The Truth About Divorce After Traumatic 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.

Hang in there and try to be understanding. My husband had an injury 3 years into our marriage, it’s been 11 since his injury. It’s hard because I as a woman had to take on so many roles. It can be very frustrating because the injury doesn’t only affect you but also affects her. Try to be patient with her, if she is still around then it means she loves you.

I'm sitting here at 6 am in the dark trying to be alone. My husband with TBI keeps coming out sure I'm up to no good and refuses to go to bed unless I do. He just stares at me confused and I hate him. I feel so guilty but I truly do. Hugs everyone I'm going to cry for us all

It's impossibly hard. The survivors are masters of disguise. Us spouses are left looking like we're crazy. Everything is our fault. Nothing we do is enough. If we suggest things to help them, we're horrible and judgmental. The agony of everyday and the pain of trying to make things normal for the kids is exhausting. It reminds me of my constant failures. Everything I say is wrong, nothing I do is right. His weight gain and lack of anything other than the tv and his iPad are my fault too. I miss feeling cherished. I miss feeling important. Now I run the house alone and am judged by how I do it - while he does nothing. I miss who he was, which is becoming harder and harder to remember who that was. He's no longer kind. Or loving. He seems to cherish being mean to me. And I made a vow, which is hard to keep on the rare occasion an attractive man pays kind attention to me.

My boyfriend has TBI. We have been together 28 years and he had a brain haemorrhage 5 years ago. I have him but I don't. He is here but he is not. I love him and sometimes I just can't stand him! I feel horrible saying this. It is sooooooo hard. I am 44 years old and I really don't feel like I have a life or am living. It is all about him and how he wants things. There is no flexibility, no seeing or feeling what his behavior is like for me. I listen to him and think this is so NOT the man I had. I am tired and currently am working so little because mentally and physically I'm exhausted. I can't handle much but have to keep on going. I don't see a way out as we have been together for so long and the guilt the guilt.... I don't think I can handle that on top of how I feel now. He tries his best to be caring and loving and then all of a sudden I have done something wrong! Again..... I always do, say, am, look, etc wrong! This happens when he is tired or irritated about something and he takes it out on me. If things don't go his way, how he wants it or how he thought then I have done it again. I have always done it. It makes me miserable, lonely, hurt and so angry. I want a life and a man that is at the same level I am! There is no girl/boy man/woman relationship here. I take care of as best I can which is only the necessary. I feel that that is all I am needed for and all I am here for. I hate writing this as I hide my feelings and am not someone to do this but after 5 years and yet another argument about yet nothing I am miserable, yet again!! I hate my life as is and just don't have the guts to leave him...

Your situation sounds exactly like mine. He’s asking for divorce though and staying friends. That sounds like a deal. Still hurts though.

I am posting this for people who been posting comments and feeling discouraged, maybe thinking you are alone or you are doing something wrong-- As a psychologist who works with TBI patients and their families I find this article to be sorely misleading and lacking in providing a "truth" about marriages after TBI. This is a summarization of the recent research, so perhaps there is more information to glean from the actual articles. However, as it is here it looks like they only considered black-and-white evidence: still married or not. For those who are still married I would like to see data on the rated level of satisfaction with the marriage. If satisfaction is high or acceptable what factors contributed to that? If the satisfaction is low or unacceptable why are they choosing to stay married? Of the marriages that ended in divorce, even those that are intact for that matter--to what degree did they have family and marital counseling and education about learning to cope with life after brain injury?
I would like to pose the interpretation that another reason we may be seeing a decrease in divorce rates after brain injury as compared to the past is that of simple time and advances in our understanding of what to expect and how to cope with it coupled with families having access to that knowledge and outside support from the medical and behavioral health community.

I'm the one with the TBI and my husband has been so emotionally abusive through this all. It's been 6 months so far and he is impatient, condescending and mean. We're trying to work through it but he wants me to give him the emotional support he needs to deal with a wife that isn't running at full speed but I can't. I can't even support myself. After my injury, I became severely depressed and suicidal. I'm in therapy to handle it so I'm not in danger but during the worst of it, I couldn't lean on him for support because he was too busy yelling at me for everything I do wrong. I'm so tired and defeated everyday because everything I say and think is wrong because of the TBI and it's so hard to have someone that expects you to be right as rain. I know it's hard to understand it from the survivors side but trust me that they can't totally understand it from the other side either.

