How To Cope With Your Spouse’s Traumatic Brain Injury


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A traumatic brain injury can lead to medical, emotional, and financial challenges. People married to someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury have a lot to deal with, which can affect the marriage. Learning to deal with their “new normal” following a brain injury is a struggle for many couples. It could be even worse if the traumatic brain injury could have been avoided. Unfortunately, some brain injuries are caused by negligence on the part of someone else, including medical professionals.

How Does Traumatic Brain Injury Affect Partners?

When a spouse or significant other sustains a traumatic brain injury (TBI), it can be a scary and emotional situation for their loved ones. The injured person may have significant changes in personality, habits, and emotions that leave their spouse feeling frustrated and even like they no longer know the person they are married to.

The TBI can also practically change a couple’s life, further impacting the relationship. Some of the changes include:

  • Communication changes – Survivors of TBI may have difficulty finding the right words, speech, and comprehension. Additionally, they may find it hard to understand non-verbal communication, like facial expressions, gestures, and body language. It may take them longer and be more difficult for them to make themselves understood.
  • Behavioral changes – With TBI, there can be upsetting changes in how they behave. Socially inappropriate actions, like making insensitive or inappropriate comments or swearing in public, can frustrate and embarrass spouses.
  • Changes in intimacy –The physical, emotional, and psychological closeness that the couple shared may change when the injured person has impulsivity, anger, or lack of insight following the TBI. 
  • Cognitive changes – Changes in cognitive skills are very common after a TBI. Attention, multi-tasking, and decision-making may be negatively affected, causing emotional and practical problems for the couple.   
  • Everyday reality changes – The person with TBI may not be able to perform the same activities they used to. For example, they may no longer be able to drive a car, perform their old job, or do activities they used to find enjoyable. This can make it difficult for significant others, who may have to take on additional responsibilities and deal with financial challenges.

Tips For Dealing With Your Loved One’s Brain Injury

The effects of TBI vary widely for individuals and can be unpredictable. They may not be apparent for several months after the injury happened. Spouses or significant others can help encourage their loved ones and promote a healthy relationship when they do the following:

  • Keep in mind TBI’s aftereffects – Your loved one with TBI may not have control over their actions and behavior. The psychological changes and disinhibition often resulting from TBI can cause inappropriate behaviors. However, it’s still important that you set appropriate boundaries for your emotional well-being.
  • Focus on the positives – Keeping a positive attitude is important, even though dealing with TBI is challenging. Focusing on the positive steps and improvement in your loved one’s recovery will strengthen the relationship and encourage further recovery.
  • Develop stress-relief strategies – Stress impacts relationships and how couples interact. It’s important to find stress-reducing activities, like journaling, going for a walk, or other self-care practices, to promote healthy relationships.
  • Find support – Support groups for TBI survivors and their families are an effective way to learn how others cope with recovery challenges.
  • Talk to a brain injury attorney – Pursuing justice for your loved one won’t reverse the physical damage that has been done. Still, it may help relieve the financial burden the injury has caused, eliminating a huge relationship stressor.

Do You Need A Philadelphia Brain Injury Lawyer?

Ross Feller Casey’s nationally recognized brain injury attorneys in Philadelphia have helped many families who are dealing with a traumatic brain injury. Our lawyers are prepared to answer questions, address concerns, and support you through your case. We have the experience and resources needed to litigate these types of cases and an unmatched track record of winning them for our clients.

Suppose your spouse or other family member has suffered a TBI from medical malpractice or an accident. In that case, you should contact a brain injury attorney at Ross Feller Casey. In addition to experienced lawyers, we have top doctors on our staff who review medical records and provide their expertise to determine if you have a valid claim. We will investigate your case and explain your rights under Pennsylvania law, even if it involves wrongful death.

We handle brain injury cases on a contingency basis, so there will not be a cost to your family until a financial recovery is made on your case.

Please call or contact our office for a free consultation with a Philadelphia brain injury attorney.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.