Surviving Injury

communication about what your needs are and how you are feeling. Marriages and significant relationships can be stressed by injury. Some stress comes from financial worries. Simple fatigue from working so hard to keep life functioning is stressful. Relationships suffer when people hide too much of what they feel and think from each other. Some partners may try to protect their injured loved one by not talking and sharing important things. They may believe they are making life easier for a loved one, who may instead feel left out. Resentments may arise. If it is difficult to talk honestly about concrete circumstances and feelings resulting from injuries, consider inviting a trusted friend, clergy, or counselor to facilitate such conversations. Children in the home will need special attention. They are vulnerable and can be shaken by the fact that someone who is supposed to take care of them is now injured and unable to do so. They may be scared by physical changes they see or experience. They may be forced to grow up too quickly by assuming more responsibilities. Children are sometimes overlooked because so much of the family’s resources and energies are focused on the one who has been injured. Talk with your spouse or partner about your concerns.

Observe carefully to see if a child begins to withdraw, becomes noticeably more noisy or quiet, receives poor school grades, or stops spending time with friends. Teenagers may act out their frustrations by running away, using alcohol and other drugs to soothe themselves, or engage in other disruptive behaviors.

Kids and teenagers may need special attention to help them cope with changes in the family.

These warning signals indicate a need for you to encourage them to speak out about their fears and frustrations. Counseling may be needed. Talking with someone outside the family offers a healthy and constructive outlet for them. Many find it helpful to ask another family or adult to take their children on special outings or just invite them to spend time in a less stressed home environment.

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