What Happens to Relationships After Brain Injury?

From the National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injury
What Happens to Relationships After Brain Injury?

Many survivors and family members describe changes in their relationships after the injury. They may not hear much from friends, co-workers, and extended family members. Others notice that their phone calls, emails, and letters are left unanswered. Some survivors find themselves feeling alone even when they spend much of their time with family members or friends. Here are some of the things people say about their relationships after brain injury. Do any of these statements sound like things you have said?

  • I can't relate to other people. It's easier to be by myself.
  • What happened to all the friends who came to visit me in the hospital?
  • Other people don't want to be around me.
  • People seem to avoid me.
  • My wife threatens to leave me at least twice a week.
  • I wonder why no one returns my calls.
  • It seems like everyone at work has lost my phone number.
  • I haven't talked to anyone in weeks.
  • Nobody cares about me.
  • I don't have any friends.
  • Seems like nobody wants to talk to me.
  • Nobody has any idea what I am going through. They don't understand me.

Why people feel lonely even when around family members or friends?

After injury, many survivors describe feeling lonely — even when they are surrounded by other people. This loneliness may arise for many different reasons.

  • Difficulty talking to other people or understanding what others are saying are common problems survivors face after injury. Communication problems can make relating to other people and explaining your thoughts and feelings very difficult. These problems can lead to feeling misunderstood and isolated.
  • Many survivors feel self-conscious after their injuries. They may worry about being different or less capable than other people. Self-consciousness can make it harder to spend time with other people or seek out new relationships.
  • After injury, many survivors worry about what others will think of them and may feel nervous about being around other people. They may be afraid of being hurt or rejected by other people.
  • Many survivors notice they are more irritable after their injuries. When irritated, they may say or do things they regret later on. Some survivors try to stay away from those they care about for fear of behaving poorly. Family and friends may also avoid you if they are worried about what you might say or do.
  • Fatigue and low energy are common problems after brain injury. Survivors may not have the energy to do things they used to enjoy or to spend time with friends and family. Family and friends may also worry about tiring you out when they invite you to do something.
  • Pain and other physical problems often make it harder for survivors to do things they used to enjoy. You may also have trouble leaving the house, traveling, or visiting other people. Injury-related limitations make it harder to nurture and build relationships.
  • Many survivors are not able to drive or work after their injury. Lack of transportation and money may make it hard to visit others or do things you enjoy.
  • People generally make friends through work or being involved in social or recreational activities. After injury, survivors often stop working and may not be involved in sports, church, and other activities. You may lose contact with friends and co-workers because you don't see them as much.
  • Friends and family may feel uncomfortable because they don't know what to say, how to act, or how to help. Discomfort may make it harder for them to relate to you or spend time with you. Help them out by letting them know about your positive and negative feelings and what they can do to help you.
Posted on BrainLine November 4, 2008

From the National Resource Center for Traumatic Brain Injury, Virginia Commonwealth Model Systems of Care. Chapter reprinted with permission from the NRC TBI publication, Memory Matters: Strategies for Managing Everyday Memory Problems. www.neuro.pmr.vcu.edu.

Comments

My husband suffered a brain trauma injury, back in May of 2016, he had a right side brain surgery, which left him on a coma for 4 months. I was with him all thru the time in the hospital 24/7. He went to a nursing home I was with him through that ordeal. He wasn't being taken care of, he came down with an infection and dehydration. Since I was not allow to be with him at night to make sure that he properly got taken care, I decided to bring him home on December 2016, I alone have been properly taking care of him, I have been told that I am doing a great job with him, he is recovering. He moves his left arm and he is starting to move his left leg and right leg slowly. He is talking, although some of his sentences are clear and some are not, but he is getting more and more clear. But I love him and hate for him that I tried to give him all the affection I can make him feel safe. I tell him I will always be by his side.

I get you. I know this sucks but it helps me to seriously focus on not taking it personal. I know I'm a great woman. I know the truth. And I know what I've done even if he can't remember me being there . I have to submit to the fact that it might not change. I have to submit to the fact That I'm good enough and I love him until the end of time . I strongly believe that we will see each other after the new system and that he will be healed . And that I am doing Gods work and appreciating God for sending him in my life . I do believe he put a partner in my life . I will do everything for him to honor God as I try to do for my kiddos. And I will do everything I can to improve on the life he deserves & was granted by a God. I think we have to get strong enough in our own self-esteem to know that we contribution to another human being in such an epic way & We roll model Jesus is love for everybody . May you find comfort in that beautiful hope . Ranee

First of all it is your boyfriend's brain injury that is causing him to act this way. His sister says he acts this way around strangers and around you so it tells me he is fearing rejection. He is probably so afraid you won't want him anymore. Just keep reassuring him and as time passes and his brain heals more he will be able to relate better. My husband had a traumatic brain injury at work and wasn't supposed to survive. A year and a half later he is improving and going to therapy every week. He expresses his anger mostly at me but now I understand the anger is fear. I had to get a counselor to help me make sense of things. Your relationship will never be what it was but you can build it better because you now know never to take even one day for granted! Also the doctors had to put him back on some of the drugs to control anger. If he has to stay on them for the rest of his life he understands why. I wish you luck for your future for you and your boyfriend and son. Ask for help. It really is too much to handle on your own.

