Heart broken

Where does the short temper angry flares come from? DH lashed out last night - for no reason. We were having a normal, calm conversation and then BAM! It happened so fast - it was over before you could even register what happened - but it did happen.  I asked him to leave - I told him to leave - he refused.  I said you need to leave for the night - get your head on straight - give us all some space.  He refused. Said he was sorry- as if that was enough and now move on. I don't know if he gets what he did - the man I KNEW would never have behaved that way. Is this ADD or something else?

It is stimulating

This kind of behavior stimulates his brain.  It is common in ADHD folks to have these sort of flare-ups for no apparent reason to the other person involved.  In our relationship, it was very common.  My husband could scream and yell at me even if he AGREED with me, and I knew it.  It is very hurtful and frustrating, I know.  Medication DOES change this behavior.

First, my opinion as an

First, my opinion as an 'observer' on this site would be that this is definitely a part of ADHD. Also, just reading a few days ago in Driven from Distraction that this can come from an overload in the brain, a desire to vocalize something, the inability to do so...frustration mounts, and BAM there is the outburst....and everyone wondering what the hell just happened.

My opinion as it relates to my own personal experience is that I didn't see this until AFTER he started taking medication. I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this "common" issue, the explosive anger, and I can't honestly say that I have seen this a lot in my marriage. As a matter of fact, he was very much a 'conflict avoider'. The irony of it all, he would avoid 'fighting' (with words) with everything he had in him, but his actions would cause so much upheaval that conflict was inevitable. I've posted before...I would always say that I felt what he wanted and what he did was definitely a battle of demons within himself. So, am I happier now that he's got these 'explosive' moments....but his behavior in between is MUCH better...yes, somewhat...but it still hurts like hell.

Last night he was explaining something to me, when he was done I interjected with something about the subject that didn't DISAGREE with what he had said, it just 'added' to it, so to speak. He interupted me because he IMMEDIATELY thought A) I was disagreeing with him OR B) he thought I was accusing my step-daughter of something OR C) both.  I asked him to please let me finish my point...he got mad. I made my point, barely, and he shoots back with his original point..again, one having nothing to do really with the other (was about damage that has been done to her old bedroom...some because of a water leak..his point.....some because she had guinea pigs a few years back, let their soiled shavings build up behind the dresser and it rotted/molded the trim..my point) As he begins to explain what HE was talking about, pointing out it was not the area I was talking about, he immediately snaps at me, says I have a look on my face that is saying he's "stupid" and gets infuriated. I have seen a LOT of this kind of 'reaction' lately and I am doing my best to point it out to him, although he is defensive and doesn't like it. I told him he was being completely unfair, that I was simply looking at the TV listening to him, that he was way off base and completely wrong about his interpretation of my facial expression. I cried. It was so hurtful to be so completely innocent and be accused of such a thing. He left the room but almost immediately came back and apologized with a sincerity that I haven't heard in a very long time. (since starting the medication) He said he didn't mean to upset me, didn't mean to assume, and said that he was working on figuring out why he was having this issue and promised to figure it out. (YAY!!!!) I hugged him and it was over.

What your husband needs to do is man up and admit that he ISN'T in control of his emotions when he does this. By letting down that wall, and just admitting that, he can start to work on the problem and hopefully stop himself before this happens. He knows it is a problem...he knows that it is HIS problem...or so it would seem since he came back and apologized (although half heartedly)...but where he's keeping progress from happening is acting like "I'm sorry" is enough to fix it. Being vulnerable and saying "I really hate when I do that..I'm going to work on it" is much harder...but necessary. I found myself begging my husband to just 'hear what I'm saying' during one of his outbursts recently...even if they can't 'help' it right now, acknowledging it is the first step in gaining control over it. Acknowledging it to us holds them accountable...and takes away their ability to blame it on us in the future. This is where the problem comes in sometimes.

Former "Conflict Avoider"...

