boys. It escalated to the point of him slapping me because they walked me home. It was tiring because he never treated any of my younger siblings like this. I was the bearer of everyone’s mistakes, and I took all his anger. 

How did he treat your siblings?

Tobi: As the eldest child, whatever they did was somehow my fault. Even if I wasn’t present or aware. Plus, he was always kinder in the way he spoke to them. Sure, he hit them, but he always hit me harder. 

That’s why when I got into university in 2017, the one thing I pushed for was my own place off-campus. Living in the hostel meant you’d have to go home once school closes. I put a lot of distance between us, and it helped that he didn’t try to force me back. He never looked for or tried to see me in school. The few times he called, I’d tune him out. His voice became white noise. 

That sounds better 

Tobi: It was. Everything was going great until the pandemic started in 2020. With the lockdown, there was already a lot of mental strain we were going through as a society. It broke my spirit, and I didn’t know what else to do, so I tried to talk to my dad about my mental health and how I felt depressed. His response was to pray it away. 

It felt like he was trying to use God to punish me. Whenever I did something he didn’t like, he’d try to pray or fast the problem away. It was ridiculous. Then, he tried to convince me that locing my hair was somehow responsible for why my life is the way it is, that God was angry with me. It really affected my relationship with God. 

RELATED: Sunken Ships: She Chose Jesus Over Me

I’m so sorry 

Tobi: After he got tired of shouting at me, he started to hit me. It made me realise I’d never have a proper relationship with my dad. He’s destroyed everything that could’ve been used as a bridge. 

As the lockdown restrictions eased, I got a remote job that allowed me to still pursue my degree. I moved to live with a friend and didn’t step foot in the house for a year. Then, on the 30th of December (2020), I went to pick up some clothes and left the house for another year. 

What about now? 

Tobi: I’ve been spending more time at home now. I haven’t moved out yet because I can’t afford to, but I do try to leave the house whenever I can. Currently, I haven’t stepped foot there in two months. It’s from friend’s house to friend’s house. Finishing school and getting a job reduced the amount of control he had over me. So there’s not much I need him for. 

What about your mum and siblings? Do you miss them? 

Tobi: I do miss them, but there’s no amount of missing them that’ll make up for how terrible I’d feel if I lived with them. I’m choosing myself. My siblings have a better relationship with him than I do, so they’re fine. I check in on them regularly. 

Have you ever tried to talk to him about how you feel? 

Tobi: Recently, I asked him if he knew he was harder on me than any of his other children, and he said he did know. He felt I was going to spoil, so he had to prevent it. Funny because I still spoil las las, but that’s his own. I didn’t want to hear anything else he had to say.

RELATED: Sunken Ships: I Didn’t Expect Our Relationship to End This Way

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

August 12, 2021

Chelle, 24, and Layide, 23 have been dating for seven months. Today on Love Life, they talk about striking a connection the moment they started talking, how their decision to stay friends changed and how long-distance affects their relationship.  What’s your earliest memory of each other? Layide: She was in a car, and I was […]


Now on Zikoko

November 25, 2022

Just three months to the start of the 2023 elections, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Abdullahi Adamu, started a beef with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It wasn’t about electoral violence or vote buying but rather a new feature of the 2023 elections. The APC national chairman believes Nigeria […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 15, 2019

There are two types of people in Nigeria right now: those who are proud Marlians, and those who are still in denial about stanning the divisive star. So, for those who proudly wear the Marlian tag, we made a quiz to test how well you really know Naira Marley. If you get more than 6 […]

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

February 26, 2020

Are you all set for marriage, or are you still figuring it out? Well, if you’re curious to know the answer, then this is the quiz for you. All you have to do is create your own ideal Nollywood wedding film, and we’ll tell you if you’re ready to say “I do”. Go ahead:

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

More from Ships

November 22, 2022

Among the things Douglas* wished for on his 24th birthday, finding love was not one of them. When he met Susie* in 2021, everything seemed right, even though she’s an unemployed student. But she agreed to date him if he promised not to treat her as his dependant.

November 17, 2022

The subjects of this week’s love life, Isoken* (19) and Dami* (21), met at a tutorial centre in 2020. They talk about why she turned him down the first three times he asked her out, lying to her parents about their relationship and dealing with their religious differences. 


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.