The Truth About Divorce After Traumatic Brain Injury

Jeffrey Kreutzer, PhD, Jenny Marwitz, Virginia Commonwealth Model Systems of Care
The Truth About Divorce After Traumatic Brain Injury

Have you heard that the divorce rate after brain injury is really high? Have you read that the divorce rate for couples after brain injury is higher than the divorce rate for the general population? If you are a spouse or survivor of brain injury, you may be wondering whether your marriage is at risk.

Media reports suggest that as many as one half of all marriages in the United States will end in divorce. In fact, recent census data indicates that nearly half of all marriages will end in divorce. Believing that the divorce rate after brain injury is higher than the general divorce rate could be very frightening.

Research has given a mixed picture of divorce rates after brain injury. In the 1970s, researchers began to study post-injury divorce rates and found that 40% of couples were either separated or divorced seven years after injury. A review of studies published after 1980 shows alarmingly high post-injury divorce rates ranging from 48% to 78%.

There is little doubt that brain injury can strain marriages. Spouses often take on many of the injured person’s responsibilities, though they may have little experience with their new responsibilities. Unemployment rates after brain injury are relatively high and many insurance companies do not cover the costs of therapy, adding to financial stresses. Brain injury often brings on drastic personality changes which may include irritability, depression, limited awareness of injury-related changes, and argumentativeness. Some spouses have reported, “I’m married, but have no husband” and/or “I’m married to a stranger.”

Knowing the importance of marriage and the need to provide families with valid information, Traumatic Brain Injury Model System (TBIMS) researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) looked more closely at research on marriage after brain injury. They found that many of the earlier studies were carried out in Europe where the social and legal system is different than the United States. Furthermore, many of the studies relied on small sample sizes which may not accurately reflect the larger population.

In 2007, Virginia Commonwealth University TBI Model Systems researchers published one of the first comprehensive investigations of marriage after brain injury. The researchers gathered information from 120 people with mild, moderate, and severe injuries who were married at the time of their injury. Survivors three to eight years post-injury, averaging 41 years of age, were asked about their marital status. Results showed that 3 out of 4 (90/120) remained married at the time of follow-up.

As a result of their research, the VCU investigators became concerned that past studies may have produced misleading negative information. In their published research paper, the authors stated, “The present investigation does not [support] the notion that divorce rates for persons with brain injury are higher than those for the general population.”

In 2008, VCU investigators led a multicenter research team which investigated marital stability after brain injury. Information on marital status was collected at 16 NIDRR-funded TBI Model Systems around the country. This study was the largest scale study on marriage after brain injury to date and included 977 persons from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The research team found that 85% of survivors remained married for at least two years post injury.

In summary, recent research suggests the rate of divorce after brain injury may, in fact, be much lower than divorce rates for the general population. The news is encouraging. While some spouses report more stresses and marital troubles post-injury, some report connecting with each other in new, positive ways as they face injury-related challenges together.

Marriage is clearly an important part of our culture and a major element of many people’s lives. Still, more research is needed to better understand how injury affects marriages and what can be done to preserve and enrich relationships. First, we need to better understand how the quality of relationships is affected in good and bad ways. Second, we must develop strategies to strengthen marriages so that both partners describe the relationship as positive and fulfilling. There is good reason to be hopeful.

Here are more findings:

  • 17% of survivors were divorced and 8% were separated, an overall
  • marital breakdown rate of 25%
  • male and female survivors had similar marital breakdown rates the more serious the injury, the greater likelihood of divorce; for example, on average, people who were divorced had been unconscious three times as long as people who were still married
  • age mattered; people who were older at the time of injury were much more likely to stay
  • married; no participant 60 years old or older was separated or divorced
  • length of marriage was important; people who had been married for longer periods of time before the injury were more likely to stay married after the injury; none of the couples married 30 years or more before the injury got separated or divorced.

Other important study results:

  • only 15% of subjects were separated or divorced
  • age was a very important predictor of marital stability with older persons less likely to divorce
  • male survivors were more likely to have an unstable marriage (i.e. to be separated or divorced) than female survivors
  • cause of injury was an important factor; persons who were injured as a result of violence were less likely to be married at follow-up
  • for minority group members, persons with more severe injuries were more likely to remain married
Posted on BrainLine January 30, 2009. Reviewed July 27, 2018.

References

  • Arango, J., Ketchum, J., Dezfulian, T., Kreutzer, J., O’Neil-Pirozzi, Hammond, F., & Jha, A. (2008). Predictors of marital stability two years following brain injury. Brain Injury, 22(7-8), 565-574.
  • Kreutzer, J., Marwitz, J., Hsu, N., Williams, J., & Riddick, A. (2007). Marital stability after brain injury: An investigation and analysis. NeuroRehabilitation, 22(1), 53-59.

This article was written by the staff of the Virginia Commonwealth Traumatic Brain Injury Model System. Article used with permission. Updated September 2010.

Comments (140)

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.

