Marriage Missions International

Starting Marriage Over After A Brain Injury

Who can imagine, when you walk down the aisle with the person you love and want to marry and you speak the vow to promise to love him or her “for better or worse” that the worse would happen? The “worse” would involve staying married to that person who completely changes because of a brain injury—who becomes a stranger to you and you to him or her? No one could anticipate this type of strain on your vows. But of course it happens.

We’d like to share three such true stories with you of those who have lived to tell it to those who want to know.

The first is an article that gives the true life testimony of Floyd and Diana Green (as written by David Boehi) and the traumatic struggles and victories they encountered after an automobile struck them as they were riding their bicycles together.

Not only was the accident traumatic itself, it changed who Floyd was after he gained consciousness. His wife had to learn who her husband had become and learn how to love him none-the-less.

This article is featured on the web site for the terrific ministry of Family Life Today. To read what the Green’s learned through their experiences, please click onto the link provided below:

STARTING OVER

Another article (although it’s not written by a Christian author, nor is it featured on a Christian web site) gives great insight into how to care for a loved one who suffers a traumatic brain injury. As the article says, “An injury irrevocably altered their marriage —but not their love.”

Please click onto the link provided below to read:

CARING FOR A LOVED ONE

“Krickitt Carpenter didn’t remember the horrible car crash that would forever change her life, or the 18 months of her life before that fateful evening on Thanksgiving in 1993, or her husband Kimmer.”

To learn about their journey of love and commitment, in an article written by Bonne Stefen, please click onto the Christianity Today web site link below to read:

• LOVING A PERFECT STRANGER

If you have additional tips you can share to help others in this area of marriage, or you want to share requests for prayer and/or ask others for advice, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.

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Comments

59 Responses to “Starting Marriage Over After A Brain Injury”
  1. Anna says:

    (UNITED STATES)  My husband had a traumatic brain injury 10 months ago. It is good to hear from others who have come to the same realization I have. I now have a different husband, but he is still a wonderful husband. Life must be taken as it comes and God will work all situations for good! Thank you for putting these together. It is hard to find Christian resources on this topic. God Bless!

  2. Paula says:

    (CANADA)  Hi Anna, My husband had an aquired brain injury after a heart attack. He was only 50. He changed and life changed but God did not.

    There are very few sites that deal with brain injury and its effects on a Christian family, and each situation is so different.

  3. Jenny says:

    (USA)  I am 33 with 3 children ages 8, 9, +10. My husband has Traumatic Brain Injury from a motor vehicle accident in 2006. He went about 2 years w/out proper diagnosis, resigned from youth ministry in 2008.

    I went to work that summer to pay bills. Same old story… insurance only pays now and then, etc.

    We have a great support group, but no one in my life REALLY knows what it’s like to stay married to a TBI survivor! I am grateful to have come across this website. I have never been so close to quitting as I am now! Both of my parents went to Heaven just few years before the motor vehicle accident (cancer) and my husbands parents live hundreds of miles away. (They hardly travel or call.)

    At times I’m confused, other times I’m so lonely I just go through the motions. Please pray for my children, too. What a challenge it has been to try providing them the best atmosphere possible. Am I the problem? Almost 6 years later, I wonder if I have accepted my husband’s brain injury. I’m so close to giving up, but I know God is in control! Any advice?

    Thank you for praying.

    • Lizie says:

      (UNITED STATES)  Hi – just want to let you know that I understand. My husband has a TBI (12 years out). It’s hard to find people out there who understand how life is because the divorce rate for people in our situation is incredibley high. I ask myself daily if I have made the right decision in staying with my husband, but life is complicated…

      • Jenny says:

        (USA)  Lizie, I have recited MANY times, life would only be WORSE after divorce! We can’t give up! We made it through the worst already, haven’t we?

        The Bible says that God DAILY loads us with benefits. I look for my husband’s qualities and praise the Lord for what good is left in my husband (compared to man I married). So much is different, but we still have enough to be grateful for! I experienced that gratefulness while begging God to keep my husband safe after the 48 hour mark of him being a missing person (dissociative fugue -part of brain injury). I realized no matter the issues I deal with DAILY… I liked my life better WITH my husband. Till death do us part! Hope you’re encouraged. Thanks for your reply. Jenny

    • Jan says:

      (USA)  (USA) This is an awesome website! I too, have a husband who suffers with a traumatic brain injury after a 30 ft. structural wood beam came crashing through the passenger side windshield at an angle. As he saw this coming at him he tried to duck and get out of the way, but it shattered the right side of his face and even broke his hyoid bone (the bone when someone is strangled).

      First of all, I praise God he is still here with us because the doctors said no one should survive this kind of trauma to the head. I know God has spared him for greater things in life for God’s glory. I believe God will restore him fully one day (this was in 2006) also. At the time, I was trying to raise a 13 & 14 yr. old boys. 6 months before the accident I lost my mom, 3 months after the accident my husband lost his little sister, and 2 yrs. after my youngest son tried to take his life because his dad isn’t the same. Does it hurt horribly? Yes, but as you all know life goes on and it sure shows us what were made of!

      The “things we lost; business, house, car” can all be replaced, but unless people have been through what our family and those I read about on this site have gone through, no one could comprehend how lives can literally be turned up side down in a split second. God Bless all of you for your strength and courage and for not giving up on your loved ones, AND yourselves.

    • Nancy says:

      (USA) I so feel the same way and feel it is me too… maybe my coping skills. I don’t know. My husband was injured at work. He was a firefighter, tbi, lost smell, and taste, vision changes, and above the knee amputee.

      • Florence from United States says:

        Nancy, I want you to know that hyperbaric oxygen chamber therapy helped my boyfriend regain his taste and smell! He had 2 free months of therapy. He got it through a charity in Florida, Healing Heroes Network. Dr. A Speigel in Palm Harbor Fl offers it to former vets of Iraq and Afganistan. Please call and talk to his wife Stacey, and tell her your story. They may sponsor a former firefighter.

    • Bryan says:

      (USA) I wish you could meet my wife; she is the sweetest and most beautiful person in the world. The two of you should be friends. I am Bryan, I was in an accident three and one half years ago that included a TBI. This past July I had brain surgery that made things worse. I turned 36 just before the procedure. We have four great children whose lives have all been changed at this point. All of the adults are running out of steam. I think life ahead gives little hope. We want something better but understanding one another is a problem even with the help of qualified people. The inputting I can say… it’s hold on to some hope whether together or apart; you have to keep yourself going.

  4. Patricia says:

    (USA)  Oh my dear lady, This is a very difficult road and I want to pray for all of you. My sweet son had a dramatic brain injury at 11 years old. He is now 27. His injury was very severe and has caused him so much anxiety and sadness. It is a hard road and we have worked extremely hard to keep him happy and motivated. My advise to you is get some support from a TBI professional. Stay as positive as you can because it is a long road. I will say from 15 years of being on this journey there are many ups and downs. The thing that has been so difficult for my son is acceptance. He wants a girlfriend, a full time job etc. and gets very down on himself, putting undue pressure on himself.

    I am sure your wonderful husband knows there is a change in him but can’t admit it because he wants to be as he once was. And there lies the biggest challenge for all of us… acceptance. Once everyone accepts there is a change, a permanent one, life will get easier. My son battles this all of the time. I just gently remind him it is not his fault this terrible thing happened. That he is wonderful, courageous and blessed to be here. I hope this helps and if you ever want to talk please feel free to contact me. God bless you, Patricia

    • Jenny says:

      (USA)  Thank you for your prayers. Your advice was encouraging. I am the one who needs to accept the reality of my husband’s condition being permanent. I try so hard to push him to his potential, etc. The good days and bad days life style is so exhausting! Never knowing what each day holds, trying to be a submissive wife, nurse, decision maker, and sometimes “mom” to my husband all in the same day gets confusing!

      I have a serious but personal question for anyone living with a loved one suffering from traumatic brain injury: Do you ever struggle with feeling like your loved one CAN do better, is NOT as needy as they portray, CAN do a lot more, doesn’t have to sleep so much, using “TBI card” too much, etc.?

      My husband is a good man! Some say I am not nice enough, others say I need to tough love him more. How can I get out if this trap of what seems like I am left doubting and judging rather than loving him. We always hear about the TBI survivor changing, I am afraid I have changed through this trial, in a negative way.

      Seriously, this last year has been one of me feeling like I am the problem, I can’t make anything better, my children are changing, I am changing, my husband is in his own little world.

      Please, understand I do have faith in God. I believe and read the Bible. I could share Bible verses to answer my own questions, but I just want to know if I am the problem or if anyone besides Jesus understands!

      Desperate to NOT give up. Afraid of getting / staying depressed or bitter.

      • Kirby says:

        (USA)  My wife, Melody, of 30 years, had a Traumatic Brain Injury 21 years ago. It has been a long journey for me as well. Yes, I understand what you are feeling and going through. My life changed dramatically after the accident. We had a 3 year old daughter who was also in the car accident, but thankfully unharmed. Melody was in a comma for 6 weeks and after waking up, had to learn everything over again. Even to this day, she is learning, however slowly it seems to me. She still struggles with fatigue and takes naps and sleeps in late. Hard to understand, but I’m not in her body.

