Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Concussion Syndrome For traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post concussion syndrome (PCS).


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Old 07-21-2013, 06:54 AM #1
Trouble62 Trouble62 is offline
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Trouble62 Trouble62 is offline
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Default Desperate girlfriend!!

My boyfriend has an acquired brain injury.

*A quick overview of his injury*

7 years ago he suffered a stroke due to a sporting injury. With fears he would never walk again due to the severity. With therapy he regained his ability to walk and about 90-95% function in his right side again. His speech and mental functioning is still ver affected by dyspraxia and dysphasia, he also suffers epilepsy mostly tonic clonic seizures and mostly at night. (No longer medicated. Through his own decision to just stop taking his medication effective immediately about 2-3 years ago)

He is 27 and I am 20 we had been living together for over a year but I moved out as we were living at his parents house And as lovely as his parents are, relationships do not need to be under the family roof. He could not move out due to monetary reasons and he also just was not ready to leave the safety of his parents. Which I am fine with and am in no way needing or wanting him to live away from them permanently until he is ready.

We have been dating for a year and a half now and I absolutely adore him and I can't imagine life without him. Lately though his lack of emotional connection and inability to express anything is becoming a much harder issue for me to deal with. I realise he can't express emotions well as a result of his injury, but that is really the only thing I need from him.

I just keep having this niggling thought that he wouldn't really care if we broke up and maybe he's only dating me as a last ditch effort because no one else has given him a chance so he'll just settle.

I've tried to discuss this with him calm and openly and have asked for his true feelings towards me and I get blank stares and 'I don't know' in return. not overly reassuring when all I want is for him to say is, "shut up I love you, cool?!".

I end up crying and yelling and making a complete **** of myself desperate to get anything from him. He doesn't respond to calm, he doesn't respond to reasoned, he won't respond to out of line over the top, he won't even respond when he's given an easy 'out', just blank or if really pushed I don't know. Which ends up infuriating me! You know if you love some one, right?
"Do you love me?"
"I don't know"...
To my logic if you don't know if you love some one then you most likely do not love them. From everything I've read in regards to brain injuries though what I'm getting is his stress response he just can't cope with the pressure i'm putting on him and he 'shuts down to protect himself' so does he love me and just can't tell me. Or am I over thinking it all and he actually doesn't love me but can't bare to say it in fear of making me cry and turn into an emotional mess?

60% of the time he is darling and sweet and cute the other 40% of the time I have a boyfriend who will not come to stay the night with me as he has to watch the rugby, walk the dogs, have a shower, drink a coffee, can't be bothered.(it appears as if I am to much effort to be bothered about) I have a boyfriend who will, without fail at least once a fortnight go out to town (on a work night) promising to stay at his friends and call me at 5am to pick him up as he wants to come home instead. I have a boyfriend who cannot drive into town to pick me up as he is to tired but will 30mins later be driving into town as his mate has gotten a hold of some weed. I have a boyfriend who will not come with me to my sisters graduation, Mother's Day, birthdays, drinks with friends, movie theatre, shopping, a drive out of town(95% of my friends and family have not met my boyfriend who I have been dating for 18months). I have a boyfriend who can not figure out why he can't legally drive after 5 bourbons 6 beers and a vodka and will do so anyway, with the resulting loss of licence not a deterrent to keep him from repeating that scenario almost every week. I have a boyfriend who's dependency on weed turns him into a zombie (and triggers his seizures). I have a boyfriend who refuses to acknowledge or get continued support for the conditions he now has as a result of his injury. Baring in mind the above is not a 24/7 account of his behaviour it is just a few happenings (some repeated) that have occurred over the course of our relationship)

I have no one to talk to as my friends have had no dealing with brain injuries and just say his a jerk you deserve better dump him. I can't talk overly much about the depth of the issues I'm having, with my mum (who's brother has suffered and even more severe TBI) as some things mums don't need to know. I can't talk to his mum or family about it as its just not a comfortable topic. Whenever I bring up or try to bring up the topic of maybe going back to his specialists for a check up (he hasn't seen them in over 5years) everyone thinks I'm being over the top and dramatic, as he is fine fit healthy and he only has seizures about once a month now, no need to worry. And I don't want to appear pushy and 'no-all' and have his family think that I don't feel they've 'done a good enough job'

I don't know what to do, or how to work through the above issues. In so many ways he is a highly functioning person but in so many others he is not. He and his family refuse to acknowledge that second part. To them he is fine and just needs to get on.