SherriW... You have observed behavior that sounds Very familiar to me. I believe I know why I used to have bad outbursts because I know that I have ADD. I did not know this was what I was dealing with until I was 43 years old. Once diagnosed, I never miss my meds, I read here all the time and I try to apply this knowledge to my life. Two years later (Almost) I noticed that I am not exactly as "Laid-Back" as I used to be. I'll explain... I can get mad easier than before and get over it fairly quickly. I used to miss many things that could make one mad, because I did not see it, hear it or thought I must have misunderstood the situation as I have a lifetime of not getting the full picture in real time. Most people have worked on their way of getting mad and assessing the situation and deciding how to deal with the anger. I think I'm very new to this process and need more work to catch up on the appropriate action. I will say that I have never been physically violent, as my dad engrained in me two things.

1 - You NEVER hit a woman

2 - You NEVER throw the first punch

Thanks dad :-) I did not mean to stray from the subject, but I felt I needed to define my "Anger" and definitely the non-physical  variety.

I tried to explain this to my Psychiatrist and I think I came across wrong and he immediately thought I should try an anti-depressant. My wife has been very slow to believe that ADD is/was partially to blame for some of my past behaviors, but even she agreed that I can get upset more than I used too and that it makes sense that I am learning how to react to more real time feeling, as opposed to holding everything inside until I melt-down at a seemingly random moment. We actually agreed that I need time to learn how to deal with my more awake brain and not jump to the anti-depressant. Good idea? Bad idea? I'm not sure, but it was one of the most productive talks about my ADD ever.

I really appreciate your posts...


I have considered that too...that he's just 'functioning' under a whole new 'awareness' and it is hard for him to process everything. I love the 'in real time' theory you put forth. Either way, I'm trying to be patient...but last night when he MISREAD my facial expression...I'm not sure how to intepret that level of defensivness. What worries me most is that he won't see it as a 'mis-read' and will continually grow more and more defensive. The opposite seems to be happening, he is seemingly becoming more trusting of my observations and more aware of his own actions and how he is, indeed, mis-interpreting things for some reason. Can someone with ADHD completely understand how hurtful and sad it makes those of us who love them feel to be accused of calling them "stupid" when I would never even DREAM of even THINKING that about him? It makes me so sad for him that he IMMEDIATELY jumps to 'that place' (someone calling him stupid...ME calling him stupid) but at the same time I want to choke him, ya know?

Thanks for your insight..it is much appreciated as well!!


Facial Expression School

I promise that I will return with some additional discussion. I am not procrastinating, at least this time, either :-)

The School of Facial Expression

For the past couple of years, coinciding with my ADD discovery and medications, maybe...

My wife will suddenly reach some conclusion for my thought based on "A Look" I gave her. So many times I'll stand there astonished at her conclusions. I will tell her that I meant nothing of the sort of things she thought my face was saying. I never got mad about the facial reads, just genuine disbelief at her conclusions. I started trying to lighten things up by saying "You need to go to Facial Recognition School" :-) Is it Really me? Have I not learned about my own proper use of my face? It's VERY possible because I would have never picked up on other peoples facial responses, therefor how could I have ever learned myself, other than "The Grin" which I pattented a long time ago ;)

Sorry to keep you waiting for "Not really much Content", but my day went crazy at work and I had a Dad Daughter night that I could NOT be late for... (I was exactly on time, by the way ;)

Thanks for listening...

I'm So Exhausted's picture

Facial Expressions say ALOT!

I personally believe the quote: "93% of all communication is non-verbal."

My ADD husband cannot - or will not - put any validation into how much he communicates with his tone of voice or his body language.  It is not pleasant. 

He especially does not grasp the idea that when he snarls "I'm sorry," it just does not come across as an apology. 

My husband's facial

My husband's facial expressions and body language are usually dead on with what his mood is...no issues there. It is him mis-reading mine that are the problem. I posted about it before, but I can simply sigh...breath out...and he'll say "what did you do that for?" It is as if he is HYPER aware of every muscle movement or breath I take and worried that it means something negative towards him. It all ties in with that anxiety I just posted about earlier.

Body Language

Oh my goodness my husband's body language, and facial expressions look like he wants to rip someone's heart out and he could be as happy as a pig in poop. He body can never be read.

ebb and flow's picture

Same with my ADD

Same with my ADD partner!

He has a hard time interpreting my facial expressions, moods, breaths and sighs... etc. He anticipates the most negative outcome... poor guy. :(

It's comparable to someone who's been physically abused in the past when even just moving ones arm too quickly will put them into a guarded and protective posture. 

