Healing Your Marriage After Brain Injury

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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.

It seems like the strategies given are for the spouse without the injury.   I need strategies as the spouse with the injury, who can no longer work and struggles with daily home activities and kids activities while my husband doesn't see or believe I have any struggles.  He knows fatigue is a major problem I have and he thinks that he is helping when he says "go to sleep, I know you're tired.", but then he doesn't take over the activities that need done while I sleep.   I wake up to bills still needing paid, homework done with the kids, laundry needing washed, etc.  My injury is not new, it has been 14 years since my accident.

Does anyone here belong to or go to a support group?  I am just wondering... not sure if anyone will respond.  Or can respond.  

My own marriage has suffered greatly since my accident 11 years ago.  I lead a support group, and that sometimes helps-but many times people forget I TOO am a brain injury survivor.  

What bothers me is this... no, I am NOT the same person he married.  But then he is hardly the man I married either.  Many changes occurred even before my accident.  Very frustrating.  

i met sue in 1991...within 4 months we were fully committed to each other...some time in 1994, we happened to watch a movie about a young woman who had an accident diving into a pool that left her totally physically challenged...but her brain survived and she was able to communicate, speak, etc....anyway, a young man came into her life and loved her in spite of everything...i remember one scene...he took her to a beach, sat her by a rock and she talked him into going for a swim, insisting that she would be fine there by the rock, sitting on a blanket in the sand...so off he runs...then she fell over...and could not right herself...people came up but only crowded around her, watching her struggle in embarrassment...finally the young man realizes what has happened and runs to her rescue...i don't remember how the movie turned out...what i remember is sue and i making a pact right then and there that if ever any devastating thing ever happened to one of us, the other would take care of them, no matter what....in 1995, that horrible thing happened when an 18-wheel truck ran a red light and plowed into sue's little ford ranger...she suffered what they called a "closed head tbi"...meaning there was no outward injury, no cuts or skull fractures...she stayed in a coma for about 3 months...doctors gave us little hope of her even knowing us or being much more than in a" vegetative state"...god how i hate that term...sue is a rolling miracle, as she depends on a wheelchair now...anyway...i am the one that suffers from the ptsd now from just watching all the crap she has had to go through over the years...her memory problems protect her i think in a way, at least from that part of our lives...she doesn't remember the 11months and 13 days she spent in hospitals and rehabs...the hardest thing for me has been grieving for all the pieces parts of her that aren't there any longer while at the same time being awed by what is still there...yes, she is demanding, controlling...and sometimes i do feel like running away for awhile...but, i am so in love with the woman she is now too...her smile is my sun and moon...so sorry for the hardships but soooo thankful too...it has, at the very least, been a truly enlightening expeience...i have learned so much about so many things...i fear the future as we begin our 60's and feel my own strength compromised...i know we will have to have some help soon...

My husband had a car accident where he was driving and a so-called friend hit him going 120 mph in January of 2014. Until now I thought I was crazy and what I experiencing with my husband of 13 years was in my head. I appreciate and applaud the women on this website because I can totally relate and it's so hard, dealing with someone with a tbi. They are here and there and all over the place, and when you have children, it's twice as hard. We have four children in ages 12 to 2. I send my compassion and prayers to everyone who is dealing with these same issues, don't give up. God Bless all of us.

Same sad story here. My husband was in a car accident two years ago and hasn't been the same person since then. He is angry and irritable and his memory doesn't work right. He likes to blame everything on me. The most painful part of this is losing the man I fell in love with. He is gone. The next most painful part of this is feeling so alone because of it - he seems the same to anyone else. No one understands what I'm going through. No one to talk to. I had to start taking antidepressants after having enough of the verbal abuse so that I can be a better mother to our two small children. Life was never supposed to be easy, I guess. He has always stood by me and we are committed to each other, so I stay. He actually had a breakthrough of clarity a few weeks ago where he saw everything that was happening and he apologized for it all and I cried so hard because I couldn't believe I was hearing these words! He seemed like his old self for a couple of weeks after that, then yesterday he snapped back into tbi guy. I pray that he continues to get better and somehow manages not to hit his head ever again. I feel for you all and please know that you are not alone. We need to support each other. We understand this struggle that no one else can.

My husband had a accident in 2006 TBI but I could deal with him .In 2012 another car accident TBI again , now I cant deal with him he has changed he is mean and hateful to me , dont remember things he say or do to me, he threatens to kill me and he has turned to alchol everyday . I want to leave but I feel sorry for him , but Im losing me .

my husband had a fall at work 3m straight onto his head.. He was taken away in an ambulance, never lost consciousness and all scans came up fine. shortly after he lost smell and taste and six months later the behavoural changes began. He doesn't see any change, to him I am the problem, I feel like he has lost all love for me. to everyone else he's fine and normal. To me he is a different man, I am so lost.