I did not have what most consider a traumatic brain injury however had several small strokes culminating in a larger one. Thank GOD it was not that bad. I have experienced over some months when the neurologist thinks I was having smaller ones that affected behavior etc much change in relationships..especially with my best friend. He accused me of saying things that I don't recall or could not believe I had said and recently ended our relationship over this. I sent him a letter today hoping he reads it as my doctor told me many of the things I say I don't remember or mean. I hope he forgives me and reads up on the symptoms.

I've been going thru the same thing. My husband had a bad accident August 22 of 2016. He had his bone flap replaced November 8th of 2016. During his coma he had a stroke which was unnoticed because of the paraletics he was on. He will get better once he gets his bone flap back on his speech will get better and his anger. It does take time my husband still has good days and bad. I'm just lucky he is still alive. Be aware your boyfriend might start having seizures. My husband suffers from epilepsy now. You're not alone and read up. Most people get divorced after a TBI. Our loved ones are never the same. However I will not be added to that percentage rate. God will see us all thru. Xoxo

As concerns the TBI, I actually believe my left brain function is stronger then before. The loss of affect was temporary. I have many friends and a loyal partner.I had a TBI from a bacterial infection in 2008. It was an aneurysm in my right frontal lobe. Before the TBI, I had endocarditis, requiring an aortic valve replacement. I spent 90 days in hospital/rehab, before being diagnosed with a failed heart valve and had a redo surgery. All total 115 days in hospital/rehab. Just prior to the illness, my father had died and I was replaced as a CEO of an international company. During my hospitalization, my wife visited me every two weeks, but my sister and nieces were there weekly. My children were 1 and 3 at the time. At the last days before my re-op, my wife served me divorce papers. When I called her in desperation the night before, she told me she wasn't about to care for an invalid who may need his diaper changed daily. We argued and she told me she hoped I died in surgery. Fortunately, I was at a very high level of function intellectually and had a good baseline of health and genetics and made it through with no complications. I was considered disabled by a neuropsychologist and out of work. Living with my sister, I made frequent visitations to see my children. At that time, I realized my ex was involved with another man and had likely been cheating during my hospital stay. I became extremely depressed and suicidal. I spent 3 years in legal battles over custody and property and 3 years in talk therapy. After the divorce was finalized, I received joint legal and physical custody of the children and got the house back. Being unemployed and lonely, I began to date woman I met through dating services. I met a woman in NYC and our dating led to a relationship. Long distance, but filling a need for both of us. We dated for 1 year and she moved to California where we lived together and later married. She helps with the children and understands my employment dilemma, being over 60 and stigmatized for the TBI. After 8 years, I have started my own business and am active again intellectually. I do have minor PTSD from this TBI, but not limiting my energy or sharpness. I have a low level depression that has persisted for 9 years, which nobody recognizes. I live for my children, but had they not been in my life, I would have ended it. Now, I have a reason, even an obligation to live if I want them to grow up knowing they were wanted and loved by their father.

I can relate. The not-so-funny thing is, the girl that I thought was my best friend was in a car accident a decade ago and we had similar struggles but since she got a lot of help in recovery she seemed to have little empathy because I've had to struggle on my own after I had a stroke shortly after I was born almost 50 years ago. So it's hard to socialize, I'm shy, self conscious, and I often get criticized or berated if I say something "wrong" so I've learned to talk less. Now I live alone. The only person who talked to me was the store clerk who told me how much the merchandise was that I was buying. No friends. Nobody happy to see me. Nobody cares if I come or go. And yet, I'm told if I reach out, that is "seeking attention" and is therefore wrong. 

My situation is very similar but my husband's injury was combat related. I try so hard to excuse his lack of emotion...neglect of the family and complete disregard for all responsibility...i just want my husband back but I spin my wheels more every day.