He's so used to it turning ugly that he anticipates negativity at all times.

Sad. :/

Always gets me in trouble

My facial expressions always get me in trouble with ADHD fiance. It's just something I've learned to live with.

waynebloss's picture

Re; Stupid

Remember that is what we have heard most of our ADD lives, so it is very easy for me to assume that my wife, when asking or correcting me that she is really calling me stupid or dumb in a  nice easy way.  When she does correct me, it is because I am wrong and I do not see it and she does it in a very nice way but I still go there. 

I do believe that we can actually see and feel the hurt when we accuse someone but it is what we know.  That is one of the major change I need to do is stop thinking that someone is calling me stupid until they actually say it.  I need to take everything with a grain of salt,  breath and think before I react or speak.




Thanks for all of your replies - they are much appreciated.  After reading my original post, I realized that I didn't point out a few things:

(1) He is taking meds (prozac and dextroamphetamine XR) or at least, I think he still is. He was diagnoised almost 3 years ago.

(2) He went from a very laid back guy to frequently verbal, explosive outbursts and then adding in body language to intimidate and then last night - he became physical.  He didn't leave any marks and it only lasted a few moments - but it was enough to scare the me.  Not in 25 years that I have known he would I ever believe that he would be physical - but it happened.  He did apologize - but then expected to move forward.

(3) He has been very unhappy/depressed since Christmas - he doesn't know why. 

(4) He forgot about his dr appt to reveiw his meds yesterday - even though it was on his calendar.

SherriW -  I truely appreciate your posts - they a always so full of wisdom and thought - but I honestly couldn't and still can't give him a hug and say I still love you. It may be the right thing to do, but Im not feeling that right now.  Im not sure if I can trust him again.  I didn't ever dream that he would be verbal let alone physical, but now it is a reality, how do I know that it won't happen again? Again, that trust issue is coming into play.

I also experience the agreeing but adding to their point conversations - they become immediately defensive and try to talk over you to re-establish their point. Not sure what that is all about but, yes, it really does happen.

I do like the poster that mentioned the "real time meaning" - my DH was diagnosised with ADD at 42 and up to that point, he was a very laid back guy - he was rarely angry.  Im not sure if his meds are helping or not - I know that he is still very caught up with his racing thoughts and how to get what ever it is that he wants at the moment.   

Any additional replies would be welcome 

No Time

There is No Excuse for physical abuse.

I just wanted to say how sorry I was to hear this...

I know how it is to be awaken from the ADD Fog, and frustrated by the slow repair process and being over-whelmed by knowing everything that needs attention and not enough time to get it done. I thought I got rid of the anxiety, but only realized it was replaced by different anxieties... It's a process, I guess...

Does your husband exercise? I walk like crazy and it helps me So much. I was never consistent with any exercise program, but now I realize it help both my brain and body. Just a thought...

Take care... 

yyz, thanks for your post. 

yyz, thanks for your post.  So happy to hear that your journey has measurable progress and how hard you are working on containing the ADD effect - CONGRATS! And yes, I think you are right this is a slow process.  As for the exercise-his new focus is racquetball and snowmobiling. The problem is that he only plays racquet ball with my son - who really doesn't care for it much; so they play about once a week.  DH doesn't like to walk or workout (on equipment). In the summer he will ride bike for hours or play golf (w/o a cart) but he won't just go for a walk. I have heard that cardio workout is excellent for focus - but he is hit or miss. There doesn't seem to be much consistenancy with him.  He will hyperfocus on something for a while and then movse onto the next thing. 

waynebloss's picture

Agree with YYZ

We (ADDer's) have no right to physically assault our spouses, goes for both male and female!  It is inexcusable and to me cowardly! 

I have ADD and right now my wife is in your position, she has not told me she loves me, has hugged me, touched me or even kissed me for over 4 months now.  It has been very hard on me to deal with but I am on a day by day basis.  Meds react in everybody differently, I take Vyvanse and it has done WONDERS for me and what I needed to blend in with the normal people! It might take months and several different meds to find the right one that works, so please do not give up on that!!  Be awaken from the ADD fog like yyz said is overwhelming and very scary for us!  We have been safe in our own world and now we are 10 and thrust into the heart of "New York City" with no map, no guide and no spouse and told to make it or else!!  It will take time and it will be the hardest thing your husband has ever done.  It was for me!!  

