Is this behavior ADHD or being a Jerk?

When my husband doesn't take his meds (which is most weekends or any day he doesn't have to go to work), he is constantly harping on everyone about things we didn't do, picking at the kids, physically bugging them like tapping their shoulder over and over just to get a rise, etc.  Every single question I ask is met with a question in return.  For example, "Are you mad at me about something?"  His reply: "Should I be mad at you about something?"  If I ask him how to do something like get a computer program to work, his reply is "Well how do you think you would do it?"  Is this just something I'm blowing out of proportion, is it an ADHD trait (along the lines of provoking conflict), or just him being a butthead?


I do not know if your hubby is ADD/ADHD. I do know that my husband does this. Drives me nuts! He pushes buttons to get responses because it helps his brain nuerons or whatever fire correctly.

For my hubby it is a pattern. He's rude to me, the kids and continues to escalate the rude behavior, aggressive language and over the top mean touching (pushing, flicking, grabbing ears etc) until I yell at him. Then we get in a verbal fight, after which he asks me to say sorry and then he wants "adult" time.

About a year ago, I completely stopped this pattern and I told him I will not fight in front of the kids and if he doesn't stop (whatever he's doing) to aggravate us, we will leave...and we do. I pack the kids up and take them somewhere anywhere to get away from his nutty behavior.

In the last 8 months or so, my husband has turned picking his fights with his employees more versus us...I feel bad for them but honestly he has to do it with someone and I'd rather it be them...then us! :)

My husband is un-medicated/self medicates with alcohol and it's makes for a wonderful...never know what is going on kinda life! YAY!

humor, not...

My ex's sense of humor baffled me, and still does. He is not a cruel person, but does have some serious anger problems and often his "joking" seems mean. When our children are the target, it is pretty tough not to lose my sh*t with him over it..he has never done anything bad to them but has definitely pushed teasing past a comfortable level. He seems to light on the most painful or awkward thing, and make a joke out of it. Lots of flicking or tickling and he doesn't know when enough is enough, even when he is getting clear signals from the person being bugged. Right now he is in a phase where he thinks it's funny or charming to proposition me (we have been apart for 2 years, separated for one, divorce done within a matter of weeks and I have made it clear that this is not happening, no way, not ever, it makes me uncomfortable). Drives me nuts. I just say "that makes me uncomfortable" and walk away from him.

I did realize that there is just something in his (ADHD) brain that seeks conflict, and that his way of dealing with discomfort is to make a big joke out of it. I also realized that for him, each time is a new time or different, so he doesn't "remember" the conversation we had about not doing something. Getting mad at him just makes him defensive, or worse. 

Calmly leaving the situation sounds like a good way to handle it. Sometimes I have success with just saying, "Please stop," or "don't do that." Anything that draws attention to his inability to discern what is going on ("Can't you see that he hates that?") just leads to a debate and him being defensive. I don't hesitate to let my children talk about it, though, and agree with them, "You are right--it isn't cool dad said that. I am sorry. I understand why it bothers you. He didn't mean to hurt your feelings."  

I do think medication and behavior modification therapy can help, but my ex has steadfastly refused any of it. Which is why he lives alone now, lol...

Best of luck to everyone. It really does help to hear that there are others out there. 

This is really good advice. 

This is really good advice.  Thanks.  My husband is the same way.  He can't read the signals that he has gone too far.  Or maybe he can but it's too uncomfortable for him and doesn't know what to do.  If I try to tell him it hurts my feelings or something, he turns it around on me.  He thinks if he says he was joking that makes it OK.  It is the most difficult when he does it to the kids.  I am able to rationalize his behavior and not take it personally.  But the kids can't.

Self Control is key

It's almost that they never really know where boundaries are and they sure as heck have a horrible time reading people who are indicating that they have crossed the line.

I have to constantly remind my hubby about boundaries/watching people's expressions...etc and not just saying or doing whatever comes into his brain...Def has little ability to filter improper conversation, responses and behavior.

YES!! And almost, maybe, an

YES!! And almost, maybe, an assumption that if a certain boundary isnt a big deal to them, then it isnt be a big deal to anyone else either? Sort of like a twisted around version of the golden rule, I suppose.

To use an example from my own experience, I do not like him to come up behind me and give me a huge hug. It makes me feel really jumpy and threatened because I dont expect it at all. (Hey, am I being hugged or mugged here??) When I tried talking to him about it,he refused to believe that I meant it, because he'd love it if I did that. I completely believe that he would, but I do not. Getting him to understand that was a tough one, and had to be repeated a bunch of times, over YEARS. He simply didnt see that I didnt like something that he did like, and my very clear "I do not like this" body language and words were completely lost on him.

haha...hugged or mugged!

You are seriously a riot! Yes, they clearly do not get the reasoning even after multiple explanations.

