May 7, 2019 at 7:26 am #116079
My wife has ADD and is very high functioning. We are often at each other’s throats because she becomes very angry and sometimes gets aggressive and screams. It’s usually in relation to something I’ve said, and it quickly escalates into an almost irrational outburst in which I am paralyzed with what to say. I have learned that when this happens, this is really a form of crying out for help, and so I try not to respond, but she has said some pretty vicious things to me in the past. She also suffers from anxiety to which I often attribute her behaviors. Bottom line….we are both miserable, and our kids are as well. I walk on eggshells around her for fear that she will blow up at me, and I am at my wit’s end. I am developing post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of this. If anyone can provide some advice or words of encouragement, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.
May 7, 2019 at 8:04 pm #116161
I go through the same with my long distance boyfriend. He out of the blue starts saying he doesn’t want to be with me, he’s moving on, that I should find another man, that he doesn’t want to do things for us, such as traveling to meet, and all the plans of our future.
He proposed me marriage 2 days ago and today I was on my knees sobbing reminding him his promises.
In his case stress causes that anger and sudden change of behavor.
Example he slept very little, he had a bad day at work,someone stressed him out.
So I am prepared that after lovely days he will crash again and I cry and all that again.
He realizes by himself that he was wrong and contact me again and all is well for some days.
We try to talk out when he has those episodes, he says very hurtful things to me as he wouldn’t care about me or my feelings.
I act distant or a bit cold so he see how sad I am, and so he misses me. The most I cry or try to make him understand how wrong he is the most he hurts my feelings.
Also his face changes I notice, he becomes negative, serious, cold, rude, cruel, and he is actually a very sweet person.
Does it sounds similar?
I also miserable and sad when he has those outburts. Few times he even blocked me from his phone
May 13, 2019 at 9:43 am #116494
I hear your pain, both of your pain, all of your pain. I know this well both with my son and with me historically. Now it rarely happens for either of us and i can honestly put this down to both of us learning mindfulness – in my case practising for over 25 yrs so quite advanced now but even in early stages it allowed me to process my emotions far more effectively and calmly. My son and I used to flare off each other so badly – we both have quite a lot of ADHD while my younger son has less – but all three of us have had anger issues historically and none of us do now. It takes time to develop these skills but there are some excellent books around that will really help you – the miracle of mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh worked for me the best initially and then Wherever you go there you are by jon kabat zinn helped a little bit too. i have written a lot of articles about my own journey with ADHD and mindfulness.
HAng on in there please – it can be resolved if you have the right tools and medication is not enough – but we held it together enough to get through it all and are happy and much less stressed than before – i am also high functioning ADHD – xxxxx
May 13, 2019 at 8:44 pm #116644
I am a terrific husband and father. I married my stunning wife 18 years ago and slowly realised she had mental problems. Then our kids were diagnosed with Aspergers, but with many grey overlap areas with autism and ADHD, and anyway diagnosis of wife would not help, because she is in acute DENIAL. You already realised that saying NOTHING to unfounded attacks is the best, and even leave the room, or house. Do the garden! You have to do that VERY QUICKLY or her tantrum will turn into a full-blown meltdown, with violence, screaming, shouting, kicking, pulling hair and even calling police. They are totally out-of-control at that point. Later that day, when she looks calm, do not believe it. That will need up to 24 hours. Asperger’s women are self-confessed liars. Try to forgive that, because it would be punishing her for being ill. But my main point here is this: when in a meltdown, my wife tells me horrific things she did, including cheating, sex, stealing and now I am sure those confessions are all untrue. But is she lying? If I ask her about them a few days later, she denies the whole episode. Was she lying to hurt me? Or was it true? Did she really not remember saying it? I am still working on that, but my best bet would be that she said it when out-of-control, to hurt me, with a pack of lies that she really could not remember saying. What does anybody else think of that? Boys start to show subtle symptoms at 3, but girls at 10. That is vital information. What are the first signs? Incapable of interaction, so never answer register at school, never eat, drink, play, wee, poo, listen, reply, read or write in school. Just freeze. Second signs ….. as part of that inability to interact, never say the following words, even when invited: hello, goodbye, please, thank you, are you OK, how are you and SORRY. Third signs are weakness in “open-ended” questions in school. So “what is 7 times 9?” easy …. 63. But for “How would you teach somebody their times-tables?” would give you “What do you mean?” so English Language, English Literature, History are very hard. Later, you will see great sensitivity to light, sound, smell, texture, but also a variety of “special skills”. My boy does jigsaws face-down and twisted metal puzzles behind his back. So I took my son out of school from 8 to 15, and home-schooled him myself. During that time, I brought in loads of young kids, to help him to mix and chat. That helped but only slowly. Girls are better than boys in that role as friends. Unlike most parents, I pushed him to chat online and text. With great trepidation, I finally put him back into normal school at 15, expecting tears and a phone call, but he loved it, and after 4 months, they made him a senior prefect, and now he is top or second in all 9 subjects, although I fear Shakespeare is a waste of time, and neither he nor I will benefit from that, unless we get a boyfriend called Romeo or girlfriend called Juliet! None of my family has ever had a real friend, and refuse to have one. Very sad. They all stay in different rooms all day and night every day at home. Last month, my wife abandoned us all for the 20th time and took a separate apartment somewhere several miles away. Why? I held both her hands and asked to talk to her about our problems, stroked her head and spoke gently just a few words. One minute later, she was gone, and I was wiping my blood off the door and carpet. She has been away from us for 6 of the last 12 years, but swears she never left us. I got referred to a psychiatrist for my son, as he had deep depressions sometimes. BBC News often has stories about the length of waiting lists for that. A month later, the psychiatrist called me, instantly refused to meet my son, then abused me savagely, accused me of several things he just invented, diagnosed ME as being crazy, without ever having met me, told me I was the complete cause and cut me off. He then sent those accusations to my G.P. doctor. He never knew that I am also a doctor. So who is the best person to help your wife or kids? YOU! Nobody else will know them well enough, or even care much. Talk to other people for ideas, learn what to do and not-do, and be proud of yourself. I am in Preston, happy to chat or meet others. Email is OK, but not sure if it is allowed.