My husband just had his 3rd stroke in a year and a half and is abusive verbally. Puts blame on me for everything that goes the way he thinks it should,when it goes wrong. He is very agitated by our son who is autistic . He thinks that there is some magic pill that has a cure all and because of some political and his schudule ,it took awhile to get son confirmed for autisim(all the tests) and he thinks he is superman and can leap over a track race and fix everything. He is a dictator now. It is becoming harder to deal with him. He has been the bread winner,now iam being forced to take care of everything on 721 a month with. 2 kids and the dept of social services won't help us eithier. Iam going to see if our son might qualify for ssi .i have 2 questions. 1 how do I cope with the all emotions and stress? I don't have family and his family won't help.iam finding it harder to deal with everything 2 are there any agencies that help with finacial expenses?

I have twin temporal lobe lesions, and a cerebral event of unknown causes on top of that. I have been undergoing testing for the last few months. Tomorrow I will find out if the spinal tap showed MS. I felt so alone as my brain changed. My family and doctors did not believe there was a physical cause. I was persistent and the 14th doctor after the stroke believed me. By that time I had deteriorated markedly.  I knew four years ago that I had a stroke. It did not matter what my doctors told me, or labeled me (bipolar was one incorrect label), I continued to pester them, go to new ones, and more. The temporal lobe lesions apparently have caused the worst of my problems. I do not feel like the same person I was before, I have changed sexually as well, my memories are degraded or gone, my emotions are a tangle, my vision is skewed, my reading and writing abilities are better (had degraded to around third grade), but only because I retaught myself. I am able to express the nightmare, but so many TBI patients, etc. are not. Remember that your family member may be terrified, and unable to communicate effectively to you how their world has changed. So many people on here, clearly love their injured spouse with great love. You deserve a medal. 

I had brain damage after brain surgery last May.  Our marriage is even stronger.  We have been through a lot together and have been a support to each other.  Of course I wouldn't wish TBI on anyone; but for us; it's a journey we are taking one step at a time hand in hand.

I had brain damage due to falls, accidents and following surgery for my congenital hydrocephalus.  Our marriage is actually better and stronger than before my surgery. Every situation is unique.  It would be nice to see some more positive scenarios on here.  

My big strong husband, top of his career, we had a wonderful loving marriage.  Age 54 he had a hemmoraghic stroke.  We lost him several times and each time I prayed to the Virgin Mary that I would love and take care of him the rest of our lives if he would only be spared.  Every time the Doctors wanted to unplug him, I begged to let him live.  I slept in his room for several months in the hospital.  I have driven over a 100 miles a day to therapsts and doctors for 2 years, and now just once a week.  I will do everything in the world for this man.  How do I cope with the loss of my best friend, my husband.  How do I cope with this child like, control freak who gets into more trouble than I could ever tell anyone.  He cannot be trusted alone or to complete a task.  There is no family locally to help.  Maybe some one has an idea.

Six years ago I caught my husband cheating online. We were trying to work through it but I could never feel the same as before and then he had multiple strokes 2 years ago. Now, mentally he is like a child. He gets frustrated easily, often can't remember things and has inappropriate outbursts where he curses. He is a grouch most of the time and I am simply miserable after 25 years of marriage. I can barely stand being around him but feel compelled to stay. I'm 51 and he is 57. I cannot imagine living this way for another 10, 15, or 20 years. Hope God cuts my life short because this is not living.

I just don't know if i can do it. Been married 37 years. So painful. Have 6 adult children. Would not want to hurt them, but I am so, so tired,and so so very sad. Nobody knows, and no one can help. There is no answer. I try to be strong and positive but inside I am dying. I grieve the loss of the love of my life. He is not the same person.

I can identify with many of the comments made here.  My husband had a lacunar stroke in 2011.  It left him with dementia and the inability to communicate.  His communication is better now but not back where it was.  He has trouble understanding some things and will say I don't know or because I did.  We went through a rough fall and winter and found out that three of the medications he was on was actually causing him to become feeble and have behavioral problems.  Once we removed those he has made great strides in his improvement.  However, with that said I can identify with having the responsibility of taking care of everything and the loneliness of not have an intimate partner to share my feelings with. Like many of you have said he is withdrawn and does not really know how to express his feelings.  The one thing that makes it better for me than most of you is that we have been married 44 years soon to be 45 in October.  I am not as young as many of you so some of this is not as important but still causes many nights of loneliness.  It is hard to see the man I married so many years ago but I can still love the silly man that God left here with me.  I cannot imagine being here without him.  I pray that some day soon you will fill the same way about your loved one.  Hang in there, I know it is tough but what does not kill you will make you stronger in the in. And for those of you with small children they can learn so much from your undying devotion to their mom or dad.  My children say all the time to people I hope that I can be like my mom if something happens to my spouse.  They all live out of state so I know how it feels to be alone in all of this.  Take help where you can get it.  There are several friends at church that connect with him and I have a younger brother that is a big help.  He is like a child in so many ways and, I am constantly trying to keep up with new ways to keep him safe and healthy.  It is something new every day and I still work full time.  I am working on a Masters degree so I can try to find work to do from home.  Maybe teach information technology some day.  I am halfway through.  God bless each of you and I am like someone said I would love to be able to get in a room with all of you so we could talk and maybe even cry together.  By the way sometimes crying and calling out to God in despair can relieve the soul in ways that nothing else can.  If I may suggest the song, "It's in the Savior's Hands" by Squire Parsons says it all for me and my husband's situation.  God Bless Everyone

