Jared, I started a new topic with your first post. It’s a really good question that many of us have experience with after a rupture. I think you’re ahead of the game as your are taking responsibility for your responses. It tells me that you’re becoming more aware of what’s happened to your brain and how you’re responding, that’s a good step in the right direction.
It’s really hard to lose those we love when we can’t understand what we’ve done wrong much less being able to identify what we are doing that’s the source. I can suggest a few things - learn relaxation breathing or mindfulness or square breathing. There’s a lot of different YouTube videos on it but I think the current name is square or box breathing. Here’s but one video Relieve Stress & Anxiety with Simple Breathing Techniques - YouTube
The way I was taught it back in 1976 was to inhale through the nose all the way to your diaphragm for count of five hold for count of five and exhale through your mouth for a count of five, pause for count of five and repeat for five times. It’s just a starting point but you can increase it as you get better. It helps to know what your body does immediately before you get prickly, do you tighten your jaw, stomach, make a fist?
What is so neat about it is that one can literally not keep a tight muscle as the body is being provided with a good amount of oxygen. It also helps the heart, blood pressure is reduced and the brain gets the oxygen it needs. When I taught it for several decades with different clients, it seems the boys really liked this exercise coupled with me telling them to make a fist. If they were breathing deeply, they couldn’t keep the fist and it brought a lot of laughter and amazement.
As with any exercise, it has to be practiced all the time - before you get out of bed, when you’re in the bathroom, before and after each meal, while watching television or doing anything fun or not and when you go to bed. Eventually it will become such a part of you, you’re not aware you’re doing it. I was doing it in ICU when they were trying to keep my BP up due to vasospasms and they were having a hard time of it. One of the doctors told me “Stop that!” I asked “stop what?” and he said “breathing”. I was confused and asked him if he wanted me to die…he replied no, of course not, I want you to breathe normal.
Because of the client population I served, I would have them do the breathing before, during and after a conversation. This was more difficult as conversations don’t usually have pauses especially when we get prickly as you say, or angry, or anxious, in pain, or not thinking and just blurt something out which leads to bad feelings all around. See if your wife will practice this with you, it makes it easier. When you get good at it, it becomes part of you and it just takes one or two times before you verbally respond.
Another suggestion would be to check out the TBI sites. Because we are such a small group of specialized brain issues, there isn’t as much information as what the TBI folks have. To me, brain damage is brain damage no matter how we got it. The brain still has to repair its neural pathways and that can take a very long time.
My last suggestion would be to seek out a cognitive behavioral therapist or NeuroPsychologist in your area or any therapist that deals with brain injuries. Perhaps your Neurosurgeon or Neurologist knows of one they would recommend.