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FriendGirl

I'm in love with a stroke survivor

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I try to understand him. I try to help and care for him. I joined this group to learn and understand the things he goes through so that I can be there for him. He pushes me away. He's depressed and won't go for counseling. I sent him an article on how to improve self esteem after the stroke and I think it made him angry. He thinks I'm trying to get inside his head when all I want is to see him happy. I can't give up because I love him so much. I pray and cry and pray and cry. I don't know what to do.

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honey- this person has brain damage- understand that- he could push away for many , many reasons some of them not even rational... you might want to take care of him but maybe he does not want to be taken care of... I can tell you are a good genuine person who just wants to be with this person. But brain damage or not - he may not want a relationship. reasons- embarassment,depression,low energy,and lack of empathy. just to name a few. he does not and can not see the obvious. this is again someone with a brain injury. and as much as you want to help him or fix him - only he can fix things- with perserverence you have a uphill climb there are no deep roots- ( like previous intimatcy) and it just may not be possible. There is a comfort zone and your potential relationship could threaten that zone.... that zone is his rock , he will cling to it. he might want more - ask for more but the reality is change is very ,very difficult even when it is desired. you are obviously a caring individual but honey you need to step back and let him have space... It has very litle to do with you. It is all about him in his own head- he might not be capable of more.... this is written only with respect and concern for you. walking away and giving him space and seeing what evolves after that is my advice. But I am not there and do not know all I'm just trying to be objective...

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Guest hostwill

depression could be the causes you state. Perhaps him seeing a doctor and getting on the right meds could help. I'll keep you in my prayers.

-Will

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Nancyl and hostwill,

Thank you so much for responding. I'm going to try and give him his space like you suggested.

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Hi FriendGirl, welcome to the site. I agree with Will, it might be depression. He needs to see his Doc. ASAP. and get meds for that. Every survivor goes into depression and few make it without meds. All the best to both of you. Here are some links to help you understand the stroke

 

mc

 

A survivor's Bill of Rights

 

http://www.strokeboard.net/index.php?showtopic=2094

 

The Five Stages of Grief

 

http://www.strokeboard.net/index.php?showtopic=857

 

A Letter From Your Brain

 

http://www.strokeboard.net/index.php?showtopic=83

 

Classic Postings and Advice

 

http://www.strokeboard.net/index.php?showforum=23

 

misc. info

 

http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/stroke/stroke_recovery.html

 

 

Caregivers’ Bill of Rights

 

http://www.strokeboard.net/index.php?showtopic=781

 

Caregivers’ handbook

 

http://www.strokecar...rg/handbook.htm.

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FriendGirl: welcome, you have come to the right place for compassion, advice and support. Most of us here would advise you that this is a very long, very stressful journey. And it is the rest of your lives. That being said, please get through MCs postings, specifically Grieving. Both of you have to go through all these stages and you will not go through them together.

 

I agree with Will. An antidepressant should be put on board. Bruce did not do well with counseling-along with the antidepressant-because he suffers aphasia and getting any words out, especially with a professional, is just too difficult. His stock answer to his Psychologist was "everything is fine." Mainly because it was just too difficult for him to converse. Neverless, just last week he told me he wanted off the antidepressant, but until I see him take some responsibility for his own recovery, that will not happen.

 

I want you to consider your statement "he thinks I want to get into his head." He is uncomfortable with that because he doesn't know what is in his head. We are three years post and still Bruce's stock answer to most anything deep is "I don't know." And I have finally accepted that. It is not a cop out, he really does not know. This is a brain injury and the rewiring takes years. Bruce has made remarkable recovery in that area, but he still has many "off" days. Just this week we had an issue with a caregiver and Bruce actually said to me "this is too much input." That is major for Bruce. And while he can't communicate exactly what he is thinking, his physical reactions are obvious.

 

Let him know you are on board for whatever he needs and then, yes, give him his space. He knows you love him. He does not know where this stroke recovery is going to take him and certainly can't figure out where it will take you. Right now he needs to focus on what has happened to him, what is involved in recovery and who he now is, dealing with any deficits, how to pay for it, will he be able to go back to work. Refocus. Take yourself right out of the picture, emotionally. What do you need, how can I help, what do you need for me to learn from your therapists to help you, who do you need me to call. Make it all about him, for now.

 

Please do let us know how things are going and again, welcome. Debbie, caregiver to Bruce, stroke March 2009

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friend girl - i might have mistaken for another person . Were you in a relationship with this person prior to the stroke or is this a reconnection post stroke? I am thinking you and this person knew each other prior to stroke and started a relationship post stroke. and he lives in a assisted living setting correct? I that is correct than my advice is the same but if i have confussed you with another prior poster and the relationship was (inplay) so to speak pre stroke and during stroke than my advice would be different. My advice would then be similar to others in terms of staying vs. space. nancyl

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well you seem informed about everything.... he is fortunate to have such a good friend at his side... nancyl

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Friendgirl,

 

One of the problems I see is that you have 2 big problems going. Of course the obvious, the stroke and then the abuse/neglect. Stroke is frightening enough and most stroke survivors are terrified of another stroke or something happening because of our deficits but to be in an abusive situation and being this vulnerable is something I don't have a word to describe.

