Ask Kathy M. Archives
A Collection of Questions and Answers from TBI Advice Expert - Kathy Moeller

 Topic: My Wife Has Changed


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.

Thank you.

Kathy's Response:

Dear George,

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.

Kathy M.

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