May 8, 2019 at 9:59 am #116177
The first two questions that immediately come to mind are 1) does your wife have a formal diagnosis from a doctor and 2) is she on any medication?
My husband has ADHD and can be very difficult to live with at times, but he has never called me names or screamed at me. He is bipolar as well. My advice to you is if your wife hasn’t seen a doctor about this, then you need to make sure she does, if not for herself and your relationship, then definitely for the sake of the children. I can’t tell you how destructive her behaviour for the children. Kids are extremely sensitive to their parents moods and behaviors. I don’t know how young your kids are, but their needs are the most important. If your wife won’t see a doctor, then I highly recommend you and your kids get some counseling.
I would also recommend you do some research on ADHD and perhaps bipolar, as she may have one or the other. She certainly needs some help and so do you. If you have a local mental health department or such thing you could speak with them.
I know you must be feeling like you have no control,but you do. You control how you react to and handle your wife’s outbursts and you can ensure you talk to your kids about their fears and concerns. Having grown up in an alcoholic home I can tell you that it’s horrible when your home is filled with stress and fear. It affects who you grow up to be. Your kids deserve better and so do you and your wife. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself and get back your sense of control. Have a talk with your wife when things are calm and she is calm. See what she has to say, but make it clear that she has to get help.
Please update and let us know how things go. You are stronger than you think. Best wishes!
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by MommyManiac1963.
May 18, 2019 at 6:13 pm #116868
To Mommymaniac1963. Thanks for your time. Sadly, there are barriers to most ideas. My wife absolutely refuses to see any doctor, or even take the kids to one or visit me in hospital after heart surgery. Three times I did a deal with her, offering her huge bonuses to encourage her, but each time she took my offer then backed out. Support for mental health issues round here is dismal, so they simply refused to meet me or my son. So I can’t get a diagnosis and she would refuse to accept it. If I could find a way to get meds, she would tell me they were useless, after throwing them in the bin, as before. But I now know that her endless attacks are aspergers meltdowns, totally out-of-control, so she is only raving to hurt me, and has no memory of what she said by next day. I have NEVER had a serious conversation with her ….. it simply triggers a huge violent meltdown within 20 seconds. I am a science professor, and she has never done a single assignment or homework or passed any real exam, but she tells me I am the stupidest man in the world, and she is much smarter than me. So I see no way forward, now, but the kids will go to university soon and I need to find another partner. She is destroying all of us. Any more ideas?
May 13, 2019 at 6:14 am #116488
This sounds very familiar. I guess my husband can relate to you in this situation.
I has been diagnosed almost 3 months ago and I have to say the meds saved my life and marriage. Get her the help she needs.
May 13, 2019 at 8:55 am #116500
Wow.i really feel for you. That sounds so difficult. I can definitely relate to angry outbursts as I have been married to a narcissist who was extremely emotionally abusive, and controlling and he wanted to get divorced which is happening right now and I couldn’t be happier although in his case the narcissism was pretty much incurable it sounds like in your case your wife is a good person and just needs help. I was walking around on eggshells constantly never knowing when he’ll explode and now I am having pstd and am in therapy The number one thing which I’m actually starting to do today is grounding. It is extremely important. Whenever you feel tense or nervous or you start reliving her Outburst even when they’re not happening, ground yourself with the smallest things such as something you smell feeling your feet on the ground,something you see, notice the color of it the texture of it….It’s a good thing that you realize what her issues are so that you can get her some help. You might want to also either go or call dr. Edward Hallowell. He wrote the book”driven to distraction “which is the number one ADD book out there and he has dealt with many people who have had angry outbursts as he shared some stories from real people he worked with in there. Hope this helps. Hang in there and good luck!( forgot to mention that I have 4 beautiful girls n I have ADD but am very easy going but my oldest is a copy of her father n has adhd.her angry outbursts are getting much better since the divorce and she seems happier.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Peninagrama712.
