Saturday, 13 May 2017 19:49

Africans dependent personalities contribute to Africa's backwardness

Written by 


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

Earlier this week, out of the blues, a thirty nine year old man called me from Nigeria. He introduced his self by telling me that he read, at the Internet, an article I did on his dead nephew, Mike.

I had tried calling Mike and his phone was not picked up. After several tries I called a friend in the Los Angeles area and asked him to go check on him.  He did and learned from the apartments' manager that Mike is dead. She told him that Mike had died in his apartment.

I asked the friend to notify Mike's Aba people living in the Los Angeles area about what transpired. He did. Apparently, they sent his body back to Nigeria.

That was the last I heard about the matter.   So, a couple of days ago when a man called from Nigeria telling me that Mike was the senior brother of his mother and that Mike had promised to take care of him and his mother but now that he is dead that they have no one to take care of them, I was perplexed by that information. I wondered why he is telling me about his family affairs.

He said that he and his mother are suffering greatly and that he would like me to send to them money and help them out as Mike would have done for them.

I listened to him and could not believe what I am hearing. He is a stranger and does not know who I am and I do not know who he is and he is asking me to take care of him and his mother?

He told me that he attended a university at Calaba and that he is a pastor. So, here we have a thirty nine years old man, a pastor at a church calling a total stranger and asking him to take financial care of him and his mother!

Assuming that I have the money to do so, I do not have it, why should I take care of them? To him, apparently, it is because his nephew and I went to college together.

I did not say anything in reply to what this man was telling me. He called several times and I chose to not pick up the phone whenever he called, usually around 3 AM (my local time).

It occurred to me that at no time during his monologue (I did not talk, he was the one doing all the talking) did he ask me a question about his nephew, such as how he died, was he sick and the circumstances of a man dying in his apartment. He did not want to know about Mike's life but was distressed that the source of help for him and his mother is gone and he is looking for another source of help.

If he did not bother to find out how his relative died would he bother to know about my welfare? He is invested in getting help. How about caring for other people's welfare? That is not his calling; getting is his primary concern not giving. Clearly, he is self-centered! He is not socio-centric at all.

His nephew, Mike, was not a traditional college student when I ran into him.  He was way too old to be at college. He must have been in his late forties, if not fifties, when I saw him.  I was a typical graduate student, in my early twenties. I wrote for the college newspaper. Mike had read one of my pieces and called me up. That was how I met him. Before that I did not know who he was.

He told me that he attended government college, Umuahia, had HSC and secured a teaching job at a secondary school in Aba, Nigeria. He said that he taught for several years trying to take care of his younger siblings and save up money with which to go to university.

The Nigerian Civil war interfered with his educational plans. After the war he returned to teaching and eventually saved up enough money to come to the USA. Thus, we met at a US college campus.

Because of the age difference between us we had very little in common and could not really become friends.

At one other time I ran into him on campus and he asked me if I know of a typist who could type a term paper for him. I told him to give it to me to type for him. I type very fast, may be, 100 words a minute. So I went to my campus office (I was a teaching assistant) and typed the paper for him.

Thereafter, he would call me and ask me to type a paper for him. I was kind of becoming his unpaid typist so I asked him to go learn how to type. He never did learn to type so occasionally I typed for him.

After graduate school I left the Los Angeles area but we kept in touch with each other.  Years later he told me that he obtained a PhD in education administration.

He was unable to secure a job with what he studied and was unemployed; I called folks that I know in my field, mental health and asked them to give him a job in a psychiatric hospital.  He obtained a job in a hospital. As far as I know that was the only real job he did.  He did that job until age sixty five and retired. His life was devoted to taking care of his folks back in Nigeria.  He never did marry.

Mike was a humorist; he was full of jokes. Thus, occasionally I called him to listen to his sense of humor. It was during one such call and him not picking up his phone that I suspected that something was wrong hence I called a friend to go do welfare check on him and we found out that he is dead.

