9 Things NOT to Say to Someone with a Brain Injury

Marie Rowland, PhD, EmpowermentAlly
9 Things NOT to Say to Someone with a Brain Injury

Brain injury is confusing to people who don’t have one. It’s natural to want to say something, to voice an opinion or offer advice, even when we don’t understand.

And when you care for a loved one with a brain injury, it’s easy to get burnt out and say things out of frustration.

Here are a few things you might find yourself saying that are probably not helpful:

1. You seem fine to me.

The invisible signs of a brain injury — memory and concentration problems, fatigue, insomnia, chronic pain, depression, or anxiety — these are sometimes more difficult to live with than visible disabilities. Research shows that having just a scar on the head can help a person with a brain injury feel validated and better understood. Your loved one may look normal, but shrugging off the invisible signs of brain injury is belittling. Consider this: a memory problem can be much more disabling than a limp.

2. Maybe you’re just not trying hard enough (you’re lazy).

Lazy is not the same as apathy (lack of interest, motivation, or emotion). Apathy is a disorder and common after a brain injury. Apathy can often get in the way of rehabilitation and recovery, so it’s important to recognize and treat it. Certain prescription drugs have been shown to reduce apathy. Setting very specific goals might also help.

Do beware of problems that mimic apathy. Depression, fatigue, and chronic pain are common after a brain injury, and can look like (or be combined with) apathy. Side effects of some prescription drugs can also look like apathy. Try to discover the root of the problem, so that you can help advocate for proper treatment.

3. You’re such a grump!

Irritability is one of the most common signs of a brain injury. Irritability could be the direct result of the brain injury, or a side effect of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, sleep disorders, or fatigue. Think of it as a biological grumpiness — it’s not as if your loved one can get some air and come back in a better mood. It can come and go without reason.

It’s hard to live with someone who is grumpy, moody, or angry all the time. Certain prescription drugs, supplements, changes in diet, or therapy that focuses on adjustment and coping skills can all help to reduce irritability.

4. How many times do I have to tell you?

It’s frustrating to repeat yourself over and over, but almost everyone who has a brain injury will experience some memory problems. Instead of pointing out a deficit, try finding a solution. Make the task easier. Create a routine. Install a memo board in the kitchen. Also, remember that language isn’t always verbal. “I’ve already told you this” comes through loud and clear just by facial expression.

5. Do you have any idea how much I do for you?

Your loved one probably knows how much you do, and feels incredibly guilty about it. It’s also possible that your loved one has no clue, and may never understand. This can be due to problems with awareness, memory, or apathy — all of which can be a direct result of a brain injury. You do need to unload your burden on someone, just let that someone be a good friend or a counselor.

6. Your problem is all the medications you take.

Prescription drugs can cause all kinds of side effects such as sluggishness, insomnia, memory problems, mania, sexual dysfunction, or weight gain — just to name a few. Someone with a brain injury is especially sensitive to these effects. But, if you blame everything on the effects of drugs, two things could happen. One, you might be encouraging your loved one to stop taking an important drug prematurely. Two, you might be overlooking a genuine sign of brain injury.

It’s a good idea to regularly review prescription drugs with a doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask about alternatives that might reduce side effects. At some point in recovery, it might very well be the right time to taper off a drug. But, you won’t know this without regular follow-up.

7. Let me do that for you.

Independence and control are two of the most important things lost after a brain injury. Yes, it may be easier to do things for your loved one. Yes, it may be less frustrating. But, encouraging your loved one to do things on their own will help promote self-esteem, confidence, and quality of living. It can also help the brain recover faster.

Do make sure that the task isn’t one that might put your loved one at genuine risk — such as driving too soon or managing medication when there are significant memory problems.

8. Try to think positively.

That’s easier said than done for many people, and even harder for someone with a brain injury. Repetitive negative thinking is called rumination, and it can be common after a brain injury. Rumination is usually related to depression or anxiety, and so treating those problems may help break the negative thinking cycle.

Furthermore, if you tell someone to stop thinking about a certain negative thought, that thought will just be pushed further towards the front of the mind (literally, to the prefrontal cortex). Instead, find a task that is especially enjoyable for your loved one. It will help to distract from negative thinking, and release chemicals that promote more positive thoughts.