My husband suffered a TBI as a teenager before I met him. We have been married for 23 years with 3 kids and he is a wonderful, kind man! The strange thing that I recognized this past year with the pandemic is he struggles with empathy and I wonder if it’s due to his brain injury? I needed a lot of emotional comfort during 2020 (as I’m sure many of you did) and he was not able to offer it and I realized that he has always struggled in that area. All he could say to me was “it could be a lot worse.” We are now looking into marriage therapy which he is open to and I’m hoping that can help up with our communication skills.

I see that the low number of those who remained married was only after two years. I remained married for almost 5 and my "Ex" husband became more of a monster than he was in the beginning. My Ex had frontal lobe damage, among other damages, but his personality totally changed. I don't know where these people got those who participated in their study, but it wasn't any of the TBI families I've known. It's so sad, I didn't just lose my husband, we lost our business, home, marriage and my kids lost their dad. He's never been the same. From what I understand, he wishes to be left alone, and not bothered by anyone.

I had a slip and fall almost 5 months ago and have been having ongoing neck, shoulder and back pain, I have burning in my neck shoulder and arms with swelling, red rash, numbness and tingling in my arms and hands off and on and my neck gets stiff and hard to turn my head and neck, trouble swallowing, I can’t stand to bend my head to my chest, should I be worried?

The news that people stay married is not encouraging for the caregiver. I love my husband but he is a shell of himself. I am still working full time, doing all of the house work, we have lost all of our friends. I love him but I do not like him. I resent him. And Everytime I consider divorce, for my own mental health, I am guilted by family members, or by friends, or...told by lawyers I would have to give this man half of my salary for the rest of my life. We have been married 7 years. Five and a half if those years he has had this brain injury.

I considered suicide, many times. I honestly don't know why I am still alive. I don't want to be. I hate my marriage. I hate my life. I love him but I don't want to live the rest of my life like this.

So yes, to the injured , this is hopeful. For caregivers it is proof, yet again, that we don't matter. That we deserve to be gaslighted by our brain injured spouse. We deserve to have to do all of the house work, make all of the money, pay all of the bills, be alone. Completely alone.

So go ahead and claim this is encouraging but maybe also work on finding out how to support caregivers. We are people too.

I’m so sorry your feeling like this. My husband had a brain haemorrhage 2 years ago. He is not the man I married but doesn’t believe that he has changed. My life is nowhere near as hard as yours sounds but every day I feel less and less connected to him. I tried to seek help from relate and a counselling service through my GP but they couldn’t help. I am desperate for someone to talk to who knows and understands what it is like to live with someone after stroke. I have tried and tried to find help groups but they don’t exist. I feel very lonely and trapped.

I agree my husband had a massive stroke he constantly asks for a divorce days i need to be happy and not live him like this but turns around and days I love you I'm sorry for everything is very confusing so yes these studies are not very accurate if they are just interviewing the patient.

I love my wife, who suffered from several major strokes as a young mom, but I love her like one of the kids - a dependent; not someone I want to take on vacation to "get away from it all." When I'm at home, I feel like I'm at work. I look forward to bedtime more than anything else, and I drink to get there.

Suicide?? Oh yes. I went from fearing she would kill me in my sleep, as she was so resentful toward me early on, to fearing she would kill herself, and now I have felt suicidal for a few years, as she appears to have plateaued and accepted it.

In another year, I will have been married to the neuro-normal version of my wife as long as I have been with the survivor version. It's taken a massive toll on my physical and mental well-being. My earning potential is still high, but my actual earnings are low because I've developed the, "what's the point?" attitude toward money. I finally see it affecting my kids, and now I am finally getting out.

There's nothing I won't do to support her and help her live a full life, but I can't stay married to her. That special relationship is designed for two cognitively equal partners who can count on one another and actually understand each other and the world around them, even if they disagree about all of it.

It's hard to believe I can be happy again, but the people who know me best assure me that I can so here I go! F$&% it. Can it get any worse??

Sonofa!*÷&% Thank you "killin me!" For finally giving me the WORDS to express what I need & will NEVER have again with this wretched bully that I've been shackled to for more than half of my life!!

That's Precisely It!! A "Special Relationship Between Two Cognitively Equal Adults"!!

Just knowing what to CALL IT IS HUGE! To sleep & not fear my bedroom door being kicked open in a rage b/c He can't find His sunglasses!! Not being smacked because I spoke during the VIDEO he was watching... Never again, getting shoved across the room for trying to make Him answer my question!
I have NO idea what the Hell I'd even do with myself? But I have tried everything in my power to draw out the man I married, from that cruel, sadistic blowhard who's taken over his body! But I cannot... I catch a glimpse of him every so often... But never long enough. I've tried so many times to explain to Him the differences between the two of Him...pre & post.

But nope.... It's ALL Me. His best friend, the best man at our wedding, died 2 years ago.... My husband couldn't be bothered to go see him on his deathbed.
Seriously? His very best buddy of 35+ years & it's all MY imagination?