        In the earlier days of her recovery, I pushed her to do rehab that she didn’t want to do. We have talked about this and she has shared how she has resented me for nagging her to keep working. Our relationship changed, I’ve changed, and even to this day, I find myself not liking who I’ve become. I rationalize sometimes that I do what I do and act as I act, just to make it through life. Yes, I consider myself a survivor as well as my wife, because that is what I feel I have needed to do to make it in life. I feel guilty for not being as loving as I should at times. I remember the 9 years before the accident and the partnership marriage we had. Now, I sometimes feel as a parent to her, mostly because of her dependence on me for so much.

        TBI survivors are each different from what I have learned. The time spent in recovery varies. I have met survivors who appear to be completely normal and seem to function without anyone’s help. I am thankful that my wife is able to do what she has done, but I believe that she will be forever disabled. I suppose acceptance is important, but even that doesn’t change anything.

        If you ask me what has sustained our marriage, I would have to tell you our faith in God and knowing that He understands and has allowed us to walk this journey together. Thankfully, Melody is a strong believer and this accident has brought her closer to Jesus, which has encouraged me in my walk as well.

        We had a baby boy 3 years after the accident. In many ways this pushed her to feel the need to continue to get up each day and take care responsibilities, while I worked to provide financially. The children have struggled with Mom at times. The TBI has changed them as well. Their relationship isn’t like most parent/child relationships. This frustrates Melody more than the children. Our son is in college and our daughter is married. They have adjusted very well to their Mom’s situation. Sure they wish it could have been different, but then they wouldn’t be the same people either.

        I encourage you not to blame yourself as the problem (or your husband for that matter). You are in a process of trying to get by and manage so much. There are bound to be struggles and difficult times. You should expect them and hopefully, find ways to manage your way through them. This is a difficult journey and I encourage you to not give up. Your relationship with your husband is worth fighting for and your kids need their Dad close by, even if things are different.

        I often find myself arguing with my wife. Most of the time, over petty things that don’t matter. She seems to have the need to be right about everything and want to have the last word. Maybe, I’m the same and then it just gets out of hand. I need to continue to work on this, because it is harmful to our relationship.

        There is so much that I could share and I feel somewhat like I’ve shared to much. It is my prayer for you not to give up or feel depressed about your situation. You are caring a heavy load, but you aren’t alone on your journey. It is alright to cry out to Jesus, he knows and understands what your going through. I know our situations are different, but I understand how you are feeling and struggle right along side you in my own situation. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD! (Psalms 31:24)

        I was struggling myself today, and came across this website looking for other men who were struggling with a TBI wife. So far, I wasn’t able to find a guy who is open enough to share. I know that men and women are different, so you may be struggling in areas that I haven’t. Hope this lets you know that you are not alone in this world.

      • Deborah says:

        (UNITED STATES)  In response to your story, your reading my mind so to speak. I can identify with the frustration, thinking he could do better. My husband has TBI and ADD. Although he is high functioning because of the aftermath of several (4) injuries to his frontal lobes, we struggle daily with communicating. I second guess myself, thinking it’s my fault. After 7 yrs of horrible trials, excessive arguments and counseling, they finally got the right medication. He is doing much better and can track better.

        But I feel depressed and now its taken such a toll that I now have anxiety. We are both saved. And we pray often, and yes, no one really understands us. But our Saviour does. I can see your pain as you describe all I go thru. Thank you. I am looking for a support group in my area. God bless you and your husband. He makes a way when there is none!!!

        • Kristen D from United States says:

          Deborah, what medications help him? I am looking for the right kind of help for my husband.

      • Deborah says:

        (UNITED STATES) In response to your post, I too have a husband who has a brain injury, several injuries to his head 5 total. I feel your pain, and totally understand what you’re saying. I see your frustration. I feel at times I want to leave him, it gets so bad. He can especially be inappropriate in social settings with other people. We have gotten into many arguments with regards to this. He seems to be learning from these incidents to not be so personal esp with women. He hasn’t done anything too bad and has always been faithful to me. But the mere fact is that I never know when he’s going to do something that’s going to hurt me or cause me not to trust him.

        I feel many times that I’m waiting for something to happen. I now have an anxieity disorder just living with him. I feel sad. We are both Christians but I will do everything to avoid going anywhere with him except church. It’s very hard cuz I never know what’s going to happen next. He has anger episodes, breaking dishes, and yelling. Then he feels bad. I have to keep busy and refresh myself to brain damage information so I can keep focused that he’s not doing these things to hurt me. I can do all things thru Christ who strengthens me. I may one day have to leave him if my anxiety gets any worse.

      • Melissa says:

        (UNITED STATES) Jenny, this is an older post but I’m hoping you will get notified of a response. You and I sound exactly the same. I, however, have lost my faith. Husband has brain cancer and now TBI from the surgery they did trying to stop his seizures. I have 3 young children (12, 8, 4).

  5. Ann says:

    (USA) It has been 3 months since my husband’s TBI. He was chainsawing a tree and a limb came down and hit him. He had many skull and facial fractures but the bleeding in his brain was not severe, they say. He was able to breathe on his own and has mobility of all limbs. However, he is not right. I hear what you all are saying, that no one understands. I am relieved to find you, that you know and understand what I am going through. I hope that he gets back to normal, but really don’t know if he ever will from what I am hearing.

    I am like Jenny, in that I have never considered divorce like I am right now. I won’t do it, too many other lives would be affected. But in a strong way, I wish I could. He has turned mean, and he says things out loud that he never would have before. He is loud, sarcastic, and always has to be right. I try to seek God, to forgive over and over, to realize what he is going through, but it is overwhelming at times. You never know when he will say things that are inappropriate.

    This morning in Sunday School after arguing his points with other class members over and over, someone said something about parents letting 10 and 11 year old girls dress seductively. He said “It kind of makes you wish you were 10 or 11 again doesn’t it?” I was mortified. People think he is recovered from the head injury. They don’t understand this aspect of it. I really hate taking him in public. Well, thanks for listening, it does help to write it down and tell you about it.

    • Terri says:

      (USA) So sorry Ann, for the resulting changes in your marriage and life. Athough I am sure your friends, both at Church and elsewhere, see the personality difference and appreciate your difficulty, unless you’ve been there, it’s hard to understand.

      My husband survived a TBI accident almost 5 years ago. He functions quite well in public. It is at home that the anger and frustration comes out. Rarely does a kind word come. In fact complaining seems to be his only language and never again will he be happy. However, I believe God has a purpose for him here. I am apparently part of helping him to accomplish that. I will never leave either. I made a vow and I will honor that. But often I wonder what normal life feels like anymore…

    • Kristen says:

      (USA) I can completely relate to the feeling of being scared to take your husband in public. My husband, who seems normal on the outside and easily mistaken as “recovered” also says inappropriate remarks and I am always worried about what will come out of his mouth next. You said “He is loud, sarcastic, and always has to be right.” Which is exactly how my husband is as well, and he also has a mean streak which does not help.

      I am praying for you.

  6. Kristen says:

    (USA) Hi everyone, I am so thankful to see that other people are experiencing the same thing I am. It is encouraging and so helpful to see how others are coping. I am twenty-five years old. My husband is 35. My husband was beat up randomly by three men who also robbed him. He suffered a TBI- was in a coma and had severe bleeding and trauma to his brain. He is on new medications after he threatened me and my daughter, had a major episode of anger, said horrible words, and broke many of my things.

    After leaving for two weeks, considering divorce, and deciding I could never go back on my vows. I now have to care for him as well as for our 6 month old daughter. I am working and going to school full time, as well. Some days are easier then others, but I feel like our relationship has turned into me being his mother, and in return I get mean remarks, rebellion, and no emotional support. I literally have to remind him when to get up, take his pills, go to work, say hello to our daughter… everything. I pray everyday for the strength and courage to carry on. To care for him in the best way that I can. To see the better side of him… the side I fell in love with. My family is terrified of him, and cannot understand why I stay with him. There are some days when I wish that I could have a husband that was able to love me in return, and I wonder what God’s plan is for me. Thank you all for listening. It is good to vent.

  7. Leo says:

    (CANADA) I am glad to find this site where others share their experiences with a brain injured spouse. Our journey has been about 3 years so far. My husband has been a pastor for 27 years–we’ve been married 29. He was diagnosed about 3 years ago with cirrhosis of the liver and received a transplant a year ago. Before surgery, his liver was no longer able to filter toxins from his body so those went to his brain and affected his emotions, judgement, reasoning, and intellectual abilities. By the time of his surgery he was no longer able to pastor or preach.

    As a result of his severe health problems, he experienced CPM (central pontine myelinolysis) after the transplant surgery. His new liver functioned well, but CPM caused stroke-like symptoms. He went into a coma for 2 months and then over the next 5 months he had to re-learn how to walk, talk, and eat. Even though he’s improved a lot physically, he still has lots of memory loss, confusion, and loss of much of his reasoning ability. I don’t feel he will be able to return to pastoring anytime soon–possibly ever.