9. You’re lucky to be alive.

This sounds like positive thinking, looking on the bright side of things. But be careful. A person with a brain injury is six times more likely to have suicidal thoughts than someone without a brain injury. Some may not feel very lucky to be alive. Instead of calling it “luck,” talk about how strong, persistent, or heroic the person is for getting through their ordeal. Tell them that they’re awesome.

Posted on BrainLine October 10, 2012. Reviewed July 25, 2018.

Written by Marie Rowland, PhD, EmpowermentAlly. Used with permission. www.brainhealthconsulting.com.

Comments (490)

Please remember, we are not able to give medical or legal advice. If you have medical concerns, please consult your doctor. All posted comments are the views and opinions of the poster only.

I had a TBI 20 years ago. AVM, brain hemorrhage, neuro surgery and gamma knife.

I was still school age then. After treatment I struggled with socialising and have had a relatively isolated life since. You could say I missed a lot of normal life moments. My support was deliberately removed more than 15 years ago and I live and work independently now.

Some of those problems linked to a limited exposure to social activities continues to dominate in my life today.

I worry I'll never date, I might never find love. Might never have children. And I will need to go through the next 40 years in similar isolation to the last 20. I'm not sure I could face that.

My illness or disability is visible to everyone but I've worked hard make it as invisible as possible. When it's noticed I'm often shunned and treated like an addict. My resting tremor is often taken for something else. Or I'm treated like I'm incompetent. I'm also overlooked at work.

Most normal people's opportunity to find a mate depends on how they look and interact. I'm at a disadvantage on both counts.

The public perception of head injury should be changed. I don't want to live and die alone.

don't approach someone with a TBI with negativity about others people don't or are may be unable to proses comunactioning can be a major issue, face to face communication in a comfortable setting i.e. stress-free

Number 10 is:
Oh, I forget things all the time too.

I am a care giver for my friend of 20 yrs . Some times I feel like I made a mistake, but then I see such a good improvement from when he was in facility. It seems every time a doctor says they want to test him for different things he gets mad. I am only trying to help, is there anything I can do to help him take his medicine ? Stop being mad at me ? I do everything I can for him is it to much ? Please is there anyone with some advice I am willing to try anything if I dont care for him there is know one else. I feel I gave him my word I would be here to the end, like to keep it not give up on him. I am getting to the point I want to throw the towel in, but I want to try my best before i give up. If you have any advice for me please good or bad I take anything at this point. Thank you for reading this and your time.

I had a TBI in 2017. I am fortunate to have a great support network. However, it was very difficult for everyone until my aphasia improved. Being able to communicate made a huge difference

I needed this today! There are days I feel surrounded by voices that just don't know when to shut up! These and other sentiments are only a part of the reason my brain damage went undiagnosed for so long.

ADEM survivor here waiting to die again. Everyone blamed my "emotional issues" on my medication. I can tell you right now 99% of my emotional outbursts were just. I am dehumunised, emasculated, patronize and gaslight daily. The, uninjured forget, we can have valid issues. The injured can have wants, hopes and dreams. It is the uninjured that forget there was a past and that still carries with us. Sadly I would rather have death. Life is not worth the hell I was born into and now have to relive.

I have a brain injury on the right side. It's tough, but keep going. I'll make it with you.

Hey there. I’m just curious my child’s father just had a brain injury to his right side. And he woke up from the coma but he’s not talking do you by chance know ‘ what the outcome would be ?

I have has 2x brain surgeries to try to remove a tumor but I don't shout it from the roof tops. I find this really frustrating esp when I forget something and people respond with "try having my memory"! I'm sure I'll learn to ignore it in time, but i get spoken to like I'm thick, which I never have been.

I've had two as well going on 3.
For me I had to get smarter just to function and one important lesson I learned. Most people don't need to learn how to live with a TBI. Do you know sign language? How's your brail?
So I believe it's give and take.