That was where things stood until my unusual phone calls from the fellow in Nigeria soliciting financial help from me.  I thought about his request from me and came to the conclusion that for him to have done so he must be in extreme penury. He must be unusually poor and needs financial help and asked for it from any one he could, including from strangers.

He called several times, sometimes leaving messages in my voice mail, in some exhibiting anger at me for not realizing the urgency of his need hence helping him.

He obviously needs help and somehow believed that I am in a position to help him and felt angry that I was not doing so with alacrity.

His nephew, Mike was supporting him, his mother and several folks in their extended family. Nigerians depend on any relative that has a job to support them.

Given the poor wages of a typical working Nigerian, he would have to seek other sources of income to be able to support members of his extended family. He may have to take bribes and engage in other forms of corruption to get the money to support his folks.

If the relative is in America he may have to do several menial jobs (America gives black folks menial jobs) to be able to support his folks back in Nigeria. Mike probably did not marry because of the burden of supporting several relatives?

Pondering this issue, what became crystal clear to me is that Nigerians are in desperate straight and need folks' help. They expect any relative who has a job to support them and in the process enhance those folks tendency to corruption. The absurd high level of corruption in Nigeria is largely attributable to folks need to support their unemployed relatives.

Why did a thirty nine year old man in Nigeria feel that a total stranger ought to support him?  It is probably because of poverty and dependent personality structure.

My personal psychology is absolute independence (actually, it is impossible to be totally independent; at best one achieves interdependent relationship with others where they exchange goods and services in an objective manner). I support me. I do not see it as my obligation to support other adults.

Other than training ones children to university level I do not believe that it is the individual's job to support other adults.

We must all work to create a society where all people have equal opportunity to fend for themselves but such behavior does not mean carrying other people on ones back. Each person must take care of his needs and not depend on others to do for him what he needs to survive with.

As far as I am concerned if you are an adult (if you are above college age, 22 years) and cannot support yourself you ought to die. I totally accept Herbert Spencer and Charles Darwin's idea that life is a struggle for survival where the fittest survive and the unfit die off. If you can compete you survive, if not you die off. This is social Darwinism.

If I cannot support me I would prefer to die.  I do not see any need to live to have other persons support me or for me to support other people.

In my view, the 39 years old man who asked me for money ought to go get a job; if he cannot get a job he ought to start a business; failing those he ought to die. He should have preferred death to expecting other adults to support him.   What is he living for, anyway?

He is a Nigerian; a Nigerian is a coward who wants to survive at all costs; he is afraid of fighting and if needs be dying to bring about good governance in Nigeria. If he fights for good governance in Nigeria the criminals ruling Nigeria may see him as an obstacle to their thievery and get rid of him by killing him. To live he does not fight for justice in his country. He is a slave tolerating others abuse just so he lives. He lives for nothing; so, why should anyone help him survive, what is he surviving for?

A coward is contemptible; no one should help him to survive. If you want to survive you go struggle for it; it is not for other persons to enable you survive.

The more I think about this issue the more I understand that many Nigerians and Africans have dependent personality disorder. Such persons feel powerless to help themselves and expect other people to help them survive (they please those they want to help them to survive).

We, therefore, have to figure out a way to transform Africans from dependent personalities to independent, self-relying personalities.

If we are going to mitigate the extreme level of corruption in Nigeria we must heal Nigerians of their dependent personality structures; we must train them, from childhood to adulthood, to be on their own and not expect other people to support them.

Moreover, we must insist that Nigerians stop producing many children, children that they cannot support. No human being (a family) has a right to have more than two children, three is tops. The population of the world is already too much; and this is more so in Africa!

How are Nigerians figuring on feeding their ever growing population? Is it with oil money? Oil is an exhaustible resource and will not be there in the future to feed Nigerians.

The land mass of Nigeria, almost half of Alaska, a state in the USA, cannot support more than fifty million people yet Nigeria is about 150 million people. It is about time that this runaway population growth is stopped.  We must embark on family planning in Africa, now!