    I am working part-time (I have MS). We have two grown children, but still have a young daughter at home. She and her dad function more like brother and sister than dad and daughter. I have so much responsibility that I feel overwhelmed and confused much of the time. I know God is in control and we say He won’t give us more than we can stand, but I’m really close to that breaking point. We were having some marital problems before all this started and this has really complicated those problems. Is there hope? I have taught in church for years so I mentally “know” the right answers, but I’m not sure I KNOW them.

  8. PJ says:

    (RI) I am so glad that I have found this website. My husband and I are Born Again Christians and my husband has had some health problems, which include kidney cancer in 2000 and in 2009 fell off a loading dock at work. He injured his head, shoulder, back and neck. He hasn’t been the same since. Prior to the fall he was an Elder in our church and on several boards. His desire was to preach when he retired from his state job. I guess God had a different plan.

    His work related injury has caused a lot of stress in our lives. He has to go to court to get approval for any tests that have to be performed. Now 3 years later -he just had several brain injury tests. All tests confirmed brain damage of the front right lobe. Cognitive, speech, memory and depression and more are the result. We knew there was a problem but no one believes us because there is no cast or crutches that people can see. But we know and most of all God knows.

    We have been seeing a counselor for several years now and I believe she has been a major help. We have struggled in many areas because our whole lives have changed. Now I feel like his injury has changed many aspects of our lives. We have been married 28 years -with 2 20+ year old kids. I just recently found out that I have osteoporosis type 3 and scoliosis and am only 52. I work full time and am so tired and depressed and feeling like I am alone. I needed to be reminded that God is in control at all times. Thank you for helping me realize I am not alone.

  9. Rebeca says:

    (US) My husband was in a motorcycle accident 4 1/2 months ago and suffered a TBI amoungst other things. Before this happened we were going through a separation due to his 2nd affair in the time we’ve been married (5 yrs and 3 boys 10, 11, 12 yrs old). I changed that day though, and I felt like I wanted to try again. I don’t know if it was guilt or a true eye opener but I knew I had to be there for him.

    Today he walks and walks again… even returned to work on light duty. The problem is that he is a perfect stranger to me. He is aggresive and can be somewhat physically abusive. Sadly, it is the emotional abuse that I find more overwhelming. My children have changed; I have changed. However, it has been for the worst. We are all always angry and so nasty to each other. Am I to stay with a man that didn’t deserve my love before the accident and today has pushed me even further away? With all that being said the first words out of my husband’s mouth when he came out of his coma were “I don’t remember if I was good to you but I want to be now.” He still insists he loves me, I just can’t find the way to accept all the things he is doing that are wrong in my eyes… What to do???

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Rebecca, You need deep advice from a trusted, wise counselor because you have a lot of sorting out, to do. This is complicated on so many levels. I truly wouldn’t just go to just any counselor, though. You need to be careful because of the care that is needed to unpack the feelings you had before the accident and the feelings you have now, and the present problems you have now. There aren’t a lot of counselors who could help you do this without causing even more problems. But I’m confident you can find one who can.

      Please go through the “Marriage Counseling” topic and read and glean through the articles. I say this because you need a marriage-friendly counselor. You need to understand that type of counseling. And then with this counselor, it will be important to unpack what was in the past and then sort out what is presently happening –two different matters (because his accident has changed things) without having a counselor who is quick to tell you to jump ship. Perhaps your husband can be trained to not take his aggression out on all of you and perhaps you can learn a different “love” to be lived out and perhaps not. But whatever, you have a lot to consider here –especially with your young boys. They are seeing all of this happening in front of them and it’s influencing their lives.

      But years down the line, they will be unpacking all this in their own minds on different levels and you want to make sure that you don’t add to the confusion by making a move to leave or to stay without considering all of the ramifications of both –even and especially because of your husband’s emotional and mental condition as a result of this TBI and his ability to interact with the family in whatever way that will develop, and take care of himself and such.

      The ministry of Focus on the Family comes to mind because they have counselors on staff –ones you can start with who could possibly recommend someone who could have the expertise you need. We also have other counseling referral services listed in the Links part of that topic. I truly hope you can find the right one. Whatever the cost, it’s worth it because whatever you decide for your future and for your son’s future and for your husband’s future, it will affect each of you in different ways for the rest of your lives. This will require a lot of sorting through some very tough issues. I pray you’re able to find the counselor you need and hope that you’re careful in who you listen to. Many friends and family members can mean well, but they can steer you in a way that isn’t good. Please know that. I pray that some day you will see “goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13) and that you will be able to infuse laughter into your home and into your lives. “May the Lord direct your heart into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5). I’m not just saying and praying these words, I mean them from the depths of my heart. I really hope well for you and your family.

  10. Eliza says:

    (USA) I feel for all of the folks here who have lived through this kind of trauma. My husband suffered a brain injury a few years ago, and I am so relieved that he survived, needing several surgeries. At first, my husband did not know where he was, what he did for a living, and had to learn many things all over again. Luckily, he did recognize his family. We’ve been married for over 20 years, and have had a blessed partnership.

    For him, it seems that the biggest challenge is accepting a new set of limitations. He feels that his memory is not as sound as it once was, and struggles at times with following directions and losing things. He did return to work within a few months of his injury and successfully worked through many challenges.

    The most difficult thing that I have experienced with his recovery is the fact that his temperament is quite intense now. He can be incredibly happy, but turns quickly to feeling quite sad and dejected. The intensity of his occasional anger is very difficult for me, and there are times when I feel quite alone. Please pray for us. My husband is a very, very good person who cares deeply for others. Thank you.

  11. Kelly says:

    (UNITED STATES) I am glad to have come across this website. To try to sum up my story… me (27 now) and my husband (30 now) secretly got married after 7 months of knowing each other. We were married less than a year before he had his accident. I was also 3 months pregnant at the time. He was in a car accident and suffered a tbi and was hospitalized for 4 months but is now doing well after all he has been through.

    I have felt like many of you trying to wear all the hats in the family at one point, and even sometimes feeling like his mom. My problem now is that we have become very distant with one another and I found out he went out with some other women. He claims he just wanted to get away and have fun because he didnt want to be at home with me. I am having the hardest time dealing with this as I have seen a picture of them two in his car. I know I should be understanding of his TBI (happened 3 years ago now), but I feel very worn out, exhausted (we have 2 young boys, plus work), emotionally drained, hurt, betrayed, disrespected.

    I threatened to leave and get a divorce… I don’t want that but I honestly don’t know if I can continue to live like this. This is just one of many arguments we have had about similar situations the past 3 yrs. There are other issues we’ve had in the past, which I thought I forgave him for but this one has sent me overboard. We all have changed through this process. I’m finding it very hard to fight for us anymore. Thank you.

  12. Jane says:

    (UK) I am so relieved to have found this website and people who really understand what long term brain injury is like to live with. I have decided that I’m just so selfish after 11 long years. My husband has the injury and I have tried my best to raise our children as well as possible. Everything I have done for the last few years is wrong in my husband’s eyes. He is unable to work -like another writer on here I wonder how much is can’t and how much is won’t with so many things now.

    He is angry with the world, wishes he was dead every day and is pretty much completely different from the man I married. I have tried as hard as I can to learn to love the “new” husband in my marriage. I feel I don’t any more and feel so guilty because he says he still loves me and always will but he just doesn’t show any interest in me as a human and doesn’t know me, just criticises and blames all the time. I feel pushed out of my own marriage -like being married without a marriage in most senses of the word. Someone described it in a poem as being a married widow.

    I’m in my 40s and the thought of another 40 or so years if I am lucky, like this is too much to think of. To remain outwardly unloved all that time -I don’t know how to deal with that. My marriage and vows weigh heavily on my mind and I have recently strayed both mentally and now physically. My guilt is huge and as a Catholic I am really struggling. I really feel I can’t carry on the way things have been for so long. It’s destructive to family life and hurts the children, me and my husband. He is even more angry now and I have no idea how to get back from this or even if I want to at the moment having really fallen in love with this other man who incidentally puts my husband’s welfare above his own. My children are my first priority always and protecting them.

    I pray for strength. Everyone says “I don’t know how you’ve done it for so long.” I have faith. I can’t put it down to anything else. Is it wrong to want to be happy? Does God really want us to be so unhappy? Everything I read is just making me feel more inadequate when I read how strong others on here are and how they have remained faithful and so positive about their direction. I feel like I’m having to hold the marriage together on my own and now that it has gone badly wrong I don’t know what to do at all.

    I feel like if my husband would allow it I would be a better friend and carer if I wasn’t his wife now. I don’t want to feel tolerated at best for the rest of my life. At the same time I know some of what happens is not my husband’s fault. However, the cumulative effects are so hard to bear. Is anyone else out there in a position like this?