Hi ~ I sustained a traumatic brain injury due being rear ended at a red light on 3/09/2019 by an 18yo because he was texting. The force was unbelievable - they think the car was going 50mph. My car was totalled. I am very thankful to be alive! I did not hit my head but I was jarred so hard that it felt like my brain shifted. I quickly had neck pain,back pain, and headaches. After lots of testing (MRI, CT, EMG) I have 2 herniated discs in my neck, 3 budged discs in my lumbar, nerve damage in my left arm. I have bruising and damage to my frontal lobes. The vision in my left eye is blurry, I have memory loss, lack of concentration, I am clumsy and extremely fatigued. I lost my job as a spine surgery coordinator because I was starting to make mistakes. I am 53 and this is not how I wanted to retire! I am in so much pain! I had 1 epidural and I experienced a severe reaction (red man syndrome). I'm being changed from cymbalta to lexapro due to weight gain and it makes me perspire profusely. I sleep till 12noon and I have no energy to shower or walk my dogs. I used to decorate for every holiday and enjoyed it so much. I barely have the energy to think about it. I am going to physical therapy for vestibular disorders (vestibular ocular hypofunction) if I remember. I hope by this time next year I regain some of me back. If anyone has suggestions I would love to hear them❤
Thank you,
Evie

Hi Evie,
Are you still looking at this site? If so, I would like to reply to your post. Heidi (I may come up as my alta-ego, "Ida" :-)

were accomodations or fmla options from your employer?

Hello Evie I can't say I know all that you're feeling, but I can sympathize with some. I have problems with my lower back and my knees that cause me to be in pain day and night. But the only thing I can say to you just keep praying and trusting in God. When I'm by myself I pray and talk to Him and I can't feel no pain , nothing but peace. Try it , it will help you also.

I have had brain surgery twice. I too suffer from what most call memory loss, fatigue, what ever..
I call it my gift.
It made me look at everything in a positive way.
Try it, at first it's not so easy, in time it becomes habit, in fact I'm replying during covid 19 because I want to make my time count.

After consulting a doctor honestly try cannabis

Thank you, Evie, for sharing your story. I don't have any suggestions at this time, though I've had 9 concussions. I have gained support from Facebook groups and from interactions with others in those groups. Recovery is gradual, so celebrating small victories has been great for me. Actually, meditation has helped me a lot too; in reduces my anxiety by the end of the session, which helps me sleep. I will be thinking about you...

I do not know how to start, I had many accidents that fit under fate. one of them gave me a traumatic brain injury but the good part the unconciousness was 9 hours. I was 11 years old when i made this accident that made me make two operations. one to remove the blood plot before reaching the brain and the other one to put a medical bone in my head, that was in 1987 while i was walking in the pavement in saudi arabia I found a car in my face then i woke up in hospital. in 1992 I got part of a bullet hitting my skull so my health started to be very bad with a need to many medications. now in 2020 I keep feeling that life is not worthy when you look normal and you have to achieve everything like normal people and no body will care about what you are suffering from.

Wally,
You have every right to be happy. I have suffered 2 brain surgeries and at first how I was treated bothered me. So I got a mohawk dyed my hair purple and made everyone interested comment on my scar or hair witch led to the scar.
Now everyone interested knows and can form their own opinion

Well now at least for me I know why certain things set me off now. I never understood why they did but it makes more sense now. For kindergarten to well now I have lived with brain damage due to a car accident. I have always had bad thoughts and known I shouldn't because I use to talk lots of my friends and some strangers out of suicide and well all of them have said what I have said helped. As for me i have tried telling myself the same things but I never believe them at least when I tell them to myself where I do when I tell them to others. Learning basic easy things is really hard I remember having to be told things multiple times. I'm slightly embarrassed to tell people about the damage. And well everyone in school knew and some pitted me other bugged me about it. To be honest I dont know what bothered me more. I do remember I started to surpass my some of my peers in math and some other subjects. Teachers were saying I was doing it with ease but I dont know if I was or not. I remember docters telling me I'd never walk but the nurses and parents never stopped pushing me to keep trying I use to run when I wanted to walk. I've never given up. But I almost always feel guilty I don't know why. I stand up for others I feel great but if I stand up for myself I repulse it. But hopefully with this I'll understand myself better.

Jason,
From where I stand your lucky.
I'm now 53 when I was 49 I was in the FL keys and got mugged by 2 to 6 people depending on which police report you read.
What I have learned to do.

Remember, understanding a disability is easy if you have it.
You can only educate them and be educated possibly?