May 13, 2019 at 9:03 am #116502
I grew up in an enmeshed family and extreme outbursts of anger and alcohol poured on top.
Now given that is said, our Savior is still the answer.
His name is Jesus, and He still heals and saves. Yet, like many episodes of Unshackled, some of us really know longsuffering better than others. It is a fruit if the Spirit, which is a hard pill to swallow.
May 13, 2019 at 9:43 am #116493
You have taken a step – when you are dealing with a chronic issue with a loved one you will find an incredible challenge to find good
Medical care if you don’t really dig down and start investigating and learning everything you can about what could be causing this behavior, it isn’t normal and in your gut you must know there is something wrong, so don’t give up and keep doing what you are doing – look for answers. There are two things you need to look into and research very thoroughly before you seek Psychiatric care.(1) You really need to consider first if she is experiencing PMDD.
Also keep in mind that she could be dealing also with PANS or PANDA.
Getting misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder if you are dealing with PMDD would be disastrous, do your research and make sure you seek knowledgeable medical expertise even if you have to travel to get to someone with clear experience.
May 13, 2019 at 10:45 am #116545
I’m sorry for your experience. The pain of living with an angry person is real. Words are potential weapons that create long lasting wounds. ADHD may not be the only issue your wife has.
I am not suggesting that this fits but some people find anger has a pay off. It may be to maintain control, or to support her self esteem. Or perhaps she is just super sensitive to stimuli. Or is using her energy as a way to energize herself to keep going. And, although I hesitate to say it, you may be using her anger to support your life script. (as a participant in several relationships I found this to be my case).
But you, and she need to know that living this way is harming you and the children and yourself and is not ok.
Boundary setting is difficult but needful. It sounds like this is an ongoing problem and a response to a letter is by no means a cure. For your sake and the children’s, get help.
May 13, 2019 at 11:10 am #116547
Reading OP post, I swear it was my husband writing it, until I got to the part about kids, lol.
That anger, that rage, it’s something I always struggled with privately, even as a child. I just assumed something was wrong with me, maybe I was secretly a monster; at least that’s what it felt like, and sometimes it still feels that way. My husband is probably the kindest man in the world, but the strangest things, little things he did would randomly send me into a hysterical rage filled screamfest. The crock pot wasnt turned from high to low, and it’s like I felt this itch, a scratching in me, like this shift. And I know what’s coming next… As I wanted to go on a verbal tirade about how stupid, lazy or incompetent my hubs was, I was able to think “why do I feel so irritated by this? This doesn’t make sense, I know it isnt a big deal, but I cannot shake this awful irritation feeling.” This would go on, and sometimes I could stomach the rage, other times I couldn’t. I did make a point to stop name calling, which sounds easier than it is for some reason. But it’s usually “you dont effing care about me or the home or the pets, blah blah” *with screams*
Adderall xr fixed this with me, so well and easily I was shocked. I cried when I realized my life could have been so much easier and happier if I had just gotten treatment earlier. Now I’ve yelled at my husband maybe 2x in 3 months instead of 2x a week.
I can’t speak for your wife, but personally, after those rages, I felt like the biggest piece of you know what, like I’m this evil scum of the earth monster who doesn’t deserve to be loved. Love me? After my screamfests? How could anyone ever love me? The guilt is astounding, a deep dark pit where your just alone with your shame and embarrassment. It made me so depressed and it made me hate myself. It’s like I love this man, I truly do, I don’t want to hurt him, but it’s literally like you cant stop yourself. It’s like I feel myself getting mad and the rational brain is shouting “stop stop, let it go” and the add brain is saying “eh I’m bored let’s spice things up, I need my stimulation.” I don’t consciously make the decision to freak out, its like an impulse or a sneeze.
I just can’t imagine what it’s like living with a person like me, all I can think is ‘wow that must suck, I wouldn’t want to be with me, why does he?” I’m just glad I’m treated now, and our relationship has definitely improved.
The one thing I’m terrified of is having children. I am so scared that I’ll do it to them too, and I don’t know if I would be able to cope with the guilt if I did. I want to be a nice, loving wife and some day mother, but this dam add really complicated things.
All the best, try to get meds if you guys haven’t, but just try to remember that she probably feels a lot of guilt and shame, especially if she’s had rages with her kids present. It’s hard though when someone you love tells you really mean things.
May 14, 2019 at 9:15 pm #116686
Iam ADHD diagnosed in 2016 husband retired recently. Is currently in counseling and I have a psychiatrist to help adjust my meds and practice a 12 step program of recovery.
My wife has anger management problems for the past thirty 30 yrs of marriage. When ever I do something or don’t do something that disagrees with her
The Fight for her moral rightness begins.
The name calling is Directed at me personal insults as opposed to my behavioral issues I trend the repeat as an active ADHD husband
I have you learned protect myself by “Detachment“ most important is try to avoid a codependent relationship of trying to please her all the time.
