Any insight on how/why this became an argument?

My ADD husband makes his own cigarettes and keeps them in tupperware type containers. I had gotten him some cheap ones at the dollar store, but the lids were breaking and he needed more. I had recently purchased some for my own use in the kitchen, higher quality since they were for food. He texted me a 'list' of things he needed yesterday when I went to town...and "air tight containers" was on the list. I didn't get them, for a couple of reasons. I was in a hurry, they were on the opposite side of the store from everything else I was getting, and I just decided I would let him have one of the new ones I had gotten.

When he asked where they were later that evening, I told him they were in the cabinet, that I had just gotten some and he could have one of those. Actually he asked "did you get me any containers" and I responded with "actually, I didn't because I just got some new ones and you can have one of them". He was immediately upset.."just forget it, I'll get me some when I go to town". I explained that they were nicer and better quality than his others to which he replied "I wanted air tight containers!". I TRIED, to no avail, to explain that you're not going to get much more airtight than just your ordinary container...which is what I had. I even tried pulling out one that has a 'button' to compress the air out of it, but nothing doing him he just go angrier and said "why can't you just drop it?!!"

Why does this happen? It is about the containers really? I wondered if it wasn't about me buying him something 'shiny and new' since he's addicted to having 'new stuff' and me not buying them for him personally, he was insulted. Insulted that he'd asked for them and I didn't buy any? Felt slighted? I just don't get it. I finally just dropped it, like he asked...and he apologized a little after that for being so short. It was never mentioned again.

If it were me...

I have ADHD. Your explanation makes good sense. That being said, if it were me I would have developed expectations of having the item b/c it would have taken some effort to remember to send you a "complete" list of what I wanted. Not having that item in the end, without some conversation about why it wasn't necessary, would cause me to feel disappointed - something ADDers dont handle well. In other threads you will read that ADDers often feel that they are communicating more than we actually do. He may have felt that you understood what he wanted, and why, and agreed with it. Not excusing his behavior, but maybe that helps. I try hard to evaluate my expectations so I feel disappointed less often and free others from my projection of guilt.
annabeth083's picture

Sounds Familiar

Wow this just sounds all too familiar.  Not exactly the same topic, but this sounds like many arguments my boyfriend and I have. And we have a lot.  I usually end up annoying the heck out of him, and being "confused" about why he is so angry.  A lot of it in your case may have to do with the fact that he felt you weren't' dependable.  It seems that is a criticism of many with ADHD.  Of course for me to be criticized about this or to upset someone makes me very upset, as I want to please others.  In my case, my bf just gets tired of me forgetting to do things, not having the time, being overwhelmed with everything I have to do and therefore not doing everything etc etc etc.  Just part of the ADD personality.  I also noticed that you said you tried to explain why you had done what you did.  This is big for me. I always feel like I have to explain why I did something so that maybe just maybe  if they understood me and why I did it, they would stop being mad.  I think I should be able to explain explain explain and get a nice short reply like " Oh ok I see. Its okay" That never happens.  I think because we with ADD are used to disappointing others with our behavior or not being perfect that over time we get used to giving excuses and explaining more than others. At least this is what I've read. I see it as a perfectly normal reaction. But to others without ADHD they often see it as annoying. They are mad or disappointed and don't really want to hear our explanations :(

Update: Just as I was writing this my bf woke up from downstairs, came up to see me typing and asked, "What are you doing? I thought you said we had to stay at your place because you were going to work on applications!" (Really I just remember barely mentioning the applications as one of many things I needed to do). Anyway, he were pretty angry to find me writing on online forums! What a waste of time, he thought.  I explained to him that I was planning on working on an application a little  later.  I could see his eye actually switching from anger at this point.  As he left he made another comment saying " I can't believe you are doing that right now you're not getting anything done like always!" I replied that I was actually reorganizing my list of online password to various forums in a new notebook, and updating expired ones, etc.  I may have gotten a little distracted.. but what's the big deal?...thats what being a member of these things are for.  If I really wanted to I could have explained to him why joining online ADD forums is good for me etc..but I actually kept my mouth shut :)

ebb and flow's picture

Issues with change, transitions and control

I'm pretty sure ADDers have some issues with change or transitions and control.