For 9 a lot feel the wish that luck was not on their side

I really don't know how to start but will like to know how to go about it, my wife currently undergoing brain tumor but hasn't had any surgery yet, the brain tumor was discovered when she was first pregnant and we were able to pull through with the LORD 's help, also buy applying a medication (Dostinex) advised by her doctor, reading few of your comments, on my opinion and which I stand to be corrected please, it seems to me that surgery isn't the best or first option here, because with the medication which she has been taking for over 4 years now, we had two loving kids and I can tell you that they are very healthy and blessed to the glory of the LORD, I am with your guys in prayers, I would like to know if there is any medications expert of Dostinex that could be of help or if anyone has ever tried it as well. Thanks

I have a 6 inch scar across my face after a car accident and I have to get plastic surgery and a boy I know is bullying me because of it and I choke and can’t defend myself

You don't have to defend yourself. I know the feeling very very well. Your scar is on the outside but his scar much bigger on his inside. You are so much more than a scar. Remember that people like that are weak inside and luagh it off when he tries to bully you. You are stronger inside than he will ever be. But with great strength comes great responsibility so don't be mean back and play his game. You are better than that. The joy in that secret is huge

How profoundly RIGHT ON!!! I assume you have a PHD.

Going through the same stuff. It helps knowing that we are stronger inside than them. They act like that because they are the weak ones. Not us. We fight bigger battles inside every day than they will ever know. Keep the strength we have inside and we will always be stronger than them. And remember great power comes with great responsibility. We don't need anyone to feel as bad as we know people can feel. Stay strong buddy.

I recently was in a car accident and now I have a brain injury and my mom has said all of these to me and it makes me fell worthless and I do struggle with depression and I’ve thought about killing myself and I hate it that they baby me I have a 6 inch scar on my face and that’s why they stare at me.

Please Dont off yourself, that's not going to fix the problem. I have a mom who treated me the same way and after sitting her down looking her in the eye I told her I felt everything she ever told me and it hurts. Maybe you should try to do the same. Let her know that having a TBI is difficult already and her treating you the way she does is not helping. I will pray it works out for the better and good luck.

Please don't lose Hope, almost 30 years ago I felt that very same way. I am so glad I was too much of a chicken to end it all because I wouldn't have felt the joys of being Grandma, Best thing ever. when faced with a life changing misfortune that I am working on writing up a post with my story. MY ADVICE.... "Believe you can and you`re halfway there. " One of my favorite quotes by Theodore Roosevelt. Hang in there my friend, Embrace it The quicker you accept it the better. It`s not the end of the world.

Over 14 years since my accident. The more I learn to set up systems to cope, the more I hear comments and get anger from others. They don't think there is anything wrong and just call me b**chy. Everyday is a struggle and I have learned to just stay away from people that don't get it. Sometimes that is difficult and the anxiety and depression explodes.

I had a brain injury and lost my ability to feel a kiss or a hug, my husband felt like a log beside me in the P, People were crowds. Knew who I loved but no feeling scary. I got all this back 3 weeks ago, Thank the good lord. I didn't know these feelings were gone til they came back. Very confusing but makes a lot of sense how I acted for the past two years. Prayers for you.

Thank you for this site and all the comments and replies. I am a concerned mother who is hanging on emotionally by a thread. My son started MMA a few years ago. He only had one fight in the cage and won quickly but it was all the practices that concern me. I know (mothers intuition) he has a TBI from all the hits to his head. He has the cauliflower ear which is a big indication of a hard hit. Anyway, he has changed dramatically. He seems to have no self control, outbursts that are quickly followed up with peace and harmony as if it never happened. He is forgetful, I cannot tell you how many times his keys and wallet go missing. Will open the fridge door and walk away forgetting to close. Simple things a child can do he seems to now just forget. He was not this way prior to MMA. He has been arrested 2x and both cases are still pending. He either quits every job he has due to lack of focus, and drive to hold it down, or gets fired for not showing up. I want him tested and do not even know where to begin. I am waiting on his insurance information from his father to determine if he has counseling services as I feel he needs a therapist STAT. This possibly could be a venting email but any help or advice is greatly appreciated!

I understand what you are going through. I am very sorry about it all. I am TBI "survivor." And willing to help however I can. If you would like to talk please reply. We can schedule date/time that is mutually convenient.