Yeah.... I very well may be everything he says.. Crazy, stupid, worthless, useless, selfish...etc. Fine. But He is most assuredly NOT the man I married. I've thought about suicide more times than I can count... He's taken everything. My youth, my house, my kids...
I don't even have my wedding rings. My health is sinking, My dignity a thing of the distant past... Pride is a luxury I can no longer afford. I realized that the first time He withheld food until I completed the tasks "he'd assigned" me before leaving..
He locks it in the car.
Ain't that nice?
For this, I ditched Med school?
Yep. Well, he's right about one thing. I AM stupid.

thanks for sharing. I feel the same. Sometimes i wish i had listened to the doctor's advice. So hard to let go at first, right now i have regrets. We both should be happy right?

THANK YOU! My husband had a massive stroke in Thanksgiving 2019, at 41 years old. I 100% relate to every single thing you said. I often think that I'm married to the shell of the man who was my absolute everything. My person. It's heartbreak every single day.

And you're right, I get a lot of "be grateful" and "stop focusing on the negatives" from relatives, especially his relatives. They do not see the every day struggle. They do not live with us to see how it really is, or have to be at his whim all day until 11:00 when he goes to bed. So much nagging. But it's not regular nagging, he has severe speech problems and nagging takes at least ten minutes to get the nag out.

I feel so guilty for the way I feel and am grieving so hard right now. He was so smart, so capable of literally anything, such a good dad, a great sense of humor, and was super charming. I, and my kids, lost everything. No one gets it.

I truly understand. I have been married to my husband for 17 years. I met him after his brain injury. I thought I could handle it but its been a nightmare. He has cheated on me numerous times. The depression got so bad that food became my comfort. I ballooned up to 300 lbs. And no one understands how you feel or what you're going through. I finally built up the courage to leave him. I had lost 100lbs and decide to live for me. Well I guess he couldn't handle me leaving and turned into a complete mess. Started messing with Coke and his life went down hill fast. Well guess who came to the rescue.... Me and now I'm back at square 1. At first he was doing amazing as for us. But now he's back to his old selfish ways. I'm tired and want out but no one else gives a crap but me. I think knowing he's my daughters father and I try so hard. He does work. He was laid off due but called back. He's an amazing worker. Everyone loves him on his job. All his friends love him too. But when it comes to me I'm treated less than. I got a taste of freedom and it was amazing

Oh Honey. I do. I truly do.

I have felt like this for years and have tried to leave only to give it one more try... I won't go back again. The support groups we attended was for patient with care giver. Not the place to vent or talk about what caregivers see and feel. The violence has gotten worse. . Unpredictable. My God is good and He wants me to have peace.

My husband had a stroke december 2019. He was 36 at the time. We have 4 children. I feel you on soo many levels. Try thus Facebook group if you have not already found it. This group is for caregivers to go and vent or share the journey after TBI of your spouse. And when I say there is no judgment, I really mean it. They wrap you in encouragement and understanding. They have become my virtual family from all over the world! My name is Krystina Butchee. If you join feel free to take me in your introduction post. I would love to greet you and know that this message has reached you!

Stroke caregiving
"Wives" -ONLY-

I agree with you completely. Every burden goes to the spouse. No sustainable system to help us. I feel trapped by someone I don't even like anymore.

I am 29 years post injury of Train vs Firetruck. Separated 3 months after 9 years. More Rehab. Back together after recognizing TBI survivors have a responsibility to attempt to pull their own weight in the marriage. Still lots of tough going. Now 45 years of marriage and looking at Marriage Fitness by Mort Fertel. Rebuilding marriage with positive steps of love.
Never give up; just keep looking for positives and focus on God and Love!

Your words were my life, my feelings. I hate my life.

I agree, I hate my life too!!!
I want a referral for a attorney in So Cal. Area To help me with divorce proceedings to my TBI husband, whom I have been a caregiver to for 37 years, and I am so tired and neither of my families can help, nor do they want too.

Yep, at first everyone says "if there's any way I can help, let me know" but not one person really means it. In the end they just tell you to get over it.

2007-2008 Was a long time ago something's I can relate to and yes they haven't changed. One thing that has complicated marriages where one spouse has suffered a brain injury is the internet. TBI's change personalities and all of a sudden your spouse is a stranger.

For some reason or another one thing I have found is that people who have suffered a TBI are very gullible and easy victims of romance scams or any kind of scam for that matter. More often people who have suffered a TBI will play word games on the internet to try & improve their memory.

When playing these games on the internet usually a word game. Someone they're playing with talkes him/her into going off platform. Next thing you the person with the TBI injury is disclosing all kinds of personal information.

The TBI victims often disclose the type of injury they have, the memory issues they suffer. How they're feeling lonely depressed suffering from insomnia and of course the scammer uses all that information to scam them.