    • Leo says:

      (CANADA) Jane, I do understand a lot of what you feel, I think. My journey hasn’t been as long as yours, but I do understand the loneliness. My husband is temperamental and childish and very self absorbed. I have also struggled with feelings for someone else. At home I feel like a single parent with 2 kids –my husband and daughter. So, no don’t think all of us are handling this wonderfully.

      • Christina from United States says:

        Thank goodness for this site. I lose my temper with my husband and feel guilty about it all the time, but I also resent that he has had tons of couseling and support but only implements it for work, but not at home. I know I should be grateful he’s working, but it’s ao hard to deal with him at the end of the day. He’s churlish and short and totally unreasonable.

  13. Rose says:

    (USA) My husband suffered a TBI in 12/2011. He has been ill most of his life but was doing well at the time of this accident. While in the ER because he wasnt feeling well he was misdiagnosed as having a stroke. The ER doc felt that he needed to be intubated and while attempting to do that my husband was administered propofol which did not do well with his CHF.

    As a result, he suffered a brain injury. It has been incredibly difficult on me and my kids. My husband went straight to rehab for a few weeks. He left the hospital basically as an infant, unable to do anything for himself. He is home now and totally dependant. He has not regained his ability to speak, eat regular foods or any hand function so that he can take care of his personal care. The hardest part of everything is missing his voice. Is it possible after a year for him to regain his speech?

    We have done outpatient therapy and he can walk and communicate in his own way. I love him so much and continue to pray that one day he will regain everything he needs to feel whole again. We have established that he can read and understands everything that is going on around him. Thanks for the site and support.

  14. Barbara says:

    (UNITED STATES) God did not cause my husband’s accident, but after nearly 4 years since, a lot of PT, OT, Cognitive Therapy, Couples Counseling and Individual Counsel for myself (as well as buckets of tears), I am at last coming to grips with the fact that he is and will always be a familiar stranger as a result. The thing is that I was a casualty of this catastrophic event too, and so were my adult children. None of us have remained undaunted or unscathed as a result of his TBI, the heart attack just hours following, or the summer of 2009 in coma. We too have been changed.

    There is no more time left to feel guilty about what I should or would do when facing his care –I do what I must do. There is only the reality that I was created as an individual, was married (and continue to be married 36 years now) as a couple, and now we are individuals again. Jesus knows my suffering –our suffering –but I must continue to move forward so that I can be as much as I can be despite whatever tragedy falls my way.

    There were parts of him –his persona –that were left dead on the highway, and I continue to grieve those lovely parts of him that for now are away from me. There are new replacement parts of his persona which are less-than-attractive. I do not embrace these new parts, but realize they are not going to disappear either. I was married to a lovely, kind man for 32 years before this tragedy befell us. Today I am married to an angry, narcissistic, bigoted man who views love and intimacy as a disgusting feature that he will not and cannot partake in. And at this point, the ugliness he portrays much of the time no longer enamors me to him. My life is made up of chapters. This new chapter is painful and lonely true, but it is my chapter.

    Whatever made me think that changes would not take place? I no longer have my lovely man to watch my back and love me, but I will continue to care for him. I will watch my own back now, and I will make new friends and participate in new activities to help to fill the black hole inside and make me a better person. Don’t get me wrong! Letting go of my wonderful partner has been the most difficult challenge for me thus far. However, I do him no good service if I don’t encourage his individuality as well.

    In the months after the accident and coma, of course, I was his full time caregiver, but through rehabilitation he is better able to do for himself now, and he wants to be more independent. By taking better care of me now, I will not only be learning and growing as I go, but will always be better prepared to tend to him when he needs me. If I don’t take care of me, then it will not benefit either of us. This was never a choice to be coupled up with a very disagreeable TBI spouse –it never is a choice, but it’s what has been given to us.

    After countless months and years on my knees before my Lord, I know that He will encourage me forward and will help me in the care of me as I move along my road. I will grow in strength and continue to care for the man who has been so emotionally and mentally wounded as a result of this catastrophe. Jesus is my light and my strength. Moving Forward until I no longer can move! God’s Peace and love to you all!

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Thank you SO much Barbara, for sharing this with us. I so, so admire your tenacity to be faithful –especially in light of all it means. May Christ be your strength and hope and may He help you to find light even in the darkest of times. My prayers are with you.

  15. Gaby says:

    (CANADA) It’s been more than 27 years since my husband’s TBI (left frontal lobe). From this vantage point, knowing what I know now – all the years of frustration, financial insecurity, and isolation – what would I have done differently? First of all, I would have fought harder for financial compensation.

    We basically got nothing. Second, I would have separated from him. He would still have been the father of our three children – I would have encouraged their relationships. However, our union became too lop-sided after the injury. I didn’t do anyone a favour by staying with him – not him or me or our children. In many ways it is harder for the surviving spouse, than for the TBI survivor. The struggle continues to this day.

  16. Maxine says:

    (USA) I am so thankful to have found this website. My husband of 15 years has TBI from an car accident. He also has a substance abuse disorder. He is off “hard” drugs, but continues with marijuana daily and alcohol a few times a week. Looking at him you would never know that he has frontal lobe damage. He has cognitive issues and lots of anger. He has a hard time problem solving, and has absolutely no patience.

    He has trouble finding and maintaining employment. He also gets in trouble with the law. It’s so hard. When he earns money he contributes some, but lies about how much he makes and keeps most for himself. I pay all the bills, take care of the kids, work, try to study, manage everything related to maintaining the household, take care of all the medical care for my family.

    It is so hard and I am getting so tired. I feel like I am watching life go by -just trying to get through the day without being yelled out or intimidated. I hate coming home because I don’t know what he will be like. I get scared that I will do or say the wrong thing, it is so hard. I have always known that the Lord looks out for me, and has a plan. I am just feeling like I can’t keep up anymore.

    I have an older daughter (21) who also is TBI due to long-term seizures, and my other (13) has a tumor that has required 9 surgeries. I keep trying to hold my head up, but I am exhausted. I know God will give me only what I can handle, but I don’t think I am that strong anymore. I want to be happy and enjoy my life.

    I want my husband to be happy, but his moods change so rapidly and he gets angry so quickly. I have lost friends because they don’t understand this. I have a hard time making friends or finding someone too. I feel lonely and sad. I wish I had someone to talk to. I’m so glad I found this site. My family doesn’t understand, and now I am starting to think that I must have done something to deserve all this heartache.

    I want the people I love to find joy in this world, and I want it too. I try really hard to look for those moments throughout the day. Everyday seems so hard. I cry everyday because I am yelled at so much. I think he does this because he is so unhappy and wishes he didn’t have these issues, he still remembers what it was like when he didn’t.

    I also think he is resentful of me, that I’m functioning and holding everything and everyone together (all with God). I think about leaving, but I don’t think he will make it. He will probably end up homeless. His family will not take him in. I wish he could just be nice and love me. So much of my live, and the lives of my children, revolve around his moods.

    It hurts so much. His issues do not seem to get better. I watch my girls grow up with this and it is so hard. They love their dad, and have a hard time understanding all this. I feel like we are all alienated from the rest of the world.

    • Leo says:

      (CANADA) I’m so sorry for your pain. Sometimes it does feel like we get more than we can possibly handle. Please know you aren’t alone in your hurt. Hope that helps to know. . .

  17. Patty says:

    (USA) Just because we, as caregivers, get worried, angry, frustrated, sad, and resentful at times, I have learned after 2 yrs, and multiple subsequent falls with setbacks, that God didn’t cause this to happen. But He has put people in our path to assist us if we recognize and allow them to. Will life ever be easy? NO, but it isn’t even for the people we think it is, they just hide it better. If you can try to keep being an advocate for your spouse (and yourself) and encourage their recovery, I know that progress can still happen. There are resources available, but you need to put forth A LOT of effort to find them sometimes -respite care for the caregiver being the most important in my humble opinion. I don’t take my own advice enough!

    I struggle with being married to a “familiar stranger” after 20 years of an amazing blessed partnership, but am trying to embrace the “new normal.” It truly is a day-by-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) endeavor. God let us find each other and enjoy many years while raising our 19 yr and 11 yr old sons this far. I feel it’s my responsibility to look for not only the traits that are still there that I fell in love with, but also to find some new ones in this “different” man to appreciate. It requires an enormous sense of humor at times! It’s difficult and I fail frequently, but when I find others like all of you, it gives me strength to continue to look. Besides, it has given our kids a role model for what strong marriages can withstand and how important it is to wait to marry someone you REALLY love and can commit to no matter what. Hang in there everyone. That’s love. That’s marriage.

  18. Chris says:

    (USA) I guess I’m writing to you because I’m on the other side where I’m the one with the brain injury from a brain tumor. I have literally stolen things from my own flesh and blood children that I adore. On top of that I have used my husbands ss# to get what I want, as well as taken from his son, which I had to recognize EVERY SINGLE DAY. I can tell you even though I go through cognitive therapy, I do not forgive myself, and deep inside my husband doesn’t either. Oh well, thanks for letting me vent.

    How can I ever forgive myself because there are days when I know what I did was wrong and it hurts soo much. I sometimes feel as though my husband would be better off w/o me but doesn’t want to say so.