I am going through the same thing as a survival of a tbi. My husband is the most wonderful person in the world to me however he is the biggest a** there is!! His patience with me is ridiculously annoying!! All he does is judge me and yells at me. He is so mean and everything is my fault. Our children even sees the unfairness of everything. Throughought all my tbi dysfunctions (can't drive) I am the best wife and mother I can be. My children love me and will do anything for me because they see my struggle and they also see my drive to be the best mother and wife I can be!! I cook, clean, work, handle my kids, satisfy him and a bunch more but it's like something is always wrong!! What I do is never enough in his eye sight!! And we had a remedial argument this morning and his threatened me with leaving me!! Oh my how tired I am of hearing that!! Help!!!!

My husband had a TBI a little over 4 years ago I thought reading other's comments would help me - it just validates what I feel. At first when he would take his meds he was easier to deal with but he said it just made him want to sleep and maybe that was how it was easier – less waking hours of him yelling at me or my oldest child about how worthless we both are.  When he doesn't take his meds then he is a horrible person to me. We go out with friends -he laughs has fun is the life of the party - the drive home I am told of all the things I did that embarrassed him - such as I laughed loudly and I did it to embarrass him and prove I could do anything I wanted. Well two fold one I was just laughing with my friends the only relief I ever get and then I get told that I made a fool out of myself that all of my friends think I am crazy. I keep his TBI to myself - I don't want to burden my friends with my life - it’s just too hard. He is not the person I married and if he were this way before the TBI I would have divorced him. I feel obligated - for better or for worse - for the children and the family - to death do we part - but my life is miserable. I am made to feel like I am horrible - tonight we were playing cards with our children and he just went on and on about me - how stupid I am - do I really think this or that - blah blah blah - I am seriously tired, I work 60 hours a week to support us, and come home and the house looks like someone spent all day just making a mess - so I clean the house - and then it's finally time for bed - with a little more cruising about me and my bad attributes. I don't know why he has to hate me - I have tried everything I can - I have been patience - kind – supportive tried to get him all the help I can find. I don’t talk back when he starts in on me in hopes that it won’t last long – but it just goes on and on and then he will finally stop. I sit there and think are you really going to live the rest of your life like this – we had a good life – but this is not the life I want – this is not the man I married – do I just divorce him and move on – I know if I leave then he will be sad and depressed we did that for the first two years – but this is really not fair and after 4 years I can’t make it any better – it is starting to make me a miserable person. Do you think I can leave him – and be happy – he has talked me down that sometimes I truly question if I am wrong  - at least people who live with someone with a TBI understand the hatred that they give their spouse. 

I had a six inch brain tumor removed three years ago. The tumor came back a year ago. My husband says I am not the same person I was before the tumor/surgery. What he fails to understand is I have no way of knowing how I am different. I just try my best to do the things I feel I should do as a wife. Whether it is the same or not.. How would I know... I am who I am. I don't feel different other than debilitating migraines..vomiting, vertigo etc... I can say that no matter how much it would hurt can't live your life to make him happy. You certainly deserve to be happy. You can't live a miserable life for fear of hurting him. That only makes you resentful and miserable together. He will have to grow and find out what makes him happy...he may be better off alone. Whatever the case, you are only responsible for your own happiness. Once you are gone he will not have anyone to blame and may realize how he has changed. You have to let some people is not selfish. It is self preservation. God Bless you for trying..that is all that can be expected. You can't trade your happiness for his...that being said...he doesn't sound happy anyways. Save yourself from years of misery.

After my husband had his brain injury, he has been so hateful. Demeaning to me emotionally and mentally abusive. I been suffering for 3 years now and I don't know what to do. Someone PLEASE HELP!!!

i know how you feel it is now 12 years after my husbands traumatic brain injury and i have never been so unhappy!! he is always angry and i just don't want to live like this anymore

Well I'm weighing in here after 1 and a half years post stroke. We have been married five years, second marriage for both. No children together. I have two teens living with us. He was 49 when he had the stroke, 45 when he had the heart attack. He was good for 2 years exercising and eating right and not smoking. Then he slipped gained weight, started smoking again and had a stroke. At first I was mad at him for making bad choices about his health. Now I have come to accept what has happened to my "new husband". Well he is not the man I said "I do" to. I feel more sad than guilty however because perhaps this could've been avoided. I will never know. But I ask you all why should I be condemned (and I mean this) to a sexless life of caregiving to someone who watches TV all day because he's too exhausted to do his therapy? You get what you give and I have no guilt because he gave up on his health and our marriage the day he started smoking again. Selfish choice but he was and is all about him. So I am going to be all about me. And so should you, because no one else is going to look out for you. Who wants to die a martyr anyhow?

My husband had colloid cyst removed December 2014. Finding this and reading everyone's stories I finally don't feel alone in how I'm feeling. 17 years together and I don't want to be here anymore. He's just miserable and won't help himself, sits around like hes 80. I'm wasting away hating my life.