May 13, 2019 at 11:56 am #116556
For those who are experiencing this type of relationship, I hear you. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD last year. There is a dramatic difference between an Adderall day and a non-Adderall day, but even with the meds, he can be very confrontational, loud, and sometimes downright mean when he feels that he is being treated unfairly. The thing is, I never know when he is going to feel that he’s being treated unfairly. Even the most innocent comment will make him irrationally angry/frustrated/sad. It really is like walking on eggshells. And if I tell him that, then he becomes even more irrational – I “don’t let him express his feelings”. Often, those expressions of feelings are direct attacks on me.
Most of the time, we manage the storms like reasonable adults. But I find the daily exercise of navigating these mercurial moods emotionally exhausting. I have been treated for PTSD for a non-related issue, but I feel like I’m developing/have developed some PTSD responses related to the communication in my marriage. We’ve been to counseling, but it seems like more often than not, the focus gets turned on me (and dealing with my childhood abuse issues) rather than working with my husband and his admitted sense of low self-worth. I feel like I am the one that has to carry the emotional load for this relationship and, as noted before, it’s exhausting.
Divorce? I’d rather not. I’d rather have a less stressful relationship with my husband. When he isn’t self-doubting or beating himself up (through outbursts at me), he is my best friend – we have fun and laugh and know each other so very well. We have been married for 20 years and I want to be with him to the end. But how does one keep centered in a maelstrom? I struggle. I have to watch Every.Stinky.Word.and.Gesture, lest I say or do something that he will feel badly about. Not even kidding. I can say something as innocent as, “Oh, I need to remember to change the laundry out when we get home”. And he will read that as, “you didn’t take care of the laundry and now I have to fix it” and it will send him spiraling into a ball of self-loathing because he didn’t take care of the laundry – which I never asked him to do, because I was doing it. But if I stay silent, then something’s obviously wrong. If I don’t talk about deep things, then we aren’t “communicating”. But if I talk about “deep things” then it’s too much for him and he gets upset. It’s like Russian roulette some days.
I just wish there was a magic something out there to help our loved ones with ADHD to not feel this way so we could communicate like people without ADHD.
May 13, 2019 at 8:15 pm #116643
Wow, I could have written this myself (thank you for writing it!). Terrible to say but I find comfort in knowing I am not the only one experiencing this. My husband has ADHD and has been medicated most of his life. He gets bent/annoyed/frustrated easily. I don’t know what exactly the trigger is, I’ve tried to ask him but I still don’t have an answer. He gets sooo annoyed and impatient when I try to revisit an argument we had or discuss a frustrating conversation. He either gets annoyed and defensive or skulks away to his man cave, never to be heard from. If something or someone is wrong in his eyes, there is no convincing him otherwise. He too interprets things said to him, or even benign comments, as him being XYZ (something that triggers him). So, I end up NOT talking to him about our relationship because it’s like walking through a field of landmines and that only builds anger and resentment.
The problem I see is that I don’t think he’s ever addressed his ADHD shortcomings and definitely hasn’t found tools that seems to work for him. He knows his follow-up is crap, so why doesn’t he do something about it!?! Ego? Pride? Ignorance? Laziness? I can’t do that for him. I too have ADD and am very proactive in my symptom management. I am high functioning, very detail-oriented person and feel like I have to be the worrier, planner, responsible, organizer, financial planner and parent in his relationship. I know I don’t HAVE to do these things but if I don’t, his lack of follow-through, little concern and anger (and self-pity?) will bring down our ship.
We’ve been to couples counseling and I too feel like I get the focused-in on in the sessions! I take notes and try to use the tools we were given, but again, it takes two to work on our problems. This is a cycle that we have been going through for years and maybe we need more counseling to nip it in the bud better, but I want off this merry-go-round. I’m the one doing the reading, researching, accommodating and making the appts and he just seems to go along for the ride. Like you, I feel carry the emotional load and it’s too much.
May 13, 2019 at 12:02 pm #116558
As many other responses have mentioned, getting a diagnosis is key. Medication can really help, and therapy is also really important. My 20 year marriage dissolved after dealing with very similar behavior for many years. Sadly, my husband would not seek a diagnosis or therapy and that led to the end of the marriage as the anger and outrage became too difficult to live with. Our teenage son has a diagnosis of ADHD and anxiety and I’m put my energy into making sure he has the proper treatment so he won’t suffer like his father does. It can be very difficult with adults who will not seek treatment, you can’t make them do so, but left untreated the anger, anxiety and other symptoms can really ruin relationships. Good luck to you and make sure to take care of yourself and kids!
May 13, 2019 at 12:45 pm #116568
I feel your pain. I was in the same situation with my ex. This is not ADHD related. When you walk on eggshells, which is often how victims of abuse describe their living environment, this is not because she has ADHD or anxiety. Calling names and screaming to people is control. There might be more underlying issues (diagnosis) and you need to consult a psychologist. If I were you, I would go alone and get familiar with the forms of abuse. Sometimes going to a psychologist with an abusive spouse is the wrong choice as they have a very convincing way of turning it on you.
Children suffer in such circumstances and you have to consider taking very difficult decisions for their sake if things don’t change.
Good luck with it and look for help.