  19. Emily from United States says:

    Hi, My name is Emily and 7 months into our marriage my husband and I were in a severe auto accident (Dec.26th 2012). He suffered a TBI. Since that day he has been in the hospital, first ICU then LTACH, and now a rehab hospital. His cognition/ memory/ personality has had so little effect that people have asked if he truly has a TBI. His biggest challenge right now are his physical disabilities. Since he had his cranioplasty 2 weeks ago he’s starting to improve (more muscle strength in both legs, L remaining weakest), but is still minimal in many movements upper and lower extremities. His Right brain is where the injury is.

    I’m just curious if any of you are in a similar situation? With a TBI I’ve heard countless cognitive change stories, but little on the physical side. I’m daily forever grateful that my husband’s personality is unchanged. In fact, some days I forget that he can’t walk simply because we carry on a conversation the same way we would have before. I’ve heard that the most “change” happens 6 mos -2 years after a TBI takes place. Is this what you have found with physical rehab? My husband is at an incredible facility and we are not giving up hope, but some days I simply wonder how far he’ll truly improve. We’re trusting that however this ends up we know God has a bigger purpose in mind. My husband’s attitude and perseverance in this daily blows my mind! He often says that if one person becomes a Christian because of this circumstance, it will be completely worth it. My husband is my greatest hero!!

    • Ashtin from United States says:

      How is your husband doing physically? I’m in a pretty similar situation. My boyfriend (22) is currently in a ‘longterm’ rehab facility from a brain AVM (similar to an aneurysm but not as severe) and has left side weakness. His left leg just started moving this last week (and when I say ‘move’ I mean BARELY). He’s very with it cognitively (except when they give him OxyContin) and is super sweet and has no memory loss or anything! I’m 19 and 7 months pregnant with our first child so my future is very uncertain right now (I found out I was pregnant 2 weeks after he fell into his coma in April 2013). I just feel like if he can get mobile and take care of his bodily needs, we could make things work like they were before. Thank you for sharing your story and let me know how his progress is :) I’ll be praying for him (and you)! Keep the positivity up! God works miracles!

      Oh, and I got my boyfriend on fish oil supplements for restoring brain fats and neurons. I’ve read several articles on the effects of fish oil and how it restores damages brain cells. I have seen improvement in him since I got him on the fish oil:)

  20. Nicole from United States says:

    I have read all of your comments and yet I still feel lost. My husband and I were both very active Christians before his TBI and continue to go to church, and yet sometimes I feel that I am so lost. My husband is a very smart man with two masters degrees. He suffered a TBI last July, and then passed out again in May. They discovered that he had a calcified valve from childhood cancer and did a valve replacement surgery. Three days after that he had a pulmonary embolism.

    Last Sunday, he was throwing up blood and is currently hospitalized for internal bleeding. I guess I have so many issues that I am having a hard time working through. I have become the primary caregiver, yard maintenance person, house repair man, appliance repair man, main breadwinner, and childcare giver. What do I get for that- a person who is always angry at me, who had increased his drinking significantly, who call me “white trash” whenever he gets angry, who never accepts any responsibility, who refuses to go to counseling, and who is traumatizing our teen daughter.

    Yes, I consider divorce. My mother thinks that is evil. I believe in God, but I also don’t think God meant for me to live in constant torture. My husband wakes up all night and wakes me up. He yells at me in the morning. He doesn’t like the way I look at him, he doesn’t like how I talk to other people, and he questions everything that I do. He never says thank you or says a kind word. I am not exaggerating. We do not have intimate relations and he only kisses me after I kiss him. It is more than be married to a different person. I feel like a single mother who has to take care of a sick relative. The worst part is that he can pull it together for an hour or two, so he doesn’t look mean in front of his family or our friends. I need help.

  21. Jill from United States says:

    Hello All, I lost my husband to a brain injury Feb 2012. The man who resides in his body is not the man I was married to for 25 years. I know when I stand before God and have to recount for my behavior after the incident and during the initial recovery, it is going to be painful and embarrassing. I know I didn’t make the best choices, became frustrated and short with my husband.

    He was so different after the injury. There is no NORMAL to this life and I hate it when people say find the new normal. What’s normal about your partner being your child? What’s normal knowing he can never drive, has an IQ that is lower by 40 points, and relies on me to do everything? What’s normal about being alone even though you are with your spouse? The weekends that go by and he goes to bed at 9:00 and I am alone. How do we live this lonely life? I feel miserable and can’t relate to my spouse on an intellectual let alone intimate level. Thanks for listening!

    • Susie from United States says:

      Jill, it is exactly how I feel… we were married 16 yrs before his TBI & now it’s 2 years since & I am so lonely. Even though we are together, we are so apart. He is angry & depressed & simply a different person… I am so overwhelmed with nonstop pressure & he sits & does nothing, he doesn’t hug me or say thanks or acts as if I even matter …& this was a man that was a passionate guy, couldn’t get enough of me & fun to be with! I dream of getting away & have so much guilt of wanting to leave him. I feel sorry for him how he is now, alone & angry. & I feel trapped inside a daily hell. & it’s so painful. My heart is broken.

  22. Sian from United Kingdom says:

    Sometimes I think it’s us as the partners dwelling on the information we are being fed about brain injuries and the affects on relationships reading into our partners just a little too much. Yes, they have changed but a lot of that is not the brain injury, it’s the depression, the not wanting to go out, the not having the same life goals as you both once had, etc, etc.

    But this is because it has affected them to be more cautious about things and they have to change. Just stop and look and put yourself in their minds. They are also getting told they have changed so they start believing it to the extent they think they have lost themselves and can’t go back so they really do end up manipulating their own minds and start punishing themselves. If you can’t, as their partner, stop and let it go. Don’t keep dwelling on it and look to the future with a open mind and belief that things always work out and get better, or you might as well give up now.

    I am 24 have 2 babies and my partner is a lot different than the boy I fell in love with 8 years ago. But he is still him, just he has changed his way of thinking. This is how I cope. I was going insane and at my wits end, close to splitting up, then I just sat back and put my head to how I would be in his shoes. I’d be so lost. I would need someone to say you are ok; we just need some help and time. Imagine how scared and bombarded our partners have been since the day they found out this happened to them. Just stop please.

    • Nicole from United States says:

      Obviously you are not truly experiencing the verbal and physical abuse that can come with brain injury. I am glad for you, but understand that some of us have lost any semblance of the person we used to know.

      • Bruce from United States says:

        On September 10, 2013 my wife was diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent surgery on the 13th. Both of us were in shock and never really had the time to grasp the severity of the situation.

        My wife and I had begun our spiritual journey together 16 years ago; and our love for each other revolved around God. We spent the first five years of our relationship being led by the Holy Spirit traveling around the United States being introduced to our “spiritual teachers and guides.” This initial five years was as my wife told me later was the best years of her life. My wife and I had a solid marriage which was centered around God.

        To be able to take a five year sabbatical, I had to close down my law office and used the equity I had in my house. Then after the money was spent, we returned Corpus Christi, Texas to begin a new practice hoping to make as much or more than I had previously. However, this never happened; my wife had to work 40 hours a week up a week before her surgery. Bless her heart; This became a major issue in our marriage as the years went by after our spiritual journey had then when my wife had her thyroid taken out in 2005. This caused her to focus upon the financial issues; worrying about money lost her connection with God who had previously provided us with everything.

        She has never stopped worrying about money to this day. As a result the marriage suffered because she had a steady income and paid over half of the bills and had to work in order to insure all the bills were paid. I believe she became resentful, and complained about my inability to support her. Because the Thursday before her surgery, her two daughters told me that she was not going to live with me any longer; she was going to live with her daughter in Memphis; and I was not welcome. Learning that my wife had brain cancer was emotionally overwhelming; but learning that my wife was leaving me was too much to handle.

        That Friday the surgeon removed a tumor from her brain the size of an egg along, with 2-3 ounces of fluid. The next morning it was apparent when I walked into the hospital room that her two daughters had been making up bad things I had done to her over the 15 years and she was beginning to believe them; plus the fact I didn’t make enough money to support her. My daughter was told by my wife that she was going to back to work in three weeks. Her daughters along with my wife on Saturday that she was never going to work again. Saturday morning was the last time my wife defended me. She got out of her hospital bed, took my hand and told her daughters that they could not refer to me as one of her many men friends, I was her husband. She also stated that she did not want a divorce.

        After her surgery I have never had a minute alone with my wife. She went to stay with her friend across town; and by Tuesday she told me she was divorcing me that I had done so many bad things that she couldn’t stay married to me because now that she had cancer she couldn’t put up with it any longer. That is when I went to visit her at her friends house and was told that “it was about her and not me and that she would see me on the other side.”

        This hurt me so much I had to stop trying to talk with her anymore. One mutual friend had called my wife and she was given many more reasons she was leaving me. Most of these accusations never happened or events which occurred but the facts were twisted to make me look evil. I do not believe my real wife would ever leave me. However, after reading several posts on this web site I could be wrong.

