Today’s Tip of the Day talks about How brain injury affects relationships.
The emotional, behavioral, physical and cognitive effects of brain injury can often have an impact on existing and future relationships. There are a number of ways in which this can happen and a number of different outcomes. Some relationships may strengthen, whereas others may become strained over time or even completely break down.
If the survivor’s personality has changed, the partner may feel that they are no longer the person they originally chose to be in a relationship with, resulting in feelings of confusion, longing, sadness and loss. The survivor themselves may no longer feel the same way about the relationship as they did prior to the injury. However, enduring challenging experiences like this can also, with support, strengthen some couple relationships.
Parents are often deeply affected by hardships faced by their son/daughter, so when a brain injury occurs this can be a devastating and frightening experience for the survivor’s parent. On top of this, while it is normal for parents to feel concern for their child’s future, a brain injury can cause a parent to feel further fear and apprehension for their son/daughter’s abilities and prospects.
Relationships between some parents and their children may strengthen. Children can also offer a potential contribution to their parent’s recovery, if supported in an appropriate manner. However, it can also be quite common for the child to feel distant and confused about the relationship.
Impact of changed relationships
Some brain injury survivors may feel that their loved ones do not understand how they are feeling, which can cause them to become frustrated and distant. Conversely, families and friends of a brain injury survivor may also feel frustrated and helpless if they are unable to understand how the survivor is feeling and how they can help.
Both brain injury survivors and their partners, relatives and friends can be affected by a change in the relationship, and it’s important that both feel able to access support accordingly.