In the world of Love & Marriage today did not go so well. Loving a person with a brain injury isn’t always easy, and while I hate to fight with my husband sometimes I want to crack open his skull and ask the three little men sleeping on the job why on earth they wish to make my life a living hell?
The brain is like the command station of a ship. One swipe by a giant meteor and the ship can’t fly right. That is how the brain operates. It controls our whole body. So when it gets damaged, the wrong signals are sent or sometimes no signals at all, causing trouble for the person operating the ship.
Have you seen the movie 50 First Dates? Drew Barrymore’s character has memory loss. That’s my husband. Now of course, all men will say they suffer from memory loss of some kind. However, in my hubby’s case his command center broke the moment he capitulated off his motorcycle striking his brain on the right side of a green light standard.
Each morning he wakes up is a brand new day. When he goes to sleep the events from the night before are completely wiped out. So each day brings new memories, places and faces. Hubby requires constant reminding throughout the day on what was said to him by others, where he went, things he had done. Confusion is second nature to his life. Sometimes he even remembers things that never actually happened.
Imagine Parenting With a Brain Injury
I’m a mom. My command center is on overdrive. Some days I have a hard time getting out of bed and facing the giants. In the parenting department, I’m ready at times to even abandon ship. So, I can’t even imagine what hubby goes through, or anyone who parents with a brain injury. The utter confusion, guilt, fear, mistrust and whole snowball of emotions that can come into play when you can’t remember one moment to the next.
Sometimes hubby gets angry at the kids for something that happened yesterday or even a month ago. He thinks it’s something the kids just did because his brain gets a trigger reminding him of the event, even though what happened was in the past. This makes parenting difficult, especially for the kids. It also makes hubby feel horrible as a parent. Having a brain injury is like having a whole bunch of puzzle pieces lying around that don’t quite fit together.
Most parents rise above their child’s rudeness, examine the situations, check the age factor, recognize their child’s limitations and often evaluate why their child is behaving a certain way before just responding, dealing with things accordingly. For someone like hubby, having a Traumatic brain injury is like watching sibling rivalry at its finest. I often end up playing referee between hubby and our boys.
Reactions for Parents With A Brain Injury
- Emotional for no reason
- Don’t recognize age differences, often acting like a child themselves.
- Extreme anger and resentment that goes beyond the situation.
- Forgetting, yet blaming their forgetfulness on the person they are angry with.
- Lack of patience and understanding for the situation.
- Lack of connection to those around them.
Most of us parent based on how our parents raised us. My hubby is an amazing man. But he has nothing to draw from when it comes to raising his children. He’s loving and strong, and most days he can handle things like a champ. One day at a time. One moment before the other. But it takes patience and guidance from me, and those in his life to help him along the way. That includes our children.
If you are loving someone with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) step outside of your comfort zone and try to understand that how you see things isn’t always how a person with a brain injury sees them. Seek support and counselings if need be. Making sure friends and family are on board is important. Build trust and don’t forget to include your children in this process. It may seem unfair, but they have to realize Dad’s ship isn’t always flying straight. A little help at the controls can get you where you need to go a lot quicker than just bailing.
Do you know someone who has a TBI?