        I have realized I will probably never see her again. The prognosis of the type of brain cancer she has is not good. Also, the oncologist here told her he would not begin chemo therapy if she was moving. I was told that she was leaving today. It has been at least 3 weeks since she was going to begin radiation therapy to kill the remaining cancer cells in her brain. These cells multiply quickly and by the time she does begin radiation and chemo she might require another surgery to remove what has grown. Or more radiation or chemo than her body can handle to kill all of the cancer cells. I tried the first day after surgery to convince her to stay here and complete the therapy before she moved; but her daughters said I was just trying to keep her here with me and she would get better treatment in Memphis.

        Needless to say I am an emotional wreck. I have received three cell phone calls. Each call was about paying a bill and me delivering her “stuff” to her daughter who lives here in Corpus Christi. During one call she said you better believe I want a *#& divorce. One other fact I wanted to throw in; a week before the cancer diagnosis we found a fixer upper house that I moved into the weekend of the surgery; and since then have tried to finish the inside before she moved in case she wanted to stay here. Never happened.

        Can anyone explain to me what happened? I believe that when my wife was recovering from surgery and beginning Saturday morning her daughters and the woman she is staying with have convinced her I was the worst person she could live with. That because I was never given any time alone with her during the first days of her recovery she doesn’t remember anything good about me and does not miss me at all. That she is not going to live long enough for to have a chance for her to come back to our marriage; but having her remember the marriage we really had together would help both of us. I also have reason to believe she wants to die; she has given up and has nothing to live for including the memory of our marriage centered around God.

        I would kindly ask every one to pray for my wife to allow her to remember her relationship with God; and may no one ever experience a spouse wanting to leave the other spouse after brain surgery.

        • Cindy Wright from United States says:

          Bruce, I can’t even begin to know all that has gone on and is going on with you and your wife. I’m sure there are many, many things that both you and your wife have lived through and perceive in different ways that complicate this situation. But I have two insights that may shed light in some way. One is for you to remember what happened to the Prophet Elijah after a great victory (you can read about it in 1 Kings 18 and 1 Kings 19). He was on a spiritual high, but afterward, when troubles hit even harder, it shattered his focus and faith for a time. He went from the mountain top to the valley in his ability to cope with what was going on in his life.

          You and your wife had a 5 year “high” where you traveled together and sought God’s will together, etc. It was a GREAT time for you. But then you returned back to the real world (we can’t live forever on mountain top experiences) and things went sour… even worse, after the attack of cancer hit. The focus and faith you both had going strong was shattered. Please recognize that the enemy of our faith is working overtime to creep in when things go crazy in our lives (which they will sooner or later). Decisions have to be made NOT to give victory. Without doing so, darkness creeps in and covers over the light that once was very evident. I’m thinking this is what could have happened. But always remember that Light can overcome darkness if we work with God who can fight against the lies of the enemy of our faith. Even if your wife won’t join you in turning to the Lord during these dark times, you can do so, and should do so. Apply what you learned during your 5 year faithwalk journey.

          Also, your wife’s brain was attacked by this cancer. Do you really expect her to be thinking clearly after the surgery and the attack, which is going on inside of her brain (and also her mind)? She isn’t thinking as clearly as she might have before all of this happened. She doesn’t have the same reasoning and thinking capabilities –at least not at this time, with all that has happened to and in her brain. I’m not sure …but from this distance, that seems to make sense.

          So what can you do about this? I’m not sure. You need to fall before the Lord and ask Him how to proceed after being given these insights –asking Him if there is truth to what I’m writing. Also, ask Him for wisdom and insights for what you are to do one day at a time. My thought is you are to be a man of prayer –praying for God’s favor and help in getting a job. You have bills to pay and a life to rebuild. Whether your wife will join you in this life or not, I don’t know. I hope so and pray so. But she has a free will and if she is being deceived by others and the enemy of our faith and the attack on her brain, perhaps not. One way or the other, you can’t and shouldn’t try to MAKE her live as you think she should. But what you CAN do is to do the right thing in how you live your life, one way or another. Build a life that she would want to be a part of, and then invite her in. Don’t focus on what you don’t have but on what you CAN have and WILL have as you apply yourself as God would have you. Work to pay bills, find a stable place to live, and live your life as a man of integrity and honor. As you do that, she may eventually want to be united in marriage to you again. I don’t know (and neither do you) if she will live that long (or perhaps much, much longer). But it’s the right thing to do, none-the-less. I hope and pray for you and for your wife that you will both join the Lord in revealing and reflecting the love of Christ in whatever days you have left to live on this earth.

          • Bruce from United States says:

            Cindy, I want to thank you for your response to my post of November 2. It was a very good starting point that probably saved my life. It is wonderful to have a website such as this to be able to open your heart and have someone respond with love and compassion.

            I have been praying constantly for my wife to wake up and to remember our marriage was a result of both of us being blessed by God. That even if I had committed the wrongful acts her daughter falsely accused me of she should forgive me instead of divorcing me.

            Both of her daughters divorced their first husbands in the same way. When the number of wrongs committed by the husband reaches a certain figure then a divorce from the husband is justified. Therefore, my wife being in a weakened state of mind believed her daughters and cast me out of her life. And since September 13 has not made any attempt to communicate with me, nor provided me with a way to make contact with her. Basically, my wife was kidnapped away from me by her daughters.

            So in addition to being devastated by the fact that my wife will die within a year of brain cancer she will die believing that I betrayed her and the marriage. This is very difficult for me to accept; and my only thought is to pray that someone could visit my wife and cause her to the truth.

            I do have one question and that is the comparison of our five year spiritual journey to Prophet Elijah? I thank all of you for your prayers and ask that you continue.

          • Cindy Wright from United States says:

            Bruce, I thank God that He has allowed me to participate with Him in helping you in this way. May God be praised. I hope that even though all may look hopeless, you keep your eyes upon Him and the hope HE can give you. I hope that as we pray for your wife, somehow light breaks through and she responds to Truth, rather than the toxic talk she is being barraged with, to break up your marriage. You and I don’t have the ability to convince her to listen to truth… and she doesn’t have to (we’re all given a free will), but with God working on her and in her, there is MUCH more hope than any of us may ever realize. Keep praying and line your will up with His.

            The reason I tied in the “spiritual journey” you and your wife took together years ago, with the experience of the Prophet Elijah, is that sometimes when we have been able to walk with God in such victorious ways, it’s almost as if we can’t imagine that we could sink so low –with the enemy of our faith sucking us into a hole of confusion and spiritual and emotional defeat. How could we be on such a high one time in our life (and for you and your wife –it was one of such unity, as well), and then be reduced to such a low time –one that makes absolutely no sense?

            It’s because the powers of darkness work overtime to try to erase any “oneness” and any victories we could experience together with the Lord. If we are pulled into confusion and defeat, then the enemy can go to God and say, “see… the victory was only temporary!” It’s so sinister, when you think about it.

            Again, keep looking to the Lord, keep seeking Jesus, keep praying and believing and hoping, and you will definitely be in the best place you can be on earth, despite anything that looks contrary. May He grant you favor, as you look to Him and HIS way of approaching all that is going on. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ –to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11) “The LORD is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psalm 145:18)

  23. Patrick from United States says:

    I am a survivor. I don’t remember six weeks of my life in and around my 48 ft fall in 2007. I remember the last two weeks in the hospital and the four weeks in rehab. I don’t remember my wife being there for any of it. She told me that she had to go to an academy. When she graduated, she began to treat me like I didn’t matter. I also awoke some nights being hit in my head. After all of this, she kicked me out of my house.

  24. Connar from United States says:

    I’ve been reading for days on Brain injury’s to try and find something that would comfort me… I couldn’t find much. My fiancé and I were to get married in April but she was hit by a car as a pedestrian she was in a coma before she made it to the hospital. She’s still not awake. I’m so scared that she may not wake up from it and I’m scared that if she does she won’t love me anymore. I don’t know what I would do… I would like to be with her, no matter what, but a part of me thinks that might not be possible if or when she wakes up…

  25. Steve from United States says:

    Hello. I suffered a major brain injury on DEC 19 2009. I was employed by the DOD and was in a motor vehicle accident in the Middle East. I was in a coma for 3 weeks 2 days. I spent 5 and half months in rehab relearning how to dress myself, tie my shoes, take care of hygiene needs, care for myself, write and read. Some came back in bursts, some came back hard. I have service dog, but am less needy of his help now.

    I am in a relationship that gets strained from time to time because of my cognitive problems. My fiancé, who has only known me with a brain injury, get frustrated with me. Sometimes, I don’t get what she is trying to tell me, and she thinks I’m being difficult. The last argument, it took me two days to get it to sink in, what she was talking about. I’ve told her if there is something I’m missing or not giving, be blunt, don’t be subtle as I don’t get subtle anymore. I get directness. I’ve asked her to go to counseling with me, and she will not, as she thinks she does not have any need for it. She believes I’m the one with the problem. Well yes, I have a TBI but I’m trying and trying hard.

