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Living with a stranger

Hi all, I'm new here. My names Rebecca, im 21 and from Lancashire.

I've been struggling for quite a while now and was hoping I could get some advice from other people in a similar situation.

Two years ago my mum suffered a heart attack and from that, an anoxic brain injury. I'm sure most of you have all been through something similar, so I can skip out the ICU, the scans, the daily hospital visits, the ups and downs and just skip to present day.

My mum made a fantastic recovery. It took a while, but physically, apart from a few minor things such as dyspraxia ect she is amazing. And to look at her you wouldn't know the difference, which is amazing given the outcome we had been told to expect. The only thing is she's not my mum any more. I am living with a stranger.

I used to be so close to my mum. We were best friends, we'd cuddle on the sofa eating snacks having a gossip and a laugh and go shopping and go to our horse together but now she hates me. I'm talking the "I don't want anything to do with you" "Don't even bother with Mothers Days" kind of hatrid that I get thrown at me every day. My whole family has noticed the change in her and her relationship with them all has changed but more so me. She doesn't speak to me at all. She ignores me nd we live together in silence. These last 6 months have gotten so bad, i've had to move my horse to a different yard to get away from her.

I don't know who this person is. I don't like this person, I don't love this person. I miss my mum so much it hurts, but know she will never come back. How do I grieve for her when i'm still reminded of her every day?

How do I accept all of this?

7 Replies

am real sorry to hear you are in this situation

and 2 years is still early (although it probably doesn't feel like it

what help is he getting, is she seeing anyone for it still, sounds like some CBT will help.

the trouble is, our emotions become numb or inverted and they don't make sense to us either, i know that doesn't help

i think you could do with contacting headway (its not just there for those of us with the injury) a head injury can be harder on our carers and loved ones than it is on us.

i am sorry but i have no answers other than maybe she needs a lot more therapy and some councilling may help you too

i would phone headway and they can advise better than i can

Free helpline 0808 800 2244



I really really feel for you and respect your total honesty, how heartbreaking. I think Biker's advise is good and it is worth contacting Headway for some advice. As he says, they offer support to families & careers too. My mum and my Dad both had bleeds in less than a year of each other, I know how difficult it is. Like your Mum, my Mum made a fairly good recovery considering what had happened, she is actually finding things harder a year or so on than she did in the beginning. I am lucky that we still have a good relationship, I think it may depend on the area of the brain that was affected as to how the person who has a brain injury is affected afterwards. I can't say how my relationship with my Dad may have been altered as he is unable to speak, its 9 months after his bleed but he cannot talk, walk or do anything. It's quite lonely as people don't understand and don't really want to discuss it after the initial event. As its such a long road, they just move on with their lives while you are left in a strange new world. I wish there was something I could say to help with your situation but just remember we are here if you need us. Best wishes Helen x


Ps I meant carers, not careers! X


I can only tell you how my brain injury made me feel, I am 60 and a Mum of four, I remember saying to my youngest daughter when I was in hospital that I didn't care when I was told she had broken her toe, how I regret that now, it was the brain injury talking I was protecting myself, I had to concentrate on myself and couldn't cope with other demands on me. Selfish I know but that's what happens, hopefully you will eventually get your mum back but it could be a long process, I must admit I still like to have plenty time just for me but I am finding I'm slowly getting more like how I used to be, believe me it's very traumatic finding you are not the person you used to be. Try and be as patient as possible and good luck for the future x


Rebecca my heart goes out to you...my relationship with my Mum has changed beyond recognition too only in our case I am the one with the brain injury.

I cant pretend to know what your Mum is feeling but I can try to share some of my experience in case it might help.

In the very early days I had no idea what was going on and I was scared and pushed everyone away. Over time I realised that while physically I was all healed on the outside, that something fundamental inside me had changed....but I couldn't explain it to anyone....

and as time progressed I felt guilty that I wasn't the person they (my family) wanted or needed and that I wasn't likely to ever be that person again.

My Mum says she feels like she can't tell me things like she used to, that she doesn't feel she can count on me any more that I'm not there for her like I used to be...and on some level she is right. Its not that I don't care because I do... but my injury has left me with multiple invisible deficits and the way I process things and relate to the world in general has changed.

I did go through a period of feeling sorry for myself and feeling angry at the world but more and more I feel sorry for those who love me...because they really did get a raw deal and I am the cause of their distress and I cannot help them to deal with it.

I know and my family know that it is the brain injury causing these changes but it doesn't make them okay and doesn't make them easy to bear.

Hopefully this group will be helpful to you and Headway UK should be able to point you in the direction of some support in your local area. You definitely do not need to go through this alone.

Take care and be gentle with and kind to yourself


i am pleased that you have asked the question ,after my brain injury +i dont think the same any more and dont love any more i still care about people family but it is not the same ,its as if a part of me has been taken away i dont like it but i have to live with it,the close bond i had with people has gone switched of, i cry on my own am doing now i want it back it may happen i dont know,your mother may be the same she still loves you but not the same way,this is what happens when you have a traumatic event not for everybody but not good for the people it happens to, lots of love to you both,john,xxxxxx


Replies from Spartan and iforget might as well have my name on them.....the similarities are so striking.

Rebecca, what a heartbraking story. I can only suggest that you act on bikerlifestyle's advice. I definitely agree that your mother needs cognitive therapy, if she can be persuaded. Are there other family members who can give support ? And, yes, you could see your GP about counselling for yourself.....it CAN be a great help in sorting out your emotions. Stay in touch. cat xx


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