| Topic: My Wife
Dear Kathy M.,
How can I get my wife back? She is a completely different person.
Clearly, her abilities are different, but so is her personality.
She seems to think we are all out to get her (accuses us of stealing
her things, among others). The kids are particularly upset. She
repeats herself in front of them, shouts at them (she never used
to do this), and is just plain difficult to live with. We are at
our wits end.
Personality changes are common after a brain injury. And they are
particularly troubling for children who expect Mom and Dad to be
the same day-to-day. I'm curious - do you have a family counselor?
If not, this would be a good place to start. The question may not
be one of getting your wife back, but how to make adjustments you
can all live with, given the new person she has become.
That's not to say that there are not things she could do (with
some assistance at first) to regain some control. For example, thinking
people steal things from us is often caused by poor short-term memory
and no work-able compensations. Repeating things is also caused
by short-term memory problems for which the person does not have
compensatory communication strategies.
I am not a counselor or a doctor, so I hesitate to comment on things
outside of my realm of experience. I can tell you that personality
changes are among the most difficult things for families to live
with. But I can also tell you that some of the issues you raise,
that seem to be the most troubling, are capable of being addressed.
Talking to other families can help, as well.