My heart and prayers go out to all the Brain Injury Survivors and their spouses on this page and I want to encourage all of you with my story!  My husband and I were married for 19 months when we had our tragic car accident.  We were on our way to Disney World in Florida and never made it out of our state due to the van hydroplaning on a curvy highway.  There was 5 of us in the car which included myself, my husband, our 14 month old son, our 7 year old daughter, and my mother-in-law who died at the scene of the accident.  We all were injured but my husband sustained the worst of all which was a severe brain injury!  As many of you have stated there are major changes that take place which takes a heart of steel and a mindset of forgiveness, grace and mercy at all times!  Well to add to my incredible testimony we have 5 children, the two oldest being my step-children but I don't consider them step, they are mine as well.  We have three children together and 2 years after the accident I found out our first son is diagnosed with Autism/Sensory Integration. Two years after that our second son in diagnosed with Autism/Sensory Integration. Our daughter has been tested because she too showed signs on the emotional end but highly intellectual!  I have been a homeschool mom for 8 years now and between my husbands uniqueness and my children uniqueness, God has given me strength to keep my "Joy" through the extremely challenging circumstances I have lived with for years now.  As of this September 7, 2016 we will reach 19 years of marriage with only 19 months of him being able body!  For those of you struggling with the changes in personality the brain is no match for God's power through the Word!  Faith has been a strong foundation of our marriage, as well as reading books, laughing, and listening to CD's that penetrate all of their minds to help them understand the pain involved on both ends of the spectrum.  Inspirational music also penetrates the soul but I know everyone has to find what works best for them.  Support groups are also good even if the survivor doesn't want to go I would advise the caregiver to go because you can receive valuable information and friendships with those who can relate.  I thank God everyday for His love and now instead of complaining I thank Him for my family and ask Him to take all of our pain.... and use it for His Glory!!!  I am now trying to birth a Special Needs Art and Social Ministry at my church and my husband and I went through training to become Brain Injury Peer Visitors Support for the Hospital in our area!  For us as caregivers, the most important thing is for us to get a break to rejuvenate in all areas.  I am still looking to do this myself and will probably start a non-profit group to help all caregivers who are suffering in their brains as well as it is just as traumatic for us because of the responsibilities.  May God Bless all of you and may you find purpose in this pain!  

Favor-full of Blessings,

Kimberly Brown (

Thank you so much for this positive post. Living with tbi enables one to feel for others and become a better person. A positive approach to tbi will make society a better place. Investing in road safety can help too. Best wishes to you.

My husband had a TBI a little over 5 yrs. ago. We have been married 21 years. He was in the hospital for 6 months. I never knew if he would recover or if he would be able to be home. He eventually came home & went through so many different therapist. Im happy he is doing better but at the same time I never been so miserable. Like so many others have said "I'm living with a stranger." His personality is so different & he just sits on the couch all day watching tv. He never has any incentive to do anything but watch TV & eat. He will go with me to do grocery shopping but never suggests what we should buy or eat or what to do. He is verbally abusive & when I try to confront him about things he says to people that is embarrassing & rude he acts like he doesn't do anything wrong & gets furious with me. I can never have a decent conversation with him. He can hurt my feelings & he acts like he's mr. wonderful. I know he can't help having a brain injury but I feel depressed & guilty that at my age I'm insecure in the relationship & don't feel like I'm in love anymore with him. I feel totally helpless.

To the woman who's husband can have conversations with others but not her without fighting: I am a wife and the TBI and also seem to have conversations with others just fine and yet argue with my husband terrifically. I don't understand exactly what is happening, although I know it's usually that I am severely overstimulated and looking to him to help me vs to be a spouse for me. He has given me sound proof headphones which helps and I try to have a brain break before heading about his day so that I'm fresh for his and my relationship time. Also I find driving helps us as I sit in the passenger seat and can listen to him without taking in all the nonverbal information when sitting face to face. Maybe things like that could help you and your husband. Also I asked my husband to ask me questions to help me think like: do you think you need a brain break? Is this store environment overstimulating you? Do you need to go shut our light and sound for sheiks and then listen to me talk about my day? Things like this seem to help us. I hope that helps. Hang in there, he loves you and needs you and it will get better. Brain breaks are key! Also has he looked into yoked prism glasses and vision therapy? It's been the ONLY things after 4-5 years that has started my husband telling me he sees his wife coming back. Something called the MIT device or 'fixation' has been a huge success with me and you might look into it with your vision therapy Doctor. Good luck and find things that aren't stimulating that you can do together. Best! ~JK=)

