Is this ADD or just verbal abuse?

I have been dating a man for over a year now who was very open with me from the beginning that he had ADHD. At the time, I was not concerned as I had previously been married to a man with ADHD for 14 years and had some understanding of the diagnosis. This man and I were friends 20 years ago and "found" each other again and after admitting to each other that we had unresolved feelings for each other, we started dating. I have been very patient his mood swings and days of depression, but it is the verbal abuse I can't deal with. This was one of the reasons I left my previous husband.  When he gets in one of his severe moods, he will swear at me, call me names, but then sincerely apologize later. Then, his latest is after we officially told we each other we loved each other, and meant it, two weeks later, he "took it back" telling me that he really only loved me as a friend and broke up with me and treated me like a piece of garbage. He then contacted me a few weeks later telling me he didn't mean it and was sincerely apologetic, but now a month later he has done the same thing again! I deeply love this man and have for a long time, but I can't be with someone I can't even trust when he tells me he loves me thinking he will "take it back" for no reason!! Any advice....PLEASE!!

In addition, he REFUSES to go on any medication. He is TOTALLY against anything regarding modern medicine. He believes that his organic and natural diet and supplements are enough to keep him under control.


Sure, ADHD can co-exist with anger issues, and my take is that some folks with ADHD have a tough time filtering what they say in the moment, and may be prone to this type of behavior. But, yes: what you are describing is verbal abuse, and certainly not everyone with ADHD does this. One question I will ask you is this: Does he do this with everyone? At work? In stores? At family reunions? If so, maybe he has a significant mental health issue. If not, then he has somehow been given the ok to do this to you, and nothing is changing the pattern.

I think you are answering your own question here. You said that you can't be with someone whom you can't trust. He isn't willing to treat himself. He treated you like "garbage" and continues to repeat his behavior. This has been going on for over a year. And you had experience with a spouse who did the same thing to you. 

Of course you should not tolerate this--but I think you know that:-) My advice: make a clean break, now, and find someone who does not swear, yell at you, and call you names. You don't deserve to be treated that way, right? Or, give him an ultimatum, kindly but firmly: you love him, but you also love yourself, and you can't be treated this way, so: anger management and whatever treatment it takes, and call you when he is ok. And if he gets defensive and starts to point out the ways in which you are provoking him and "making" him this way--run for the hills. 

Best of luck to you. Full disclosure--just left a spouse who did the same to me after more than a decade. I loved mine, too, but I started hating my life after a while. I didn't see it as verbal abuse for a long time--I was this strong, understanding woman who loved a difficult, troubled man. What really was happening is that by not explicitly demanding otherwise, I was giving him permission to treat me this way. It is worth possibly asking yourself why you may be drawn to men who behave like this or perhaps why you may be afraid of being alone and would put up with it? Sorry if it sounds harsh-- I did--and am still working on it. Take care of yourself. 


lynninny, You have made it to where I want to be.  I am trying to gather all available resources to help me have courage and strength.  I have joined a poetry group to write the grief out of me and be heard, I joined this group to write the anger out of me and be heard, I have 2 exercise buddies who we keep each other accountable about 4 times a week, I am letting go of my needy attachment to some friendships , I am learning about how to not take things personally and use people's off-hand remarks and mean words as data about THEM - not truths about the world, I am meditating and going to church and praying, I attend a small grief group,  I visit or call my 95yr old neighbor every night.  All this seems to be not nearly enough.  There is an emptiness that I need filled that longs to be satiated. I know that happiness is something you give yourself and that you should not look to others to fill you and GIVE you happiness.  Yet, there is something I so want and need that so embarrassingly part of my psyche.  And I don't have an answer to myself about what that need is.

I feel out of the loop, isolated, left for dead.  Seeing the back of his head as he walks away from me or doesn't talk to me, the unopened door when it is dinner time because he doesn't believe he needs to come home or call if late, the empty spaces of time waiting for him to respond, ignoring of me when I walk into a room, the feeling of constant suspicion that he is lying to me again, .... these have left me to find my own channels of support and connection.  The unknowns about our finances or future because he won't talk yet seeing the overdue business bills piled on his desk.

I can't be with someone I don't trust.  Maybe I have forgotten how to trust myself.  lynninny, how/where did you find the courage and strength to see clearly and get on the road to healing and self respect?  How did you do it?

My dream is to write myself through this process of finding courage and strength within/without a relationship and help others who are looking for how to get through it.  Hopefully I will go through this process and find myself at the other end.

"and so the two of you will become one....the only question is...which one?"   That would be funny if it hadn't been so true in my marriage.

Good job

Good job doing all that you are doing to work through this. I'm sorry you still feel incomplete and I hope that lessens with time. It did occur to me while reading this that maybe you would benefit from volunteering. I know that many people derive great satisfaction from that. I was thinking maybe with the humane society, I like animals, or maybe kids. Reading time at a library, boys and girls club. I'm sure there are many options if you have time. Good luck.

out of it

jennalemon, I don't know if this answer is the right one for anyone else, but to get on the road to healing and self-respect, I absolutely had to leave my husband. Completely. And the way I had to leave him: not in anger, or fear, or bitterness (all of which I had felt!): but in love, for myself, for my two children, and for my idea of the future for the three of us, was what made it ok. It took a while to leave--if you see my earlier posts, I was living in complete misery, and I slowly worked through what was going on over a couple of years. I was a shell of myself. He had ADHD, sure, and the things that went with that were hard to live with, but the problem was that he was unkind, and verbally abusive, and angry, and it was quite literally almost killing me. To be clear, if he had ever, even once, said, "I am so sorry--I know that this condition I have is making x tough for me, and the way I have been behaving is not ok--can you please work with me while I get help?" it would have been a different story. But he didn't, and said that everything was my fault, that I was uptight, and provoked him. So enough about him. I stopped making it about him and made it about me and of course, my babies. I am far from perfect, absolutely, but I started trusting myself and realized that he was pretty in the wrong here, and that I deserved better, and unfortunately, I wasn't going to get it from him. 

