Ask the Experts

Why Is My Wife So Nasty?

“I was folding laundry, and before I could finish the pile, my wife dropped more clean clothes on top. When I told her that I like to finish one pile before starting another, she said I was crazy. How can we avoid this?”

It’s important for those without ADHD to understand the differences of those with the disorder, and not to overreact to them. To be fair, some with ADHD also have challenges managing their anger. Unfiltered responses are harmful to relationships.

Perhaps your wife was trying to help you by bringing you more clothes to fold. However, her response was out of line. Such harsh words are unacceptable in a marriage, and bullying is always wrong.

The easy fix to the problem is for you to stop folding the laundry. The tougher fix is to have a conversation about what is bothering her. Does she need to know how your ADHD brain works? Why is she so angry?

Both of you may need to see a therapist to help you understand each other’s brain styles.

Updated on December 13, 2017

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  1. I’m 61 diagnosed with ADHD and PSD. My wife has given me an ultimatum. I quit taking the meds because it made me too anxious all the time. I do self medicate with marijuana but I’m not a druggie by any stretch. I don’t drink or do anything else. I do all the yard work, housework, cook, and have a normal life. I also wait on my wife hand and foot. She wants for nothing. But apparently that’s not enough. I’m severely depressed over the situation because in my mind I’ve been a really good husband. I’m not sure there’s a good way out of this situation. My home has become a hostile environment and I feel like I’m not respected or appreciated. I don’t think this is all me but I’m sure she will see her position as blameless. Help anyone?

    1. @genetemple Lots of Qs: Did you ever get any further with this dilemma? What was your wife’s ultimatum? Obligatory: Have you tried couples counseling?

      From a surface reading, it sounds like you’re doing a great job being a husband, and this could be one of those “love languages” issues where you’re doing what you would want someone to do for you but not necessarily what SHE wants. So maybe you engage in gift-giving or acts of service but she just wants affirmation that she’s beautiful from you or quality time, etc. This is all Gary Chapman stuff, but sometimes it works to get to the place where neither of you is to blame, per se, but deeper willingness to listen (like in this article) would go a long way. Writing short journal entries, exchanging them, and then making time to read the other person’s and reflect without being rushed can be useful when talking turns into arguing. (Dealing with this myself!)

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