My husband had a TBI in 2010. He is rude. Can't handle crowds or traffic. He is ocd about everything. Physically he is fine. They did surgery on the left frontal lobe. He is so impatient and everything that happens is my fault in his eyes. He is controlling and verbally abusive. As long as his daily routine goes uninterrupted life is fine. He can't have a normal conversation with me without yelling..but he can manage to work with others without yelling. I have felt bad because I want to leave and I know he can't help the state he is in.. But he believes he is fine and says I am the one with the problem... Help me make him see he needs help

I suffered a severe TBI in 1993 at the age of 21, my wife and I were only married for 3 months and pregnant with our first child at the time. Nothing in my life is the same as before, everything has changed, I never recovered fully but learned how to cope, manage and hide my injuries. The rehab hospital I was in actually offered to help my wife get a divorce lawyer (because marriages with head injuries don't last) My wife told them to **** off and that we would make it. 24 years later we are still together and I have changed from being a roofer to an IT specialist making 60k/yr. Like I said I haven't recovered and I'm lucky that tech and my wife stuck with me. It's amazing what a lot and I mean a lot of perseverance and not taking the easy road will do for you.

I'm there now.. My husband at only 4 months married with two small children and one on the way... it is very hard at times but somehow God seems to help us make it through. I don't know how to talk to others about our relationship and not even my mom and dad he is like a stranger in the house so just sit and stare out the window for hours or at the TV and it's not even though we don't have regular communication with can't talk about things that are going on my financial burden our children are taking him to school I have high risk pregnancies have preeclampsia I take insulin shots and have high blood pressure and he doesn't seem to understand the more stressed I have to go through the more things that make other people think he's crazy stuff that happens on a regular basis to me it affects our children and me me and me to have this baby early people that does not or have not ever went through this doesn't know how it is they can't say we know how it is cuz I tell my dr. s all the time this is going on this is going on and I'll just look at me and say I know I know but they don't know because they don't live with that every single day. It's very frustrating because I was with him for 6 years before this happened and we've only been married four months now and I've been living with him for three years after his accident happened to him and our daughter will be 4 and I have not even A2 year old son and I'm pregnant with another baby they don't understand what's going on they know there's something different about daddy but that's about it... for Father's Day He was going really good we went to eat with my mom and dad went to Walmart after Walmart my dad said once you guys just go ahead to my house I was just driving home went to slow down to turn off the interstate and from out of nowhere she just jumped out of the car and takes off work and my kids are crying I'm upset I couldn't get them back in the car I called my mom and dad they had to call the state troopers to get the state troopers to bring him back things like that that normal people don't have to deal with don't know how hard it is to go through things like this every day because of their brain is not working right emotional emotionally he's changed personally he's changed physically he's changed can't work can't drive I can't do this you can't do that it does put a lot of strain on someone in the bad thing is he's not even 30 yet he's only 28 and I'll be 30 in September where babies going through this you hear of older people going through this not someone young like me my whole life in front of me so does he consider these children and I have to babysit my husband I didn't expect things to be this bad at all but you know what God always sees or the person what they can handle and if he knew that I could handle this then I can handle anything......

My husband had brain tumors.  Germinoma.  Not that we knew that until we were in the midst of divorce proceedings.  Over the course of the 12 years we were together, he became a completely different person.  He'd never really had motivation, or good decision making skills, but he was a hard worker when he could carry a job.  The last few years before his diagnosis he became unpredictable. I became a target; there was rarely any time that he wasn't angry at me for thing both real and imagined.  He was paranoid, narcissistic, explosive...he couldn't handle stressful situations.  He was sleeping 16-20 hours a day.  He'd forget things, or they just would never really register.  We'd see acquaintances, and they'd note changes in him, saying he was like a completely different person than they'd known the year prior.  He's a veteran and we'd previously passed his behavior off as possibly depression or PTSD, but he refused to get treatment.  He'd tell me nothing was wrong with him, and that I was just trying to control him.  It got to the point where I couldn't help him anymore, and he needed to be with the people that could.  He'd listen to his family.  They got him more help in the first month than I could in years.  I told myself that I sacrificed to save him, and that got me through when the diagnosis came in.  I felt validated.  I can't lie and say that if the diagnosis would have come prior to the divorce, that we could have tried harder to stay together.  Things were definitely easier once there was a legitimate reason for it all...   But there's a point where you just can't try anymore; where things can be forgiven but not repaired. Reading through the other comments here, I know I'm not alone feeling that way.   I still feel horrible pangs of what I call "Survivor's Guilt," and I think it's going to take a normal mourning process, just like if he'd died.  In all honesty, he has.  His body survived, but someone else is occupying it. Having to see his face, and help our kids understand the changes in him... it's like living with a ghost of the person you loved, only they aren't who you remember.  I can't wrap my head around that in a way that makes sense to people who haven't experienced it.  I'm still holding out the hope that more of him will come back over the years to come, and that trying to co-parent will become easier.  Maybe the guilt, and the pain will ease a little.  I'm trying to raise myself up so I can help the kids rise above it as well.  It's been two years, and there's still good days and bad days.  Long ways to go.  