 

Along with irrational behaviors to prevent further strokes, he may be hyper-vigilant in regard to behaviors that remind him of the neglect and he will act out against it. As difficult as life is after stroke, yours and his will be harder because of abuse. If he won't get counseling--you get it. If this relationship is continued someone, if not both, is going to need help navigating the way.

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Friendgirl, I think that there's a possibility everyone who has responded so far is right. I'm saying it that way because it's just like stroke to be so complicated. No-o-o, it can't be easy to understand, it has to be complicated and elusive. So, I'm gonna stick with my first, gut reactions when I read your post. Forget, for a minute, about his history, your history, and your history together. Focus on the stroke alone, for just a minute. In a word, it's "scarey". Imagine for a minute that your body, mind,or both, suddenly won't work the way that it used to work.So, you wonder if you'l ever get better. Who you are now?How,or if, you will survive? The questions like these lead to a sense of powerlessness, which leads to depression. So, my first gut reaction was that he needs to be on an antidepressant if he's not on one. "Talk" therapy may also help, but, if he's not willing to talk, it won't help him. Sometimes, when we've been hurt, our reaction is not to let that happen again. Whenever someone gets close to us, we push them away, before they can hurt us. He may need to know that you won't abandon him, but he also needs to know that he isn't totally powerless. My suggestion is not to hover over him, but to be available if he needs you. Give him space, be accessible, but let him make his own decisions when he can, and do things on his own. Don't rush in to help him, if he's having trouble.Let him ask for help. Above all, try to understand that he has alot on his plate right now, and his priorities are constantly changing. Good luck, Becky

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Friendgirl,

 

All I can say being a survivor myself is I have read other posts like yours where it worked for a while in a couple cases and not so good in others! I can't wrap my head around the situation like that but can imagine the journey would be very hard knowing what a stroke survivor faces day and night! I certainly wish the best for you and him in his recovery process! It's just very hard being a stroke survivor after losing one side of the brain trying to deal with what you got left! I feel unless you are a survivor you just can't quite get the ream of brain loss!

 

In his case the left brain that controls the speech and his right side of the body! I certainly wish you the best in establishing a real lasting relationship! I have one now and it took me four tries to get it right God is on your side!

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I try to understand him. I try to help and care for him. I joined this group to learn and understand the things he goes through so that I can be there for him. He pushes me away. He's depressed and won't go for counseling. I sent him an article on how to improve self esteem after the stroke and I think it made him angry. He thinks I'm trying to get inside his head when all I want is to see him happy. I can't give up because I love him so much. I pray and cry and pray and cry. I don't know what to do.

Hi My Name is Ged. Your boyfriends reactions are quite understanderble,and I agree with one of the other replies you've had to this very interesting subject. It could be he doesn't feel ''normal '' anymore so why should a loverly atractive person be interested in me!!! I'm not the person I once was. Its very difficult for all of us servivors to accept the person we have become. Most if not all suffer from depression to some degree I stroked 8 years ago and I will cry at the drop of a hat. it gets very embarassing at times

Have you tried introducing your friend to this site especialy the chat rooms which are open every day. The people who go there are 99% stroke survivors predominantly from the USA but also from all around the world I am British and I'm sat typing this in my office in Spain. He would be made most welcome and fr hat matter so would you! We love new people visiting us and hope they become regulars where we can all sit around have a laugh and a chat put the world to rights have abitch and moan about anything and everythng. But do try and give your friend some space we all need it at some point or other. Remember a large part of his brain has possibly been destroyed this will effect personanlity, cognitive thinking etc etc,that aswell as the physical aspect, he's lost all in all just about the most deverstating thing short of death that can happen to any of us has happened to him and he's got to come to terms with it. Dead simple realy don't you think. Just hang in there and take one day at a time.Ask him what he needs and wants if he say p. off the go for a day then come back and try again. but don't push Just be kind and loving and take one day at a time. Good luck and I hope my little waffle has helped a little.

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Hey hostged!!! Thanks! I have tried to get him to join this site he doesn't want to right now but I'll keep trying. Your advice is great and I have already put te advice I received here to use! I see now that each day will be different. I've decided to hang in there because I really love him. Even if it's just as a friend. Thanks Again!! <3

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I'm told by many scholars teaching and instructing me that you should pursue what you feel is right for you no matter the time it takes to understand the whole thing! So, that being said I wish this relationship works for you and him in the long run!

