Having a mini stroke (TIA) or minor stroke may affect your relationships with your family and friends. For some people, the experience can lead to a re-evaluation of work-life balance or family priorities, which may have a positive impact. However, other people may find that their relationships have negatively affected.

I tend to shy away, even my own parents… it’s hard for me to join in the conversation now, it’s hard for me to take in what people say to me.

Minor stroke patient

How can relationships be affected?

Impacts of mini stroke (TIA) and minor stroke on relationships with family and friends can be both positive and negative.

Some people have found positive impacts, such as better family relationships and re-evaluation of work-life balance or family priorities.

Other people found their relationships were negatively affected. Examples of this were:

  • Mood and emotional problems caused people to be more angry or frustrated.
  • People became withdrawn and had difficulties engaging with others due to cognitive problems, fatigue or lack of confidence.
  • People felt smothered by overprotective family or friends.
  • There were changes in family roles and dynamics with other family members having to take over household responsibilities (such as childcare or finances).
  • People became frustrated and hurt when family or friends didn’t take their ongoing problems seriously, particularly “hidden” problems.

Watch videos of people talking about their experience of relationships with family/ friends after mini stroke (TIA) and minor stroke.

Tips and advice

1. Communication is key

  • Share how you are feeling. It is particularly important to share “hidden” problems, like anxiety, low mood, fatigue and memory/ thinking problems.
  • Ask how your family or friends are feeling.
  • Be clear about what support you do want and do not want from family and friends.
  • You many need to educate family or friends about the long-term impacts of mini stroke (TIA) and minor stroke.
  • You might also need to educate family or friends about stroke risk and healthy lifestyle. For example, people may discourage you from doing exercise.
  • Communicate regularly, your thoughts and feelings may change over time.

2. Be patient

  • Mini strokes (TIA) and minor strokes can be life changing events for everyone involved and it may take time to adjust.

3. Manage your ongoing impacts, like mood, cognitive and fatigue problems

Sometimes tensions in relationships are related to ongoing impacts of mini stroke (TIA) and minor stroke, such as fatigue or mood swings. As you begin to recover, finding ways to manage these ongoing impacts may help your relationships. Involving your family and friends in strategies to manage these impacts may help.

4. Involve family and friends in lifestyle changes, like exercise and healthy eating

5. Get support

Speak to other people who have had mini stroke (TIA)/ minor stroke: connect through social media groups and forums:

Advice from stroke charities:

Get professional support such as relationship counselling:

Useful resources

Relationship counselling

Get support

Stroke Association:

Different Strokes

TIA/ minor stroke social media groups