I am having a very rough time.  His injury was about six months ago.  At first I had hope, but that hope is going away as, over time, I can see that his personality has changed.  He is a stranger to me.  I have no one to talk to who understands.  We dated for 6 years, waiting for my kids to grow up, he finally moved in with me and not one week passed before he had his stroke.  So no, we are NOT married.  He has three adult children, scattered elsewhere in the country. He is not close to them. He has no one else. All friends have abandoned him/us.  I no longer want to be in this relationship, but I feel so stuck. No, it is not a situation that requires a divorce, but he is so dependent on me, and I feel so guilty.  We had all these hopes and dreams, and we never had a chance, really, to be together (living together). So now I live and sleep with a stranger. Can we talk about sex, please? This is one of the hardest things. He is still interested in sex, but I am not! He is not the same guy I have loved and desired during these years.  But I am so afraid of hurting his feelings. How can I tell him that I just don't feel that way about who he is now.  I can't even tell if he realizes that he is not the same person. I work all day, he is home, just sits around watching TV, waiting for me to walk in the door, then he demands incessant attention. I DO give him attention, but honestly this is not the life we lived before or wished to live. We were both independent people with many interests and hobbies, some individual, and a very good match for each other. Now he is totally dependent on me for all human interaction, and I am not cut out for this. I am feeling simultaneously extremely guilty for thoughts of leaving the relationship (we were very committed to each other), and simultaneously grieving the loss of the relationship with the man who was, as though he died, but his body is re-animated by this total stranger. But yes, there are occasional glimpses of the old "him" and that is what keeps me feeling like I cannot leave.  My heart is overflowing with compassion, but like others here have said, if I met him today, we are not compatible and I would not be choosing a relationship with him. Complicating matters is how this situation has driven my young adult children away. They cannot stand to be around him and so I am now suffering the loss of those relationships, too.  I honestly feel I will be leaving soon, but I just have to figure out how. I fear that he will be homeless.  He has distanced himself from his relatives and he has no money other than social security. 

Hello, suffered a TBI in 2006 and have seizures disorder from TBI.  My husband has stayed by my side and supported me but I have changed over all the years of living with this horrific disability.  He is now depressed and I completely understand why.  He does not deserve my behavior problems, severe depression, and the guilt I carry every day for feeling like a burden to him.  If he does want to leave I will be devastated but I know he will be happier.  

It's so sad that I'm mourning for my use to be husband and caring for this stranger. My teenager is depressed because my brain injured husband says the meanest things to her. I'm really having a hard time. My life is so miserable because he's so hateful and grunts at us like an animal. I miss the husband I married so much. He has also lost his empathy. Loosing people in our family in a car accident meant nothing to him. I need love, affection, and support. I don't know what I'm going to do. People do judge and especially Christians. It's not Christian to divorce and the 'in sickness and in health' oath just doesn't apply here. My daughter and I are literally being abused. They aren't living my life 24/7. I'm living one day at a time on faith, hope, and love. I know my God is bigger than this. I pray a lot.

I feel for all the pain and overwhelmed life that all of you have shared here.
Thank you for being open and reach out though living in an impossible situation.
my husband is TBI severe level, survivor. It took 26 hours before he received medical help. It happened in a middle of jungle and public holiday, hence the huge delay.This August, it will be our 6th anniversary post accident.
It happened when he was only 44 and I was 37, our sons 8.5 and 6. The first 2 year , I was like a dog chasing after its own tail. Tried all ways possible to expedite my husband's healing. You name it i did it for him, since i heard that the golden period for healing is 2 years after the accident.
All those time, faith, efforts, pain, loneliness , being misunderstood by your surroundings, especially your "church" friends....made me wiser, i can smile through the storm now, for truly it is the best coping mechanism for me.
Inside, I am crying and dying slowly (just like the rest of us) .....sometimes i feel so ready to leave this life. some other time i feel so strongly convicted to stay and finish my mission in bearing this cross......but again, I am only human....i don't know if i can handle this for the rest of my life.

Now, he is a 50 yo well mannered man, stable in term of fact very healthy and looking younger than me (nothing to think about except eat and sleep).
Sometimes his cognitive can be normal and focus on conversation for about 5 to 10 min in a day....then back to his TBI self of repeating the same requests like a broken CD player.
He can no longer stand on his feet, let alone walk.
EVERYTHING needs to be taken care of .......diapers bound with great appetite for food (that's all that he can think of....due to the dead right brain that reached 80%).

i think the time of seeing no improvements have took a toll on me. I can not even grief for losing my loving and faithful smart super smart husband 6 years ago......and left with a baby trapped in an adult body of his own.

my boys now are teens, with all the usual teens challenges and "know it all" attitudes and contempt towards me.....the woman whom gave birth to them.