Hi, thank you for sharing and offering to help a fellow TBI person. I have a great sense of humor; I will process my TBI and find a way to radically accept this. I so need to connect with someone who just knows!!! Someone who wont judge me, correct me, bark at me or blame me for “not caring enough” that if it was important to me, I’d remember! My TBI seems to be very noticeable with others around me. Yet no one wants to learn about all of my conditions. Frequently blamed for basically everything. I’m already terminally ill, although that’s not ok, I have processed it and accepted them. Nothing will prevent me from growing/evolving. I’d be interested in learning about you and how your TBI has impacted your life.

I would suggest a spect brain scan. This will show what mri does not.

I had an accident 11 years ago and was paralysed down one side and my memory had gone. My memory has came back to me but I still have short term memory. I can't stand and have a debate about something, I need to take my time and think what I am going to say. I have just been reading that 80 percent of suffer a brain injury results I divorce and guess what I am getting divorced, but since seperating I feel a new man and my ex isn't doing everything for me and running my life. Reading what u shouldn't say to somebody with a brain injury she said them to me all the time.

I understand what everyone is saying but like always if I want to know I will have to read it all again. I had my wreck February 2012 going on eight years in recovery now. My family keep telling me I'm doing better but I don't see it because of the battle each and every day. I have to have my phone next to me so I can ask it how to spell words. I'm 59 years old and I thought that I had everything by the tail. My own company, Climbing and working high off the ground is out of the question, going under ground no way now, welding, running a torch, running equipment, driving trucks. No more sports no more hiking and free hand cliff scaling. I just found out last weekend that I can't swim any more and I was always like a fish in water but no longer I'm more like a rock now. I know I have said a lot of thing that I lost from that day but the good Lord has been carrying me for a long time and my family has been awesome taking care of me and my wife has been a real life saver. Today was a very bad day and that is why i looked this up so I could understand that I'm not the only one that feels lost all of the time. I will be praying for all of you and know in your heart that we can truly beat this thing or learn how we can deal with it on a daily basis. Thank you for your help, Robin

since tbi 2005 i can’t do anything like before. my job was seven days a wk for at least 28 out of 31 yrs when i exercised thoroughbreds. the only vacations were when i broke a major bone so it was also w/o pay But i couldn’t wait to heal and get back on a horse again.Got to work by 3:30am to muck 12-23 stalls before track opened for training at 6am-it made/kept me strong enough so no trainer ever had to find a guy to get on the tuff ones. i’ve lost my muscle,strength,coordination and memory comes and goes. can’t fight my way out of a paper bag now. it’s like 2steps forward and 20 steps backwards. i’m so disgusted and 80% of the time i really wish they left me on the hill where the pony girl grabbed my rein and flipped the horse on top of me. i was Always first at work not just at the first barn i went to but first one in the whole barn area. what drs don’t get is adrenal fatigue goes hand in hand with traumatic brain injury And the first clue is you can’t get going But you don’t feel sick and it took years to find that out but so what it still happens so i miss most the day and feel worthless because of it. i really hate living..no purpose no matter how hard i try. really don’t know why i’m even writing this

please dont give up, keep fighting marty. you are very loved im sure and everyday you are here is a blessing so just try to keep going.

Hi,
I had a serious accident Feb 2017. I had 4 bleads to my brain, and so many other problems and with each I need an operation. I had 9 operations and two failures which I needed to have redone as they were on my face,
I smashed my eye socket and l needed a titanium plate to give my left eye something to be attached to. If I refused I would have ended up with deformed.

This is a fantastic article. Although I have ptsd rather than a traumatic brain injury, this article captures three very destructive messages I’ve been unlucky to receive. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been admonished to be positive and be grateful for what I have. Look at what I do for you is another destructive comment, especially when people assume they know what I need better than I do.

