Ashamed that I slapped his face

"Are you doing this on purpose?" I asked him, tears streaming down my face, "because I am trying really, really hard to work this out, right now. "Yup," he said smugly, smirking at me.

And that was it. I lost it and smacked him across the face. "Get out. Get out now."

My ADD spouse often berates me, insults me, and puts me down. He also withdraws and withholds his feelings, stomps his feet, gives ultimatums ("if you ever ask me that question again . . ." or "if you ever bring up that topic again . . ."), throws things, and generally just rages at me. But no matter what he does, I have always tried to separate the man from the ADD. And that approach generally helps me keep my cool. I might try and reach out with my hand, touch him, rub his chest (works wonders for soothing anger), talk calmly, and then get him to "step down off the ledge," as I like to say. This weekend alone, I thwarted several meltdowns by calming him and encouraging him to "take a nap," or "take a break" or "let's count to 10 together," before he lost control. It's like being in a relationship with a child, not an adult.

But this time, after two hours of trying to get him to acknowledge my feelings, I'd had it. In these situations, I'll coach him and give him a line or two to say. It's typically something generic and easy to repeat like, "I understand how that must feel. It must be really hard. Would you like a hug?" And having been in a semi-decent, non-ADD relationship before, having to COACH someone into saying something empathetic is really the pits. It feels inauthentic and disingenuous. But I have learned that it's either scripted empathy or none at all.

So tonight I was telling him how hard our life is financially. How difficult it was to be poor (I support the two of us and a kid from another relationship). And how sad I am that we cannot have children, given the current state of our financial life. His response is to make fun of me. In a mocking tone, he says hurtful things like, "You don't care about kids. You're just spoiled. You want someone to do your laundry, clean your house, and buy you s***."

I start to cry. I am the least selfish person that I know. Each Christmas, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, our anniversary, my birthday, my recent promotion . . . they all pass without acknowledgement or celebration. For the sake of the kid (his kid), I wrapped up a bunch of my old things and put them under the tree, last year, just so it wouldn't look like my husband didn't buy me anything. And speaking of the kid, don't get me started on all the slack I'm picking up when it comes to the parenting. Not to mention his constant anger, ill treatment of me, and inability to contribute financially to the household.

So I tell him that I'm disappointed with the state of things. That I just need him to bring home a little extra money and offer a little extra support and care. If he can do that, I'll feel much more secure, much better. But he's not listening. He just ignores me. He doodles on a napkin. He's laughing and playing with our cat. He's intentionally doing everything but listening to me or looking at me.

"PLEASE listen to me," I say, crying out loud, "PLEASE."

"What the h*** do you expect from me? I can't acknowledge you because I don't agree with you. You're so full of yourself," he says walking away.

I ask him to come back.

"Do you know how disrespectful you're being towards me? I'm trying to talk to you."

He looks at me and says nothing.

"Just nod your head, you don't have to say anything. Sweetie, I'm trying to work this out because I love you. Do you understand?"

He says nothing.

"Sweetie? Did you hear me?" I ask again.

Again, he looks at me, but doesn't answer.

"Are you doing this on purpose?" I asked him, tears streaming down my face, "because I am trying really, really hard to work this out, right now.

"Yup," he says finally, flippantly, with a huge smile on hie face.

And that's when I lost it. So I slapped him.

I don't know if I can deal with this anymore. I'm running out of patience. I'm running out of ways to cope. I feel like I'm in a relationship with a child, not a man. He's constantly pushing me to the edge, and I'm always trying to bring us back from the brink. Now I hate what I've done. I hate WHO I've become. I feel so lost and adrift. I don't know what to do.


You are being consumed by his

You are being consumed by his ADHD. I needs to learn to rub his own damn chest and talk himself off of the ledge...or it really isn't him doing anything to control himself. If you feed him everytime he gets hungry, he'll never learn to (or need to) feed himself.

Don't ever spend 2 hours trying to convince someone with ADHD of anything. Two minutes..that's about the threshold where my husband goes off into 'defensive land' and after that NOTHING I say matters. You have two choices...continue to support him and his child financially...or don't. Set some boundaries. If he won't get a job, then start selling some of his things to help pay the bills. Stop trying to convince him with words that you need his help and start making him see the realities of what his not working is going to cost him.  If he won't work, then he'll have to sacrifice some of his stuff to help pay bills. No sense in fighting about it all of the time..he's got option A) get a job or option B) sell all of his belongings. (or option C) lose you)

His ugly comments about YOU being selfish is a deflection of his own feelings of inadequacy because you mentioning times being hard financially is something he knows he's partially responsible for. My husband provides for us and has always worked but if I mention that we are broke..or we cannot afford something he immediately goes to that 'place' of feeling like a failure...and in my situation I do not blame him AT ALL..we just have a lot of debt and have done it to ourselves. (aside from the occasional time when he takes way more out of the bank than we agreed he would). In your case, if he's not working and you're asking for his help...for him to get a job and help out, then no matter how much he tries to make it look like it's all you, deep down he knows he's letting you down. I hope some of the ADHDers here can give you advice on how to help him feel more motivated to find work, but 'convincing him' for 2 hours isn't the way.

We can all acknowledge that hitting him was the wrong reaction...but learn from it and move on. Learn from it that you're about at your wits end and that you need to do things DIFFERENTLY because what you're doing now isn't working...obviously. Let go of the anger and take this bull by the horns. Calmly, but firmly. Let him know that he needs to get a job...because your family is suffering.



As an ADDer, I have to say I know we can be blind to a lot of things, but I have always known that no work at all means no money at all.  I have gone through periods where I made decent money and I have gone through periods where I've made just enough - and now i am struggling to find any work I can while also staying at home with a 2 year old.  In fact I am awake now at 1:30AM because I am panicking about the fact that I do not earn enough money and i'm racking my brain trying to think of what to do differently. 

I have read so many posts by women whose husbands are rebelling like teenagers against working or even LOOKING for a job.  The parent/child dynamic is so toxic.  I am not sure how to get out of it except remove yourself from the consequences.  Show him the bills and your bank statements.  Show him the numbers and ask him what he would choose to cut out of the budget.  Beer? Food? cable? games? gadgets? Stuff for his kid? All of the above? When there isn't enough money there are two options:  earn more or spend less.   Explain that 'I earn X dollars.  our bills come to Y.  There is a defict of Z.  What can we do about it?"  Try to stay calm, although I know your angry.  If you have an angry tone, he'll shut down and act like a child again.  Anytime I feel i'm being attacked I shut down and can't even HEAR what anyone's saying to me.

good luck!!!

I could have written this, except..

That my husband has always been an amazing provider. So great in fact that one of my issues is that we never see him, unless he is eating or unconscious (on the couch, in bed, sitting at the kitchen table..). But your husband's comments, "you are so full of yourself", the smirk, the general lack of respect is resoundingly the same with what I have at home now. Getting off the crazy train, the rollercoaster... Is the only way to find your self respect. It is too hard being the soother to someone who does not genuinely wish to be soothed, by you, at any rate. Appearing desperate to have him calm down only generates the appearance that you are desperate and serves to further decrease his respect of you. -***Reading these many posts have been so difficult for me lately. We all come to this web site searching for answers to the same similar questions...why why why do our spouses act in such unkind ways and not acknowledge the problem of adhd?