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May 2010, my only child was successful on this 4th suicide attempt. I was going through chemotherapy at the time for colon cancer. December 2010, my longtime boyfriend Phil (15 years) has a stroke.

 

It is now July 2012. His physical recovery has been remarkable. Mental abilities too, except for cognitive, relationship, emotional issues. I moved in with him for 3 months after the stroke, by the time I had to go back home, he was driving, using computer, okay with his meds and so on. I still returned to take him to appointments, organized things and so on.

 

So we have spent the past two years in hell. Me grieving about the loss of both of my 'boys'. Him focusing totally on his stroke, I no longer exist. My emotional needs as a bereaved mom are very, very real. To him they are nothing.

 

We have had two really nasty, drop dead fights in the past couple of months. But we have been squabbling for a year now. Both times I walked out if you will, or went home. He can no longer take any emotional issues, never could before. He feels that it is all my fault. So he dumped me, started dating within a week and wants nothing more to do with me because as he says, we will never live together. Hes right, I can't live with him right now. I have my own problems and am working on them. Counselling, returning to school. I can't get over how he has treated me like a piece of garbage and just thrown me away.

 

So a view point from the other side. Yes I still love him.

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Barbie, I have been thru some of the same trials that you have,and I offer you the following food for thought:Losing an only child is traumatic. And, you still have wounds that will not heal, scars, emotional baggage. But, going thru a stroke and recovery is also traumatic. Phil also has alot of emotional baggage.Just because he can hide behind his accomplishments ( which are awesome, btw) does not mean that the scars are not there. Relationships between 2 very scarred ( you can also read "scared" here) can be difficult, to say the least. You will never truly understand what it's like to have a stroke, unless ( God forbid) you have a treoke, and, he will never truly understand what it's like to lose a child unless he loses one ( God forbid). So, use this hiatus from a relationship to work on YOU, because YOU deserve it. Hope something here helps, Becky

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I try to understand him. I try to help and care for him. I joined this group to learn and understand the things he goes through so that I can be there for him. He pushes me away. He's depressed and won't go for counseling. I sent him an article on how to improve self esteem after the stroke and I think it made him angry. He thinks I'm trying to get inside his head when all I want is to see him happy. I can't give up because I love him so much. I pray and cry and pray and cry. I don't know what to do.

Hi My Name is Ged. Your boyfriends reactions are quite understanderble,and I agree with one of the other replies you've had to this very interesting subject. It could be he doesn't feel ''normal '' anymore so why should a loverly atractive person be interested in me!!! I'm not the person I once was. Its very difficult for all of us servivors to accept the person we have become. Most if not all suffer from depression to some degree I stroked 8 years ago and I will cry at the drop of a hat. it gets very embarassing at times

Have you tried introducing your friend to this site especialy the chat rooms which are open every day. The people who go there are 99% stroke survivors predominantly from the USA but also from all around the world I am British and I'm sat typing this in my office in Spain. He would be made most welcome and fr hat matter so would you! We love new people visiting us and hope they become regulars where we can all sit around have a laugh and a chat put the world to rights have abitch and moan about anything and everythng. But do try and give your friend some space we all need it at some point or other. Remember a large part of his brain has possibly been destroyed this will effect personanlity, cognitive thinking etc etc,that aswell as the physical aspect, he's lost all in all just about the most deverstating thing short of death that can happen to any of us has happened to him and he's got to come to terms with it. Dead simple realy don't you think. Just hang in there and take one day at a time.Ask him what he needs and wants if he say p. off the go for a day then come back and try again. but don't push Just be kind and loving and take one day at a time. Good luck and I hope my little waffle has helped a little.

 

WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!

Ged you're one amazing person yourself

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Hi guys. Update. He just doesn't want to be bothered so I'm going to leave him alone. Thanks for all the great advice. I tried but he's purposely hurting my feelings to push me away now.

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I would not go too far away. You are firstly a friend and all survivors need friends just as we caregivers do. Go on with your life but peek into his from time to time. Send a message, send a joke, send a package of his favourite sweet things. In other words act like a friend.

 

Sometimes our loves recycle and that is good too.

 

Sue.

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I agree with sue-- who knows == i sure don't from one day to the next.. do what is right for you as well

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Yea, I too agree with Sue's advice, it makes sense to me and I have a little of experience in relationships since I'm married now for the fourth time and there is always friendship then relationships to follow plus if all goes well for a length of time it could end up in marriage!! I say that because you started this thread saying you were in love with a stroke survivor and being in love usually starts a relationship when the other person wants one!!

 

You may feel he is pushing you away and he may not know he is doing that being a stroke survivor with brain damage!! Therefore when YOU care and there is no one else you are interested in being close to then give it time, more time because you will know when it's time to let go! That's been my experiences and when you know it just won't work then you find another person!!! Love is a funny thing and many times a hurting thing so bumps and bruises will occur but you still got life!!!

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