I often wish the internet or cell phones had never been invented. Because they cause so many problems with for people with medical conditions although I'm sure they save lives in many cases in fact I know they do but my point is the knife cuts in both directions.

Anyways there's my two cents worth.

Oh ABSOLUTELY! My husband also loves chat rooms for people who are

"Married & hating it"!

Isn't that just PRECIOUS?

I can't live with him any longer. He is luckily independent and functioning in many ways. However the emotional wasteland is killing me. I no longer exist in his mind.

Has Anyone delt with AVM removal/ brain surgery, and after effects? My spouse had this surgery 3 months ago and there some changes happening, it bleed and cause seizure and stroke like symptoms. Our marriage wasn't at it's best but 3months prior to this happening in though we were on the mend, but now I'm being accused of emotional abusing him our whole 10 yrs of marriage, and accused of making fun of him, and my family is being accused of things, were headed in separate directions now.

I should mention that my husband lost the ability to read almost anything; cannot write most words; isn't supposed to drive, but does; can't remember what he is doing as he is doing it, cannot stand crowds, sunlight, noise, changes in weather, birds chirping, etc. His math skills are gone. He cannot follow a grocery list or plan at all. He cannot visualize people or concepts. He is totally self-centred and only cares about others in relation to how they affect his life or well-being. His own mother could be dying and he would only care if it meant he had to change his schedule to see her. His schedule is very important to him. Don't change it! He perseverates on everything. "You said we'd go for a walk tonight. Are we going for a walk tonight? When are we going? You said we were going." Toddlers are much easier to deal with. His moods are like a roller coaster. Others think he is nice and seems reasonable. Sure he does--trying cooking a meal with him and you'll quickly get an idea of what it's like to live with him.

My experience with my wife exactly to the tee.
Nobody seems to outline the toll it takes on the spouse who has "done without" for the many years while being the constant caregiver for the person who seems to obvious to the huge work required to maintain her in the home.

I ended up retiring early to make it happen and at times I feel like I'm wasting my time when she refuses to help-herself by going on walks on our ranch on my arm...
Just doesn't make sense.

Your post resonates with me and the situation with my fiancé. We have been together for 4 years and he’s been injured for the last 14 months of that. I literally have boxes and bins loaded with my stuff by the door to move out today. I love him so much but life with a Traumatic Brain Injury survivor is so unpredictable (a 21 yr old kid slammed into him on his motorcycle and he went flying with no helmet landing on the asphalt). So there’s many days that I think “I’ll just leave. And the I can start my life again normal” (I’m 46). But then I have so much guilt and sorrow for him. And what happens to him? His family won’t help (He’s 53). I do love him but the selfcenterness and mood swings are almost unbearable. I cant even imagine going through the motions of any sort of love making because I’m so hurt by his actions almost on a daily basis. He’s say he’d be better if we started having sex again, but honestly it’s just going through the motions for me anyway. His body doesn’t even really move or wok like that right now. But lately it seems to be the center of a lot of our arguments because he thinks I don’t desire him. What do I do? What have you done? No one has answers and I’m getting to the point that I don’t care anymore about anything. I’ve completely let myself go as a result of being his sole care giver. I’ve gained weight. I don’t do my nails, hair, or any kind of exercise. I’m going into a deep depression. And he keeps saying “why? It didn’t happen to you?’. We have not seen a counselor together or induvuzkly. Because well who has time between 3 different therapists (PT, OT, SPEECH) 3 times a week, doctors, and trying to keep up with my jobs I do from home plus his and my responsibilities. Is it a loss hope? Do I unpack today? Or do I run and not look back? How have you guys gotten through this? How do you still find love in your heart for someone who gets mean and isn’t the person you fell in love with?

We're only a year out from my husband's stroke. I am so devastated and grieving all the time, my person is gone. But not gone. I get no closure because I have to watch the struggle, I have to do everything his way, and like you said there are a million appointments to deal with. I was already suicidal when this happened and to say it's gotten worse is an understatement. But I have three kids, and now with no other parent to be there, I really can't do it. So I am here solely to exist for others, but now I just don't have anyone to be there for me. I can talk about something for a bit and then he'll point at something random and not even acknowledge anything I've said. I don't have a partner anymore, I have another dependent.

As far as sex goes, I couldn't want it less. It makes me cry every time because it's almost impossible due to hemi-paralysis and size difference, and it's just another painful reminder that my person is gone.

I love him so much, it kills. But really, I love the person who's gone forever, and I want to have it be good enough, I just don't know if staying is the best choice for me because if how much emotional turmoil I'm in every single day.

All of that to say, I have no idea.

