Constantly Angry at My ADHD Spouse

I always expected my marriage to be happy. Yet, these days, I feel anger at my ADD spouse most of the time. How do I get control of my emotions and my relationship?

Your anger is a clear sign that something is awry in your ADHD marriage.

The best way to deal with this powerful emotion is to determine its cause. For instance, you may think you’re upset with your husband for spending so much time on the computer, but the real source of anger may be feelings of loneliness and the fear that you’re unloved.

Talk with him about your feelings in a calm and caring way. Once you find the reasons for your anger, you can take control of your relationship.

Taking control means understanding that you – and only you – are responsible for your life (stop blaming your spouse); communicating thoughtfully, not lashing out (a mild-mannered approach will get your spouse to cooperate and, possibly, to change); and engaging in activities that reduce your anger and make you happier. This isn’t easy, so get help.

I would start by reading a good book on the subject, such as The Dance of Anger, by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. She writes extensively about relationships like yours, and offers specific solutions. The book also teaches you how to avoid getting angry about things you don’t have control over.

Do you have a question for Melissa Orlov? Post it to our expert forums. She’ll try to answer one question a week, so check back often to read her answers and to see what other ADDitude readers are asking.

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  1. Angry, Resentful, Depressed. I feel awful that my spouse has ignored my concern about money he spent in the last week. Projects piled high. His job schedule is like a pin-ball machine. I have small concerns too..and sometimes I just want the chance to be looked in the face and feel he has heard me. I’m so angry. I feel I’ve tried so very hard to be kind and mindful of how his brain works so that I don’t take his lack of attention to me personally. Now I’m depressed and have made the stupid choice to stay home even though friends invited us over this evening. I’m full of self-pity which is making me feel worse by the second.

    ( I re-read my post. It’s helpful and read the words as if someone else wrote them. I would tell this angry, resentful, depressed lady: “chin up!…some deep breaths…a brisk walk…go hang out with your friends…tomorrow’s another day” )

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