Support for a family of a dad with psychological p... - Headway

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Support for a family of a dad with psychological problems


Hello everyone. Im new to this .. My partner was attacked 2 months ago which resulted in a fractured skull, 2 bleeds on the brain and various bruising and swelling. We have 3 young children so you can imagine life is stressful. Me and the kids are struggling to accept my partners new personality. I find him apathetic, difficult to live with and very self centred. Im aware that this is not his fault but i have no idea how to deal with it. Its putting a huge strain on our family and my health. We are in touch with Headway and have various psychology appointment coming up but i feel this seems to be a very slow process. As you can imagine, everyday seems like forever. I would appreciate and help or tips on how to improve our everyday living. Thanks

19 Replies

All I can say is this - you are in the right place. There are so many that have experiences similar to you. You are not alone. I have a brain injury myself and have found this site & community to be a real help. Stay strong at what is obviously a tough time for you and your family.

LJStanley in reply to DrAlbs

Thank you. Im sorry to hear about your injury. I hope you don't mind me asking, on personal experience, are you (meaning the person suffering from the Injury) aware of other peoples feelings? I'm not sure if this is normal or not?

Hi Lj. I can assure you your partner's behaviour is typical of anyone with a brain injury. We hear so many reports of loved ones becoming morose, self-centred and irritable and often aggressive. These are classic after-effects which can be a nightmare for partners/carers and which are often a result of confusion and fear in the survivor, from suddenly finding their ability to function mentally and physically impaired.

I'm afraid progress towards more manageable behaviour is usually time consuming and very gradual, but your partner is still at the very early stage of recovery, and he will very likely be struggling with intense fatigue which is almost inevitable after most brain injuries. I'm over 5 years on from a brain haemorrhage and, although it's improved, exhaustion from everyday tasks is still an issue.

It's hard for you and I'm sure it'll all seem pretty unfair suddenly being the sole carer of 3 children AND your partner. But you best way forward is to keep your man proactive in his own recovery by his pursuit of all possible help, whether from counselling, medication or (moderate) exercise regimes. He will almost certainly need help keeping up the momentum.

I'm sorry your family is facing this strange new challenge but, once again, take all the help you can get from Headway, and bear in mind that you're always welcome here amongst folk who understand and care. Best wishes, Cat x

LJStanley in reply to cat3

Thank you cat. Its a very difficult time for everyone. To make things worse, he thinks he's ok and thinks it's other people who have the problem. I suffer with severe anxiety and always relied on him when I felt bad but unfortunately he does not recognise this now and to be honest makes it worse. I'm hoping things will get better once he starts attending appointments. Did you see a psychologist? If so did you find it beneficial? Xx

cat3 in reply to LJStanley

I did see both a psychologist and psychiatrist during rehab, whilst still in hospital. And they warned that I might have emotional and control issues once I was discharged and facing 'real life' once more.

But it was suggested that I might be spared extreme mood swings as I'd been taking antidepressants for many years before the bleed. And I am in control most of the time, but the most trivial problem can still send me into meltdown even now, and I still don't tolerate noise and bright lights well. And others talking for too long can be exhausting.

But I think that we learn, with time, how to manage these issues so as not to upset others. Any neurologist will tell you that the brain is the slowest organ in the body to heal owing to its complex and delicate nature. So the magic word is 'time', as anyone here will tell you.

Maybe your partner can be persuaded by a professional, in this case the psychologist, to open up about what's going on in his head and even come to realise that he IS a changed person. Until then there's very little to work with as we need to accept we have a problem in order to start addressing it.

It'll be so hard for you m'dear, with everything you're facing but we're usually stronger than we think. I hope you'll stay around to hear stories from other members who've been in very similar situations to yourself, and who've learned their own particular coping strategies.

Keep us updated on your situation as the psychologist becomes involved.

