NOT a few Nigerians were shocked by the sordid details of the rot that caused the marriage of music star, Tiwa Savage and Tunji Balogun (TeeBillz) to crumble.
TeeBillz had first gone on Instagram to make degrading statements about his wife Tiwa, his mother-in-law and father. This promptly set off a firestorm in Nigeria’s internet community. Tiwa’s response, delivered through an interview she granted to online television, Pulse TV, was like pouring petrol on a raging fire.
Since the scandal broke, many people have been wondering about the state of the mind of TeeBillz, which drove him to start off the online war with his wife and even contemplated suicide. Some others are similarly trying hard to understand why Tiwa Savage allowed the terrible downward slide of her marriage to TeeBillz to progress so far down hill before she finally decided to walk out of the union.
A psychiatrist in Lagos who spoke with Sunday Sun, Dr. Ayomide Adebayo, opined that the behaviour of TeeBillz, demonstrated through what he published about his wife and mother-in-law did not indicate that he was in a normal state of mind at the material time. He argued that a normal person would not have written the sort of things he wrote except the person was under some kind of magical spell or influence of psychotic substances.
Adebayo explained further: “As a psychiatrist, you can’t make a diagnosis of someone you have not seen. In as much as I am not the one he is seeing, there is a limit to what I can say. What I can say will only be tentative. Basically, the kind of things that he wrote didn’t sound like a normal response to the problems they were having in the marriage. Even if all he wrote was true (which I don’t know for sure whether it was true or not), the response on one hand does not sound like what one would expect. On the other hand, it sounds like what you would expect from someone suffering a mental illness, that has psychotic episode. Psychotic meaning that the person is losing touch with reality, which means they might be seeing what you are seeing and hearing what you are hearing but their interpretation is different, having ideas of persecution, whereby the person imagines that people are against him. When they said that drugs were involved, I said that is another possibility. Drugs might have come in but then it means the drugs may have triggered the psychotic episode. That explains why his behaviour was irrational.
On Tiwa’s reluctance to leave her husband, Adebayo revealed that people who stay in abusive relationships might have lost their sense of urgency, which means the ability to feel you can do something to change the situation you are in. The minute a person begins to feel he cannot change, he or she might just stay in that position no matter how terrible it is.
As he noted, Tiwa had claimed that TeeBillz had become abusive, quite unlike how he was at the beginning of the relationship.
His words: “With the way she described it, it seems to be more of neglect which is a form of abuse. It sounded more like emotional abuse and neglect. Neglect is a form of abuse even though people don’t realize it. From the things she said, it sounded like she could not leave, but then she suddenly decided to leave. The fact that she emphasized the part that she would leave the marriage seemed like someone coming to terms with her situation and knowing she didn’t have to stay to save her marriage.”
From Isheri-Magodo, where she runs a professional practice as a psychologist, Ifeoluwa Idowu, who also spoke with Sun Sunday, attributed the behaviour of TeeBillz to psychotic problems.
“Professionally I can say that Teebillz is suffering from psychotic depression and anxiety. This is a mental health disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest and pleasure, feeling hopeless and helpless. From what Tiwa said and according to his rants and suicide attempt, I can definitely relate this to depression. Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition, they’re wrong. It is a real illness with real symptoms and it’s not a sign of weakness neither is it something you can snap out from by pulling yourself together.”
Speaking further on why Tiwa remained in the marriage as long as she did and covered up the sordid and embarrassing behaviours of her estranged husband, Idowu said: “Only Tiwa knows what she’s been through and we can never really know the extent at which she loves her husband and why she covered up for him. For me, I can only say they’ve had better days together, romantic holidays and sacrifices. Also let’s not forget, this is the father of her child. I’m sure she was definitely hoping and praying for change. Besides it’s not something anyone can be proud of but we all have limits and I believe she has reached hers.”
Dr. Leonard Okonkwo, a clinical psychologist, believes anyone in such a relationship would want to cover up for the man to save her image especially if she has portrayed her husband to the world as the perfect husband. All intents and purposes will be to keep that standard up even when he has fallen far below the standard.
“She did that to protect her own image so that it will not affect her career and give a negative picture of herself because I heard in passing during radio commentaries on how they had always portrayed their relationship as a perfect one. There is no perfect relationship. If you try to portray that and then find that something completely opposite is happening, the next thing is to try to cover it up since you have portrayed the opposite to the world.”
Commenting on the suicide attempt of TeeBillz, Okonkwo explained suicide in two ways – as an actual attempt to take one’s life even though it might be aborted and the other suicide attempt, which means not taking one’s life but drawing attention to one’s self. He further explained that a feeling of vengeance might have driven TeeBillz to contemplate suicide. In this regard, he said that a person may feel messed-up by somebody and unable to retaliate. This could spur the person to do everything possible to destroy the other person’s career.
His words: “If you feel inferior to your wife and you see your wife is doing so well, maybe when she started off, she wasn’t doing so well but suddenly she just started doing well without you, you also want to show that you can pull the person down. That might have informed the man’s decision to come up and make different accusations.”
One key factor in the Tiwa-TeeBillz saga is their son, Jamil, and the effect this would have on him in the future. On this, Idowu said: “Jamil will grow up and ask questions because unfortunately we have a lot of story tellers around. Any little thing or when he overreacts, which we all sometimes do, someone will make reference to this particular issue and he will begin to ask questions as to why it wasn’t handled differently.”
However, Okonkwo believes that a child needs his two parents to help him grow and adjust to life properly but if the current situation is managed well, the boy will grow up fine and all this drama would be in the archives in the future.