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Steve, first let me tell you how sorry I am that you’ve had to go through this. I’m also sorry that you’re having to learn to live your life in different ways than you did previously. I can only imagine how difficult this must be. But I’m glad that you have persevered through and are really trying to find a new “normal.” That takes heroism all in itself. I applaud you for that.

      You say that you only “get directness” and to “be blunt” with you when you’re “missing” something that you don’t understand… so I’ll be blunt here. Your fiancé may not be someone that would be healthy for you to marry. If she isn’t willing to go to a counselor and a doctor with you to find out more about your abilities to deal with everyday relationship issues, ESPECIALLY with the complications of building a marriage together –given your TBI, then marrying each other will turn out to be disastrous. It takes a very special person to be able to help you work through the “normal” you could have together as husband and wife. I’m not saying that this gal isn’t special in her own ways, but she’s obviously not willing to work WITH you on this and instead is only willing to go as far as her understanding will take her. That’s just not acceptable when it comes to marriage –whether one of you has suffered from a brain injury or not.

      If you were already married, then what I’m saying would be different. But you AREN’T married –you haven’t made that vow yet. PLEASE DON’T. If this gal isn’t willing to go the extra mile (as you want to go with her), then she isn’t ready to marry you or anyone else. She is still single-minded in her ways and I can tell you that if you marry her, with her mindset as it is, you’ve only touched upon the volume of arguments and frustrations that you will have facing you in the future. You both have to be 100 per cent committed to doing what it takes to make your marriage a good one. She just isn’t there and probably won’t be, from what I can surmise from the little you have written here. I’m truly sorry to say that, but I believe it to be true.

      If she won’t go to a counselor with you and your doctor(s), to learn more, so you can learn more together and work together on your issues, then that should be a deal-breaker. It will break your heart right now to break up with her, no doubt, but your heart will be all the more shattered later, if you marry. Steve, I have no doubt that there is a woman out there that would be more willing to work with you on relationship issues, but I’m not thinking this gal is the one. Sorry to say that… but I really believe it to be true.

  26. Kathleen from United States says:

    Hi reading all these remarks sounds too familiar. My husband had a TBI injury, then 3 years later throat cancer that has resulted in not being able to eat by mouth. Our life together is a nightmare. I am so lonely, no more sexual relationship, and he is often extremely mean and critical. i have been married 25 years but feel that I can no longer listen to his insults and putdowns. I was there for him thru the worst of all of this, and my “reward” is to be verbally kicked around all day long. I hate life and honestly can say i hate my husband now too, and where does God figure in all this equation??? He is absent. Soon I will be absent too. Thanks but there is no divine plan in place in any of this. Being a kind and faithful wife has totally drained me and left me without absolutely nothing left.

  27. Coco from United States says:

    Hello, My boyfriend had a TMI as a result of falling after a heart attack in 2007. He has made a terrific recovery. His wife divorced him and he has 5 kids in college or out of the house. He maintains a strong and positive relationship with this family and I have met them all.

    We have been dating for 1.5 years and I love him dearly. He looks great, lives a high quality life and is very lucky to be alive. I met him post TMI and have learned a lot about it since we met. We are both in our mid 50′s.

    Lately, he has been very down and depressed. He had to retire after his TMI from a successful career and has struggled since then with filling up his time. The tough winter, loss of his dog and lack of intellectual and leisure stimulation have taken a toll. Fortunately, he has recently adjusted his anti-depressants. However, I am struggling with how to work on a future relationship together. I could use some help learning how to communicate with someone who suffers from some delayed processing, has trouble making eye contact, is sometimes very negative about new ideas and often gives one word answers to questions. Prior to this recent depression, he was more positive, upbeat and fun despite some of these challenges. Any ideas?

    • Kristen D from United States says:

      Coco, what antidepressants have you found that help him? Looking for the right help for my husband.

  28. Kristen D from United States says:

    When I married my husband in 2001, I saw him as a sweet, funny, tender, relatively immature, and somewhat unfortunate soul who just needed a chance at a good life. He had been through years of alcoholism, but had been sober for three. He was born with a cleft-palate to an alcoholic father and a subsequent broken family. He had suffered a left-frontal lobe skull fracture at age 17, and he was 33 when I met him. He was skilled in his sport, but had not had a consistent work history. I didn’t realize at the time how much of all of that was related to his TBI. He had survived a previous suicide attempt, and claimed to be a born-again believer as a result of that, which was why he was sober. I should have done a better fruit-inspection.

    Over the course of the marriage, I suffered with verbal abuse when pressure came on for him to keep promises or take marriage duties seriously, or when I wanted to communicate and be understood and asked for action to follow. I carried the major burdens of the marriage. He did some things to help like mowing, weed-eating, helping with dishes and laundry. He was consistent in his job that I helped him get. He was compassionate, funny and good with the special ed kids he worked with. He was very challenging for me to live with, though…I walked almost alone in my faith, caught him in lies a lot, always had to make decisions and plan and push him to do things. Then he would be angry and verbally abuse me for doing so. He never could make a plan, execute projects or ideas, look at something and see that it needed to be done and just decide to do it, or keep a promise to do something.

    About a year ago, I discovered that he had been having a sexual affair with a married woman from his work off and on for 5-1/2 years. Before the discovery, we had been finally in counseling, trying to deal with his anger, lack of initiative, and disrespect for simple things I repeatedly asked of him. The counseling was precipitated by his verbal abuse and anger at me for asking about some text messaging going on between him and another woman. In the course of counseling, and many times before, he denied that he “would ever do such a thing” and basically I was being a “psycho-b*@%#” for accusing or suspecting him. However, he actually was trying to meet up again with the other woman DURING a week of our counseling, which I found out later. As a result of the counseling, we agreed that he would have one month to take some initiative into making some forward progress in terms of his job/future, as I had been begging him for almost two years to do so to help me not have to carry so much burden alone.

    A month passed, I left to see my family for a week, and returned home to discover his long-term affair. He had brought her into our home, into our bed and honeymoon space, and had done so at times when I was away at VERY key and important spiritual and meaningful events for me. I had repeatedly begged him over the years, like when I would catch him in weird little lies that he would automatically do, to please not cheat on me and let me find out the hard way, to please let me go first if he was going to do it, because I had been hurt so much by adultery in my previous relationships and I was faithful to him and had forgiven him so much other difficulty.

    When all this was discovered, he led me and his family through numerous versions of his story, all with sincere tears and remorse, but each story completely negated the prior one, and was only revealed through my investigation and by virtue of his details just “not adding up.” In the process of a month, he “swore to God and on his mother’s name” that he told all the truth 4 or 5 times, but then more would be revealed. Even the last time, when he said he wanted to “completely come clean” (which turned out to be such devastating information that I COMPLETELY LOST IT), it turned out a year later to be still only part of the truth.

    As a result of my complete breakdown and emotional trauma, and his inability to leave the house and stay at his uncle’s without immediately starting to drink himself into a stupor, we encouraged him to quit his job and I would just make do without medical insurance and get something else. This was a horrible mistake. Right after that, he attempted suicide with an entire bottle of Trazadone and other sleeping pills and Benadryl (I think). Even before that, his perseveration and inability to separate and take care of himself and let me heal was apparent. After that it got really bad and we’ve been stuck with him in the same self-destructive loop for over a year now. I’ve tried letting him come home and live with me a few times over the year, and it’s so difficult. He says the same things over and over all day, won’t do anything to help or care for himself, now chain-smokes (real cigarettes even if I buy him e-cigarettes… will steal money and dig for butts through the garbage to get them). He’s been in psychiatric hold twice, and two weeks in a behavioral health unit at the hospital. A month and a half after the discovery, I filed for divorce, but dismissed it the next day as I was up that night in tears and looking at a picture of him where the feature of his eyes not lining up was apparent, and it caused me to finally investigate the symptoms of his brain injury. I was in shock as to how much he was a perfect description of someone with left-frontal lobe TBI. I got a job with medical insurance (praise GOD who answers my prayers) to provide the care for him that he needed.

    I wrote a long report explaining all the red-flags I had observed in him over the years, from driving habits to public behavior and rule-breaking to perseveration and communication difficulties. I gave it to a neuropsychologist as background to justify the testing battery. Unfortunately, he found that, read it, and it caused him to feel hopeless, shamed, and very angry with me. That was May, 2013. It’s now April 2014. He’s been to a counselor twice and thinks it’s worthless. He won’t go back into the hospital, even though he needs it. I’ve tried to have him living with me. He drove me to despair. We had to fight him to go through another set of neuropsychological testings to get results confirmed in spite of his extreme depression. Both sets of testing diagnosed him primarily with Dependent Personality Disorder with strong Borderline, Passive-Aggressive, Antisocial and Narcissistic traits and secondarily with Cognitive deficit due to TBI.

