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badge2Living your life with a brain injury is much more complex than physical survival and medical progress. These blog articles discuss the long term effects of brain injuries on relationships over time.

Talking with Your Spouse or Charlie Brown’s Teacher? Miscommunication in Couples after Brain Injury by Dawn Neumann, PhD

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Couples after brain injury often find that their relationship changes in many ways, particularly their ability to communicate with each other. One partner often feels frustrated, angry, guilty and even avoids the other. Good communication is the foundation for a good relationship. Without it, relationships are as vulnerable as a house of cards. Miscommunication after a brain injury tends to revolve around the couple’s inability to share and understand each other’s emotions and needs. Dr. Dawn Neumann gives couples strategies on how to communicate more effectively.

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A Grief Misunderstood by Carolyn Roy-Bornstein, MD

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My son Neil had been hit by a drunk teenaged hit-and-run driver while walking his girlfriend, Trista, home. He was taken to the local hospital where he was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and quickly transferred to a Boston hospital’s intensive care unit. His girlfriend was not so “lucky.” She succumbed to massive head trauma and the next day was taken off life support.

I knew we had a long road ahead of us. Neil spent days in the ICU, months in physical rehab, and years in therapy and on anti-depressants. I grieved for everything Neil had lost: not only his girlfriend but also his memory, his concentration, his executive function, his sense of humor. What should have been the time of his life—senior prom, high school graduation, getting into the college of his choice—just turned out to be one long struggle.

But with my grief came guilt.

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The Onion Effect: Understanding the Tears and Layers of Loss by Janelle Breese Biagioni

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Grief after brain injury is a journey accompanied by painful life changing feelings. We usually think of loss due to death, divorce, or other major life transitions, but loss can be triggered by illness or disability. The resulting pain and suffering that accompanies this loss is often misunderstood because the person who has been injured has survived so family and friends often don’t understand a family’s grief. Janelle Breese Biagioni explores the work of grieving and explains why it is so important for survivors and families to recognize and deal with the many losses that can result after TBI.

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Five Foundation Skills for the Resilient Caregiver by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

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Caregiving for a family member who has a brain injury – whether it be a spouse, sibling, parent, or child – is stressful. Whether you are a new caregiver or an experienced caregiver, these five foundations skills can improve your health and resilience. Janet Cromer explains how to use self-compassion to care for yourself, how to counterbalance your stress response, and how to live mindfully. She explores the importance of connections with others for support and outlets to express your creativity. By using these skills, caregivers are better equipped to deal with the uncertainty and loss of control that is so often inherent in caregiving.

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Relationships after TBI and how to improve them! by William C. Jarvis, Ed.D.

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Adjusting to your new life and interacting with people is a common problem following a brain injury. There are reasons why relationships after TBI are so difficult. The first obvious outcome always results in the Survivor not being the same after the injury. Friends and family expect the same person in personality, temperament, and general reaction to events of everyday living.

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Relationship: Where is the Love? by Matthew and Cassondra Brown

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Matthew and Cossandra Brown talk openly about how the effects of his TBI and PTSD changed their relationship and almost destroyed their marriage. His anger, drinking, and sexual demands drove his wife away and they separated. Even his young children were scared by his anger and outbursts.Losing contol over his life and with his marriage dissolving, he sought counseling and help for his PTSD. Cossondra reveals what it was like for her as a spouse and her concerns for her children during this tumultuous time. Now reunited, they are rebuilding their marriage and future. .

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Preventing and Healing Compassion Fatigue by Janet M. Cromer, RN, LMHC, CCFE

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Compassion fatigue is a form of complete exhaustion that results from the prolonged stress of caring for a very sick or traumatized person. Compassion fatigue depletes our physical, emotional, and spiritual reserves, so interventions must replenish those dimensions. It even interferes with how the body and mind function. Living with this extreme stress is dangerous because it can contribute to medical illness, mood disturbances, behavior changes, and substance abuse. Compassion fatigue builds up slowly as the stress response stays in overdrive for weeks, or even months.

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Wounded Families in the Aftermath of PTSD: The Invisible Emotional Wounds by Marilyn Lash, M.S.W.

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For so many returning service members and veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the question may be, “Are your emotions ready for intimacy?” Sex and intimacy are very different. While sex is a physical act, intimacy is an emotional connection. loss of intimacy. Tt is the elephant in the room that too often is not discussed with family, friends, physicians, or counselors. When the connection between loss of intimacy and PTSD is not understood, too many partners “take it personally” and feel unloved, unworthy, unattractive, and rejected. Whether the demands for sex are constant or sex is avoided for long periods, loss of intimacy can undermine the very core of a couple’s relationship.

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Brain Injury and Grief: Fact or Fiction? by Janelle Breese Biagioni

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The grief that follows a brain injury often perplexes relatives, friends, and coworkers. After all, if the person survived the brain injury, shouldn’t the reaction be joy, relief and gratitude? Janelle Breese Biagioni explores the meaning of grief and loss after TBI and why mourning is so important for emotional healing.

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Mapping New Directions in Caregiving by Janet M. Cromer, RN, MA, LMHC

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Janet Cromer has professional and personal experience as a caregiver. Having survived caring for her husband after his anoxic brain injury, she uses her expertise to help families recognize and manage the stresses and rewards of caregiving, especially when faced with the cognitive, social and behavioral changes that so often accompany a traumatic or acquired brain injury.

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