I want him to go back for a full check up the absolute works so we can actually see where he is at 7 years later and work from there. But with government funding etc run out not a lot of spare money lying around and his male tendency to deal with things as 'you don't need to fix something that isn't broken, we can't see it so it therefore it does not exist' makes it very difficult to make any head way.

I've not included in this that I'm not an angel I am human as well and have all my own faults and tendencies which he as my boyfriend has to put up with and navigate as well!

I've read everything I can about support and patience and calm and understanding but that all flys out the window when you are sad and desperate and your usually well functioning better half is totally unable to simply say I love you, or understand why you are so upset that he won't spend one night at your place after you have spent $100's of dollars driving (petrol is very expensive here) to his place at his request over the last few weeks and you just want him to return the favour for one night and he can't explain why he refuses to do that for you.

All I want is to go to sleep with him beside me and wake up and roll over and have him there to cuddle in the morning.

Can someone, anyone PLEASE teach me a more appropriate, effective, understanding way of communicating with my boyfriend. I'm sick of the tears and tantrums and I'm sure he just about wants to throttle me.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:18 AM #2
ginnie ginnie is offline
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ginnie ginnie is offline
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Default Hello trouble62

Welcome to Neuro Talk. I am so sorry that you are having trouble with your relationship. I know that TBI can alter a persons, "personality" He may not be able to express himself. I sure wish he could go for council.
You are not happy. You are asking of him, things he can't do evidently right now. Seek council for yourself. If it were me......I would back away, seek council for myself, and take a wait and see attitute on what his reaction would be. As much as you want him to be there for you, to cuddle, he isn't responding to your needs. It is hard to have a one way relationship that does not fulfill basic needs in each other. Sometimes we love someone, that just can't love back, because of a physical or emotional issue. I know you are in pain over this, and there is no easy explaination for why a person behaves as they do. Talk to a good council person, they may be able to help you through the changes that have occured. I will keep you and your boyfriend in my thoughts and prayers. ginnie
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Trouble62 (07-23-2013)
Old 07-21-2013, 02:55 PM #3
Mark in Idaho Mark in Idaho is offline
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Mark in Idaho Mark in Idaho is offline
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Trouble62,

Welcome to NeuroTalk.

I think you have two issues to deal with.
First, you have far too little life experience to deal with the needs of your boyfriend.
Second, he does not consider you a girlfriend in the same way you consider him a boyfriend. He does not have the emotional capability to answer the questions regarding love and commitment that you are asking. That part of his brain just is not there. He will never change in this area unless he has some serious therapy to help him learn to use logic to develop emotional feelings. It does not sound like he has a desire to grow as a person.

His goals in life are simple. Make it through the next minute, hour, day, and maybe even week. I doubt he has any ability to make long term plans. To him, a long term plan is "I want to see XYZ Band when they come to the Arena in six months." He may have the mental fortitude to follow through and buy tickets but more likely he will not be able to save up for such a purchase.

You are too young to try to build your whole life around him. You have too many life decisions ahead that will be difficult to make if you are entangled with him.

YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET HIM TO CHANGE.

Some day, he may mature enough to start making mature decisions. But the likelihood of further maturing is slim.

His problem with alcohol and pot are big red flags. They do not help his condition. They make it worse.

If you think he is settling for you because you are available, rather than spend time trying to figure him out, spend that time developing your own maturity and decision making skills. Grow to the point where you are desired by men with character. He appears to have a total lack of character.

Sorry to sound so negative but the statistics show that 85% of brain injured end up divorced. You already can see that he fits that statistic very well.

My best to you.
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Mark in Idaho

"Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10
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ginnie (07-21-2013), poetrymom (07-22-2013)
Old 07-22-2013, 12:31 AM #4
mrsmith mrsmith is offline
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I have to agree with Mark. You sound like an absolutely great person, and girlfriend. Ever since my injury I have had trouble showing affection to anyone, including my family. My relationships are honestly the last thing that I am concerned about right now, and I bet he feels the same. He does not seem to be attempting to get better which concerns me, but oh well.

Be well.
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