I have a short quick temper to begin with, so I can go off at anytime without warning, but one of the changes I have made is that I count to 10, breath 3-4 times before I even utter a word! Now, I do have my slips, and I apologize immediately when I do and write down what I did and how I could have been different and practice situations where I can change.  I do talk in front of a mirror, (My 6 year old laughs at me when she sees me do this!)

I have made strides in my recent diagnoses.  I have lost almost 90lbs, I run 4-5 miles 2-3 times a day, I have a 6 and a 5 year old who constantly have me going.  Exercise does make me change my thought process, the chemicals released when we exercise are thought changers and mood changers that we need. My wife also has lost 60+ lbs and 41 inches off her body, and will tell you that it makes a difference mentally and physically on how you think about you! I have changed most of my thought process, (with some slips and falls but I get back up and move forward!) I have change some of my bad ADD habits into good ones and I have started to be Wayne again. I take my meds daily, I journal, I read books which I have not done in 13 years, (Yes Melissa I have even read 2 of yours working on a third one!  :) ).  I have become very educated on ADD for me and what I needed to do to save me first then my marriage. 

I am sorry that you are in this position, it is a very hard, sad and lonely one to be in, but there is hope but a few things I feel that have to happen.

1.  TAKE CARE OF YOUR SELF 1ST-do what you need to do to make sure you are healthy, that you have a outside support system and that you can be YOU for YOU, not for him..yet

2. Let him know what is happening, why and set boundaries.  Communication will destroy faster than anything else. Let him know that if he touches you again out of anger that he is gone!  Do not make empty threats/promises, like kids once we see they are empty they will not mean anything to us.

3.  Educate yourself about ADD and all aspects of it.  Melissa has some VERY good books and there are others out there that deal with ADD and marriage.  The more you know the more you can make the best decisions for you and your family

4.  Listen to Sherri and others in here!  I have made friends on this site (Ebb, Rev, Sherri, Bless, and a few others), I listen to them, what they say which has given me an insight as to what my wife is going through which has helped me deal with some issues.  We all love Sherri who has a heart as big as Texas, she has wonderful attitude and a positive outlook but will tell you what you asked for without sugar coating it!  If you go back and look, most of us ask Sherri what she thinks!!  We do love ya Sherri!! 

5.  TAKE CARE OF YOUR SELF 1st!  Again if you are not healthy and strong you cannot help us

Sorry, I do get long winded but thought I would just throw my 2 cents worth in the pot!  I will tell you that another aspect I have turned more to that has also helped me as much as anything else....God!  I have started reading the Bible, going to church more and most of all I pray more than I have every prayed!  It has given me some peace, hope and patience that I did not have a year ago. 


you made me blush

Thank you Wayne....you guys are my lifesavers too!!! I hope you all realize this! I am a 'work in progress'...the acceptance here does wonders for my self-worth.

Thanks Wayne

Wayne, thanks for your words of wisdom.  Everything that you spoke of is true. I am working on some of them (I have been working on myself - working to find happiness for me, working on finding full time employment (so I'm not financially dependent on him) then I plan to get a gym membership (many reasons: great way to have family time, exercise, and great programs for kids), trying to recall what made me happy years ago (reconnecting with some of those years ago friends, enjoying the simple things - playing games with the kids, reading, ect). I have been reading so much about ADD (Driven to Distraction and Married to Distraction, plus numerous websites) - husband hasn't read the Married to Distraction and won't. We are attending marriage counseling. What I really need to work at is the setting boundaries.  See I was told that I was the nagging/mothering wife - which was true - and that needed to stop. Agreed - I happily gave that way of life up and am much happier since then. But now, I am gun shy to set forth any rules for Im concerned that he will take it as my old ways coming back and just rebel. And since, right now I am not financially able to follow through on my deal breakers (which is to leave with the kids) - I just don't know how to move forward with this part.  I realize how important this is - so if you or anyone else have suggestions, I'm open to them. And yes, this website and  so many people on it are a Godsend!  Mention God - yes, religion has begun to be a larger part of my life.