May 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm #116590
I’m not saying that this kind of behavior isn’t abusive but absolutely can be directly caused by adhd. Because so many of us lack any sense of control over our own emotions, thoughts, and actions, unchecked adhd especially can be expressed through controlling behavior. That doesn’t make the behavior right, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t directly a result of adhd either.
May 13, 2019 at 3:15 pm #116598
I can appreciate the situations OP and all respondents have described. I am a partner of someone with undiagnosed ADHD. We have a blended family, two children each from former relationships and a toddler from our relationship together. I believe one of my stepsons also suffers from ADHD in nearly the exact same ways as his father, and he has begun therapy but has yet to receive a formal diagnosis. Their birthdays are four days apart (to me that makes their personalities extremely similar), and while their rage behaviors are nearly predictably identical, I also feel as if the rest of us are walking on eggshells and cannot see their roller coaster rage coming all the time. What I mean is that we can all “see the signs” of their anger rising (at least 75% of the time) but what triggers them is most often unexpected. It is exhausting! With my stepson, it is most often sibling dynamics or father/son dynamics. My stepson seems to feel a lot of internalized shame and often preempts our reactions with defensiveness expressed as anger and offense, quite strongly. With my partner, it can be seeming innocuous dinner table conversation, or it can be parenting/life stressors, or anything really, anything that other people find stressful or not. What results is a screaming match between the two of them, or either or both raging and screaming at any or all of us, slamming fists and doors, stomping, growling – literally like an animal – and pacing, sulking (sometimes for hours), and sarcasm designed to hurt and incite more anger. It’s a ridiculous display, a destructive cycle that changes the mood for everyone in the room or just in the house. Many days it feels dark and gloomy though we live in such a sunny paradise. Most days lately.
For me, to deal with things that make me want to protect our children and end the relationship, I do research. I have been researching so many things because I have not been successful at convincing my partner to seek help but I believe there is still time for him, though that belief is a super dim light in the darkness at this moment. Since my stepson is in therapy I’d like to ensure the correct things are given attention and accurate treatment is put in place – misdiagnosis is unfortunately common, as is lack of diagnosis, especially in children. Professionals seem to be hesitant to give a person a diagnosis that will “follow them” through their school career and other areas of life, but I feel like early intervention is extremely helpful – my stepson can understand and forgive his self rather than continue on with these negative coping skills and defensive but destructive strategies. Unfortunately I don’t think my partner was given the same opportunity, and things are much more difficult for him (and the rest of us!) than they need to be.
OP, I want to suggest that maybe your wife is suffering from co-occurring disorders. I’ve read up on Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD), Emotional Distress Syndrome, Emotional Hyper-arousal, and Executive Function Deficit. Since you mentioned your wife’s outbursts are usually in relation to something you’ve said, it made me think of my situation and how my guys’ blowups usually happen. I think almost all the literature on ADHD and ADD (which I guess is now called ADHD inattentive type) talks about co-occurring disorders. My thoughts are that these co-occurring disorders are (at least some of the time) learned and develop as coping skills for the person with ADHD or ADD. That means they can be un-learned, right? With conscious effort many changes are possible. The disorders other respondents have suggested are definitely worth looking into as well. We often have to be our own advocates in health care, and psychiatric care is definitely an area where there are many possibilities and variables. If you attend sessions with your wife, bring your research with you and discuss it openly to explore as many possibilities as possible.
All of the treatment everyone keeps mentioning is ideal, but as someone mentioned as well, the struggle for partners of those with ADHD and related disorders is that treatment can’t be forced and the person can only benefit from it if they believe in it and truly and realistically implement it. Maybe you can “make sure” your child takes their meds, but can you “make sure” an adult does? Can you enforce mindfulness? Does the person think there’s anything wrong or even want to change? Which brings me to another concern, and I’d like to thank ex-wife2ADHD for calling this behavior what it is – abuse. Straight up. Yes, our loved ones may have a condition they are not in control of and we’d like to believe they don’t mean to do what they are doing. However, they ARE in control of addressing that condition and need to be held accountable for doing so. Like eford90 said, the shame and embarrassment felt after treating loved ones so poorly is enormous. Unless our partners are narcissists or sociopaths (I’m so sorry you went through that peninagrama712), they feel some remorse and that remorse can be a powerful tool for change. If they’re willing to own it. In any case, it needs to stop.
The children! Not enough of us are talking about the children… OP you didn’t mention it, but I have no doubt they are not only witnesses to the inappropriate treatment you receive but that they are also recipients. It’s not healthy, it’s not necessary, and it needs to stop. What a confusing message for the kids, but beryl said it best, always know they love you and explain everything to children in the house. The kids will benefit from seeing the conflict resolution, but ONLY if they see the RESOLUTION. You are demonstrating for them what standards and boundaries to put in place for their selves, and what behaviors equal love.
In my case, love and fear for my kids are the driving motivators for me to leave the situation. I am currently making plans to move to a safe location and give my partner an ultimatum to get the help he needs or our relationship is over. It’s so sad. It’s so much to deal with. But the bad is outweighing the good and if the scales don’t tip the other way soon it will be too much for us to continue as a family unit.
