Posted on January 13, 2012 · Posted in TBI Voices
This entry is part 21 of 24 in the series TJ

Social Life After a TBI: TJ Part Twenty-One

One of TJ’s highest areas of pre-brain injury interest was his social life, particularly with members of the opposite sex.  Brain injury can dramatically impact a survivor’s love life and social life after a TBI.  TBI can impact a survivor’s sexuality physically and  hormonally.  Further, the subtle nuances of romance are very difficult to remaster after any significant frontal lobe injury. I asked Michelle about his social life after a TBI:

How’s the girl chasing been going?

They love him at bingo. He’s got lots of grandmas.Lots of gentlemen, too, I mean, they all look out for him.

TJ sits, I take him and it’s not like I take him, he’s on the board with me, we’re the deed restriction board, and we sit on that together.  He basically co‑chairs the group with me, so he does everything, you know, he’s right there alongside and, and like I said, I treat him as normal as possible.

For a man like TJ, just meeting grandmas is not quite how he pictured his future.

You’ve been with your father and step-mother Michelle since you were discharged?


How is your social life after a TBI and chasing girls these days?

Not good.  Not good, not here.  Not good.

Is that because where you are or because of problems you have with your social life after a TBI?

In a way because where I am.

Have you dated at all since you got hurt?


Why not?

The only girl that was able to be a candidate got thrown out of here (meaning his parents house).

So what does it take for a person to be able to be a candidate?

Oh, who knows.

Why did she get thrown out of here?

I don’t remember, but I know she passed out on my bed watching a movie and so Michelle said “get her up, and get her out right now,” So I had to get out.

From Michelle on TJ’s Social Life After a TBI :

He will tell you oh my parents, they don’t let me do anything.  They don’t let me have people over.  He touched a little bit on the one girl.

He had a friend and that friend came over once with a bunch of people and this one girl decided that she was going to go lay in his bed and, and not leave.   And I was like “we don’t even know you.”  So and again, you leave a certain, you know, we’re in a very confined area here but outside of this area is not Connecticut.

What risk factors do you see in him having with a Social Life After a TBI and dating?

I see that the problem is that once they get to know him that it’s not going to be good.  He just had a girl that he started to have a little relationship with, and she has traumatic brain injury.  But he got very friendly very fast with her, and she didn’t like that.  She was pushing him away and then she finally had to say “no more”.

Do you think there’s an element of disinhibition on his side, anxiety on hers, in the way that relationship evolved?

He wanted to, again, be normal, and normal is to have a girlfriend.  He felt a boyfriend should, you know, put his arm around and hug and kiss.  And she just, that was too much, too fast.  She just wanted to be friends and watch a movie.  And for him he wanted to watch the movie in his room, even though that wouldn’t have, in his eyes, was not, it was not going to lead to have intercourse at the end, but she felt like no, that’s prohibited because that’s your bedroom so we come out here and watch the movie.

One of the problems with brain injury and their social life after a TBI is there sometimes is a personal space and a boundary issue.  Does he get upset if somebody gets in too close, gets in, invades his personal space? 

No, not so much.  I mean, as far as he likes everything to be in his space exactly, like when the cleaning lady comes, she is not to touch his things in his room, in his bathroom, everything is in its space.  So with a relationship, we haven’t really had enough to, to really, not enough data there.

Has he met any girls who aren’t within the more sheltered environment of the brain injury community?  Hasn’t met anybody at the gym, or through friends? 


Next in Part Twenty Two – Adjusting to Perpetual Restrictions After TBI

By Attorney Gordon Johnson


About the Author

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice :: 800-992-9447