Thanks again

Thanks Lonelywife

Thanks for the positive feedback. I REALLY appreciate it :-)

My wife thinks I put too much on my cardio, like I put it before the family :-( I want to set a good example, for once, and I want my daughters and wife to come with me, but I usually don't get any takers, so it looks like it's all about me... Once again. My 100 pound weight loss in 2+ years is a Real Sore Spot. My wife says that she used to beg me to get off the couch and I wouldn't and now "I" look great and she can't get back to "Her critical view of herself looking great" :-) She is a beautiful woman and I tell her, now more than I ever did, but she tells me I "Could not possibly think it is true" :-( and why did I not figure out I had ADD ten years ago when something could change for her. I feel terrible about this... We all have our demons and I have one that a pill can fix... She says that's great for me. I will continue to tell her she is beautiful, because she is, and maybe I can make up for all the times I neglected to say so.

Thanks again :-)

Wow you have really made a

Wow you have really made a great strides in changing your life for the better!  But I have to comment - did you mean that you run 4-5 miles per day 2-3 times a week? The post says 2-3 times a day. That is a very high level of commitment!  Keep up the great work of verbalizing to your wife that you believe her to be beautiful as is. That you do mean it when you say how beautiful she is -that you love her for who she is - not a size or perception, but a deep,loving and caring person that you know she is in addition to her physical beauty. Its not anyone's fault that the ADD wasn't figured out earlier - it is what it is. You have worked so hard to make life better. Just keep talking to her - I'll keep my fingers crossed that she will hear you.

Power Walk, bad knees...

Well it really varies, but I usually walk (Avg 4.23 mph) twice daily during the week, 2 miles each walk. The weekends vary greatly, but Mon - Fri are pretty consistent. The morning walks really get me off to a much better start. I'm ready to go afterwards, for sure... I drag on the mornings I don't. I believe there is a pattern :-)

We have had a good week and I believe a real break through week for both of us! I know this is still a process, so I will not let up. Thanks so much for your kind comments!

Can you explain a little more

Can you explain a little more about the anxiety that you're talking about? I think if I had to use one word to describe my least favorite part about my husband's ADHD it would be 'anxiety'. It seems constant and overwhelming almost all of the time. I used to (prior to ADHD diagnosis) think he was an obsessive worrier. Now I feel it is anxiety...some he brings on himself...and some that is just part of the ADHD, I suppose.

I would be very interested in which anxieties you thought were gone, but were replaced by others....if you don't mind sharing. If I could see my husband truly relaxed and able to just 'enjoy' life without all of the anxiety, it would be my dream come true.

Anyone else that has any input, that would be welcomed too!


Well... I never really had panic or anxiety attacks until just before my diagnosis. I was in the perfect storm of stress, both job related and marriage related, like I was watching my train wreck in slow motion and there was nothing that could stop it. I had made a friend at work, female, error #1 and I truly believed she was just a friend, because we worked closely together on very technical projects with a few others. Our group would go to lunch and a few times some would cancel, last minute, and we would still go to lunch, error #2 and the conversations would range from work to home life, like normal I guess, and eventually being very distraught about my roommate type marriage I asked her opinion as to things I could do to change things. I had no female friends, she was happily married and I trusted her not to repeat anything, error #3. She did not let any info out, but I was not careful enough with my deleting the emails, error #4... I knew what I was doing was wrong, anxiety building, I can't stop the snowball now, and I really felt if my wife and coworker met they would get along great. But I knew I had set something in motion that was going to be bad. The anxiety was paralyzing me so I called my doc, then he sent me to a Psychiatrist and the rest is history. The ADD discovery was amazing, it explained so many things about me, I could fix things, be a better husband and father and the weekend I was reading my first ADD book I noticed her madly going through my phone, then the found an email that had me talking about personal home life to another woman. The Greatest Most Hurtful Thing I could do to my wife. No matter the intended purpose of gaining female insight. I could not confide in family females as that is a short list and would create tension between my wife and them. I feared the eternal conflict that would happen. No I know what the term "Emotional Affair" means... I agreed to family counseling and put forth a plan to cut off the friendship with the now ex-coworker in a specified time, which I completed well before the agreed upon date. The email was composed and reviewed by my wife before it was sent and I copied my wife on the responses.