On top of that my parents are in their 70s and 80s with many issues like dementia and physical difficulties to function daily. I am a stress eater the past 4 years...gained 30kg in 6 so stuck in life. Bread winner, being single mother to teens and aging, what an eventful life i have ....

I am sure we are all in this not by our own choice ....nobody want to have a life like ours.....who will care for us when we are too old to take care of him?

And like many comments above, i do ask myself, do i deserve a life like this?
Can we call this as living? What quality of life do i have now?

I take my wedding vow seriously, but to the man that i married.
I am taking care of him more than i ever have of my 2 sons when they were babies, but he will never grow up like my boys.
this fact put my heart into hopelessness....i can not see where is this heading.
i can not see the end of this.

I wish i can sound more positive and encouraging.....but really .....i am at the verge of burn out and i know it....i have been on this track before......
but i can't do anything unless i stop this insanity and start a new life ....which means divorcing him and move out of the country.

if any of you have been in my exact spot....please reply and let me know what to do...or how you have done it well and get through this tough spot.

Again, thank you for giving safe space for us caregivers to vent......and give input and share experiences.

I have no hope that he will ever get any better.  I am miserable and suffocating and trapped.  I have continually sacrificed my happiness for his.  I have given up my life and my future happiness to be the companion and caretaker of someone who will continue to drain me until one of us dies.  Don't judge the people that leave. You have no idea what we go through or how desperate we are to just live.

I am in the process of a divorce now. I fear the memory of who my husband once was, is what kept me going. I still am very much in love with my husband, but the man I'm married to is not my husband. This man is hard to love. I don't want our marriage to end, but I can't continue in it this way anymore. We have four great kids 7 down to 7 months! Our children need the attention two parents can give, but our problems consumed our time. Now we are no longer we. It is plaintiff vs defendant instead of husband and wife. Doesn't have the same happy connotation, but it's where we have come to be now. My heart hurts for all of you who are or has known someone who had a TBI or is the caregiver/spouse of a TBI survivor. I have seen changes in my husband that I would have said no, he would never do that. I've eaten my words on that one more than a few times. I'm filing for a legal separation. I'm hoping getting him back into therapy and back on his medication will allow him to see he still has love to give and receive. He's stated he didn't feel like a man anymore since not working and taking care of us, but it wasn't just that, he said. It was knowing you had something to do, somewhere you had to get up and go for, the ability to earn a living. All of that was taken away. I would always remind him of what he had left, but he was missing a piece of himself that I could not replace. There can be no violence and abuse within a healthy relationship. That's why I had to leave the marriage. Maybe now he can work on himself and get some help.

My husband of 6 years (14 together) suffered a cluster of 3 TBIs in 2011, and yet another 1 in 2015. While he is convinced that the TBIs and resulting depression/anxiety are not the reason, he has decided, abruptly it seems, to move out and proceed to end our relationship. I now know in hindsight we failed to support me through his injuries and recovery and also failed to support and nurture our relationship with each other. I remain hopeful that therapy will help open his eyes to a wider range of possible outcomes for us, but for now he is stuck on separation and divorce as the only "logical" option.

He's post trearment for brain tumors. I find myself having more conversations with myself in my own head because of the anxiety I have around communicating with him. Im stressed out all the time and it's so much work just to live. In my head I catch myself saying "I hate my life" way too many times in any given day. I recognize how unhealthy his condition is making me and my daughter. We're constantly on eggshells and agreeing with nonsense just to avoid explosive outbursts and long lectures. Argumentative, competitive, childish, unreasonable. I don't know how to deal. The resentment grows. I've become his mother and I've never felt more alone in a relationship. I've been fed up for years now since diagnosis. Its not getting better. How do I learn to deal with this? How can I protect my daughter without just up and leaving him? I'm exhausted. I hate this.

Like others, I have to say the anger & narcissism are the worst.  My spouse's accident was two decades ago, 10 years after we'd been together.  I am committed to our marriage vows but it is so hard.  I am always wrong, always mean, always lazy.  I know it's her TBI talking but after all these years that is no consolation.  As others have said, she believes she is fine.  Because I was in a coma for 3 days & had (very minimal) anoxic brain injury after an intentional drug overdose, now I am the one with designated problem.  AKA, her out.  My " brain injury" is worse, her burden heavier.  I don't think spouses/partners, particularly spouses who stay, get the support or credit we deserve.