I'm with ya girlfriend, my husband had a stroke and went blind! 8 TIA attacks, 2 more full blown strokes, and then he fell. He had brain surgery and he was not the same after that! Two years later he fell again and I was asleep. I heard nothing. Another blow to the brain. They put him into an induced coma for 5 days. He survived!! I should say WE survived all of this! I can't go to the grocery store and he thinks I have a boyfriend. How would I have a boyfriend? I tell him I can't even get my hair done. And why would I ever want another man to take care of? We have been married 30 years. I hate to say this but it's going to be a long road ahead for you and your son. And when people try and tell you what to do. They are not in your shoes, you are. Not them! Daily, hour by hour ... I've cried a river I have PTSD from all I have been through. I feel like a soldier with shell shock. what is going to happen next? He's up all night and wakes me all night! We are not nurses, we're wives ... but wait, are we wives anymore? No. We're nurses!! That's how I feel ... I cry all the time to relieve my stress then my eyes hurt. I don't know how else to relieve the stress. Text me back any questions if you want I will talk to you anytime. k god bless you soldier

On thanksgiving of 2016 my boyfriend of 8 yrs (whom i have a 3yr old son with) got into an accident while riding a dirt bike. A woman crashed into him causing him to fly over his bike and land face forward. For a month he was in a coma with life support. I was there by his side every day through the night, on days off work and even on work days I was there before and after work. I would eat at the hospital and come home in time to put our son to bed. I saw his first twitches, felt his hand squeeze mines, saw when he first opened his eyes, cried and tried to communicate....I was there! It was a unique connection we had. He was transferred to a rehab 2 hours away from were we lived. I would go alone, with his mom, and with our son on certain occasions. I was there on Christmas, and New Years Eve. He was getting better and I was hopeful. I was his personal cheerleader. When he wanted to talk on the phone it was my number he called. I would call 3 to 4 times a day. He came home and everything was great for the first couple of days. Three days ago he started acting like he hates me. Everything I say or do is wrong. I feel rejected. I talk to his mom and she said I have to excuse him, that it's the injury, and his brain is like a baby right now but I feel like that is not the case. Everyone in his family walks on eggshells around him now. His sister who I tried to get clarity from says he is different now and she explained more but within that conversation one thing resonates that she told me, only two things set him off strangers and me. When she said that I felt like shit. I felt like running and screaming. I was talking with her when my other line beeped and it was him I was one block away and rushed home, got in and answered. He was mad, He claimed I cheat on him while I work and that I let my job come between me, him, and our son. Because I leave my son home with my parents he gets angry. He forgets that I need money for our son and constantly accuses me of cheating. Sometimes I feel like giving up. But I love this man with every cell and molecule in me. He gets surgery again in a couple weeks to replace a piece of skull that is missing. As of now he wears a helmet. I don't know what to do. He constantly says that I should be so lucky he is with me and that I lost a good man and that he will find another. But his mom told me to disregard that remark. Can someone help me please? I feel like everything I did counted for nothing.

You're not the only one girl. I was in a motorcycle accident with my wife of 15 years and right before that I found out she was cheating on me. I can't tell you how many times I felt suicidal but when I see her there dead all that didn't matter anymore at that moment. I just wanted my love back. She's getting better. Times get hard very. Often as I sit and she gets sidetracked and I steer into our past but I look at her now and she realizes she had another chance. She is even doing way better in life itself. I so hope. Best of luck to you and some men will always be that way.

My boyfriend of 5 years lies in icu after a car accident on 9th December 2016. At the accident scene the police gave me his belongings and I found out he had a secret cellphone. I went through it only to discover he has been cheating on me with 3 women. He was on his way to see one of them according to phone records and the place he was found at. I come here to see what I may have to deal with when he wakes up, I'm scared that he won't be himself, I'm angry at him. I don't want to abandon him because I still love him. We have a daughter together, I want him to be better for her too. But with his betrayal and the anger I sometimes feel towards him I wonder if I'll make it through to the other side of him living with TBI. I need a story of a miracle. Please share somebody.

I can relate. I have floated in that boat and will for the rest of my life. Very lonely. I have worked an extensive amount of years. I completely agree with you. I have had five brain injuries due to faulty recalled windows that were not removed. Each day is more than a challenge. I won't stop fighting heads up :-)))))

On Sep 21st, 2016 10:24pm somebody (anon) wrote: 'each day is a choice. We can spend it feeling angry, hopeless or decide to bring hope to someone else...'

Maybe they are lucky enough/not injured enough (have enough help) that they CAN choose every day = all sorts of choices. Lucky them.

Some of us CAN'T and I'm very sick of people blaming ME. TOTALLY unfair and WRONG.

Today I'm in so much pain, exhausted, cold (10 C when I got up in 'home'), my teeth hurt (no dentist), my eyes hurt (opthalmo/neuros refuse to help), my neck feels TERRIBLE pain and my lumbar (now totally flat so squishing nerves to legs = numb & more muscle loss), still living out of boxes (been moved on so often), place a mess & dirty chaos. No cooker, told to write letters ad infinitum, threatened with expulsion/homelessness... a CHOICE to feel bad? Get REAL. Go bully somebody else.