I hope you and your families get the help you need to make the changes that need to be made. I hope all of us do.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by keliemm. Reason: remembered another co-occurring disorder
May 13, 2019 at 4:30 pm #116611
I just want to say your post is amazing! I hope that your partner can see, if not now, one day, how lucky he is that you are willing to keep at it gaining information and looking for answers. I know your kids will benefit greatly from it. I want to thank you for them as someone who knows how much it helps to have someone like you around and the sacrifices you make to do so.
May 13, 2019 at 6:21 pm #116638
Thank you so much for that encouragement… you have no idea how much it means to have some sort of validation that my efforts are (or at least may not be) in vain. I do social work and with such a prevalence of domestic violence all my experience tells me to leave but this little voice in my head/heart keeps saying, “wait, there’s something more going on with him, I just know there’s something else…”
Relationships are SOOO complicated! The balance between love and care for others and love and care for my self is where I feel most distressed.
And thank you for sharing that you know what it’s like – I hope your situation has improved and continues to!
I’ll take advice too, if you have it 😉
May 13, 2019 at 1:05 pm #116574
Several folks have mentioned “walking on eggshells” around their significant other. As most of you already know, mental health is a very complex issue. Many pieces of my personal situation fell into place after reading “Stop Walking on Eggshells” by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger. Many of the traits mentioned above may be tied to Borderline Personality Disorder. Pay particular attention to the “high functioning” form of BPD. It is the hardest to diagnose because the person functions very well in professional and social settings, but those closest to them suffer from their condition.
After almost a decade of marital counseling, the second condition to look at is “Adult Children” by John Friel, PH.D. and Linda Friel, M.A. This information may explain how and why you are in this relationship in the first place and what both you and your significant other “get” from each other. These two books, of all the others consumed over the years, would have saved thousands of dollars and wasted years running down dead paths. Shocking factoid – adult children of dysfunctional families impacts between 80% and 90% of people in some form or fashion.
Get them in audio form if necessary. Good luck.
May 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm #116580
My son was diagnosed at 41.It’s been very hard on him and all of us. He and I found Louise Hay and Dr. Wayne Dyer books and it has saved his life. They help him stay calm for the most part and he feels he can turn to the reading when things get too loud for him.
They don’t want to be the way they are anymore than a cancer patient wants cancer.
Living with the horrible feelings all the time is so tiring for them.
It’s so hard for them because they know how they hurt us but can’t stop it. Always know they love you and explain everything to children in the house. Give them space when they need it , every time.
(If you’re a religious person just try to understand that God needs someone to take care of one of his troubled children. Look into their eyes and know that the way they are acting isn’t really who they are). ❤️🙏🏻
May 13, 2019 at 2:25 pm #116589
Firstly, there’s nothing I will say that hasn’t been said.
My emotional flare ups have been THE HARDEST symptom to manage in my 20 year diagnosis. Medication is essential for me, but it is not the only thing. I need a combination of meds, the right therapist, and the right LIFESTYLE to keep my emotional responses under control.
Even with a great therapist, psychiatrist, and meds, I still have problems right now because everything else in my life is stressful (too much desk time at work, buying a house, etc).
I try to be aware of this and tell my partner when I need to be alone or need a break from a conversation because I feel myself getting heated. Try and come up with a signal to pause a conversation or argument that EITHER of you can use as a “time out” signal to walk away and regroup. Have the other person write down their talking points so that you can finish the conversation at a better time.
When she is getting explosive she should make sure she has: eaten recently (quality protein especially), slept enough, gone outside for a short walk, etc and if not, try to find a way to encourage her to do that. I know if she’s already in exploding mode it will be hard and she will probably feel offended by your suggestions so try to talk them out when you guys aren’t in a heated moment and plan ahead.
If your wife is in therapy and on meds already, you two should evaluate their efficacy together and also look at lifestyle things that may be increasing her ADHD overwhelm and prohibiting her from better examining and managing her outbursts.
Best of luck to both of you. She probably feels a ton of guilt and anger towards herself for behaving this way, so do remember her anger is likely coming from somewhere internal.
May 13, 2019 at 4:55 pm #116619
Marriage counseling with a counselor who knows ADD can be helpful if ADD treatment is involved. It has been four years into the formal diagnosis for us. For me, not having ADD, I have had to learn to listen a lot better and make sure I understand what my wife is trying to tell me before I answer. I have had to learn to not react but to thoughtfully respond. It is really really hard, I f* up now and then and let my emotions take over, and there are things I don’t think I will ever understand. You have to not take initial outbursts personally, a lot of it is out of misunderstandings and frustration. I think my wife had thought ADD treatment would be the silver bullet, but to a degree it had made her ADD even more obvious especially when medication wear off she becomes a different person.
Get professional help for your marriage, and your family, that is the start. There are no guarantees though, hopefully you wife will see how much you care and that will make a world of difference.
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by uscv. Reason: typo
May 13, 2019 at 6:05 pm #116637
Thank you all very much for your responses. The validation of what I am seeing (and feeling) is so helpful. I will take what all of you said and consider it carefully. I am committed to helping my wife and family. We are about to celebrate or 20 year anniversary and I have no intention of leaving.