My husband had a mild traumatic brain injury in February 2013, it has been pure hell.  He was unable to care for himself for the 1st three months, then his condition improved but he became very depressed and paranoid.  He has locked himself in the room, states he does not trust me, he accuses me of poisoning him.  He is very impulsive, he will spend hundreds of dollars in a day, he is not going to be able to work again and I can't get him to stop spending.  He has no impulse control anymore.  If he feels threatened in the least he will resort to physical means until he feels safe again.  We have been married 13 years but I left this fall, I didn't go far because I still have to be there to help him, but the emotional and verbal abuse was escalating and he had become violent.  I am so sad that this has happened to us.  The wonderful man I married is gone.  Because he looks fine and presents well no one understands what it was like in our home.  Everyone thinks he is fine.  This has been the hardest thing I have ever been through, and there is not much support.  I feel guilty about leaving him, but he is so angry and aggressive and impulsive I didn't know what else to do.  I wish there were help for families.

I cried so hard when I read your post, This has been happening to me sense Feb 15th 2018, and your right I have searched for help , but find the law for disability not me. That how I word it "Living in Hell"

The world of TBI really is so complex both for sufferer and carer. My husband has been left with severe disabilities after a car accident in 2014. I care 24/7 for him at home after a year long hospital stay and have three young children. I ensure he attends all his rehab sessions and try my hardest to ensure he is happy, well cared for and loved...but he shows me normally at least every other evening, that I disgust him and he hates me, he's physically violent and his words are destroying me. I try to shelter my children and explain its not daddy's choice why he acts like this and it's not ok for them to act that way but I'm scared for their future growing up in this environment. Other times he is quiet and just wants to be alone to watch TV and then sometimes he is so loving and caring, he's my old husband and best friend. I tried to get help and spoke to his family but they turned on me and blamed me for provoking him. They told me it was my fault, and tried to say as he's disabled he couldn't physically hurt me, trust me he can and does. I felt so alone so I don't tell anyone now what's happening and I try so hard to keep smiling and stay positive, whilst hiding the new scratches and bruises. I tried to contact our local support group but couldn't get through and when they called back I was with my husband and couldn't talk and they don't call me back anymore after missing each other so many times. I have no local family and my friends are our friends and I don't want to disrespect the memories they have of how he used to be. But he's gone, he's so uncharacteristically selfish, wants to spend money constantly on himself (we just haven't got spare money now) refuses to accept that it's not me that won't let him drive/work/other activities that unfortunately he can't do at the moment, if I upset him in anyway (ie ive helped my son with his homework when my husband had wanted me, I'd not known this and he'd not said anything and we were in the same room) he flipped on me for around five hours, how do you handle this. I don't want to leave him. We've been together for 20 years and those flashes of affection are so welcome but I'm so tired and I know I'm struggling. I know it should be about him and my struggles are of no relevance to his, but he seems so unaware of what he's doing to us as a family it's heart breaking. I'm scared of him

My husband and I are now divorced after he suffered TBI in December of 2013. He couldn't face it, blamed everyone and no one was around to help. We had no support and all the love in the world couldn't get us passed his outbursts and extreme behavior. I will forever remember the man I married and loved so deeply. It seems that it doesn't get easier. He made such a mess. Burned my belongings and drug me through so much. No one around him knows how dangerous he has become. I lived with it. With the amount of brain damage and where the damage was he was literally rendered a narcissist. It was like dealing with two different people. He described it as hating the other person inside his brain. There needs to be more support for families. We lived in a rural area. It was scary dealing with it on my own. 

Its a relief to know there are others who understand what I'm going through. My wife has post concussive syndrome from an injury in early 2015. As she gets better physically, the emotional and mental issues have escalated. She is paranoid but open to keeping her friendships but she doesn't trust me and wants to leave the marriage. After 10 years together, this is quite heartbreaking. Only a miracle will keep us together.

I thought reading other people's testimonies would make me feel better about all of my emotions. It just validates what I already knew. This is hard, and it sucks. My husband had an accident in August 2015. TBI ....he hates me. And I am exhausted. My kids watch how he treats me, and try to protect me. They shouldn't have to witness this, but what do I do?

My wife had a TBI 20 months ago. She's been horrible to me and her parents pretty much since she came round from here coma. She's ok with everyone else. It's like she can't stand me, I'm left as a single dad of two young children and this person who looks like my wife but is like a stranger to me. Our children avoid her and don't want to spend any time with her as she is pretty hard on them too. It's not her fault but me and the children are the ones that are suffering. My wife blames me and the children as we are the ones who have changed. I'm trapped in a very unhappy marriage that I cannot see is ever going to get better. She has told me she doesn't want to be with us anymore but she can't live on her own as she needs 24/7 care which we cannot afford and the government will only pay a small amount of money to help with. I don't want to see her put in a care home so I'm completely trapped. I can't move on. 