I understand what you are going through. My husband was diagnosed in 2017 with low-grade glioma which was located in area of his speech and memory. I lost my stepfather in 2015, then dealing with my then fiance diagnosis and got right to work on finding him the best brain surgeon at Sloan kettering. We got married on Sep. 7th, 2017 and he had his operation on Sep. 8th, 2017...yes very next day. His surgery was successful as they were not sure if they could get all of the tumor out because the tumor had tentacles which were entangled between his healthy brain and tumor. He had a quick physical recover and went back to work in 3mos...however, he refused seeing a neuropsychologist so he has not dealt with any issues with his brain post surgery such as anger, impulsivity, short-term memory...add to that he likes to blame other people for everything especially me(he was like this before tumor). He does not write anything down, does not put items in same place where he can find them(we have a letter tray) or uses a pill box so he can recall if he took his meds, so basically im his memory. January 31, 2017 his father literally dumped my husband's uncle at our home where his uncle moved in our guestroom for a month and then our upstairs apt. November of 2017 his uncled has a quadruple bypass, so i was taking care of my husband with his daily needs and then his uncle(who moved back into our guestroom), all while trying to process the death of the fiance I knew with the husband i had to get to know. I have been pushed, had things thrown at me, accused of cheating-because i'm too damn tired for sex-my husband always asks-"What are you tired of exactly?" it drives me crazy!!! now he wants a divorce because he is no longer attracted to me and he says because I have caused him to die little by little by denying him sex. I explain to him that I do not have a sexual appetite. Doing all this while working a full-time job,( luckily for me my position was remote) it is exhausting and lets not forget the attitude that working from home "is not work". When he argues with me for mundane stuff..it seems he just wants to start a fight-it seems my needs dont matter. I went to a therapist to deal with caregiver's stress, which my husband does not believe in. so of course therapy is out...we had one couples session and that was a disaster, the therapist tried to help him understand my point of view, however all that happened as a result was him twisting the events in a way for him to make sense and blame me of course. So, I say to you and all those uninjured spouses, or significant others that are pondering what to do- do what is best for you! We matter, our feelings are real TBI is nothing to play with especially in a pandemic...You only have one life to live -how do you want to live it?

I would recommend running as far and fast as you can. The longer you stay the harder it gets. I’ve been married for 26 years. My husband had a freak accident 5 years ago. I put everything on hold and stayed by his side 24x7 through ICU, hospitals, Rehab’s, therapies. I quit my job of 20 years and never left his side for the first couple years. Then I had to find employment with benefits like insurance. I went from wife and equal to being everything. He has came so far and is so capable of life but over time he has became emotionally and verbally abusive. He pretends he can’t do anything when I’m around but when others are here he is fine. If you didn’t know what he had been through you would never know anything was wrong. We have grown completely apart and I have lost any feelings and compassion that I ever had. Our (adult) kids don’t have much to do with him. Our friends are gone. He doesn’t want anyone around. This is completely isolating me from all of life. Now with this COVID-19 I am having to work from home. This puts me back with him24x7. He has recently became physically abusive. I want to leave and just get as far away as I can. But my kids keep giving me the guilt trip that he can’t make it alone and it would totally fall on them to have to be there for him at a time that they are just starting their lives. I love my kids more than life itself and would do anything for them. They know how to work me. So I stay. Miserably, but at least everyone else can live. So my advice to you is do not go down that road. You matter too!

As much as I hate to say it..
Yes. RUN...All of you younger ladies.

I'll NEVER get out. Everyone thinks my husband is a living Doll! Such a sweetheart!

Except for the 4-5 people who've caught him by surprise.
Even my own Mother! The week she died... He popped me in the face! I was crying when she called. I finally told her & she called me a LIAR!
She said "he'd Never lay a hand on you"! Ha! Yeah. Sure.....

If your husband/wife/fiance cannot or will not admit that they may have changed & be willing to at least get an objective opinion?

Get them bathed, fed & dressed in clean clothes. Make sure they have everything they need.
Pack your bags & make your plans.

If your person is gone for good? You have tried all reasonable (& a few desperate) measures to get them back? It can't be disloyal to leave someone who is NO LONGER THERE THEMSELVES. If there is ANY part of your person left to be found, then they would be willing to entertain the possibility that they've changed!

I've been a virtual hostage for almost 12 years now. I have nothing, I go nowhere. I see no one. I'm not permitted to take food from the fridge. Can't touch the mail. God forbid I should touch the thermostat!

I have to start asking for food a week in advance before I need it. Just so I can be sure that I can be "not pissing him off" when he's near the store!

So ladies... I apologize for my vulgarity... But I bathed him, fed him, wiped his nose & his @$$ more times than I can count. I have bullied Drs & nurses to pay attention to his issues to the point of being sent to the cafeteria! But after having some tumors removed recently, he was SO INCONVENIENCED by me, that we couldn't even pick up my Rx on the way home from the hospital! He was too damn busy! So I just had to wait until the next afternoon!

Ladies.. I'm stuck in a hole I dug for myself. 25-30 yrs it'll serve as my grave. Don't do it. If they ARE in there. They'll Help you stay! Otherwise, make a plan for your departure. Where & how you can go. Also, who/where can care for them when you've gone. (Because the guilt will drive you to drink or back home!)

