The following are aspects of inflexibility that you may observe:
1. The therapists have changed your family member's schedule. He
becomes irritated because they have no right to ruin his day like that.
2. If you hear your family member say, "I won't do it that way
because we used to do it this way" one more time, you may scream. He may use
this statement whenever he is not comfortable with something new and does not want to
3. Your husband and son used to have a wonderful relationship. Now,
after your husband's head injury, all they do is argue. You might expect your son to be
somewhat tunnel visioned and inflexible; he is an adolescent. But you do not expect the
same behavior from your husband.
4. Things are not going well at work. Procedures have changed since
your family member left. He complains loudly that the business is not as effective as it
once was. They have also updated the computer system. It is nothing but a
"monster"--it saves no time.
1. Be patient. Be prepared. Realize that changes should not be made in
his schedule early in the recovery process. Insist on consistency and structure.
2. Because your family member will have a great deal of difficulty
seeing alternatives, he will return to what is safe and comfortable. The "way he did
it before" meets both of these criteria. Gently encourage him to try new ideas and
procedures for completing home and work activities. If you have purchased new equipment or
tools while he was in the hospital, teach him how to use them. Be patient as he learns a
new skill. Remember, it will not help if you disagree with him or attempt to persuade him
to change his mind. The best you can do is teach and encourage. If that does not work,
give yourself a rest and then regroup to try again at a later date. Be patient with
yourself and don't try to fix it all at once.
3. Be prepared for family blow-ups and conflicts. Talk with siblings
and children about not confronting or arguing with your family member over insignificant
happenings. Save your energies for the attempt to convince him that he needs to reconsider
a choice or his decisions about the big issues that affect all members of your
4. Be prepared for problems at work. You cannot handle them for your
family member; however, you can be supportive when he brings the issues to you. Suggest
that a fellow worker could be used as a coach to give him a comfort level for learning the
new job skill. If this can be accomplished in small steps, he may be able to break through
his inflexibility and remain on that job.