My biggest issue with my hubby is that legal boundaries or trust boundaries do not apply to him. He finds no problem with sexting women because he is not being physical with them...or so he says. Or he will build a moonshine stil...UM ya that's super illegal and I want it no where near my home. He moved it...Thank God, but it took a lot of manipulating on my part. It's not bad enough that we basically have a farm, and kids to raise but he wants to add all these side adventures...especially illegal ones.

I swear sometimes he's the kid that never grew up. All his friends are in their early 20's except one and he is clearly ADHD like my hubby. What does or should a 35 year old man have in common with a 18-20 year old?

I love it sometimes because it's an adventure, as in I will never know what I will come home to. BUT when I have told him for the 100th time to take care of the kids, don't just feed them cheezits and juice..Focus on work...Please do not call our kids " jerk", Close the fridge after you are finished...Please do not wrestle them like they are grown gets old!

My word, I would FREAK if

My word, I would FREAK if there was a still built in my house, and I completely get it with having friends like that. Sending you much love and patience, he seems like he can be quite a handful.

This is just a thought, and please forgive me if you've already thought of and tried to implement this, but would redirection into a similar activity that is more suitable work for him?  If he wants a still (which is totally super illegal, and did I mention yet that I'd freak? Cus I would!), would he maybe have fun with beer or wine making, which is not illegal and actually really enjoyable? If he likes wrestling hard or blowing off steam with combat style exercise with the kids, would he be happy tiring himself out at a boxing gym where his opponents are of his size and ability? Or is it more a matter of "eff all the rules, I do what I want"?

Yes....I was seriously ready to take it down with a bat!

I about lost my mind when I was told what it was. I work in law enforcement and I swear he loves to walk the fine line between legality and driving me absolutely nuts!!!! 

I've tried to get him into a kickboxing/martial arts something...naw those are adults/people who could actually defend themselves and honestly I would be very scared that he would not stop and actually hurt someone.

Yes, he wants to build a beer brewer (spelling?) but I am very uneasy about that because our children are very young and do not want them getting injured over something that he would not be careful enough with.

My thing is do your job, pick up your messes, take care of the kids, be active/take care of your body and have fun with your friends. If you finish all of those things, than move on to hobbies. He can barely do any of those items efficiently enough to be moving on to be making beer or alcohol!



Please do not call our kids " jerk"

My ex-BF (who I believe with all my heart has ADHD) would often call his dog a "jerk"...though thankfully he didn't call his young daughter names.  It would make me so mad though!  I mean, the odd thing is, he loves animals and I believe that fully...but if the dog would pee in the house or something, he'd "jokingly" (in his mind, I think) call him a jerk.  I never liked the dog peeing in the house either, but I also believed that a big reason it did was because it had no consistency at all in terms of a schedule...BF slept off looooooong hours or was at was all very random for the dog unless I was there, so I couldn't blame the dog for stuff like that...and even if BF thought he was kidding...I didn't think it was funny...

My hubby is very nasty and verbal

Sadly, jerk is nothing. I've asked him until I was blue in the face to not talk to people that way. Unfortunately, he has brain to mouth vomit and has very little control on what he says when he is upset. 

He said he was willing to go to counseling to learn how to control this aspect. Personally, it does not hurt my feelings as I realize they are just words and I give those power or not. I've chosen to not let his words make me emotionally vulnerable or insulted. What really bothers me is that my children should not be subjected to that abuse and I constantly remind him that is what it is!


"very little control on what he says"

This is the impulsivity that can & often does accompany ADHD, it is probably not something he can learn to control - it's his brain chemistry.  There are drugs that can affect it, at least take the edge off it to allow him more time to think. Psychiatrist, followed by counselling if necessary.  Talking until everyone is blue in the face about how he shouldn't do it and should learn to just "control it" won't override his brain chemistry.

Yup ADD/ADHD is odd

Your ex sounds just like my hubby. Refusal of change and all. Sadly, if he doesn't he also will be alone!

I love the propositioning...My husband did that while we were separated too and even now does so at the worst times...Um, no not while the kids are in the same room watching t.v. with us...NO!

I think they have little to no impulse control and try to find ways to wind their brain up. Whether it be fighting too roughly with the kids, picking a fight with strangers, getting overly upset with their spouses...etc Everything is over the top and almost like a crazed animal. Well, at least my hubby looks like one... kind of like a hyena!

I love this forum as well. I swear in the beginning I was losing my mind thinking that I married Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde...Nope just a horribly un-medicated ADHD man. 


ODD is not an adult disorder. See

What negative symptoms you see in an adult have been exasperated over time from being undiagnosed and untreated. We do have the ability to turn things around for the good and use our strengths to excel in every aspect of our daily lives. Hopefully, your spouses find the desire, will, and determination to do the same.

I can relate...