Don't throw away your life like I did...

I know just how you feel. I love him and the life we had before the brain surgery. Everything has changed. He dont want me working , someone has to pay bills.
Ive had suicidal thoughts . Theres nothing easy about this. He thinks i mean to him, i do everything for him . Im tired . I work nights till 3am he expects me be on deck at 7:30- 8 am.
Its hard.
God give me the strength to get threw this.

This is very sensitive topic I am also a mtbi servivor and suffering a lot been through with divorce and no help around forcing to pay child support even I am on disability but because my son is with my spouse so court will decide he will take money from my disability check this is law .i try to work but some failure came but still I am trying it’s hard very hard

Cooking and things like shopping see two areas that are difficult for head injury survivors. It's the multi input, trying to think on your feet brain dog that happens. Causi.my stress and anxiety.

I feel for you.i have no support it's just me and my son who have been dealing with the issues of brain injury and ptsd.that was in 2013 from a motorcycle accident and then again in 2017 another motorcycle accident and he refused medical help.and now 5 strokes in a week and refused to go to hospital. Finally got him to go and that was when he had the big stroke and its been hell.he would say things and then say he didn't say that.he quit therapy claiming it wasn't helping him. They told him do not drive but he does he is unable to see out of his right eye but he just wants to argue with us.we know when he isn't on his medication. The hate comes out and all he wants to do is argue with us.he thinks the food has medication on it but we eat the same thing. He has been excusing me of having an affair for 20 yrs now and that's when I became disabled. He told my doctor that he wanted me off all of my medications. So since 2018 of October I have been using cbd and hemp ominteint. My son took a workcampers job so we could get him to therapy and he quit.he has put us all through hell.and nobody is willing to help us.cause of him.all of his so call friends who don't have a thing to do with him anymore they see a change a hateful person

Hello. My husband suffered a moderate-severe injury 23 years into our marriage. We are now 4.5 years post injury. For the first year, he couldn't remember our children's names (we have 4) or almost anything from before the injury. We spent 15 months in a new city so he could receive treatment on a daily, out-patient basis. We have been home for nearly 2 years. He has 10 therapy appointments a week. He is driving us all crazy. He has improved so much, but the deficits are still large. When 5 parts of your brain are damaged, there is so much work to be done. When you are injured at 53, it's a long, slow process. He is very angry, can barely stand to be around me 60% of the time, invents reasons to be angry, accuses me of things I have never done, tells me I said terrible things that he actually said to me (not the other way around), etc., etc. Our sons can't understand how I can stay, but don't want their father left alone. He's ruined the loving, supportive family we were before he was injured. You see, he was a long-distance truck driver. We only ever say him 1 day a week and he spent most of it sleeping. When he was awake, he did nothing but criticize every aspect of our lives. Now, we were stuck with an even worse version of him. We have helped him with his terrible balance, caught him as he fell, help him learn to speak again, work on every possible aspect of his recovery. He trashes us to anyone and everyone who will listen--neighbours, friends, family, cab drivers, his rehab team, etc. He told me he can barely stand to be in a room with me. He opened a separate bank account last week and yesterday he deposited a $19,500 disability cheque to the account. He's called a lawyer about a divorce. I am torn between gladly letting him divorce e and feeling like he's not capable of making that decision and surviving on his own. Neurologists say he is likely to be in a care facility by the time he's in his mid-60s. Then all the money will be going to his care and I will be left in poverty. I have my out, why aren't I taking it??

I'm reading your comment and wondering how your situation has turned out? I married my husband just over a year ago. He experienced his TBI about 11 years ago - way before I came into the picture. During our courtship, which lasted about two years, it seemed he put me on a pedestal and treated me incredibly well. We had mutual respect and love. I knew about the injury, and did think there was some "emotional immaturity," but I overlooked it because, otherwise, he was the sweetest man you could ever know. However, shortly into our marriage, he began treating me almost the exact same way you describe: seems to invent reasons to be upset with me, accuses me of things that he himself has done/ is doing, has completely unrealistic expectations of me (I lost my father, whom I was very close with, just three weeks after our wedding and I'm an only child so had to settle his estate as well), angry outbursts and raging where the reaction is not at all proportionate to the so-called offense, and is completely unreasonable. Just earlier this week, a small request turned into a huge blowout and he left, throwing off his wedding ring and saying it's over and that the relationship is toxic. I hadn't heard from him in days, but now he's sent me a text today telling me this is his new number and to remove him from our cell account. I'm astonished and feel like the wind has been knocked out of me. Part of me thinks that maybe this really is for the best - just be done with this craziness - but the other part is so sad. I made a commitment to him when I said my vows. I'm also confused; there have still been so many fun times and special moments together in that year, too. Don't those mean anything to him?