Sincere best wishes, Cat xx

Hi my partner is the same after his injury I think some of it is to do with the brain but some of it is to do with the traumatic event and maybe he had a lot of ppl caring for him for a while? Sometimes they get used to being waited on. My partner is better now he is on sertraline, he was rude and selfish and snappy before but now he is taking that it has balanced his seretonin out xxxx

LJStanley in reply to Asherb

I think this is some of the problem that he's used to me doing everything from after it all happened. He's been on tablets before for a breif time and was convinced they don't work ( I know they do as I'm on some myself). He hates being told what to do at the best of times, I'm just hoping when he is given advise from professionals, and isn't in denial. Half the problem is getting him to see how he is. Thank you for your response, it's nice to know there are people who understand how I'm feeling xxx

Hidden in reply to LJStanley

I am afraid that thinking he is OK and everyone else has a problem is normal. My husband is many years on from his bi but whatever goes wrong is never his fault - he says I am always moaning! You are still at the early stages of his injury so things should improve over the coming months and at least you seem to be getting some medical help which many people don't.

I am afraid that for the moment it is just a waiting game. He is being cared for, you need to make sure YOU are OK, get as much rest as you can. It is hard for you with little ones to take care of as well. They are also suffering as they have lost the dad they knew.

Keep posting on here, there is so much support.

Take care


Asherb in reply to LJStanley

How long has he been more independent for ? I had this exact problem with my bf as he wanted to make it clear that he was independent and so was really extreme like couldn't be told anything. I took a step back and sort of helped him without being obvious and left him to his own devices a little which was scary but it did help a lot as he stopped "rebelling" against me and started taking better care that's when he got on tablets, he was self destructive before maybe cus he felt that's something he could controll. The psychologist will really help too. I'm on sertraline too so I know anti depressants work for anxiety anger and sadness but men can be a little harder to convince. Can he just try the tablets for two months ? And yes they become spoilt, a nurse told me that but at the time I was so relieved he was better I didn't care about spoiling him. It's like when mothers spoil their kids cus they love em so much n the kids grow up to be unappreciative and ungrateful! I know it's easier said than done but start doing stuff for ur self more u have to become a tad selfish not too much where u feel guilty but just how everyone else is then he will soon miss all the fuss! Xxxxx

CarolineLD in reply to LJStanley

I am the brain injured one in my family and my father and siblings will have nothing to do with me since my Mum died suddenly hence I am on Sertraline but have found that I need to adjust the dose to maintain my 'cushion'! Invest in a pill cutter and up your dose by half a pill for tougher days and lower it for better days! If things flare up unexpectedly a quick half usually does the trick. Managing it like this also keeps in mind that one is in control and aims to not need it one day! This is a difficult time and you are perforce the 'Captain of the ship' so do be kind to yourself - it will not last forever but could be a few years.

One thing I would share is that children who grow up with a parent suffering like this may well end up as old hands at dealing with it in themselves and later life! My two are young people now and quite amazing. My son is de facto my carer as he is self-employed from home and he monitors and organises me. They also see the funny side which helps enormously!

Have you actually accepted the present situation? Only when one overtly does this can one get organised to tackle the challenges and appreciate the rewards (there are some). Best wishes to you and yours.

It is so so difficult. I am single parenting my child and am the one with a frontal brain injury. I know my difficulties now have a huge impact on my son and I struggle to manage our daily living and parenting my son. I am wondering how young your children are because Young Carers might be helpful for them?

Try a change in diet. Might be hard to cook separate dishes for him and your family, but I'm sure you can find some ideas. Use the book Tina M Sullivan, Nourish your Noggin to find out which ingredients help to heal the brain. There are various herbs and spices to try. Some of this diet would be really healthy for kids too. Smoothies with fruit might go down well with all. Dark chocolate and dark cocoa are allowed.

Hope thing improve soon.

Morning :) I've just read your post and it struck a cord with me. I am so sorry to hear what you are going through.

7 months ago my hubby had a brain injury after he was hit by a car he also suffered a fractured skull and bleeds on the brain. We have 2 young children 4 &5 years old. Life is hard going.

2 books I recommend you read are

Head injury and practical guide by Trevor Powell excellent book gives loads of information that's easy to read with advice for yourself as care giver this book was a real help for me to gain some understanding of what I might expect. I really recommend this one.

James cracknell and Beverly turner husband and wife wrote touching distance another good book which tells the story of bi from both sides of a relationship. This book put into words what I couldn't.

Books I read to my boys are my dad makes the best boats all about a daddy with a bi. It's a positive gentle book and elvin the elephant who forgets about an elephant with a bi. Both were good to help children understand that it's not their fault when daddy shouts.

