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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



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Brain injury blog by survivor

Brain injury blog by survivor



Am I turning into a control freak with a brain injury?

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I was brought up to be polite and considerate of others. So there wasn’t many times I ever made demands of any body. In fact, I was the person who was likely to be walked all over because I couldn’t say “no”. But now I have to consider how events and activities will affect my brain injury. So I can’t bear not having things my way. I’m worried I’m turning into a control freak.

Dealing with tight spaces

I have a lovely little home, which is fine for James and I. The down stairs is open plan, so even with visitors, there is space for everyone to spread out. With one exception, the galley kitchen. It’s very small, and two people can only just pass one another. (But you have to be good friends as not even a shard of light can sneak between you.) Therefore I don’t particularly like any one in the kitchen with me, apart from James.

At the weekend we had guests over, who I won’t name as I don’t want to embarrass them. Let’s call them Fay and Thomas. Very nice people who have very good manners, thus I don’t want to upset them. Thomas I suspect has lost a little of his hearing. He is by no means deaf, but I think he finds it easier to stand closer to people to make sure he catches what they are saying.  This is perfectly understandable. However, in my kitchen it makes this control freak start to get very angry.

The dishwasher is at the end of the kitchen, and as I unloaded it Thomas came to talk to me. The kitchen isn’t even very long, so I could feel his presence and was sure that if I took one step backwards I would bump into him. As I turned round holding some dishes to be put away, I had to ask him to step back so I could put them in the cupboard. I realise he didn’t do anything wrong, but I was feeling like a trapped animal. When an animal feels under threat, they can attack. I was not in danger of any description, but my brain injury can jump off the deep end at times. Even though I was by the back door, so I could escape outside if I needed to, I still felt cornered.

I was pretty easy going before. But trying to avoid some of the triggers for my brain injury symptoms, is making me a control freak. Otherwise I feel trapped.....

And when the control freak doesn’t get their way, the grump ensues…

As I realised that I was being a bit irrational, I was doing my best to not say something I would later regret. But my face looked like I was chewing wasps. I tried to force smiles, but I’m sure the daggers I had for eyes were a bit of a give away.

Even when we all went and sat in the comfy living room, my mood was ugly. I think I wasn’t even that bad as a hormonal teenager. The stupid thing is, I struggle to tell people what I need to make me comfortable. I just somehow expect them to guess. Just because I wouldn’t ever want to be in someones way, so would automatically leave them lots of space, I can’t expect the same of others. Particularly when I know there was a reason for Thomas’ behaviour.

I don’t want to become a complete control freak, so I’m going to try to nip this in the bud. Luckily I found 10 Ways To Stop Feeling Like You Need To Be In Control All The Time by Lauren Stahl, which I’m going to put into practice. I  know it’s common that a brain injury can change your personality, but I’m not proud of this part of me. So I’m sending her the eviction notice now!

Do you find you need to be in control more after your brain injury, or do you prefer to leave it to others? Are you comfortable with this change?


10 replies on “Am I turning into a control freak with a brain injury?”

You are NOT turning into a control freak. You’re simply trying to make your home environment safe and comfortable. That’s not too much to ask. It’s your home, and your safe place.

I do understand your response to feeling trapped in your own kitchen, Michelle. There are many small things that set me off since my brain injury. One is the sound of opening a soda* can. It’s a sudden, loud, annoying noise. Before my brain injury, it was just noise. Now, it’s like an explosion.

Everyone in my family and my close friends know how much I hate that sound, and warn me before they open a soda can (I don’t drink soda) so I can cover my ears. It’s one of the many small things people do to be considerate of my needs.

I wonder if the same could be done for you? Perhaps a cheerful sign that says “Kitchen Occupancy 1 Person Maximum” would keep people from entering the kitchen while you’re in there? People cannot be mindful of your needs if they don’t know what they are.

*soda is what we call a canned carbonated beverage here in the northeast US. I don’t know what you call it in the UK.

I love your * about soda. Many years ago my niece and nephew were visiting from America, and they asked my parents for soda. Well it was lost in translation, and they went out to buy every soft drink known to man! That was over 20 years ago I think, and back then we had a lot less American tv over here. Let’s just say we all learned the hard way ?

But back to your point, you are right that if I don’t communicate with people, it’s not fair to expect them to be mind readers. This example was my fault and yet was easily avoided. But we live and learn.

Nice article to share. The simple stuff is not the same as you show here. What i can easily relate to and what you wrote can easily be transferred to a number of normal life situations that are not as easy as they used to be, just like you explained. Feeling trapped. For me it can be avoidance all togeher. At least you didnt go hide from the visitors and leave it to a partner to explain. If without warning someone comes to our house and im not in the perfect state for lots of talking and interaction I will just hide. I know i cant get through the sort of interactive discussion they may be seeking so i know I have to go hide somewhere and have the partner say Im not here. That can happen alot, you can see it coming with a group of people forming a good discussion, get out before you have to embarrass yourself and leave all of a sudden with no explanation due to brain overload failure . Ive done that before as well!!

I am understand your reaction to visitors when you’re not in the right frame of mind for them. Sometimes we just need to go to our quiet, safe place to reset. And although some people might think it’s rude to not explain yourself, it’s your home and you know what you need. It’s exhausting having to explain yourself all the time.

Luv, I wouldn’t say a control freak! And if anyone tells you so you have my permission to slap them. On the back of their hand………You are a survivor. You have worked out what you need to manage your day to day and if you politely explain that to you guests, I’m sure they would understand? Otherwise, give your guest something to do to help, or suggest they pull up a chair but stay out of your way………sometimes, people don’t get brain injury so they won’t understand unless you tell them. Cheers,H

Thanks Maddy, I really appreciate that. I think your articles on has a lot to offer too. You get us to start thinking about what happens as we get older and how we can support those who in their golden years.

I agree with you,I need more space people seem too close and I feel trapped even when I am in a not confined area. and loud noises make me jump now when they never bothered me before, daft silly noises,eg.someone starting to whistle,a car back firing,a phone beeping loud,someone coughing/sneezing.i seem to hear things most people don’t or ignore yet I have lost alot of hearing,must be certain levels?

Yes I can find sounds overwhelming and when I was still suffering with PTSD sudden noises when make me jump out of my skin.

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