Go preach to people who DO make bad choices, don't judge us without KNOWING our circumstances. How DARE you judge things you clearly know nothing about?

I want a telephone number to God. I want His phone number because I need to ask Him a question. I need to know why did my husband have to sustain a brain injury. On December 24th of this year it will be exactly 17 years ago that he was involved in a bad car accident that was caused when the sun glare blinded him and he missed the Stop sign on the corner that caused him to run through the intersection and crash into the bus. Not a single bone on his body was broken. Not a tear on his skin did he endure. Nope, only the injury caused to his brain which changed him forever. The anger, the lack of control, the sudden impulses, dear God, I cannot handle this. It doesn't get better. It really doesn't. Not in our family. He feels that he is okay, but he is not. I get blamed for EVERYTHING. When I tell you that I am the most patient, understanding and compassionate person there is I am telling you the truth. But I can't handle this anymore. I had a horrible childhood and I feel that I already paid my dues. The suffering that I bore during my childhood years should have been taken into consideration before God allowed this TBI to be thrust into my path. I miss my husband, who he used to be. How he comforted me, protected me, loved me and cherished me before he changed into an angry monster. We only had 3 years together as a couple before TBI came and destroyed our lives. I wish I could understand what God's plan is for me because no matter how I analyze it I just can't understand. Please, if someone has God's phone number, please share it with me. I'm drowning in tears... 

Life sucks. Since I fell off a roof in  2001 and spent 6 weeks in a coma, people have done whatever they can do to rip me off, screw me over, cheat on, stab in the back, etc.. People are the worst thing on this planet and I have to find reasons to still want to be here every single day. Relationships are a yeah right.


“The dynamics of our relationship had entirely changed…our lives turned upside down and things would never be quite the same again.”
from www.traumaticbraininjurytbi.wordpress.com www.headbraininjury.wordpress.com

There is hope. My brother has a TBI and is doing great. 4 years ago he shot himself in the head, had a 0-5% chance of living, and ended up making it. It was a long road of recovery, about a year and a half-2 years, but he's doing ok. He still has shrapnel in his head, walks with a limp, has memory loss, and can't feel certain sensations (stomach being full/empty etc). My mom is one of those people that is very caring, but also is like--you can do it, I'm not doing it for you. So it took my brother almost another year of living with her, and not having a bed (she refused to "set him up" so he would get motivated), he hated sleeping on the couch, he did feel sorry for himself at times and got frustrated and said some mean things to her, but she just kept reinstating the fact that he needed to make it on his own. He got a job as a manager at a job placement office (which is what he did before the incident), and got his own place, and recently even bought himself a new car. Makes good money, and they love him at the company. He adjusts things to accommodate his "new brain", like writing things down so he doesn't forget, challenges his brain and keeps the stimulation up by doing games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles, and even though he did lose all his friends and ended up moving to a new location (started anew to avoid the weird stares in his small town), he has kept adamant in trying to better his situation with family and people. Is he the same? No. Do we realize it? Yes. But he wouldn't give up and made it work with his new brain. So yes, I believe there is hope. I believe there is a way. Not saying it's the same for everyone, but just ask yourself, what will YOU do to live with your new brain? It is possible. :)

I have been truly blessed to have the waiting rooms in the hospital taken over by friends and family... Now I am almost 2 years out on the road of recovery and the kind and closeness carries on! For those in need of closer friendships and family members, be honest, tell them how you truly feel!

My family has been amazing support but still I find myself lonely every day. We need to find help for this not just medication

I survived a brain injury and I realize I'm considered "lucky" but it really doesn't seem that way the majority of the time. I've managed to find two extremely amazing women. And I somehow ruined both relationships. Along with all others whether romantic, friends, even most family. And the family that I do see a few times a month. I've tried talking to them and they just don't say anything back. I get made fun of because I never get anything that everyone else always does. Some of them point out loudly and publicly how consistently I do that. Basically saying I'm dumb. And maybe I am but it's not fun to ever go anywhere because of it and when I do I don't want to talk. My last girlfriend (I really loved her a lot) she made me feel that way constantly. That took my insecurity about it to a new level! I think she only stayed as long as she did because I spoiled her a lot. But that changed me again. I feel like I could never possibly be someone anyone could ever love. And that's hard to deal with. Really really REALLY hard to deal with. I also have got to the point I don't know how to be me again. My memory is gone. I barely remember any of my own past. When I'm in a situation I feel like I could be me it's like there's something invisible holding me back and I don't seize the moment. Always alone no matter what. It sucks! On the bright side I'm an artist in everything I do. Initially I lost a lot of talent but through a lot of loneliness I've honed & expanded my skills! I own a barbershop now, a salon, two rentals, and a house I'm trying to flip now. Also got into chainsaw carving. I love it. Almost gutted myself in the early stages but I'm a lot better now. Still have the scare though lol. So I do better financially now, but I suffer intensely in about every other way. I like to imagine I'll meet someone amazing that is ok with me being dumb, and doesn't make me feel alone. This is gonna have to happen with me never going anywhere other than work, and the funniest part is I'm a barber lol. So I don't meet many single women in that field of work. So I guess ya just gotta accept solitude and try to embrace it however you can.