My husband was deployed in 2010, three weeks before they were to come home he went on a special mission. He was the gunner in the lead truck, a humvee, there was a VBIED (suicide bomber) that was targeting the truck behind his in the convoy. The insurgent blew up early, right next to my husband about 8 to 10 feet from his left side with approx. 400 lbs of explosives. My husband was knocked unconscious and when he came to he thought he had lost his left eye and told me he had to accept this fact before he left the truck. He looks fine to others, he is not the same man I married 17 years ago, but he is in constant pain. He is irritable, he blacked out this past winter and scared me, he is now having nose bleeds at night. He will wake up with blood on his pillow, or in the middle of the day he will have them. They are random and unexpected. He started distancing himself when he came back because he was stationed at Fort Drum and I did not see him on a regular basis. This interfered in our life and I spoke to him about it, he has been working on it and so have I for the past two years. The first year he was back, I was advised to "give him space" but that was for regular returning soldiers, NOT someone with TBI. We are working on this marriage every day. It is getting better, he is getting better about the little things, and quite frankly I am getting better at communicating to him how I feel but in a way that helps us continue healing.  

My husband was injured 1 year ago February 1st. Every day is a struggle it seems we have moved past the physical portion and now I am left with the lack of emotions and caring. Some days it seems like he gets it and others it is like we never had a discussion. His short term memory is pretty shot and it makes it hard at times. He is very irritable and just has a hard time showing he cares. It makes it so hard mourning the loss of your old life and the man you married. I try to find those parts of him in the man I am married to now but every day is a struggle. Before the injury we were talking about having another baby and now he does not want one and is stern about it. I really don't have anyone to talk about it because our family and friends are split on their way of thinking. I have two groups those who are pissed because his behavior led to the accident or those who are just so over joyed by he lived through that they see nothing is wrong.

My husband fell 25 feet from a scaffold at work in 2012 (without a hard hat) & was in the hospital for a month.  Amongst back injury & other things he suffered from TBI.  Just last week he blacked out & fell face first to the ground, hitting the top of his head on a tree.  The doctor said it wouldn't effect his TBI but I beg to differ.  I feel like we have gone back in time.  I see a lot of the symptoms from when he fell in 2012.  It saddens me but one thing I can say is my hubby is a trooper & God is our provider---so I am hopeful & will try my best to remain positive through it all!

i know where you are all coming from and glad found this site.

Im 32 years of age and have a 14 year old Daughter. I was involved in a Hit and run Car accident back in 2011 i suffered a TBI to my head. I was hospitalised or 6-9 weeks and though i was gona die. I was released from car and went 30ft into a tree head on so blessed to be still here ... As i know lots of individuals would of died instantly ...

i had to have 98 stitches and 122 staples to repair the damage caused to my head.

had to stay strong and let the hospital repair me dont get me wrong it been hard for family members where my ex use to call me names on a daily basis because of the way i looked after the acident.

Did not care what he said to me but could of easily made me want to put an end to everything but couldnt do it because of daughter.. Had to bear the pain and come out of this as a better person. 

was hard at first coming out of coma and remebring family faces etc. i got through it hosital done damage that could not be fixed in the process of 11 operations.

really wish this never happened to me but it has and can not turn the lock back i take everything one day at a time...and bless god he saved me. It has changed me i know that as a person and don't think i will ever be the same. After the accident.  

When you go through a TBI the only people that you need is for your family and the ones that loved you before the TBI should be the same but seems they have given up all faith because of damage done. this is ashame for some people as the only thing that is required deeply from a person with TBI is love Its hard enough to cope with the TBI than with people against you and the ones that meant to really love you this hurts even more.

The best thing i done was get rid of my partner and for good.

I have tried to overcome the TBI but will always be with me till i die.

Been nice reading some of your posts and stay strong for those that recently suffered TBI.