For example, we recently moved to a new house. Without discussion, my ADD partner set up the bedroom and chose his side of the bed, which is the side furthest from the bedroom door but also the side with the wall light.

About a week after we moved in I asked my ADD partner if we could switch sides. My reasons were that his closet is on my side (where I thought he could toss his laundry at night--instead of on the floor), he comes in to bed late and is always struggling in the dark to get to the opposite side (which wakes me), and that he'll never use the wall light as he comes to bed so late (due to work)... but I might.

He freaked out! Says absolutely not! I was taking his wall light away from him--the only thing he loves about the WHOLE house-- and just plain out no! (He doesn't even use the wall light because he always comes to bed at 4am and there is no opportunity to read before bed as I am sleeping soundly by that point--but still no!)

Needless to say, he still sleeps on that side of the bed and the wall light was unplugged and has not been used since we moved in and will remain that way... just as I thought it would. lol

(Mind you, a day or so later he apologized for freaking out and said he would trade sides if I wanted. I said no, because I felt badly for "taking away the only thing he loves about the house". He still doesn't use the friggen light, of course!)  :/ 

Another example is with regards to his pen.

If he loses his pen, he loses his mind. Ripping everything up in the house, in a huff, in a rage that his pen went missing. Blaming me! Telling me I took it, I hid it on him. Telling me I used it and put it somewhere... I don't touch his $50 fountain pen because I was told never to use it as it will ruin the nib. I don't even like writing with the ugly thing anyhow... lol

Needless to say, he found the pen about 15 mins later, in the exact place he left it, in the car.

When I told my therapist about this she said he has issues with change or transitioning and also issues with control. My therapist assumes he feels his life is mostly out of control so things like his pen and where he sleeps are sort of constants for him... things he's in control of. So that gives him comfort until someone try's to take it away or change it or he misplaces it.

Those stories came to mind after reading about your issue with the containers. It's like you decided to made a change in your partners world, for him, and for an ADDer that's not a good thing. It's like their world/mind is so jumbled all the time and there are so few things they can rely on being constant and if you change it, even with good intention or for the better, they get freaked out. Even after explaining to your ADDer that the one container seals more tightly, it's not going to make his feeling of fear towards change go away. Maybe after you leave it with him for a while, and he gets used to the idea, he'll come around to seeing that your way makes sense... and he can try it and if he doesn't like it he can switch back to the old container. 

lol I don't know. Sometimes I feel so ridiculous having to bend and reach for my ADDer. Man, I'm broke already from therapy and I don't think anything but a skillful way of dealing with ADD is going to make it all better. It seems you to have to be creative with how you word things making it more colorful and sparkly so that they're more inclined to change their minds. And then you have to be patient and let them sit with the idea for a bit so that they can get used to the idea of change in their world/mind.

It kinda reminds me of someone who is autistic and has an object of comfort and you try to take it away and they freak... (not to be insulting--just being honest)


We have "side of the bed" issues too

Our bedroom is very crowded and his side is so full of his stuff he can't walk around and has to climb over my side. I use a C-PAP machine which is plugged in on "my" side. He usually goes to bed before me while I'm still struggling with walking the dog, running the dishwasher, making sure we have clean clothes for the morning, etc. So I'll try to go to bed and find him sound asleep in his clothes on top of the bed on my side.  Then he gets mad when I wake him up so I can get into bed. If I try to talk to him about it while he's awake, he says "I didn't know I'd done that." I can't imagine being so tired I'd lie down in my clothes and on the wrong side of the bed. He's been like that since being put on a new medicine, but the doctor won't change it.

I wish I had some advice for you, but it's a problem I haven't been able to solve.


These are ISSUES to you??????  These are quarks not issues-