12 Top Tips on Preserving Your Relationship Post Traumatic Injury
Traumatic injuries are tough for anyone to have to go through, especially when it affects a relationship with someone you care about. So, how can you avoid the fallout?
Going through a traumatic injury can put a strain on any relationship. One person’s life is turned upside down, and the relationship dynamic changes as a result. In some cases, the other half may end up having to drop everything and become a carer, blurring the lines of the partnership.
If it gets to the stage where a traumatic injury has caused the breakdown of your marriage, you can speak to a divorce solicitor or a relationship councillor to come to a resolution. However, through this article we hope to provide you with some tips on avoiding this fate.
Today, we’ll be explaining how a traumatic injury can cause damage to a relationship in a number of ways. Then, to help minimise the damage caused along the way, we’ll be sharing our 12 top tips on how you can preserve it.
How a Traumatic Injury can Upset a Relationship
The impact of a traumatic injury on a relationship can be quite substantial, especially since the affected partner often has their life turned upside down whilst they’re recovering. Traumatic injuries can damage relationships in the following ways:
Communication is an essential tool in any relationship. Without good communication it’s impossible to understand your partner’s needs and resolve issues with the relationship.
If you or your partner are suffering from a traumatic injury, especially if the recovery is painful, it makes it difficult for the injured party to communicate. This can cause feelings of loneliness and misunderstanding, and couples find it hard to understand and empathise with one another.
Skews Relationship Roles
Most relationships have clearly defined roles. Whether this is the traditional breadwinner and housemaker, or a more modern arrangement, once one partner suffers a traumatic injury, the roles can easily be skewed or reversed.
Some adjustments will have to be made in this regard. If they aren’t made well, or at all, then it can be difficult to know where you both stand in the relationship.
Changes in Responsibilities
If the partner who has suffered the traumatic injury is used to going to work every day, or looking after the house and raising the kids, this pattern may need to change now. But, if they’re no longer able to take on that responsibility, it will usually fall to the other partner.
This can cause two issues. Firstly, the injured partner may feel guilty for not being able to help out. Then, the partner who has to pick up the workload might resent them for being injured, and this can cause serious tension in the relationship.
Traumatic brain injuries are another story altogether. They can intensify all of the above issues. Indeed, if they’re serious enough, they may alter the personality and memories of the person, and leave them needing lifelong care.
12 Tips for Avoiding a Relationship Breakdown Due to a Traumatic Injury
Now that we’ve described how traumatic injuries can cause the breakdown of a relationship, it’s time to give you some advice on how to prevent that from happening. The tips below are mostly focused on people with physical trauma, but can be applied to those who have mild traumatic brain injuries and are still able to function relatively well. We hope they can shed some light on what to do next…
1. Find a Therapist
The first thing to note is that you don’t have to go through this alone. You can seek the help of:
- Individual counselling for either the injured or the other partner;
- Couples counselling if you want to work on the issue together;
- Or family therapy if you have kids who might need help coping as well.
2. Try a Support Group
If you can’t see a counsellor because your local health service doesn’t provide it, or it’s too expensive, lots of communities have support groups you can go to. These groups give you a chance to speak to other couples who have been through traumatic injuries, establish new friendships, and find local information and resources that might help you through this difficult time.
3. Stay Positive
It’s easy to get sucked into the drama of a traumatic injury and what it has taken away from your relationship. Instead, you should focus on the progress you or your partner are making in recovery, and make your home life as positive as possible.
Saying ‘stay positive’ sounds like a trope people give out when they don’t have any other advice. But, actually thinking about things in a positive way can change your whole outlook on a situation.
4. Share Good News
On the topic of staying positive, sharing good news with an injured partner can improve both your moods and your relationship. In an article published by Bustle, Noelle Cordeaux talks about capitalisation, which is essentially the act of sharing good news with your partner and receiving a positive response.
Cordeaux says: “These positively curated micro-moments lead to deeper bonds and improved health,” something couples working through a traumatic injury may need.
5. Get to Know Your Partner on a Deeper Level
With one of you constantly stuck at home, or in a hospital bed, there’s no better time to get to know each other on a deeper level. Some couples keep themselves so busy with the hustle and bustle of life and social media that they often don’t take the time out to actually get to know each other properly. Topics like what their goal is in life, and their relationships with family members can be discussed at length and in depth now that there’s nothing keeping you distracted.
6. Try New Things
Maybe you have your own hobbies that you work on, or maybe the things you do together have become routine; either way it’s a good idea to try something new. You could start playing board games, you could knit, you could do anything that you think you might both enjoy that can be done from a hospital bed. It’s incredible the kinds of things you can bond over that you never even thought to try.
7. Put Your Phone Down
According to data posted on finder.com, on average Brits spend 2 hours and 34 minutes online on their smartphones every day, and 1 in 5 of those minutes is spent on social media. Sometimes we can get wrapped up in what’s going on in the world, or how our friends are doing on Facebook, instead of the person in front of us.
Remember when we talked about communicating with your partner effectively throughout this challenging time? Well, it’s best to try and minimise the amount you use your phone and start talking to each other.
8. Be Your Partner’s Rock
People generally keep themselves busy, and it’s rare for them to sit down and be alone with their own thoughts. Whilst your partner is going through this traumatic injury, try to listen to their issues and help them through any negative thoughts they might be experiencing. This could even help you have those profound conversations we alluded to earlier, especially if they are thinking deeply about their life.
9. Switch up Your Diet
You could start a new healthy diet and experiment with new recipes. If your partner is too injured to get up and help with the cooking, you could make the recipe together and cook the meal for them. This will both help you bond and assist with your partner’s recovery, as keeping a healthy diet can be supremely beneficial.
10. Get Involved in the Physio
Obviously if the traumatic injury is too severe for the partner to move or perform basic tasks, you should leave their rehabilitation to the doctors or the physio.
However, once your partner is able to do exercises on their own, you could encourage them to do their exercises and even join in to make it more fun. When your partner finally recovers, they’ll remember all the effort you put in helping them rehabilitate, and all the fun times you had working out together.
Whether you’re massaging your partner to assist with their physical trauma, or you’re just doing it to bond with them, it’s a great way to keep the flame of romance burning.
12. Get Enough Sleep
Making sure you both get enough sleep, and that the injured partner has all the medication they need to sleep through any pain they might have, is crucial.
Sleep plays and important role in regeneration after a traumatic injury. Whilst you’re sleeping, the body releases hormones that regulate the immune system, muscle mass, connective tissue repair, and energy production.
Sleep also helps regulate cortisol, which is the hormone in charge of regulating stress in the body. This will help both partners keep calm throughout this challenging period.
So, What Now?
Today, we’ve managed to cover the main ways in which traumatic injuries can damage a relationship, and shared our 12 top tips on how to get through it with your relationship intact.
The most important thing to remember is that change needs to happen. Your life won’t be the same throughout the recovery from this injury as it was before. So, being flexible enough to make the changes needed to save your relationship is key to its survival.
Thank you for reading this post. We hope you’re now more equipped for dealing with the effects of a traumatic injury on your relationship than you were before you got here.