How can I help my husband stay calm when someone mentions his TBI?

man yelling at woman

Sometimes if someone does or says something about my husband's traumatic brain injury he freaks out and may hit or scream. I am constantly worried he cannot control his temper.


It would be helpful to have a professional work through this with him. Most likely he is having trouble coping with and adjusting to his injury. It is likely he is still angry about his injury and so when others bring it up, he lashes out. This is an understandable response even though not an appropriate one. He needs professional help to learn to cope with his injury and get over his anger about it. It is also likely that when others comment on it, he is making inferences that they are insulting him or trying to hurt him or be mean. Again, a professional would be helpful in teaching him how to see it differently. In the meantime, you may want to warn family and friends not to say anything about the injury to him. If professional therapy is not an option, I would suggest planning ahead with your husband something he could do or say the next time someone comments on it. For instance, he can do an internal mantra (e.g. "they don't mean anything by it"). Or he can excuse himself to go to the bathroom and do some breathing exercises, or he can simply say, I'd rather not talk about that.


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The contents of this expert answer were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research the Indiana Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems 90DP0036 and 90DRTB0002. NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this expert answer do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Posted on BrainLine November 13, 2019.