Nigerians and Africans should just stop having many children and let many of the people already alive to die off; Nigeria's population needs to be reduced to 50 million, which is about the level that can be adequately supported by Nigeria's resources.

Below, appended, is a vignette on dependent personality disorder, culled from Psych-central.


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

May 13, 2017

Dependent Personality Disorder Symptoms

By Steve Bressert, Ph.D.
~ 3 min read

 Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a long-standing need for the person to be taken care of and a fear of being abandoned or separated from important individuals in his or her life. This leads the person to engage in dependent and submissive behaviors that are designed to elicit care-giving behaviors in others. The dependent behavior may be seen as being “clingy” or “clinging on” to others, because the person fears they can’t live their lives without the help of others.

Individuals with Dependent Personality Disorder are often characterized by pessimism and self-doubt, tend to belittle their abilities and assets, and may constantly refer to themselves as “stupid.” They take criticism and disapproval as proof of their worthlessness and lose faith in themselves. They may seek overprotection and dominance from others. Occupational functioning may be impaired if independent initiative is required. They may avoid positions of responsibility and become anxious when faced with decisions. Social relations tend to be limited to those few people on whom the individual is dependent.

Chronic physical illness or Separation Anxiety Disorder in childhood or adolescence may predispose an individual to the development of dependent personality disorder.

A personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from the norm of the individual’s culture. The pattern is seen in two or more of the following areas: cognition; affect; interpersonal functioning; or impulse control. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations. It typically leads to significant distress or impairment in social, work or other areas of functioning. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back to early adulthood or adolescence.

Symptoms of Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive fear that leads to “clinging behavior” and usually manifests itself by early adulthood. It includes a majority of the following symptoms:

  • Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
  • Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life
  • Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval
  • Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
  • Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
  • Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
  • Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
  • Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself

Because personality disorders describe long-standing and enduring patterns of behavior, they are most often diagnosed in adulthood. It is uncommon for them to be diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, because a child or teen is under constant development, personality changes and maturation. However, if it is diagnosed in a child or teen, the features must have been present for at least 1 year.

Dependent personality disorder is diagnosed in between 0.5 and 0.6 percent of the general population.

Like most personality disorders, dependent personality disorder typically will decrease in intensity with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in the 40s or 50s.

How is Dependent Personality Disorder Diagnosed?

Personality disorders such as dependent personality disorder are typically diagnosed by a trained mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Family physicians and general practitioners are generally not trained or well-equipped to make this type of psychological diagnosis. So while you can initially consult a family physician about this problem, they should refer you to a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment. There are no laboratory, blood or genetic tests that are used to diagnose dependent personality disorder.

Many people with dependent personality disorder don’t seek out treatment. People with personality disorders, in general, do not often seek out treatment until the disorder starts to significantly interfere or otherwise impact a person’s life. This most often happens when a person’s coping resources are stretched too thin to deal with stress or other life events.

A diagnosis for dependent personality disorder is made by a mental health professional comparing your symptoms and life history with those listed here. They will make a determination whether your symptoms meet the criteria necessary for a personality disorder diagnosis.

Causes of Dependent Personality Disorder

Researchers today don’t know what causes dependent personality disorder. There are many theories, however, about the possible causes of dependent personality disorder. Most professionals subscribe to a biopsychosocial model of causation — that is, the causes of are likely due to biological and genetic factors, social factors (such as how a person interacts in their early development with their family and friends and other children), and psychological factors (the individual’s personality and temperament, shaped by their environment and learned coping skills to deal with stress). This suggests that no single factor is responsible — rather, it is the complex and likely intertwined nature of all three factors that are important. If a person has this personality disorder, research suggests that there is a slightly increased risk for this disorder to be “passed down” to their children.

Treatment of Dependent Personality Disorder

Treatment of dependent personality disorder typically involves long-term psychotherapy with a therapist that has experience in treating this kind of personality disorder. Medications may also be prescribed to help with specific troubling and debilitating symptoms. For more information about treatment, please see dependent personality disorder treatment. 

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176