24 years ago, my husband of 2 1/2 years had near electrocution from high voltage/amps, and sustained a TBI. 2 years after that, he was a victim in a bad auto accident, which made TBI even worse. We have 4 sons, the youngest, twins, were 6 mo old with first injury. As soon as sons were in school, I went to work, and we reversed roles. Only thing is he was not capable of doing much, so I ended up trying to do it all. Husband has terrible anger issues, doesn't respect me, resents me, agitates easily, lies, depressed, etc. He has nothing positive or good to say to me or about me. Can't appreciate what I have done or what I do now. I worked so hard, and long hours, to support my family that now I am disabled. I have given my all to my husband and children. 2 of our 4 sons treat me horribly. None of our sons have girlfriends. 3 live out of town, other 1 wants nothing to do with us. I fear none will be happily married, as they haven't seen how to treat a female well and appreciate her. 8 mo. ago, when 3 sons were here visiting, in anger he told me he wished I'd fxxx off and die. He has no friends. I made my family such a priority that I have few friends. I feel I have failed miserably and he wishes he had never survived. Hope? He went to a psychologist for 18 years. She wasn't worth her salt, but I'm not so sure she knew anything about brain injuries. Recently tried to find someone who knows about or works with TBI. Don't take workers' comp or medicare.
I feel your pain. My husband has a brain injury from a virus that attacked his brain. It been six years and a year ago we found out that all that damaged brain tissue is turning to fluid. Its progressive and one day it will kill him or the least wipe out all together who my husband is. To this day I cannot communicate with him. His perception of reality is false. He gets angry easily and his recall is wrong. I don't know what to do or how to help. I fear that soon he will see me as the threat because what I say doesn't match what he feels and thinks. My children and I are so tired and we have nothing to hold onto because it changes daily.
It's all so familiar. My husband of 25 years is not the man I spent the first 22 years with and I feel so alone. I don't know how to communicate with him and he reacts differently and I have no trust where he is concerned. I am trying to get him to go to therapy with me, but he refuses. I wish I could get in a room with all of you and talk about this. I don't know anyone else who understands.
I have been married 14 years & my husbands accident happened a year ago. He wants nothing more than to leave me & my kids but he cant take care of himself. The insurance just stopped paying. He was my best friend before. Now he says I am only his caregiver, & is trying to move into a TBI appt. I still love the person I married but this new person wants nothing to do with me. He resents me and has said so many mean hurtful things that I dont know how much longer to even try getting him to stay when he clearly just wants to take off. He stays in his room and will not help with anything. I still cry every day. I keep hoping someone will have a new idea to try.
Just reading the comments by someone in the world who understands the same agony impossible to sort through is helpful. My husband of 27 years was injured 7 years ago in a serious motor cycle accident and suffered a severe TBI. Every day is a struggle to scratch out some quality of life. I still can not accept the loss of the life we enjoyed. We just keep trying to get through a better day. My husband is angry, impatient, diappointed, frustrated, depressed but trys to be less angry and more tolerant every day. I still feel like we have so much to be thankful for but I will always be sorry that the person I loved so much is hurt so badly.
We had a lovely marriagee of 16 years when my husband met this accident. Its been an year and he is still not well. He seems to have lost capability to love , specially towards me. I am trying to make this marriage work . lets see what future unfolds.
My husband, 27, has brain cancer (since 2006) and the recent tumor and surgeries have left him both different and unable to communicate on a meaningful/higher thinking level. I wish we could talk about things the way we used to and laugh. I try talking to him about my feelings and our marriage or the cancer, but he doesn\'t really seem to understand. He has lost all independence and his family and I have created a daily care schedule. The worst part is that he was never able to bond with our son--an affect of the tumor which grew right when our son was born. Our son is now 9 months old and my husband\'s judgement is impaired, as he tries to give him things he could choke on and runs little experiments which are dangerous. I now live with my mom because we are so worried that my husband will accidentally harm the baby. I miss my husband as he was before--he was my best friend in the world and we were so happy. I hope things will be looking up because the loneliness truly is unbearable. In going through all this, the only person I desperately need to talk to, can\'t talk to me. I\'m all alone. I don\'t know how to heal a marriage where there is no marriage left. But at least I\'m trying.
My spouse had a TBI as a child. The older he gets, the less he listens to reason or is able to negotiate or compromise. How do I get past the "stuck"? Where can I look for assistance? Am I alone in this?
my husband joe has tbi/stroke is paralyzed on the right side and is in a wheelchair..his short term memory is virtually gone..his accident happened in 2005..now i have the responsiblity of doing everything..from household repairs, bills to be paid..and everything else in between..the lonliness is almost unbearable..we have been married for 36 years..even though he isnt the man i married ..i cant imagine having him not in my life..i miss him very much..our supposed friends have left us..but he is my joy, and my life..because i know if things were opposite he would be there for me