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Reacting to ADHD Rage

As the parent of a child with ADHD, I understand how easy it would be to let that last thread of self-control snap.

Every now and then I congratulate myself for not hurting Natalie, my child with ADHD.

What am I saying? Shouldn’t it be a given that I won’t hurt my child? Don’t call the social workers on me, but, no, it really isn’t a given. I have never hurt her, I swear. But I’ve wanted to.

That’s not right either. No, I’ve never wanted to hurt her. But I understand how easy it would be to let that last thread of self-control snap. I’ve come too close for comfort.

Natalie had her biggest, baddest ADHD-acting-out episode of all time a couple weeks ago. It started out with Natalie reacting to a minor disappointment and escalated from there. It consumed our entire evening, and left both Natalie and I completely drained of energy and emotion well into the next day.

It’s when Natalie hurts me (or Aaron, my son without ADHD; or the cat) that I nearly lose control. I get absolutely crazy. Saying I feel RAGE would not be an exaggeration. Here’s an ironic image: me screaming, “WE DO NOT HURT EACH OTHER IN THIS FAMILY!” — as my voice, facial expression, and body language scream that I’m about to commit murder. It’s horrible. I’m horrible.

And Natalie did hurt me during this particular fit. To make matters worse, we weren’t at home. We were driving to pick Aaron up from baseball practice. As her tantrum escalated, Natalie, from the backseat of the car, threw things at me — toys, books, her shoes, then kicked me in the head and shoulder as I drove. At the ball park, I got out of the car to get away from her. She chased after me, hitting me. I tried to safely restrain her, and we wrestled around — in the rain, in wet grass. She’s getting too strong for — I couldn’t do it. As we rolled around, I worried what other parents, and, God forbid, Aaron and his teammates, were seeing and thinking.

I eventually walked away from Nat, back to the car, and called my husband, Don, who was 30 minutes away, but would leave work and get back as soon as possible. Aaron walked over, we got in the car, and became a target too. Just as we turned into our subdivision, Aaron called Don again, begging for help.

Another hard kick to my shoulder. I slammed on the brakes, screaming, “GET OUT OF THIS CAR RIGHT THIS MINUTE, AND WALK HOME!”

Nat threw open the door, but stayed in the back seat kicking and flailing. We finally got home, and I got Nat into her room — with a round, red bite mark on my left wrist to show for it. Don got there and took over. I slammed kitchen cupboards. Bawled. Shook all over.

I hate to be that way. I hate to have Aaron see any of that. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I’m making an appointment with a new psychologist. I — we — have to try something more, something different.

At least I didn’t hurt her.

Updated on September 15, 2017

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  1. I’ve just joined this blog and in Hope’s that others battling children with ADHD Can give me advice on what to do and not to do. I’m an auntie of two boys who suffer with ADHD, ADD, PTSD, Seperation Anxiety and the list goes on. I with my mother who is 61 are doing this together but feeling defeated. My little brother who also had ADHD had two boys and he was murdered almost four years ago. And the state gave them to my mom. They’re mother is not in the picture at all. She has addictions to drugs and prostitution. So we are doing it all. Medication seems to only help for a week or so then it doesn’t. Poor babies have had it changed so many times. The school has been amazing with them. But we vet them unmedicated after school and on top of it all, my mom has buried her son, her mother, father, brothers, sister, godfather, godmother, nieces and nephews and trying to help my oldest brother battle an addiction to alcohol and drugs. She isn’t in a place to help as much as needed. Shes emotionally drained. So there’s main the middle trying to be a counselor, aunt, daughter, referee and positive re-enforcment. So I’m the punching bag. Not allowed to have a bad day and walking on glass 24/7. All while holding four jobs and looking for my own son who’s father disappeared with him over three years ago. This is all just the tip of the iceberg. My youngest nephew is very clear on what he needs and what his feeling and seems to be thriving as long as he has a “job” to keep him busy and medication is working great. My oldest is so angry and depressed and turns inside himself. His such a big hearted child and takes on others emotions in Hope’s to make someone else feel better but its weighing so hard. His beginning to attack his brother and verbally attack family and school employees. This is not like him. He asks questions about his gender and if boys can wear makeup. So I’m wondering if he is suffering internally with his gender or if his just trying to find himself. Either way I will love him the same. But he wont open up or talk about anything. His failing in school and feels all my mothers anger, guilt and depression. She started drinking after work. Sometimes a glass most time 2-3 bottles of wine. I’m so defeated and they won’t allow me to help them. Please if anyone has advice. I’m trying to understand :'(. I love them all so much but I’m only one person. Please help!
    Sincerely, An aunt/daughter trying to put my family back together.

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