Brain injury alters friend’s personality in negative ways

Published 5:15 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

DEAR ABBY: “Stella” and I have been close friends for 25 years. Two years ago, she was in a car accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She has since recovered and returned to work.
Stella’s personality has changed a lot since the accident. Her language and clothing are inappropriate. At 65 years old, her wardrobe now consists of miniskirts, spike heels, over-the-knee lace-up boots, halter tops, etc. She says suggestive things to my boyfriend in front of me. He no longer wants to be around her. Most of Stella’s friends have distanced themselves, and her husband has moved out of their home.
I remember how close we once were, and I don’t want to end the friendship, but I don’t think I can tolerate being around her. How can I help her and keep my sanity? — TOO MUCH CHANGE IN TEXAS
DEAR TOO MUCH: Be gentle with Stella because her change may be beyond her control. Help her by trying to talk frankly with her. Explain how much her personality and image have changed since the accident, and that some of her actions have made people so uneasy they have distanced themselves. Tell her that her comments to your boyfriend made him uncomfortable, and you need them to stop.
I can’t predict how she will react, but you may get through to her. If not, she may end her friendship with you, and you can retain your sanity.
DEAR ABBY: My significant other, “Bob,” and I have been together for 30 years (never married). The past 10 years of our relationship have not been so good in the bedroom.
Bob has ED and refuses to see a professional about it. He is well aware of how unfair it is to me because my sex drive is still in full swing. Would it be wrong to tell him that since he doesn’t want to seek help for his problem, I am going to find a “friend with benefits”?
I have reached the point where I want to leave him. If he would get help for his problem, our relationship would improve, and I would be willing to stay. — DEPRIVED IN OHIO
DEAR DEPRIVED: Bob may be so embarrassed about his ED problem that he’s afraid to have a frank talk with a doctor about it. It’s a shame because in many cases there is help for it.
Because you have reached the end of your tether, discuss your feelings with him as openly as you have with me. If you do, it may jolt him into doing something for himself that he should have done a decade ago.
DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law passed away a year ago. Since then, my husband and his sister have been letting my father-in-law stay with each of us on different nights. He’s with us every Friday and Tuesday and with my husband’s sister Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
My father-in-law is healthy and capable of doing everything for himself. I am getting SO tired of this arrangement! It is cramping my life in a big way. What do I do? — RUINING MY LIFE IN THE SOUTH
DEAR RUINING: Start making plans for yourself on Friday and Tuesday nights so you will feel less encroached-upon. And introduce your father-in-law to some ladies his age — providing he is willing. (Men in his demographic are a hot commodity, and I’m betting that he will be willing.)
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.comor P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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