Aloha. I will add this quickly so it might sound abrupt, but if I don’t leave something now, I will go another six months before I think about it again.
1) You’re a brave person and have taken on a lot of responsibility here. I want to acknowledge that first. You are obviously amazing.
2) Anger cannot be tolerated. I will revise this. Inappropriately expressed anger cannot be tolerated. In the moment it should be de-escalated as quickly as possible. When emotions are calmer, however, set a time to meet and talk through the issues with a set structure or agenda, as well as a clear set of consequences for the anger problems. These consequences should include emotional and social outcomes of the anger, some of which you have already mentioned here clearly (copy and paste!), but might be reinforced with your own emotions and fears about long-term effects, not only on your children although that’s enough, but also on you individually and together as a couple.
3) For someone with ADHD, buy-in is essential, so hubby needs to be reminded constantly – preferably through his own words – that he wants better communication as much as you do, that he wants harmony and synchrony as much as you do, that he chose you for this journey as much as you chose him, and that he knows what will make you happy and what will set you off if he really focuses on it. Each person should be able to share expectations and goals – or simply how you’re feeling and what you’re hoping for – before starting a conversation. During the meeting, each person should experience active understanding before moving on. “Help me understand…(explain back to partner what they just said)… is that close to what you expressed?” Agree together not allow the subject to change to a different problem before the person who has expressed the problem agrees that they feel understood. For all of this, I have to request time in advance, saying things like “would you like to have a team time? When is a good time for you this week?” It has taken a while and we’re not always consistent but my own partner and I always have a better week when we have team time. I use a Google doc for us to track what we discuss, but a notepad is just fine. Either way, we have to keep it simple, maybe a couple of questions that we can each respond to within half an hour. Then I make sure we stop on a relatively positive note and come back again later at our already agreed-upon time.
I have to use resources like Stephen Covey‘s seven habits of effective marriage, or feeling good together by David Burns. With the help of resources like these, my hubby knows that I expect a lot of us but that I also believe we are capable of improving when we struggle, and that I respect and love him.
I offer all of this with no guarantees and not at all to say that I know the answers to the struggles that we have. This is simply where I am right now and I respect your struggle. I hope the best for you.