I can relate to the "almost like a crazed animal" remark!  My husband can just lose it sometimes over something so ridiculous.  He acts like everyone is out to get him, takes everything so personally.  If I don't agree with him the fight is on.  I should learn to keep my mouth shut but that's no way to live.  Yet he says I'm crazy and blames it on my hormones every time we fight.  So sick of it!  I look at my friends and family with happy marriages and wonder why I can't have that.  Feeling depressed just thinking about it.



Totally commiserate with you

Yes, sometimes it's overwhelming...Everything is personal...some of which is completely in his own head!

I totally understand seeing other marriages and being completely jealous. It's sad really to be married but feel completely alone. 

Not necessarily ADHD

It seems pretty passive-aggressive.  That it surfaces when he doesn't take meds doesn't mean that it's part of ADHD, it means that this is how he has learned to handle the world when he doesn't have his meds (ie it is learned behavior).

In this example:  If I ask him how to do something like get a computer program to work, his reply is "Well how do you think you would do it?"

I would probably say "well I would try a and b and c, I did, it didn't work, so what would you YOU do next?" Just keep reflecting back at him until he gets the message that it's really irritating behavior.  Probably not advised in any text book, and might not work, but might give some satisfaction.


I have this same problem. 

I have this same problem.  The anger and picking fights, etc-the books say- is a part of AD/HD.  It is stimulating to their brains to always been in conflict.  That made a lot of sense to me because my husband is so angry and he just antagonizes everyone ( well, just us-he is very charming in public).  Not that it is OK behavior.  I've asked myself the same thing about always asking questions and not answering questions, that must be stimulating in some way too.  I too have started not putting up with it.  When he is really angry and miserable, I tell him it is clear that he doens't want to be around us and he should go somewhere else for the day.  That usually snaps him out of it, for the day anyway.  I also have started not answering his stupid questions.  He doesn't even notice that I don't answer.

I hadn't thought of it that

I hadn't thought of it that way.  And I agree, it is definitely passive-aggressive behavior.  When I call him out on it, he very calmly turns it around on me being too sensitive, or my favorite...a "miscommunication."  I often ask myself if his base personality would be someone I would choose to be around, much less best friends with, if we just met.

Thanks for the advice, all - it helps to know I'm not alone, and not always the crazy, irrational, over-sensitive, unclear one he makes me out to be.

It's hard in situations like

It's hard in situations like this when you happen to BE someone who actually IS a bit over sensitive at times, or too negative, or too emotional...then when we get things turned back on us it makes it all the more hard to separate which it really is.

I was just diagnosed a month

I was just diagnosed a month ago and just started to take meds. the first day i took them i was amazed at how well i was able to stop and think before i spoke and did not react with anger like i had before taking the meds. only problem is my wife feels very hurt by our past and her depression and anxiety disorders, do not help me make amends as she is not able to look past the negitive things that have happened to us, and will discount any and all of our good memories and moments for which there are more of then bad.

Im happy i got on a medication that has helped me, and I am able to sort threw the thoughts i have about our past and how much of a jerk i had been at times, and no i did not mean to be. it's the way it came out of my mouth, and the way my wife heard me say things that she took to heart, and took it as an attack. For the most part for the longest time i have always had problems when it comes to talking to people, i have a habit of thinking one thing and saying another.  my wife also has had self esteem problems sense before we got together and takes things to heart very easy, and we have issues with comunication (she says one thing i hear another, vise versa),  even though we are on the same page, we take to different paths to get there.

so to all the wives and girlfriends out there about ready to let go of a relationship, at least give them a chance to get help if they have add and are being jerks. I cant count the number of times i've had to put my foot in my mouth and apologized for something that came out wrong. unfortunetly after a while the apology means nothing being that it has been heard so many time's before. but make sure they actually get help, and look after yourself. I wish I had said supportive things to my wife better then i had.  It's not always a bad idea to go to see a therapist to help you sort threw the things that are bothering you in a relationship, they can help you find new ways to comunicate with the other person, and ways to disarm his/her jerky behavior.


sorry if i rambled.

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your experience and for the encouragment.  I've read that meds and therapy can help with the impulsivity and that includes speaking before thinking, even the anger in some circumstances.  I think you can reprogram your brain to control some things.  People with Tourette's (which I believe involves the same part of brain and/or neurotransmitters) can control their tics or replace them with a similar, less obvious one.  The main problem is the person with AD/HD needs to understand that even though they see nothing wrong with their behavior, b/c they really cannot self reflect, that it does affect others in a negative way.  I finally had a little break through with my husband (ADD and only on meds but started seeing a new therapist just today), and his yelling.  My son got upset that Daddy yelled at him.  Daddy says he didn't.  I said, if son thinks you yelled, then you probably did, you cannot see/hear how you sound when you talk to us.  If we say you are yelling and it is hurting our feelings, then you are.  For some reason, this time, after 1,000 times of saying this, it clicked for him.  Not to sound negative, but we'll see how long it lasts.  But this is the first time in 11 years he has tried!