I have read many of your stories on here. I realize, I am not alone. Even though most of the time, I feel that way, so do many of YOU. I also realize how blessed I am. Many of you have been through a great deal. I do know what it is like to feel hopeless, alone, like giving up, but ... that was the day I stopped looking at my situation and I looked up. Then I looked around and slowly began to reach out to others even if it was the smallest thing, a smile (which you have to think about when you have a TBI). Will my life be what it was prior to my TBI? No. I have learned to accept some things and there are days I still cry. I can not speak for you, but each day is a choice. We can spend it feeling angry, hopeless or decide to bring hope to someone else, who knows....it just might make some changes for YOU! Praying 4 U!

You have my kind regards. I am also a brain injury survivor and have had a few bumps throughout my journey of life. I had a brain injury when I was 15 I was assaulted and I am currently 19. Nevertheless I have managed to pull through and still seem to face similar problems concerning my communication with everyone around although I have managed to overcome those problems. There were times when my friends didn't pay attention to me and I was disregarded by them leaving me lonely at school on top of the fact that I went one year back due to failing my exams. This was worsened by the fact that I was bullied and also by the fact that I was a year back and could see the progress of my friends without me. I have now overcome these problems thank Allah as I am a Muslim. Although I have managed to be much more popular and more socially involved I still face problems keeping in contact with newly made acquaintances. Some people don't recognize that I have a problem and regard me as an intelligent person although I do get people avoiding me. I do believe I act a little too serious and find it difficult to break ice with new friends especially when alone with one person. I can easily be funny and joke but that depends on who I am with. I still have a long way to go , although it seems like just arrived from a long voyage. I guess I need to set sail again and this time need to be more prepared for storms ahead as well as have sunscreen if it will be sunny in the sea. Anyway I wish you the best and just advice your husband to get out of his comfort zone and find something to do in his life.

I have a TBI from the war 11 years ago. Since then I have not been the same. I PTSD and all of the problems that come with it. I'm about to lose my wife cause I can't stop lying to her. I love her more than anything in the world but I used to never lie except for little white ones. I try everything to be honest with her and I keep falling back. I've read that TBI'S can cause a person to do it. I just really need some help but I'm afraid if I tell a Dr. about anything. I have a fear that I could be put away from my life.

My significant other had a TBI in 2012 and at first it did not seem to have changed much about him other than he was slower and his memory was not good. He was still able to communicate, bath, dress himself and feed himself. He would laugh and talk, read, watch t.v., walk and work out,  just as before. He still had his sense of humor, (which is what I fell in love with in the first place) and his loving heart. He was no longer able to work, due to the severe memory issues, which was vital to his job. He still made me feel like a queen with his kind words and his loving gestures. I married him in 2013 because I still loved him just as I did prior to the TBI and while there were obvious differences, those obstacles did not seem to be so huge at the time, but in the last 3 1/2 years things have really changed. His entire family, has more or less disowned him and there are NO friends left. He has not even seen his grown children since 2013 (no, they do not care for me). Even his mom and dad have not talked to him in over a year. He has pretty much forgot them all now, which is not what I wanted, but I am too busy taking care of him too try and force a relationship between all of them. He no longer puts forth any effort to make himself better and all my attempts at bringing in outside help has done nothing for him because he will not try.  My friends do not understand the situation, although "they are sorry for me."  They think I should have never married him and they may be right, but tell that to my heart. My husband is pretty much gone now, he no longer talks to me, there is NO physical relationship and I just roam around the house while he sleeps. His day consist of eating, sleeping and reading. He says maybe 10 words to me in a days time and that is typically, " when are we going to eat"? and "I am going to bed"! I am blessed to still be able to work,  due to the fact that I am self employed and able to run my own hours. One of my disabled family members stays with him while I am out, we trade out sitting with him for room and board. In some ways I am lucky that I have the freedom to work and I know this but even that is suffering because my home life is on my mind constantly.  Here is my dilemma. My husband acts like he could care less if I am here or not as long as he is fed, and while he tells me he loves me, there is nothing to back it up and as humans we need that connection. When I ask him to share his thoughts or his feelings he looks at me like I have lost my mind, when all I want is communication. I asked him today to share one memory with me, any memory,  and he did not know what the word "memory" meant. When I explained it to him he told me he remembered marrying me and actually told me where we got married at. That is a big deal that he could remember this, so how could I even be thinking of giving up on us? I do not think family and friends realize that when they walk away, they take so much more from the TBI member than the brain injury itself does. Socialization is everything to some of them).  Walking out alienates and isolates these individuals and the effect this has on the self worth that the person with the TBI has is felt clear to their soul and it makes them feel unimportant and they give up. I have to fight daily to keep from getting sucked into his world of just existing and it is hard to not just give up myself.  There is no joy, excitement, very little laughter and no hope of a happier tomorrow. I do not mean for this to be doom and gloom but just stating the facts of how hard this is and very confusing, as to the right thing to do for both of us. I feel like he would not even remember me in a matter of a month if I was to place him in a facility,  but when I checked them out they are downright depressing and I cannot imagine placing him in that environment. He has been through and lost enough already but do I sacrifice my sanity for his benefit of staying home? We really need some better options out there. I thank God every day for my son and a couple of friends I do have left and I thank my brother for his support but I just do not know how far I let this take me down before I admit defeat.

