Most people are familiar with the consequences of a brain injury on the brain injury victim himself: memory loss, personality change, behavioral issues, sleep disturbances, mobility issues, depression, and even paralysis. However, fewer people stop to think about the toll a serious brain injury takes on the spouse or partner of the injury victim.
While the divorce rate for couples who have endured a serious head injury are much lower than average (about 17 percent), the heartache that the healthy spouse feels in the months and years after an accident can be as life-changing as the injury itself. The spouse of a brain injury victim will often experience:
- Guilt. Why was it my partner instead of me? Why do I feel resentment toward my injured partner? Why do I no longer feel like I am in love with my spouse? Why do I sometimes want to run away and start over?
- Depression. Suddenly, you may be married to someone with a different personality, different behaviors, and a different attitude toward you. You may have had to prioritize the care of your spouse over your career, your other family members, your friends, and your interests. You can’t ever get back the past or your past relationship.
- Loneliness. When you are in a caregiver position, there is not often someone to care for you. The physical aspects of your marriage and relationship may be altered or gone altogether. Very few people can identify with the struggle that you have gone through.
- Post-traumatic stress. Often, you remember the accident and early recovery although your spouse does not. Often, you’ve had to be the one to worry about the future, about finances, and about survival. It is not uncommon for these traumatic events to lead to a PTSD diagnosis.
A traumatic brain injury doesn’t just affect one person – it can change the life of the injury victim’s partner and family. If their head injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, that party may be responsible for the damages that the accident caused. To speak with a Virginia head injury attorney about your case, contact Shapiro & Appleton& Duffan today to schedule a free, confidential meeting.