Hi TAS. It sounds to me as if you have married a very manipulative person, who possibly has a personality disorder. However, I don’t think your hubby’s behaviour can be totally put down to his tbi. Do you know any of his friends who knew him before his injury? May be this is just him - someone who can turn on the charm for his own gains and then becomes abusive when he has gained what he can. Did your father leave you anything in his estate? Did your husband know you were going to gain financially when your father died? Could this have been a reason for him wanting to marry you?
I know it’s hard, I have been there, but living in an abusive marriage is soul destroying. Get out while you can. Be a victim of an abusive marriage, not a victim of domestic violence or a murder victim.

I can very much empathize with your life story and others here, as I'm now 58 but at 56 I experienced a stroke/brain injury. I could not get out of bed for about three months and then only a wheelchair for another few months. I've lost any real sense of time but my wife and I are now separated after 34 years of marriage and I live in an apartment with my son that is attending college and her with the younger son in his last year of high school at our house. I had a terrible time conflating conversations, disagreements and past actions with my wife. I was very irritable and frustrated hourly from not being mobile or able to do basic things like dress myself which caused many arguments daily. I will hope and pray for each of you that experiences a brain injury either directly or as a family member. At the very best it is difficult. God bless each of you, I hope you can find your paths and peace in your life.

My husband of almost 10 years was in a car accident about 2 years ago; suffered a TBI that came with spasticity affecting the left side of his body, making it very hard to walk and write. He was in a coma for a few weeks, in-patient care for 6 mos, plus another few months of outpatient therapy. He definitely could have used more therapy, but insurance is a joke and it's such a battle trying to get additional coverage. Once he moved back home, his anger was too much to handle. Throwing things, breaking things, cursing at me - all in front of our kids. They were 1.5 and 3 when the accident happened (before the accident / after the accident are now part of my daily vernacular). My oldest child was also having some developmental issues that we'd been in the middle of dealing with when the accident happened. I got him into a program with the school district, and after lots of testing we recently landed on an autism diagnosis. I was beyond torn about divorcing, but 1 yr after the accident, I decided that it was for the best - for both myself and my kids. Our marriage wasn't the best before the accident, and he'd always been an angry person. The injury magnified that. I went to therapy, both by myself and with him, but there was no getting around the effects of the TBI, and I didn't want my kids growing up in a household filled with so much bad energy. There was no way to feel good about the decision, I just knew it needed to be done. He was cursing me out via text one day, and I'd just had it. I hit a wall and I was done. His behavior is markedly better now that we're divorced, although it was quite a journey getting here. Had to kick him out more than once for bad behavior; he has come to understand that it will not be tolerated if he's to see the kids. Drawing that hard line was important. They see him every other weekend and Wed for dinner. I was lucky in that his brother offered to live with him before I even said anything about divorcing - I think he could see it coming. Life as a single, working mom is hard, but I draw on every resource I have and have a wonderful family that helps juggle things a bit. A year ago I felt awful. Today I'm much more optimistic and things have finally settled down. He is also making progress, so perhaps it was for the best. Best of luck to you all. It's a tough road to walk.

My husband had a sca and now abi its been almost two years he calls me mom and can’t do anything for himself. I live through hell every day we have children and I have
Lost my best friend my soulmate. We are in our mid thirties. I now have to get him in a skilled nursing facility because if I don’t I won’t be here for my kids are him.

I forgot to mention that he just turned 30. We have been married for 4 years and this is our first child. I can’t physically help him with all the care that he needs and my inlaws are doing everything. I feel I am married to his family and the differences of opinions and comments towards me can be cruel at times. I don’t feel this is a healthy way of living and I don’t want this life for my baby. It is devastating that my husband can’t communicate anything to us or be a bit independent. It’s only been 8 months and with my newborn’s care and everything else in the house. I feel very tired all the time. When do tbi survivors start communicating or gain some memory back? There are so many unknowns that drive me crazy since I have to make financial decisions as well. I know that 8 months is still early in their recovery, but I don’t think I can be living with my inlaws (4 of them) for long. Right now I have no marriage and I am trying to do the best decisions for my baby as well.

My husband and I had a horrific car accident while I was pregnant on July 2018. I didn’t get as hurt as he did. He had his leg amputated and was in a coma a couple of weeks. He had his pelvis broken and had multiple surgeries. We were 5 months in hospital. Being pregnant at the time and not leaving the hospital to be with my husband was really tough. Seeing him this way hurts so much. He acquired a diffuse axonal injury grade 3 and hypoxia due to the lack of oxygen. It’s been 9 months post accident and he is receiving therapies at home. He is total care right now and my heart feels heavy seeing him this way. He has limited mobility and we have not found a way to communicate with him. He smiles and eats with help. I am devastated to the thought that he can remain like this. I am trying to raise my newborn and work and take care of all the medical stuff, but it’s becoming very overwhelming. I have the help of my inlaws since I can’t physically help with my husbands needs. I have no option to not work since I have to maintain our house payments and support everyone that now lives here. Is it to soon to see improvements? I love my husband and wish he coukd be able to enjoy our newborn. I don’t even know if he knows who we are. It has been a life changing event that I wish for no one.