May 21, 2019 at 11:13 am #116986
You’ve received a great deal of feedback to process. I suggest working with a therapist yourself to process everything; if you cannot find one in your area, there are options available online. Since there isn’t any official diagnosis from a medical professional it’s really difficult for your family to understand what is really going on. The description you provided sounds a lot like Borderline Personality. I am diagnosed with this as well as ADHD and my experience is that they feed on/fuel each other. Borderline wasn’t an easy diagnosis to accept, but once I did I feel like I was able to truly address it rather than just focusing on my ADHD and depression, I started to become aware of the true progress I was making. While not at all specific for Borderline, this workbook made a huge difference: Out-of-Control by Melanie Gordon Sheets Ph.D.
May 13, 2019 at 7:03 pm #116641
I’m like you’re wife. After I pushed my husband so far away he ended up having a one night stand for 20 minutes with a co worker. We have been attending therapy for the last 7 months. I’ve had to listen and change some of my behaviors. It’s a daily challenge but I try each day. We’re in a much better place than we have ever been. It was like we had to be completely broken to realize what we have and not to take each other for granted.
May 13, 2019 at 7:10 pm #116642
Hi, thanks for having the courage to share with us.
I’m 58 now, but your situation sounds just like my childhood. Although times were different it’s now extremely clear both my parents and I (and probably my sister) would score a full 100% on any ADHD test in existence. Mum was a charming individual with private outbursts of rage and irrational demands.
I’m estranged from my parents now, mostly because my father completely yielded to my mother’s irrational behaviour. He never stood up for us, “she’s your mother so she’s right”.
So if you are reaching out to us and supporting your kids, you’re doing ok.
As I learnt the family stories, it became clear my mother’s issues were not with ADHD. It didn’t help of course, but the anger issues were separate. Other posters have suggested similar. She probably needs professional support. You are her husband, not her psychiatrist, so focus on keeping the kids strong and loved.
It turned out my mother probably has undiagnosed post-natal depression as well as a lot of unresolved stuff from her own abusive past. It’s a real mess, which she secretly nurtures to this day, having aggressively attacked every offer of support.
Watch your health, love your kids, stay strong.
May 15, 2019 at 8:26 am #116602
BTW, read this blog and responses. *excellent* perspectives offered here. https://www.additudemag.com/forums/topic/id-rather-be-alone-than-ignored-normal/
May 15, 2019 at 8:28 am #116647
This could also be Asperger’s/high-functioning-autism meltdown. A large percentage of people with Asperger’s have co-morbid ADD, plus you mentioned anxiety, which is also mentioned here: https://www.autism.org.uk/about/behaviour/meltdowns.aspx
May 15, 2019 at 10:05 am #116709
I feel like we are kindred spirits. I don’t have good answers yet, but it helps to know we are not alone in this. I’ve signed up for the Gina Pera blog last night. She wrote a book called “Is it You, or Me, or Adult ADHD?” I’ve ordered a used copy to read. Hoping this gives me some additional tools to use to keep my sanity and to help my husband. I guess all I can offer right now is, keep the faith.
May 18, 2019 at 8:12 am #116859
I divorced my angry and abusive husband after 17 years. We have been apart now for seven years and it was the best decision I could have made. My children do not have to witness his rageful outbursts. Our son did not grow up thinking it was okay to treat women like s***, and our daughter has grown up knowing that not all men are assholes and to expect less when it comes to relationships.
My self-esteem was down to nothing because of his verbal tirades. There were many days that I wished I were dead so that it could be over. I started over at 47 years old. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but definitely the best decision for me. It’s saved my sanity.
There is never an excuse to treat the person you claim to love like garbage. ADD is not an excuse for bad behavior
May 18, 2019 at 10:11 am #116860
I’m sorry to hear you went through that. As a survivor of abuse myself, I can completely empathize.
As an ADHDer, I can say that while it isn’t an excuse, sometimes we literally have ZERO CONTROL over our reactions and to anyone reading this PLEASE understand that means that we need HELP. we are not monsters, we are people with a neurological disorder. Sometimes outburst of rage are a SYMPTOM of this and it CAN be fixed.
Just like people with Alzheimer’s or ASD can become physically violent as a result of the impacts on and functions of their brains, emotionally charged outbursts from ADHDers can be a result of ours.
Abuse is never okay and ADHD isn’t an excuse. But we aren’t monsters. We are people with a medical condition who are already regularly treated by the whole world like all the “bad” things we do — like forgetting, getting distracted, talking out of turn — are intentional. We are people who, without the proper medical care and social support, are prone to depression and anxiety and rarely feel understood.
I’m not asking anyone to forgive or excuse their abusers, but I’m asking you to please recognize that there can be serious negative impacts as a result of having a Lifelong “problem” with your BRAIN, especially if you’ve gone most of your life undiagnosed and to please recognize that we aren’t evil. We aren’t monsters. And a lot of time we really, truly can not control our emotions.