I RECEIVED MY TBI WHILE IN THE US ARMY, I HATE BEING PLASED IN THE SAME GROUP WITH VETERANS WHO WERE IN COMBAT, MY INJURY HAPPEN WHILE ON A TRAINING EXERCISE. I WAS IN A JEEP ACCIDENT WHEN I WAS FOUND I WAS UNCONCUSSION FOR AT LEASE 12-15 HOURS EXCEPT FOR 3 SHORT MINUTE OR TWO AND NOT CONCUSSIONS ENOUGH TO HELP WITH MY TREATMENTS FOR MORE THAN A DAY. I WENT THROUGH 3 OR 4 DARK PERIODS THE LONGEST ONE WAS FOR ABOUT 30 HOURS BUT I WAS STILL NOT REAL CLEAR HEADED.
I HAD A PUNCH OVER THE LEFT EYE; BECAUSE IT WAS BLEEDING. EVEN TODAY I REMEMBER NOTHING ABOUT THAT INJURY THE ONLY THING I DO REMEMBER THAT EVERY ONE OF THE BLIND SPELLS BEGUN FROM THE LEFT EYE, THE LONGEST SPELL WAS FOR ABOUT 15 HOURS.
I WAS IN LANDSTHUL HOSPITAL IN GERMANY FOR 113 DAYS AND DURING THAT PERIOD ALL MY LETTERS TO AND FROM HOME WAS READ TO ME, I COULD NOT SEE WELL ENOUGH TO WATCH TV. I WAS NOT ALLOND TO WALK OUT OF THE WARD WITHOUT AN ESCORT. WHENEVER I STARTED GETTING BETTER AND WALK AROUND ON MY ON. MY DOCTORS SAID THEY HAVE DISCHARGE AND SEND ME BACK TO MY COMPANY ON LIGHT DUTY OR THEY WOULD SEND ME TO WALTRE REED AND BE GIVEN A MEDICAL DISCHARGE AND COMPENSATION. THEY ALSO SAID THAT MY BRAIN WILL HEAL ITSELFI FOUND YEARS LATTER THAT WAS NOT POSSIBLE. I WENT BACK TO MY MILITARY COMPANY FOR THE NEXT 16 MONTHS; BECAUSE MY FAMILY DID NOT ME TO BE NOT WORKING FOR MY MONEY.
AFTER GETTING DISCHARGE ABOUT A YEAR LATTER MY VISION STARTED GETTING REAL BAD, I WENT TO HOUSTON, TEXAS VA HOSPITAL ONLY FOR HELP WERE I WOULD NOT LOSE MY JOB; HOWEVER ALL MY MILITARY AND MEDICAL RECORDS WERE LOST AND I WAS TREATED SO BAD, LIKE I WAS EITHER CRAZY OR WANTING TO GET WHAT THE PSYCATRISTS CALLED EASY MONEY. NEEDLESS TO SAY I GOT NO MEDICAL HELP AND I LOST MY JOB.
FOR MANY YEARS AFTERWARDS MY MEDICAL DOCTORS, FAMILY AND OTHERS SAID TO ME ALL THE STATEMENTS ON YOUR LIST AND MORE I BEEN TREATED AS THOUGH IT WAS ONLY A MENTAL PROBLEM.
I HAVE NOTHING TO GAIN BY LYING, I LOST JOBS THAT WOULD PAY ME MUCH MORE THAT I COULD RECEIVE FROM VA COMPENSATION
I AM NOT CRAZY MY PROBLEMS ARE REAL AND I DO NEED HELP

Good luck with all you do I’m taking care of my friend Paul who suffered a tbi dry dick fell off an air craft carrier they do not help him I’ve tried many areas I’m the one person who understands and sees what he’s going through what he deals with.. I can only say through my experience with Paul is stay as strong as possible God.Speed

I am so sorry that you were treated that way. I also was in the military. I and went too was told that my problems were in my head. So I fired my primary doctor. You have many more options that you were told. I had to keep after it. Don't let the doctors and administrators dictate to you what they want. When you went in to the military you have rights. Keep talking to people and don't get pushed into what they want. They are only trying to weed out the people who are claiming injuries that were not serious. Just keep fighting. It took me 9 years to be classified as having an injury that was military related.

Hope things work out for you. Just keep fighting until they do something. You have legal help through the VA. Just keep going.

