Husband with ADHD takes everything personally

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This topic contains 4 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  ADHDmomma 5 days, 23 hours ago.

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  • #46412


    Hi all, I’m new to this forum. My husband is a professor who diagnosed himself with ADHD a few years ago after one of his students with ADHD explained his symptoms and told my husband how much he had been helped by medication. My husband’s doctor agreed with his assessment and prescribed meds, which he said have definitely helped him focus better. However, he has not sought therapy (we live in a small town with few resources), and he has many of the issues I have read about in these forums (he won’t pick up after himself, he zones out when I’m talking to him, he is rarely on time, etc) But there is one thing I haven’t seen other people comment about yet, and I’m wondering if it is tied in to the ADHD. Whenever something annoying happens around him, he assumes it is being directed at him. For example, if somebody cuts him off in traffic, he assumes the other driver did it intentionally (instead of just being a bad driver), at which point my husband will start tailgating, brake-checking, etc. When someone smashed a window in our car while it was parked in front of our house, he assumed one of his students did it. The one we’re dealing with right now is that, when he was swimming in the pool at his university recently, the lifeguard & her friend were standing at the edge of the pool looking at her phone and laughing, so my husband assumed that they were filming him and laughing at him (he is slightly overweight and very conscious that he doesn’t look the best in a swimsuit). The supervisor assured him that they were just laughing at a video on the internet, but my husband is not satisfied with that, and is demanding that disciplinary action be taken against the lifeguard. He comes home every day venting about how they’re not taking this issue seriously. When these issues happen, I am torn between wanting to be supportive (“Yes, your feelings are valid. I can see why you would be upset.”) and telling him to just let it go. I have a very low-key personality and rarely get worked up over anything, so I don’t know if my feeling that he’s over-reacting is just due to the fact that he’s handling it differently than I would, or if this really is an issue I should address with him. Any guidance is appreciated!

  • #46473


    Wow! That is my emotional hell also. I was diagnosed 16 years ago; I am now 61. As far back as I can remember that was my thought process – Everybody had to be talking about me. And I can tell you from experience, he is definitely NOT alone.To this day I have to consciously stop myself from assuming. This afternoon I wanted to snap at my wife because she took a deep breath and I assumed it was about why it was taking me so long to do something. Needless to say I was wrong.
    He really needs to own the fact it is part of our ADD brain.

    I found that while medication is good, cognitive behavior therapy will really work for this. It is a therapist coaching him – athletes call it muscle memory. It is not something he can sit down and talk through with a therapist. He needs to learn his triggers and what he can do to evaluate his feelings. He is a professor, he’ll understand the idea of learning about his issue.

    This is something worth the trouble of travelling to a larger town to find a qualified therapist. Take me word for it, your husband will be happier and so will you. He should also try to find a support group he can join. It helps to hear from others going through the same thing

  • #46474


    Hi! Unfortunately – I have to agree. I tend to take things far more personally than I should, too. I don’t want to assume the worst when stuff like that happens, but it’s really hard to remind myself not to, and I think part of the problem stems from some of the struggle for us to make and maintain good friends. I was diagnosed late in life, too, and have always struggled socially. Also, it’s really common for ADHD to be combined with other issues like anxiety or other sensitivities… lots of resources on this site!!! My best suggestion, from experience, is that if he’s unaware of what he is doing and is not seeking or receiving therapy (so he does not have specific tools to work with to deescalate) is to perhaps let him blow off some steam and once he had calmed down a bit maybe he’ll be more receptive to looking at the situation from a different perspective. It works for me. It’s not always pleasant for my partner… but we’ve also talked about it enough that he knows key phrases to catch my attention and get me to just STOP and recognize that I’m over-reacting or not necessarily putting proper perspective on something. Good luck!

  • #46488


    Checkout the website (I think that’s the right site page, if not it should come up in a search) He may have ADD, but like me, not the classic type. This is a helpful article from this site:

    Are There Really 7 Types of ADD?

    I can very much be the same way, taking everything personally. I was once diagnosed & medicated for depression and assumed that was the cause of the short fuse. I’ve been off antidepressants for a decade now but was recently diagnosed & medicated with a stimulant for ADD. It helped at first but then my temper got short again & negative thoughts & whatnot. Anyway, the Healing ADD book is awesome because it shows brains scans and how the ADD works in different brains and has different symptoms. It also has supplement strategies for all the different types if he doesn’t want to be medicated (though I know it is sometimes necessary and after reading that book, because it makes so much sense, I might even be open to an antidepressant again if it is what I need to get out of the hole while I get other systems in place.)

  • #46504


    It’s called Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, and it’s very real for a lot of individuals with ADHD:

    How ADHD Ignites Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria

    Do You Ever Feel Like Your Mood Falls off a Cliff?

    Your Emotional Riot — Or Why ADHD Makes You Feel So Much

    It encompasses rejection and criticism.

    Dr. Dodson says therapy really doesn’t help RSD, but he does recommend two particular medication options that help in the first article I linked above. Finding out about RSD explained SO MUCH about my husband, and my son.

    ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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