My husband is 75 and I am 65. 12 years ago he refused to get a second opinion, and had brain surgery to remove 2 large non-cancerous tumors. He was left with frontal lobe brain damage. He also has only 10% of his hearing left, not due to the surgery. The man I married 39 years ago died on the table. This man is mean, cruel, argumentative, aggressive, completely self-centered, selfish, and gets in fights easily with anyone who he thinks is doing something he doesn't like or doesn't want them to do, like risky driving (doctors said no driving, but he won't stop), road rage, fights in restaurants, almost getting arrested for causing disturbances in airports...refusing to eat what I cook (I am a good cook) because he wants fast food. He is a raging diabetic too, and will not adjust his food. I could go on and on. I know his triggers and try to manage life around them, have tried numerous doctors who really haven't been able to find meds that will help manage his behaviors. I am still trying to work full time, but I am his caretaker. He doesn't understand what's said to him, and he blows up frequently. He has a fit if he doesn't know where I am every minute of the day. I have no friends left. I am totally spent, emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. My advice is get the heck out if and while you can. I wish I had.

I understand how you feel. My husband went into cardiac arrest two years ago, survived, but is a stranger to me and my two young sons.

The man who was my best friend and my “go to”person never woke up from that 4-month coma. He is mean, argumentative, and has no short/long term memory.

He was the most financially responsible person I knew, but shortly after coming home racked up over $26,000 of credit card debt that I am still struggling to pay off.

I know none of this is his fault, but my children and I are suffering right along with him. All we do is fight, and I am currently looking into divorce options.

I am sorry for all that you are going through, but, selfishly, I am glad to hear that I am not alone. I have no support from my family. They only see his side, and call me cruel and cold to him, but they don’t live in my house, and they have no idea what we, as caregivers, go thru on a daily basis.

Stay strong and take it one day at a time. That’s all we can do.

Believe me, you are not alone. I had a massive stroke 5 yrs ago and my husband of 50 yrs treated me in the most horrific ways. I have no means of my own so I just love with this. Your advice is valid. Run away while you can do so.

I survived a 50mm brain aneurysm rupture in 2010. My symptoms started well before that summer day in July, I became someone that I don't even know, I act out and can't understand how to control it. My wife has always been difficult, but I love her nonetheless, and she has taken great care of me and our children. I dont think she knows what I go through everyday and its hard having her go to work while I sit in an empty house with nothing but my thoughts. Truly I am at a loss, I feel that the man I used to be died over 10 years ago. What's life without your identity? I wouldn't wish this life on my worst enemy.

Are you able to engage in programs and activities outside of the house that are geared toward people who gave survived TBIs? Check with local social services department or the Easter Seals program?

My folks have been married sense they were 18 years old. My father suffered two bleeding cots on his brain at one point he did not now who I was. Today they are in their late 70's and getting a divorce my mother has put my father in a nursing home and divided the properties, so I am told. This is hard on me for two reasons, one I am daddies girl, and two my partner suffered a massive stroke this Feb 2018 and he is not the same and we are having problems in our relationship. I am so overwhelmed.

What I experienced the other day absolutely had to feel like what it feels like when a spouse dies. When I woke up, I realized that my best friend, my strong, unselfish, helpful, resourceful, loving husband of 12 years was gone. It hurt so bad, and it was surreal. It's plain shocking. I'm sooo very grateful he is not dead! My husband had a stroke January 2017. He had some paralysis for a few months and lost his job and health insurance during the rehab time allotted. He was denied social security which was not the overall goal of course. He continued to rehab on his on refusing to go to a doctor and get rated for low income. During March of the same year, I became ill and continued to progress. I am a colon cancer survivor now plagued with gastroparesis and neuropathy of the stomach. I also am a veteran with PTSD. My health quickly deteriorates in June of this year. I am seeing my primary doctor to discuss feeding tube just to make it through winter to handle m' own end life affairs. My husband behaviors range from 10 yrs to 17 yrs old. He is 50 and I am 57. I tried to tell his family about his behavior and they attacked me, The saddest part of all of this is my husband doesn't remember me as his awesome loving wife whose been there for him and with him being everything a wife is suppose to be. He sees me as someone who doesn't like him. He doesn't understand that he's different. I had to get honest with myself real quick today. I did everything I could to get my husband to go to the doctor! He refused. At this time I'm too ill to deal with someone who ranges from 10-17yrs in behavior. My husband is in God's hands and so am I. God knows all about this and wipes my tears. I was able to convince him that bankruptcy was best, which will happen Monday and he started a new job recently. I only want the best for him. I am going for a divorce ASAP!!!! No room for counseling. My condition is too fragile. I feel for all of you and glad I found you. I hope later on my husband will remember that we were sooo happy together and we both just got sick and were incompatible. Maybe we could have a conversation one day :(

It’s destroying me and my family, Thankyou for sharing Xxx

Pages