AT Anderson

Hi, thankful to have this site, very informative. Can I ask, is it ok to correct a loved one with a fairly new tbi, when they’re being rude or insensitive? I understand the lack of sensitivity and la k of a filter are part of the injury but wondering what’s best way to handle inappropriate reactions. Sometimes my fiancé will be very short/rude or insensitive to myself or to others, gets very irritated and frustrated easily, again I know it’s due to the Tbi. I’d like to know if I should nicely ask/mention that the way he responded or behaved wasn’t kind or polite. I certainly don’t want him to feel worse, just wanted to know if I should address it at all. TY in advance. Prayers and hugs to all.

hello, I had an acquired brain injury and I was extremely fortunate that it has healed pretty much completely but it took 6 years and for the first few I was extremely hard on everyone around me including my family. I think you should definently express your feelings to your loved one because it is so frustrating to be in that state but also no excuse to be mean! I mean that in a kind way

I sustained a brain injury in 2000 after a roof weighing 1 1/2 Tons collapsed on me. My former husband 'accidently' ran into the structure twice with a heavy road grader after sending me underneath to rake. He became my caregiver, even though we had been separated. My family fought I was fine, except for nerve and structural injuries. He moved me back to our home on10 acres and abandoned me, turning off water to house, removing the roof for a year, and much more. He had me convinced I was crazy. My mother became disabled 4 years later and since I 'wasn't working' I went to stay with her. My mother, meaning well, but always saying the wrong things by putting me down. I became so self conscious about talking and saying something wrong that I isolated myself from family and friends. I went to a wedding shower for my niece and I said something that my niece's friend misunderstood, yet I still do not know what I said. I was interpreted as saying something negative about my niece's upcoming wedding. I was thrilled about her marriage and husband, yet I was not invited to her wedding and had to find someone to drive my mother and sister, I was not invited to her baby shower. I have been shunned by the family ever since. Having time to think since then, I wondered if my mother might have helped the situation if she had explained to my niece that the injury to my brain, words for what I mean come out wrongt. I can say something, totally unaware of the words I use, which I did often, and remind her how thrilled I was about her martiage. My sister lectured me about using my filter to manage my words. Other's may disagree, but I personally feel you could mention to a hostess, a friend, or even the person offended that because words can be difficult to use correctly after a brain injury do to the part of the brain that suffered the insult, to please not be offended or take my words spoken literally, instead, ask me what I meant before judging and condemning, especially words that may be contrary to what I mean. While in a BI group, a couple members would constantly speak out in argumentative rude tones. Being aware of their particular injuries, no one was offended or uncomforable. Unfortunately, I cannot live only with brain injured people who understand, I have the rest of the world to live in, too. Explaining a brain injury to others is fruitles, how can they possibly understand? Although, to inform them that a person with a brain injury is likely already aware they can offend people without being meaning to, some may understand. My sister tried the nudging and giving me signals when I said things wrong. Instead, she confused me since I could not remember what the nudge was for of her signals. I was only aware that I messed up but where? I have a couple friends who are aware of my injury. They do not understand everything that I go through, but they do have compassion and do not judge me if I say something the wrong way. One friend actually spoke up and said, "On yes, I know what you mean, . . . ." Then she would repeat what my message was intended to be, and smoothed everything out. It has been 19 years since my injury, yet I was traumatized by being shunned by family, which I felt could have been avoided if someone in my family could have explained my injury to them. I tried, unsuccessfully. It was too emotional an issue for me, and I felt as though I was in a defensive mode trying to make excuses for screwing up. Now, I basically am alone. I shop at night when stores are not crowded, and I turn down invitations for gatherings. I am learning that being alone is not good for people. I need a place that is simple, where someone could direct me if I get overwhelmed, yet have some feeling of independence. Hopefully, not having to live in a relatives home, which would be hard. I also want to mention the mother who's son was a boxer. Neuropsychologists are doctor's that have diagnosed my issues that are most difficult for me. Your son needs to be officially diagnosed in order to get the right treatment, which could be medication, rehabilitation, which does help tremendously.
Sorry my post is so long but it takes me a lot of words to say what I am trying to address.
Thanks,
Marcia

Try to remember the situation and see if it is a recurring situation, if so it might jab their emotion in some way, either try to talk about it to them, or I find it best to talk about it as if you are talking about someone else having this problem, if they agree that they also find it difficult then they understand, if they agree and don’t seem to recognize it about themselves, they most likely don’t realise. Be careful not to offend them when talking to them because they can anger quickly, talk sistematicaly and carefully and just let them know, if they seem to get upset, lead the conversation elsewhere.

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