    Thank God we have no children together. I have him living in an apartment. I work. His dad sees him daily and tries to get him to take his medication. He doesn’t do it consistently. We catch him with 20 of them in his pocket. Now he’s hitting up the neighbors for being drinking buddies and getting all messed up. We can’t even give him 3 dollars to do his laundry (when he PROMISES on everything sacred) without him going and buying two big strong beers instead. He smokes non-stop all day, even if we supply e-cigarettes. He won’t make his own meals or eat fruits or vegetables, but eats only prepared food that his dad brings over from his assisted living. He will NOT go to the psychiatrist to manage his medication. He will NOT go to therapy. He will NOT agree to check himself in to the hospital again. He will NOT agree to go to an assisted living or group home or rehab center. We can get guardianship, but all of that does nothing if we can’t physically get him in the car to go somewhere. We can’t let him have his bank card, because he just right away starts to drink himself to death. He is now on Social Security Disability, and his dad had to be representative payee, as SS would not allow him to manage his own money. I chose not to be that person, as all my counselors, pastoral help, etc all say that with that diagnosis I need to cut loose from him. Besides, he cannot get the Medicaid (State medical plan) or Food Stamps he needs if I’m married to him and he’s on my insurance. Also, our county mental health ONLY works with people on that state plan, and they have safe, managed housing for people like him. My insurance at my job doesn’t cover that. However, none of that will help if he refuses to use it. I made a vow when I married him (leaving another marriage in a wrong way that I shouldn’t have done) that I would take care of him and not be married again (this was my third). God warned me it would be harder than I thought. I didn’t listen. I’ve walked in strong faith, mostly alone, all these 13 years, with some compromise with substance that he kept insisting on having and sneaking into our lives, but generally I was really dedicated and living a godly life. We had a lot of adventures and good times together, but many of them for me have memories of pain, frustration, and now they are tinged with the knowledge of his infidelity and deceit. Even now, more truths get revealed from time to time. And I’m kept in an emotional bondage, held hostage by his threats of self-harm and helplessness and fear. My heart breaks for him, because I and his family do everything we can to try and help him and get him the help he needs, but he refuses it, all the while admitting that he’s now “messed up.”

    He constantly says he just wants to die, but can’t figure out how, and then says he wants to live, but only if he can erase time and make everything back the way it was. However, the “way it was” was not a sane and healthy relationship, and he’s NOT willing to do or believe therapy could help him, even though by all accounts it could. He says he can’t believe I “kicked him out just because he had a stupid affair,” and always asks “why did I do that… I didn’t need to” (very true… sex life was just FINE; I did everything for him and he claimed that I was everything to him and he would be devastated if he lost me… even said that to the other woman). At the very least, I’m kind of being forced to do at least legal separation, just to allow the state plan and food stamps to help him. But I see no progress on his part, or acceptance of his condition, or willingness to do anything he needs to do to stop doing more brain damage. If I’m forced to do the separation, I might as well do divorce. Even Christian counseling tells me he won’t get the help he needs unless he gets in a crisis situation, especially with his diagnosis.

    His dad brings him cigarettes every day, even though I beg him to taper him down and make him do the e-cigarettes. Even if we do that, though, he will still go bum cigarettes from people on the street (which would have to eventually wear out). But his dad won’t stop… he even bought him beer the other day, which he took with Seroquel and almost fell down and broke his neck walking across his living room. Yesterday, he got so drunk with a neighbor that he could hardly walk. The police came because the neighbor was harassing another neighbor. A couple months ago, while my husband was drunk, he went over to the other woman’s house, threw a hammer through her car window, and threatened to kill her 3 times to her face (because she and her husband haven’t suffered the devastation that we have). The other day, while sober, he told me again he wanted to kill her, and when told that her husband had a stroke, said, “Good, I hope he f#@&*n dies!. He had two open bladed box cutter knives in his vehicle, for no apparent reason, which I had never seen and had no idea where they came from, and a big iron bar. I’ve had to warn them to call the police if he comes over there again.

    I’m constantly in prayer and tears and am a sad, depressed, worn-out shell of my former self, and sometimes I feel I’m losing my own mind, brain cells, and my health. I CAN’T let him come back in my house. If I do, it becomes abusive and impossible very quickly. When he was here, he constantly complained that all his stuff was in storage, so I went and got it all. It sat there for weeks and he wouldn’t even put one thing away. He begged me to let him come home, but I had to literally force him out of his uncle’s by taking all his food, clothes, and cigarettes. It was only the cigarettes that got him to finally come out. He said all he wanted to do was “do everything he should have done from the beginning,” but when he was here he refused to go to counseling. I had to get the police to come out and get him into the car to go to his testing, sat in the dark, paced and smoked all day and night, promised he’d rake or do yard work, but then wouldn’t but would complain all day that he should have and didn’t. He almost electrocuted himself and caught the house on fire changing the element in the water heater, a job he has done many times and that I asked him to wait to do before I came home. He drove one time so stinking drunk he could hardly stand. I told him when we sent him to the apartment that I wanted to give him his dignity and give him a chance to show that he could care for himself a little, and that he could come over and help me whenever he wanted. He has been to the house one time in over three months, and that was under pressure to pick up van seats that were left out in the weather. He cried and fell apart, and he can’t make himself come out here and help me with anything, no matter how much I need it. He won’t help or visit his dad, and barely talks to his mother or sister. The help we really need from him is for HIM to GET the help he needs, but he can’t even do that for himself, much less for us.

    Right now, his dad and I are hoping to get him into a better and safer apartment without weird neighbors. I’m so lost, confused, and riddled with guilt and condemnation. I want to trust God and trust God with him. I have to believe that if he dies, God will have mercy on him and his broken brain. At least he goes to church each Sunday with a person I got to reach out to him. I’d like to get him into an awesome supported apartment complex in another town, specifically for brain-injured people, but he doesn’t seem willing to go and/or accept that he needs it. All he ever says is, “I never needed that before,” but then follows it with, “Nothing can help me now, I’m too messed up.” We suggest getting him out of the town and to a fresh environment with support, but he won’t agree, even though he says that he “has so much shame” around our town and “everything here makes him sad and reminds him of his life that he lost.” As far as shame goes, he has a circle of friends who consistently reach out to him, call him, try to get him out of his apartment, to go out and hit balls, movies, golf, lunch, walk, etc. He walks with one man every morning, but complains that he says the same things every day. The man always suggests things to him (he was a doctor), like getting to the doctor, getting help, or getting in a different place, but he won’t take any suggestions. He doesn’t call his friends back, and he almost never goes and does anything they suggest. He did golf with the one friend (1st time in his life), but smoked the whole time, even though he can go to an entire church service and Bible study without smoking. He says he has too much shame, but all these people consistently tell him they love him, he’s forgiven, they understand, and they want to help. He does nothing that they suggest, and will not go see them or call them back.

    I’ve forgiven him and have fought hard on his behalf for the disability, rallied friends around him, looked after him, moved his stuff for him, sent him inspirational messages, spent nights holding him… I don’t know what else to do. My life has almost stopped, and I struggle to find joy. It’s my faith that is holding me together. I want to let go of the marriage and be a friend and support from that position, and I’m committed to doing so. I desperately want to someday have a good and faithful relationship with a decent husband. I was faithful and honored him, though I longed for him to be “the man” in the marriage. It made me have to be a kind of person I was not…pushy, demanding, bossy, angry, resentful, un-trusting. That can’t be God’s will for me… it just can’t. I’m prepared to never be married again… Paul was right… the married have much trouble in this life.

    I just want to serve God and not have my life be a waste. I have to trust God with him and do what I can. I know God doesn’t expect me to do what I can’t. I’ve asked for help and strength. He only gives me what He gives me, and not more. I’m so tired and so sad that I contributed to this man’s demise with my words and hurt and anger, and ignorance of how damaged and delicate he was. I’m sad that the partly functional, funny, loving, sweet, childish and adventurous soul seems to be gone right now, and I don’t know if it will come back. I feel guilty and horrible that I sometimes wish he could just go peacefully and mercifully so that he can leave this living hell… but the Word allows us to pray for such a thing, much as we’d like to pray for “life, and life abundantly” for him. I pray He be in the Father’s loving arms, if in fact he will not get help in this land of the living. God have mercy on ME. I only wanted to give him a good life, and to help him know God and walk in salvation.

    • Kristen D from United States says:

      And by the way…I see here people mentioning medications that have finally helped their loved ones with TBI. What are some of those medications, and what effects do they have?

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Kristen, I’m so very sorry to hear of all you and your husband are going through. Truly, you have a mission field on your hands just trying to help him in the best way that you can (without totally losing all of who you are and wish you could be). I wish I had answers for you that could help you, but I don’t. I just have a heart to pray for you and for your husband. Because his mind is so compromised because of his brain injury, all you can do is the best you can. You aren’t super woman, and you do have a limit as to what you can and should do for him. Please keep praying for guidance and do what you can and pray for little glimmers of light here and there that can give you the lift to keep keeping on. We aren’t promised a bed of roses on this side of heaven. You know that oh so well. But I pray for strength, and wisdom, and little blessings along the way that will help you to keep persevering. How I wish I could offer more, but please know that my heart and prayers are with you.

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