I guess I could say my first anxieties were fear and guilt and panic driven. My world was about to explode.   

The new anxieties are more related to not being blind to all the problems in my life and trying to learn how to prioritize in my new "Real Time" world. Over-Whelming the tasks at hand. And the emotional affair anxiety is gone, but replaced by anger about my appetite, weight loss, exercise regiment and perceived getting ready to upgrade at the wife position because I look good and could not possibly want to be with her now. HER shields are always on Max, preparing herself for her scripted outcome planned by her own insecurities that I have given her. I was laid off last summer in the middle of this, but thankfully I found a better job in 26 days! I was so lucky... but it added so much stress, now that job is going great and the insecurities show themselves when I least expect it. I know it is related to not ever seeing them so much in the past. She was comfortable with how I looked... Fat, but now she must worry, thanks to countless A-Hole Males who set the bar for abandoning their wives at this time in their lives.

Sorry for the ramble... I really appreciate your comments...

My anxiety level soared as I

My anxiety level soared as I read through all of that..

I know this is probably a given, but I have to say..please do NOT ever suggest to your wife that she and the co-worker would be grand friends if they just met. LOL Seriously...big mistake. You turned to her for support, an emotional affair, it would be just as bad as having a physical affair and suggesting your wife befriend this person. Not saying you're crazy enough to think it would be a good idea, just saying..keep that 'idea' in your head. :-P

Thank you...I see where you're coming from and it really helps me to understand more about my husband and his anxiety. When I see him doing something that I know, in the end, will cause him anxiety I want SOOO badly to say "Please don't do this!" but part of my 'changes' is to let him be in control of his own life and that means letting him make his own mistakes. I was accused of trying to control him for so long, and it is very hard for me to see him do things that I know are going to hurt him down the road, but I am hopeful with the meds and the counseling that he'll start to be able to better 'forecast' these things in the future.

You make mention a lot about your weight loss and the insecurities it has caused your wife...I have tried and tried to figure out how you can help her feel less insecure. Have you ever sat down with her and said "this is a real issue for me. I truly, honestly want to help you get past this fear" ? She needs to be able to express to you, in a meaningful and non-judgemental way ("you're doing something wrong because you lost weight!") what she is feeling, why she is feeling it, and how you can help. Is there something you're doing that makes it worse, that you're not aware of? You need to urge her to give you these answers. You need to keep saying to her "I do not want you to feel that way and I am 100% willing to prove to you that my heart didn't change, just my body" I think you're doing all the right things...all that you and I would feel are 'right'...but I am not her and you are not her. She also needs to accept this as her issue...and needs to be willing to stop resenting you for having a 'skinny pill' and start asking herself why it is so hard to trust you. I'm also wondering if it isn't somehow related to the affair...finding the e-mails and such...which all happened about the same time as the diagnosis, if I'm reading correctly. I've struggled with my insecurity over an affair my husband had a year ago..for a year now. It is one of the hardest things and most devastating things I have ever dealt with. I hate the jealous, insecure worthless blob it makes me feel like somedays....but his patience and his reassurances help tremendously. I know you're concerned, but I think this will be a HUGE hurdle for you guys to get past...and I hope you can convince your wife to open up to you, without blame and anger...and I hope you can hear what she's needing...and I hope she can own up to this issue and move past it. Is she the type to respond to an e-mail positively? I know I am able to be more open when I am writing stuff down, don't have the ADHD sitting right in front of me ready to explode (or so it seems), so maybe she would open up a bit more if you wrote it in a journal and gave it to her, for her to respond? Just get this issue on the table.

As always, your insight is invaluable.



I was trying to write the first part of my anxiety story through my old eyes. Telling myself they could be friends was a way to diminish my guilt through a little rationalization. When I used "Emotional Affair" regarding my co-worker I want to clarify that there was never any dirty talk or texting, but only me sounding pathetic trying to find out some female intel on helping my marriage. I know, now, that the betrayal was in discussing my private life with her. To my wife it was worse than sleeping with her. I definitely understand this breach of trust now. 

My wife has been insecure since childhood. A physically abusive step-father who beat her mother and brother, and knew better than to lay a hand on her. I had a verbally abusive step-father who called me everything from sissy, stupid, lazy, fat... So we both have our low self esteem issues.