Like at all. Like it’s as if we were 5 years old. And it feels that way to us too.
Can you even imagine what that’s like?
I’m not asking you to forgive your abuser. I’m asking you to have compassion for people with brain issues.
May 21, 2019 at 9:44 am #116969
For the record, My angry and abusive Ex-Husband did not have brain issues. He did not have ADHD/ADD or Aspergers.
He flipped a switch one day, about 4 years into our marriage, after the birth of our son. Suddenly he was angry all the time. Nothing I said or did was good enough. He complained constantly and criticized me and said hurtful things to me regularly.
He took advantage of me when I was depressed. ( I have a history of depression going back 30 years now. )
Because I allowed him to treat me this way for over a decade, and finally got away from him I refuse to live like that ever again.
I don’t care what the reason/excuse is, no one will EVER abuse me, or rage at me ever again. I won’t tolerate it. I would rather spend the rest of my life alone than subject myself to such treatment.
And yes, I can empathize with others. I understood that my Ex-husband’s Dad was controlling and had a temper. My Dad had a temper also, and wanted things done his way. I have never abused others because of how I was raised. I’m an adult and know better. If a person has brain issues and that causes them to be rageful and angry, that is sad and unfortunate. It is also a total mind f**k for the person on the receiving end. My ex would act like he didn’t remember what he said and did, then be pissed at me when I kept my distance. Nothing excuses his behavior.
May 20, 2019 at 2:33 pm #116946
My wife and I have been together since highschool, over ten years now. I have been diagnosed with ADHD as of about 18 months ago, and I have found a good dose of biphentin which seems to negate my ‘busyness’, memory problems, organizational issues, etc., but I am still having issues with my emotions. I heavily identify with the symptoms of RSD; In the moment, it is impossible to see that I am not being attacked or treated unfairly; it’s like my brain has no middle ground between ‘safe’ and ‘dying’, and when my ‘fight’ is engaged, there is no turning it off. A lot of the time, I will accuse her of being impossible to communicate with, stifling my emotions and frustrations, being manipulative. I know she is not these things. She is only these things when I am angry, and I feel crazy because, at the same time, I know she is not perfect either and has said and done some pretty mean things in the past as well. It is hard to disentangle what objective reality is.
I am almost done my degree in social work, which has taught me why I am like this; but knowing why almost makes it harder to combat. What makes it worse for my wife is that I never show this level of anger and rage to anyone else; she and our home are my safe space, and when I am not on guard being professional for work or well-behaved in public, anything can set me off. I get incredibly offended when she tries to tell me things I already know (it makes me feel like an idiot), or tries to help me with things I am frustrated with like finding things around the house (it makes me feel like a child). It’s not like it’s consistent, either, which makes it more difficult for her; some days I can accept help with a smile, others it feels like she’s shaming me. The comparison above to a sneeze is so accurate it hurts. I am not an angry person. I am kind and thoughtful and generous 90% of the time. Neither my wife or I recognize me when I am in the middle of an outburst.
What hurts me is that I will try for weeks, sometimes, to progress, and I will feel internal change and my perspective changing, good habits solidifying, and we will have a slip up where I will escalate the argument to one of us having to leave the house to get space because “how dare she treat me like this when I am trying so hard to be a better person”. In her eyes, when this happens, all progress is erased. We are back to square one. It is hard to convince her that things are getting better when these slip-ups happen and resemble how we used to be. I can see the cycle wearing on her, and I am terrified that she will give up on me (though objectively I do not see us leaving each other).
Other than Biphentin, things that have helped me so far are short walks, taking a moment and escaping elsewhere with headphones or a book if I can concentrate enough, opening up to friends about my anger (as keeping things like that secret only make it worse), small Yoga routines (clinically proven to reconnect your mind with your body; a big factor in losing control of yourself), mindful breathing, eliminating regular alcohol consumption (I’ll still get silly a few times a year), reducing sugar, higher quality food, etc. Unsurprisingly, I was at my worst when I was in the thick of the academic year, during winter, not eating until about 4pm each day, drowning in a sea of financial stress, and surviving off of $2 burgers from McDonalds.
The biggest thing to remember, I think, is that it is not “mind and body”. Mind IS body. The emotional outbursts, while in our minds, are physical as well. Taking control of one’s mind and emotions also requires taking control of one’s body as well and nurturing them in tandem. When I feel anger coming, and I am able to do so, I take a few minutes to check in with every part of my body from head to toe. Take a few seconds and really feel how each part is doing. Sometimes, you may find that the source of your irritation is physical. However, I am not so naive as to suggest that this is realistic for people in the moment of their anger. If you can, do it as you start to come out of your outburst; you will still be feeling the physical side of it.
In a calm moment, maybe also try/suggest some guided imagery; I am a fan of the ‘container’ script, which helps you put your feelings away until you can look at them with a clear mind. Make a happy place. Your mind is powerful, powerful enough to control you, but powerful enough to help you build internal structures to support yourself.
There is hope, friends.
And thank you for sharing your experiences.
Sorry if some of this seems disjointed, I kept hopping around and editing it.
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