I have a friend whose husband suffered a brain injury over 5 years ago while on the job as a police officer. They were the fairy tale couple that everyone envied! With 5 great children they did everything together as a family. They were kindest people you would ever meet and the love that burst through their eyes was enough to make everyone jealous of their relationship! He has been going through treatment since the accident, suffering migraines, anxiety, mood swings, PTSD, etc. As the years have gone on, his symptoms seem to have gotten worse! He was visibly a different person than he was before the accident. I pray for that family every day! What was the perfect little family has become a tragic story! His wife and his children have had to learn to be with this man who no longer is the person the knew and loved so much! The sacrifices they have made to help and care for him have been difficult...especially for the young children who do not fully understand! It has been so very sad! A few months ago he added salt to the wounds by trying to commit suicide. While the family was still reeling from that pain, he decided to have an affair and recently moved out to live with this woman! As I am an outsider looking in, I can see that the man she married died 5 years ago after his accident. But it is so heartbreaking to watch this family suffer so much. Everyone is in counseling which is a good thing! How do I help this family? I am not naive enough to think I can fix it...but I want to help somehow make the pain of this a little better. I have read these stories and have shed tears for each one! Brain injuries are such a cruel and heart wrenching tragedy. Sending you all prayers for healing and happiness!

I am so surprised to find this site. I suffered a ruptured AVM when I was a young, pretty, 22 years old woman in 1980. Then, there were no support groups, no one to talk to. I was popular, married almost two years and was left with left side paralysis. After 2 years of therapy, many people were unable to tell anything was wrong and I strived to "be normal." But, of course, I'm not. I've been financially secure to afford the very best of everything. I've traveled the world,  living a spectacular life, but its been without anyone my age to relate with on the subject of my illness. My children know me only as I am, not as I know I was. My existence has been doctors, physical therapy, medication, MRI scans, depression, more depression, acting out, divorce, addiction, rehab...  Now, that my career as a reporter is done and I've got time on my hands to give toward my grown family, NO ONE CALLS.  Yes, my injury has changed me as I've grown older, but what the hell, I'm still more entertaining than most people I know. Anyway, so glad to find this site. I'll return to reading your comments and wish I could personally connect with some of you.   Leslie

I feel so alone and isolated since my husband had a stroke. I care for him at home. I feel every bodies else's life has gone on except ours. I know I shouldn't feel sorry for myself but my heart is hurting so much 😢

Great information

Tank you. This writing is just how I have felt since severe brain damage 9 years ago.

I have a head injury and I identify with everything in this list. All of these complications can lead to other hardships: depression, anxiety, abusing drugs and alcohol to feel normal. I got hit at 16. I didn't understand and neither did my friends. I did drugs to feel more confident. I drank alcohol to make it easier to leave my house. To make me 'better' in social situations I relied on a high. I know this is common. I spend time being hurt and angry because none of my friends loved me enough to stay. I was just too much to handle. I try not to think about it though. It's old news. I'm 25. I still make really poor decisions and have incredibly shit judgement. I have come to terms with this. My boyfriend didn't know me before the injury. He doesn't get it, plain and simple. I've tried so hard to be with this man and I don't know if I can because he does not act on his words of kindness.. He just doesn't get it. I can't make him. I want to be happy. I know if you're anything like me, this you feel you don't deserve. The guilt.. Don't have patience for someone that doesn't have patience for you. If they hold your irritability over your head and accuse you of holding double standards - They need to have different standards. It's never going to be easy with someone like me (a person with a head injury). Now. All of us know, ok, if you can't then don't.. Go now. This is personal, obviously.. And if anything maybe this can be encouraging to someone going through the same thing  Stay strong, oh yeah and TBI for life ✌ (Silly)

My son had a stroke. He needs some friends. ..he is 21

Something feels very wrong with me and I'm scared. I am a very independent person and after my bicycle accident I feel like I'm making all kinds of bad choices. I can't remember dates or thoughts and I've screwed up so many appointments. Everyday it feels like I've forgotten to do another important thing. I have never felt this mentally dull but no one else has seemed to notice just yet. Is it possible I'm just stressed and this is all in my head?