It's a very difficult thing to go through. My husbands tbi was 18 years ago & it completely changed him. His personality has definitely changed. Most days I feel like he hates me. He says he doesn't but the way he acts makes me believe differently.

In 2005 age 53 my husband had a stroke. We had been married 11 years. He fully recovered physically but mentally was never the same. He was and always will be the love of my life. I find myself living with 'a man'  I never married. He suffers from Post Traumatic stress syndrome, Anxiety and depression. I loved and supported him thru all of this ( plus cancer ) for 10 and a half years. I am finally leaving him after being verbal and emotionally abused for over 10 years. I kept telling myself he could not help it?! It is not his fault. No the stroke was not his fault but doing nothing at all about his mental state and bad behaviour  and nothing to help our marriage is his fault! We now find ourselves about to be divorced. He is not prepared to help himself and get mental assistance....why because he thinks there is nothing wrong him?! People will say I am abandoning him but I say no i am not! He abandoned 'us'.He had choices and chose not to get it is my turn to make a choice for me. Being 8 years younger I have a lot more time on this earth to find some peace and quiet in my life and be happy. I know I will always love him but I'm in love with the old husband and he is gone!

Ten years ago, I married my husband after he suffered a stroke the year prior. At the time, the was hope for recovery, not full, but significant. To make a long story, short, There was very little progress to plateau and now decline. I still love him. but caring for him is like caring for a baby, There has never been any intimacy since the stroke therefore my love for him is like loving a brother. I fell my life slipping away from lack of life and living. With the help of friends, I started getting my life back...went back to work and becoming social again. My husband is starting to not remember me unless I'm in his presence. I would never desert him, but life is short and I want to move on with my life. Eventually, he'll end up in a nursing home. and then what am I suppose to do with my life?   

We made a marriage vow 51 years ago that still stands.We're in it together.

After a stroke and several TIA's I was separated and now heading for divorce after 25 years of marriage.  However, it's not because of the burden on my wife.  It's because of my renewed outlook on the fragility and limited nature of our lives.  I view it as a positive thing even though my TBI was, and still is, a devastating injury to myself physically, mentally and emotionally.  So, while some look at our spouses 'abandoning' us, as if we are the problem, how about looking at the injury as awaking us to what matters and giving us the courage to leave?

I must wonder about the study reporting the zero divorce rate after injury after age 60. I am 65 and had serious closed head brain injury from a fall five years ago. That was followed by two hemorrhagic strokes in malformed arteries resulting from the trauma. Together this has produced general and very specific forms of disconnection syndrome that especially affect my left brain control of my right brain emotional responses.

I was very recently examined in a psychiatric hospital unit for several weeks and no psychiatric problems were found. However, while there my wife of 44 years informed me that she would not be at home to greet me when I was discharged. We are now permanently separated as I cannot risk myself again to the extreme level of emotional pain I suffered when she told me she was leaving. There was no physical abuse ever involved and never any form of "wandering" or cheating by either of us. My wife simply has not been able to deal with the severe change of emotional control I have experienced.

The damage to my corpus callosum was extensive so brain hemispheres are partially disconnected and will remain that way. I now live alone in an apartment and the house we did live in is on the market. This is the worst thing that has ever happened to me and I have no way out of it and very little left to live for. I will never kill myself but it will be a relief when that time comes.

7 years and feel like others.  Why us and life should have been so different.  He tries to pretend he has not changed but can be so different, especially with my family.  I don't think we would be together if it wasn't for the children.

After my husband's accident he is definitely not the person I married. I will wake up to a different person each day never knowing what mood he will be in or what type of person he will be. Most days he is bearable and others I want to run away. What type of person would I be for leaving him when this wasn't his fault? But do I deserve to be miserable for the rest of my life? I have struggled with this for a long time....

I feel exactly the same way- 11 years post stroke and I am at my breaking point, now has white matter disease, only more miserable as he loses more memory, and function. What kind of person leaves after 40 years of marriage. I feel I should just ride it out.

His tbi injury happened 15 years ago and there's almost not a day that goes by that he does something to remind me he is not the person I fell in love with. I'm often like "who is this guy" and "why did this happen to us?" I am so sad because our lives should have been so different. Had I met him and he was like this I never would have been in a relationship with him. I hate my life with this stranger. Why? Just why?

I find myself making poor decisions in my marriage and work life.  I like to think its unrelated to my injury but I don't know after reading this and other articles.  My injury was about seven and a half years ago which seems to be about the magic number for things to really unravel.  

After my injury my wife of 6 yrs , girlfriend of 20 baby mama of 12 left stating I was no longer the guy she married. I have to say I would not have done the same.