The impact a bi has on the whole family is enormous. Any help you might have from family accept it you will need all the help you can get. Make sure you get help for yourself too I have just started counselling to try and come to terms with our new life.

My hubby is also unaware of any changes in himself and has all the changes you described. It can feel very lonely. Treat yourself that's important and in time allow yourself to grieve.

I have informed school of all the changes in daddy so they are aware of what home is like. When daddy shouts I always tell my boys it's not their fault and it's not daddys fault either it's his bi. Lots of cuddles and lots of love as hard as it is they keep me going.

It's hard for others to see as to look at you'd never know anything was wrong physically my hubby is fine.

Make sure you look after yourself that is the most important thing if you don't everything else will feellike it's crumbling around you and will be harder for your children too.

I am also starting to try and tell my partner when he behaves inappropriately, as hard as this is if he doesn't realise then how will he ever know. Easier said than done sometimes I know...

You are amazing and you wont believe your own strength.

Message me anytime. This forum has been my lifeline. Sending you much love. I've written an essay but feel there is so much more to say! Keep on keeping on :) xxx

ljstanley wasting your time with psychology, know bugger all, yak yak yak, psychiatrist is what you want, sits there quietly and listens and at the end of the session makes suggestions.

if you havent already, this is what youre looking at..........aggression, mood swings, inappropriate behaviour, noise intollerance, loss of friends, fatigue.

this is the site not only for advice but also to blow off steam and have a good old rant.


Hey, I'm in a very similar situation to yourself. I also have 3 children who are under the age of 10 & my husband had a brain injury on the 1st oct 2016

He fell down sum house stairs & fractured his skull & had a blood clot the size of a fist removed from his brain. My life has completely bin turned upside down & I still struggle today & feel VERY alone at times. I'm 40 & my husbands 35 & have been together 11 yrs & married for 8. We were told it was 50/50 after he'd had his op & I spent around 6weeks traveling backwards & forwards to hospital, which in itself was very draining. The Neuro psychologist team has been a great help to us. We've also had speech & language & occupational therapist but neuro psychologist has helped us understand the injury the most. We had a specialist nurse come to visit us & it was her that put us in touch with them, she was a great help. I still get tearful to this day about things & have struggled to come to terms with the changes in my husband but he is making progress everyday. He to was very similar to your husband, very quick to snap & me & the children & didn't seem bothered about anything or anyone. He's itching to get bk to work & drive again & is constantly on my back about it which is stressful. Weve had a great sex life for the whole of the 11yrs but since his accident he has not bin bothered at all, turns his back on me at night & just doesn't seem bothered about me at all. Your really not on your own, this is the 1st time I have ever been on a site like this. I'd asked the neuro psychologist for help finding people in similar situations as more times than not you feel on your own & very lonely xx


My partner is exactly the same he had his bi over 20 years ago I have been with him for 16 years I honestly didn't realise at the time just how difficult a time it would be and like you I suffer from anxiety issues and feel completely alone and overwhelmed by the problems! I literally do everything around here as he just doesn't seem to care about anything but himself! I've done a lot of research so I know this is part of his bi and have to keep reminding myself of this fact! But oh boy it's draining in every imaginable way-I feel like walking away esp lately! I get to feeling angry with him then I feel guilty for feeling angry with him-it seems never ending!

Hidden in reply to 1961flynn

Oh flynn, I know just what you all mean. The number of times over the years that I have been ready to pack my bag. The lack of empathy is so hard. My hubbie has no idea that when I feel down I need a bit of sympathy, understanding, not him shouting at me or telling me I am moaning. I know they can't help it - but i can't help getting upset either!

Two months is very early to be predicting how you're partner's personality will be. I truly think its too early after the injury to judge how his cognitive traits will turn out. He's still in healing mode. How he is now may be very different from how he'll be in a couple more months - or a couple of years. Don't loose hope. There's plenty of scope for neurological healing yet.


Hi lj. Howw r things now? I read your post tonight nd it felt like it could have been me wtiting husband was attacked 8 months ago and life is absolutely different now.he is not the man I married and it's lijebhebhad a pity party every day but only he's invited.reminds me daily that he has a brain injury .he thinks all I do is nag . I love him dearly but feel very very more like a mum to him now... u don't know what to do and with a possible court case in the future that just makes him anxious t oo


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