There is nothing wrong with needing love, or wanting it--I do! There is nothing in the world to be embarrassed about. I just woke up and stopped wanting or needed it from a person that could not give it to me in a way that wasn't twisted and unhealthy. That is a good thought, about trusting yourself--I had lost the ability to do that. I had to stop putting any stock whatsoever in him, or what he thought, or did, and waiting and hoping for it to be different. I couldn't try to react differently, or be different, or worry about him at all. "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and hoping for a different result." I realized that I was being insane, and viewing myself as a victim, and it was time to stop. It was surprisingly easy--I just remembered all of the times he called me names, or said mean things, or told me that I was too needy, or made disparaging comments about me in front of other people, or lied and didn't come through with what he said he was going to do, or told me that he didn't like something about me. I realized that I wouldn't be friends with a person like this--no way--so why would I stay married to him or live with him? 

After I left, it was like I was coming out of a dream or a cave, or something. I put settling our separation and affairs on hold until it was something I felt like I could handle and deal with. I try hard to be around positive, happy people. I write a lot (probably too much on this forum!). I reached out to people to be friends, some of whom I hadn't expected. When anyone offered me help, I took it. I don't watch romantic comedies for now--ha! - I seem to prefer crime dramas for some reason. But seriously, I find it easier not to dwell in the world of what I don't have right now, and I give myself a lot of slack. I woke up one day and felt like I was out of jail and I felt happy.That was it. I think all of the things you are doing for yourself are great. Give yourself permission to not be perfect:-), and keep in motion. 

By the way, my spouse did scream and freak out for a while when I left, as many abusive personalities do. He threatened to take our children, (ha) and make me pay him alimony, and told his family bad things about me. And then he shut up. Ironically, he doesn't fight very hard to see his children more than once or twice a week. I hardly deal with him at all now. I let a lot of things go--the house, some money, the way I was seen by other people. I don't miss them at all. Best to you!





thank you

Thank you so much for these posting - especially the first two lines. You left out of love....for yourself, your two kids, and for your future. That's EXACTLY what I am in the midst of doing right now. After 10 years of misery, 6 of which were pure hell, that is the same conclusion I came to about 5 months ago. And it sounds like thus far my experience has been like what you described. I'm still only at the beginning, the papers got filed last week. Now I just need to continued encouragement and hope that the craziness will eventually subside and the self-love I am restoring every day will eventually be my continued reality every day. I have let go of a lot of things but I still need to learn to let go of how I am seen by other people - particularly his family.

hang in there

km, do hang in there. No matter what, the "crisis mode" will subside and you will settle into a new phase of life. It really helped me not to look at it as "before/after," but as life as a series of interludes or phases, and this is just the next one I am in, even if I didn't expect it. There will be many more, I hope. 

It is tough not to worry about how you are seen by other people--I didn't love being recently separated but then I realized that many of my children's friends' parents were and many people I knew were going through it as well. Ironically, I found out later when I talked to my brother-in-law that they had figured out their family member and his issues a long time ago. It doesn't mean they aren't loyal to him, but B-I-L was kind and decent to me when we finally talked and understood why I did what I did. You never know, and I love this phrase a friend told me: "It is none of your business what other people think." 

Take good care of yourself. Surround yourself with positive, strong people and if something bums you out, avoid it for a while. No need to figure everything out at once. 

Verbal abuse

Hello. I'm very sorry you are going through this.  It must be especially hard having already gone through a similar situation. It is verbal abuse. My ADHD DH has been known to call me vile names because he was stressed out and I had the audacity to disagree with him. I think it's basically ADHD plus defensiveness and no filter. But that doesn't make it ok. If the symptoms make a habit of taking over then he needs to better manage his symptoms. Meds are only one option. Diet is important but exercise and meditation can also help. Counseling. Still, I'd be wary of a person so unwilling to look at all channels of treatment. Keep in mind your relationship is still young, if this is going on already it's unlikely to get better over the years. Take a careful assessment of what you are actually getting from the relationship. Is it really worth the turmoil?

Is it ADD or Verbal Abuse?

Just writing a quick comment that I hope supports you.  I too am in the midst of separating from my husband.  He's verbally abusive and just happens to have ADD.  He takes meds from his doctor and then self medicates with supplements and other substances.  No counseling, behavioral modification therapy or any other supportive measure.  He thinks he's just fine with what he's doing (or not doing) and I'm paying a huge price with my health.  I've been diagnosed with Stage 3 adrenal fatigue------exhaustion.  We've been married 24 years and I'm out of work-arounds.  He needs to take responsibility for himself including seeing the negative and damaging impact that he's had on me and his daughters.  The behavior you described with the leaving and coming back and the strange 'take it back' comment is definitely verbal abuse.  If you'd like to know more about verbal abuse may I suggest checking out Patricia Evans book 'The verbally abusive relationship'.  It's not a plug but a resource that helped me a great deal in understanding bizarre behavior.  

I returned to this site to see if there are references to verbal abuse and ADD and obviously there are.  I've read some posts and they all describe verbally abusive behavior.  It's hard for me to reconcile that ADD causes abuse.  I think that it contributes to it but it's not the cause.  Lundy Bancroft the author of 'Why does he do that?' agrees.  So my quest to 'know thine enemy can officially end and I can move on to SOLELY focus on my daughter (15) and myself.  I've spent the last 24 years focused on him.  I think that is plenty.  I wish you peace, joy, abundance, serenity, happiness and love!

Thanks to all who posted on this subject your viewpoints were greatly appreciated.