Yep everything I can identify with.  I'm actually slipping away a little bit more day by day.  Tragic

I met my boyfriend 12 years after his brain hemorrhage, and a few months in I'm learning about his impulses etc. He is the best person I have met and struggles to believe that I want to understand more and that I want to stick around - he's not used to it. He lied to me about his financial situation, trying to paint a picture of him as a provider for me. I understand his lying doesn't indicate any malice, but I struggle to believe little things. I also want to help him learn to save money so he can plan for his future but the thought of managing his finances will make him lack self-worth. I'm happy to take baby steps but am on the lookout for tried and tested methods to help combat these things!

these are all so true. i have a tbi right now from a girl who was on 3 types of drugs hitting me. broke my hip, back, lacerated my liver/ spleen & major memory loss. therapy is going okay though, i just hate it so much.

Agreed. In my experience, he was attempting to cheat even before the stroke. Its low self esteem.

At this time I am recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Everybody has different symptoms. but cheating, I don't think that has something to do with the injury. That's who he was as a person.

I met by boyfriend about 6 months after he had his tbi in a car accident. He was not shy at all, and told me I was pretty. He even started holding my hand 30 minutes after we met. I thought he was funny outgoing and sweet and he is, but I knew nothing about TBIs. We eventually started dating and I started to see the negative sides of the injury that I thought would be easy to overcome since we had already formed a tight friendship. His mood would change super quick, his happy was super happy and his angry was infuriated. He started to message my girl friends on Facebook and I was hurt by it. He was and is very impulsive and I know he had a hard time controlling it. He would call me (no joke) about 20 times in a row if I didn't answer. He would show up at my house when I hadn't invited him. He got really tired and we would have to stop what we're doing at times so he could take a nap or we could lay down. My friends didn't like me dating him because he would message them and told me I took care of him like a baby, but I shook it off. He was unable to get a job, and had a hard time making friends. We hung out every day until he went to Bakersfield for treatment and to learn some basic skills in order to live successfully with a tbi. He was gone for months and during that process I had time to think about whether I wanted to live like this for the rest of my life. I loved him so much but I had so many goals in life such as getting my nursing degree and traveling the world studying medicine I felt they were unachievable if I were with him. I also pictured myself having lots of kids and to not work all the time, I couldn't imagine leaving him alone with a baby or toddler and knew he couldn't get a job to help out with future finances. I broke up with him because I figured he had staff and support in Bakersfield that could help him cope and move on. I was sad but kept busy through school and work. When he came back he got a new girlfriend and we didn't talk until one day we decided to get lunch. We had fun and talked for hours. After that I thought in my head that if I loved him that much and we had this great chemistry I could make everything work out. We got back together and I even went to counseling and therapy with him but a month later he (physically) cheated on me. I was so devastated and sad, I knew he had impulse control issues but never saw it going this far. I felt like I could have gotten past the effects of the brain injury, but this was too much and too painful, it felt like a slap to the face. I broke things off for good and that was about 2 years ago. I still think about him and recently found some of our old pictures. I don't talk about him to anyone because I feel like no one understands me. I miss our friendship and think about the good times we had. I feel bad for him too, I want him to be successful and happy but I know what demons he faces every day.

Valentines Day 2015 changed our lives forever. My husband was rushed to hospital having seizures. What was happening, he has never been sick apart from the occasional cold. Then I was given the news no partner wants to hear " We found a large tumor on his brain" Our relationship has changed tremendously and I always wish somehow we could take it back. He now struggles daily with chronic fatigue, lacks motivation to do any activity. He has bursts of frustration and most of all for me we have lost our intimacy. He is living his own private hell and I am on the outside watching and feeling very lonely. We dont converse as much anymore. Date night is a bygone memory. Our marriage is extremely hard but I would rather it be hard than not have him at all !! Now we just have to take a different journey and learn to enjoy this new life with all the new highs and lows. I would much rather cry a few tears than cry a river if I had lost him ..

In the last year my boyfriend got hit by a car while walking.. Our relationship has suffered tremendously and I always wish somehow we could take it back. He has had anger issues and a close relative of his passed away only six months after. Things have been terrible hard but I would rather it be hard than not have him at all. We were together for a year and a half and now going on three. He was put on mood stabalizers to help his anger, and since then has been able to control it a lot better with slight bursts here and there. He is an angel and always remember that they don't mean to be what the brain injury caused.. they can't control it. If you are concerned go to a doctor or therapist and ask for help, they wish the accident didnt happen as much as us loved ones do, so always encourage them to be the best person. I know I will never be without my boyfriend, he may be different, but he's a love and always will be. 

