5 Ways a TBI Changes Your Relationship With Your Spouse



A traumatic brain injury can change your life, and it can also alter your spousal relationship. The brain abnormalities that occur from a blow to the head during a vehicle collision or other trauma are unique for each individual. In addition, the brain doesn’t recover from an injury in the same way that a broken bone does. Here are some of the ways that traumatic brain injuries change the relationship with a spouse.

1. Mobility Issues

An accident can cause damage to the parts of the brain that control mobility. An individual may have problems walking or performing other physical activities. This can affect marriage in a detrimental way, making it impossible for a couple to have a normal relationship.

This may mean that a spouse may need help with going to the bathroom, getting on and off a wheelchair, being pushed, having to remodel the home for a wheelchair, and changes in intimacy and the ways you’re used to having sexual relations. These are things that are usually not talked about. It may seem like a lack of gratitude for survival to acknowledge the difficulties you have, but part of having faith in the future means the action you put in today to make tomorrow a little brighter.

2. Cognitive Difficulties

After an injury to the brain, you may not have the same memories as before. In some cases, an injured person has temporary or permanent amnesia from brain trauma. The individual may not remember certain events, including marrying a spouse. In some cases, the brain will regain some of its abilities, but it is possible that the injured part of the brain will never recover. This may result in motors skill changes, relearning to walk, eat, talk and will impact how much the spouse can help out in daily chores or work while they are recovering.

Being a spouse that has to be a caregiver is a full-time job. When you have to be the one to remember the medications, appointments, bring food, make food, clean, take care of the kids, and somehow take care of finances it’s a matter of time before you feel burned out. There is no reason to feel like a failure for feeling the stress of the situation.

3. Issues with Money

After a brain injury, you will experience financial changes that are caused by large medical bills from a hospital along with paying for special therapies. It is also possible that your brain is altered enough that returning to work is impossible, and this can lead to only receiving disability payments or unemployment benefits. This leaves the burden of daily expenses on your spouse, creating a stressful feeling.

If the injury was due to a violent blow to the head, a fall on an improperly maintained stairway you should talk to a personal injury attorney about your options.  Finances can drastically bring marital stress when there is a loss of income and you are unable to work because of an accident. You are not petty for seeking help after your life was altered.

4. Feelings of Guilt

A spouse may feel guilty about a loved one’s traumatic brain injury, especially if he or she was driving the vehicle and wasn’t hurt. Survivors can also feel guilty about a spouse’s brain trauma for other reasons, including having an argument right before the accident. These feelings of guilt can undermine a marriage, leading to additional issues.

5. Changes in Communication

If the speech center of the brain is damaged, then communicating after a traumatic brain injury occurs is often difficult. In addition to the inability to talk, the injured person may not understand certain words because the brain cannot comprehend the meanings of sentences. Future plans may change when it comes to higher education and career goals. Being able to correct course and stand together during these changes will be important to work through these new changes.

Help for Traumatic Brain Injuries

When a brain trauma occurs, it is essential to seek help right away. In addition to emergency procedures on the brain, a variety of therapies can help the injured person. With assistance from physical, speech and occupational therapists, you can often regain your previous abilities.

Unexpected change is always hard to navigate. There may have been dreams that will no longer come true and adjustments that will be made in the home. However, it’s important to avoid feelings of resentment to each other, to the injury and to focus on a healthy and productive future together. There is no shame in going to the doctor to deal with the physical aspects of the injury. There is no shame in seeking a psychologist help to deal with the emotional toll or other professionals to deal with the financial burdens. As long as you remain communicative over your expectations with each other.


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