ADHD INTENSE compulsion to "say one more thing"?

A CONSTANT struggle for me when having a discussion with my husband is to quickly just tell him "one more thing" or try/want to explain my position better so that he "gets it."

Example: we have an argument about something and I tell him I need to pause and "think about it." (A tool that I need because I can't process quickly). A few minutes later, he hears me typing away on my computer and says:

  • HIM: "so does the fact that you're typing mean that you're done "thinking about it?"
  • ME: "well, you'd say that because I have trouble multi-tasking and so if you hear me typing, then I'm obviously not thinking about the situation, but... " (he interrupts here, my "but" would have gone on to explain why it made sense that I was typing for "insert my reason du jour here.")

What he WANTS/EXPECTS is when he asks me why I am typing is for me to say something like "Oh, crap, I'm sorry, I told you I was going to follow up and then when you heard me typing, your reasonable conclusion was that I forgot, am blowing you off, don't care, etc."

What I DO SAY is, "well if you hadn't interrupted me I would have told you that I needed to set the issue aside for a moment to let my emotions cool down, at which time I would have appropriately considered things and then followed up appropriately, which is what I SHOULD have told you in the first place instead of just that I "needed a pause..."

So basically, my OVERRIDING, intense desire/emotion at the time is to NOT admit fault, but to tell him why what I did "made sense" if he had just let me continue.

He can be impatient, which is due in great part to huge cumulative frustration of me not responding honestly in these types of situations. That impatience feeds my fears, defensiveness, etc. and worsens my behavior, which makes him more impatient, which makes me worse, etc.

For me, I believe that the scenario above is part ADHD, part habit of not wanting to admit mistakes, part emotion. I have a huge struggle with the initial compulsion, and then "holding on" to my position/emotion even when it doesn't make sense to do so. I will often explode and say mean things, to which he of course responds coolly and rationally (e.g. "this is what you are doing and just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not the truth") - WHICH IS TRUE BUT AT THE MOMENT IT POURS GASOLINE ON THE FIRE for me. At this point, things really escalate, or SOMETIMES I can bite my tongue and take a moment and let my anger/agitation diffuse.

Any Adhd'ers who understand what I am describing, who have found successful ways to cope with this "in the heat of the moment" response?

Any Adhd spouses who recognize the situation who have found successful things to do or say that don't let the Adhd spouse get away with the irrational behavior, but help it not to escalate?

I guess I feel very torn on what is the healthy boundary between the adhd'ers capabilities/responsibility and the adhd spouses' ability to recognize and help compensate that is a win/win for BOTH PEOPLE.

My wife does the same thing,

My wife does the same thing, we'll be talking and she'll ask for some time to think about it. I try to let her have that but if she starts doing something else I'm not sure what's going on and I feel left hanging. That's a hard situation for me to be in, I prefer to have some conclusion and the truth is that's very rarely possible with so many issues in a relationship. Something that's helped me with this is that when she needs a break to think we try and set a specific time to return and continue the discussion. We usually try and find a time that works into the household schedule and that gives her enough time to think about things. She admits that it has helped her and I'd agree that when we come back she is usually more willing to see her mistakes and I feel the same for me. It does diffuse the defensive attitude at times. It has taken some time to get to this point, initially it seemed like it wasn't going to help because she would use the time to fill up with the defensive ammunition even further. It took a lot of understanding from both of us to agree that wasn't the goal and we started to use the time to think about how we could admit some faults and make things better. I'd say that the biggest help for me was having a specific time that I could come back to, that being said it can still be difficult for her to be "ready" by that time or be in the right mindset. Sometimes she asks for more time and I've had to get used to that also. It's like you said about him being impatient, if you ask him to delay that by a bit and still don't have anything to say then it can have the opposite affect be worse. My wife tries to at least have some thoughts when we come back to talk as opposed to needing more time. That way I at least feel she's putting some effort into it and I'm not just left hanging even longer. As far as the boundary between responsibilities and ability to recognize, I'd say that I try and recognize she needs time to organize her thoughts and that she has a responsibility to do that and not continue to leave me hanging. But we both have a responsibility to listen to what the other is saying and be willing to accept some role in whatever issue we are trying to tackle. 

Thanks for the reply

I guess I didn't have comment/reply notifications turned on because I didn't get an email triggering me to check for responses. Thanks for the input. My husband definitely concurs on the time limit. I have some of the same struggles as your wife, but will try to be more aware of the impact.


Do you have a short fuse? I do, and I think that's part of it.

Oh, yeah, I relate.  I don't have a ton of time, but wanted to let you know that you are not alone in that.  I find the need to say one more thing (that pressure cooker feeling) is a million times worse with my husband.  I agree with your assessment that it is part ADHD, part poor coping mechanism, and I would add, part ADHD marriage issues.  If the meds haven't kicked in or are wearing off, watch out!  I know people with ADHD who are laid back (maybe too laid back in some situations).  I am not that person.  I have a flash fire temper...always have been like that.  I am not like that at work, but when my emotions are closely linked to a situation that has to do with family or spouse, that's where I run into more trouble.  I have gotten a lot better in some respects (with my parents), and still experience great variability with my spouse.  Sometimes, I'm great.  I can admit fault right away.  This doesn't always help because he's frequently still mad that I reacted improperly to from the get-go.  It doesn't matter how petty it is; he's still mad...  Other times, it takes a fight, or what I'd call a disagreement (he would not agree), and then I admit it.  I don't *usually*find that when it happens, it's because I just won't admit it as I've been working on that.  It used to be a way of life for me.   I just decided one day that I needed to be accountable in that sense...  When it takes a fight, it's because I feel attacked, even when I'm not being attacked.  Or it could be because I don't see the whole picture right away.  In either case, it's my own distractible perception that is lacking.  In the particular situation you describe, I can imagine myself being in la-la land, typing away, and then (what seems like to my distracted ADHD mind) all of a sudden, my husband is, even if politely, reminding me that I have FAILED AGAIN.  Then, I would superimpose the times he ACTUALLY IS MEAN on to the new experience, and if he wasn't mad before, he sure as shit is now...