Everything changes, nothing is the same very hard to trust, he angers easily, forgets what we just talked about, accuses me of not understanding or supporting him. It's a very lonely life because now I'm the caregiver

My god i agree with every word written here, in Feb 2013 I suffered I'm told a severe TBI as a passenger in a car. I was a driven successful person before my injury but hell this impact has removed a lot of my personality to the person I now am however I'm so glad that my previous driven personality remained and it's that determination that has helped me but I've been in some tough times since my injury. I wish all with head injuries a blessed future with happiness and hope. Gary..

I had a tbi when I was 16. My life was great. I was getting offers for college football and looking forward to my senior year. It was March 31, 2009, and just a normal day going to school. The temperature was 26 degrees that morning but 70 the prior day and also later that day I found out. I had a 2004 Chevy Colorado. Only 6/10 of a mile from home I hit 72 feet of black ice that had formed from a water main break. I don't remember the accident. I hit a tree and suffered a diffuse axional brain injury. Basically shaken baby syndrome doctors told my parents. My life is great now I'm 23 married with an 18month old daughter. I work on the railroad and have a college degree. I do have a great life but very often feel a sense of depression and wonder of what my life would've been. My high school sweetheart broke up with me and I can't get over that. And I feel very anxious that I can't remember the actual wreck. Everything else I remember even better than before. Can anyone relate or give me advice on why I feel this way? I feel strange.

Perhaps written for those who have not been affected as much as the severely ones. We can't give compliments, babysit, go for coffee, etc. if we are unable to leave our home. For the ways we are affected, much of this list  is 'simply' not doable. My comments are meant for positive clarification. I respect those who write, and I am thankful for forums such as these.

I can tell you that I am severe brain injury. I lost my wife because it's a long story.we left my dear camp and that funny feeling I got was a warning from the LORD I just shook my head ,it has been and will be the opportunity it just overwhelming that I wish I had somebody to make my progress it was like I had a wife but before my progress. My life is lonely and having one that you care about ,it makes me real happy and my wishes go to her happiness it's my ability to make sure that my two kids are happy, and they are it makes my healing process go quickly, I am lonely it make the process get harder .I wish I had a woman to make the healing process to go a little easier. I'm OK I don't need anybody, it helps being able to talk about the trouble that it help thank you .

I had a severe traumatic tbi from a horse accident, the saddle didnt fit right enough, I take my actions as my own, forgot all about to make sure the saddle fits, wasn't my first blow to the head but it certainly was the last.  at least I hope. 

I hope that strategies are important enough not to be forgotten.  I go through these cycles of learning, then unlearning, or at least not having the information in the blink of an eye, its usually a slow process.  Like there is a storm inside my head and the storm has to settle down before I can accurately navigate the area of my mind that is needed. 

If I can remember what i was looking for before the storm that is.

its like being distracted from your job, takes a good couple of minutes to get back on track, well sometimes is can be longer.

I dont think this process is taken into account during an emotional experience.

Everyone is different, try to allow your focus to the most important, but life is so much more than that, I believe we can successfully regain most of our natural behaviors and though patterns, we have the opportunity to make it better. speaking from a place where I have not yet accomplished this task, as it seems to be overwhelming.  I try lots of notes to remind me, because when i forget, the tax man still collects, this time with compound interest.  I knew I should have taken it slow and easy after surgery, but I didn't, now here I am.  still have a bit of fight left so to speak. Its tiresome at times, obstacle after obstacle, it doesn't take long to get tired, then after fatigue comes depression, and i hope you guys can see that fatigue is the prime reason we have problems.  the more we sleep the better we feel, get a good rest everyone. I hope I didn't offend anyone.

It's been 15 years now since my brain tumor was removed.....life has pretty much sucked. My ex left me, my sister and father kicked me to the curb, my Mom has been my only bright spot...and God, People do not accept those whom are somehow different, whether that's memory, emotions, attention, personality, etc...whatever.. Best just to learn to live alone happily as possible. Learn to do fun things independenantly 

My husband had a TBI from a car accident in 1989.  Our relationship changed and things got really bad until six years ago when he died in yet another car accident.  We had a lot of trouble trying to get help for him.  The insurance company fought us every step of the way, trying to blame his situation on his previous military experience, which was years ago.  Now I'm stuck here trying to live with the aftermath of all this.  I miss our life, I'm very lonely and no one understands what we went through for 20 years.

There are many support groups out there, hun. You are not alone. Please reach out. Remember, you matter. Love being sent your way

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