My wife has always been a little on the jealous side, so when I was fat she did not worry as much. I am not a jealous person, because I have seen it's destructive powers first hand. I trust my wife so I am not jealous. I cannot worry about things that are completely out of my control. My wife is beautiful and I tell her this now more than ever, but she thinks that if I'm not jealous at little bit that I must not think anyone would make a move on her. We have covered this very topic for almost 20 years. My wife is a pleaser and thinks she is responsible for adjusting anything to make things better for everyone other than herself. I mean everyone. She says the worst things about herself, I counter all the time, especially now days, that she has got to stop beating herself up about everything. She has seen a counselor off and on for over ten years, the same lady we has couples therapy with. The thing she has told me the most is that she never had to worry about me... I was flawed, but a constant rock, the one thing she did not have to worry about, and now she has to worry about me too. I know everything was a huge baseball bat to the face, as it was for me too. Monday night we had one of the best one on one conversations in almost two years. I felt at ease and so did she it was wonderful. I was even able to discuss ADD without her shields on full, which causes mine to do the same. Until the end of the evening when it was late she started down the road of the EA that started this whole story. Then it went to my insane eating habits and its not fair that I get an appetite suppressant as my cure all and she has to do it the old fashioned way. This is about the 100th time we have been through this conversation. It is really about semantics to me. Adderall wakes up my brain and combined with walking 10 - 25 miles a week I feel so much better. My brain chemistry is altered and I don't self medicate with food anymore, or as much impulsive spending. So I guess she is right in a sense, but wants me to admit to her that I am thin because of "Speed". To me saying I hit the side-effect jackpot and ADD is the BS "Mental Condition" that I can use. Before it got bad at dinner I was telling her how much I love her and how beautiful she is to me, and she just can't tell me that I can't think she it is so. I was not mad or anything I was trying to tell her how I really felt. I don't want a 25 year old with a hot body (I did not use the example, as it is assumed that all 45 year old guys want this trade) She is giving me credit for the walking, but she came up with a new one to finish the evening. "Why did you not discover the ADD ten years ago when she could do something about her looks?" I was stunned to silence...

There was not a word spoken after we got home or the next morning... I emailed her at work and told her how sorry I was about how the evening turned out and that how good it was to talk, before things wen south. I suggested we see the therapist again to work thought the weight/medication issue as we obviously could not do this ourselves. She responded well and said we would just agree to disagree and she would not bring it up anymore. Things have been good since then.

So... To your email suggestion. We have saved our marriage through this line of communication. I can think though my words and she does not have to face my oblivious face, less oblivious now of course.

Thanks again for your thoughts...     

I have to ask

I don't post much but I get a lot of support and ideas from this website.  I have found your posts to be quite insightful as I continue to try and understand my husband's ADD.  If you wouldn't mind explaining more about how you felt before being diagnosed.  It appears to my that my husband is quite the opposite on the anxiety scale.  He appears to never be anxious about anything.  He spends most of his time avoiding all issues until it becomes a crisis and he can't avoid it.  Even at crisis mode the consequences of the issue don't seem to affect him either.  For example, putting off 8 hours of community service, ordered by the court due to speeding, for nearly a year until 3 days before his court hearing.  I discussed the impact with him of not completing the community service, which I thought would be a suspension of his licenses but he informed me it would be a $300 fine and/or 90 days in jail like that was less significant or harsh.  I continue to be amazed that these things do not register with him as significant.  I am the one who is twisted into a knot with anxiety over these things.  I have read many times that I need to set boundaries and to not handle things like I am his mother but how can I let these things be up to him when the consequences affect me, for example 3 years of taxes not filed and if we file jointly this year they are going to take my refund money and if I file separately I will be penalized and not receive my full refund. 

I apologize I got off topic a bit.  I would really like to know if you did not realize the significance of things before you were diagnosed and if you spent a lot of time avoiding issues big or small until they became huge? 

Keep up the posts they have been a huge help and very inspirational.  Keep up the good work, you are doing great in my opinion!

Okay to ask...

Thanks for your comments :-)

For most of my life what I showed the outside world was confident, hard worker, nice guy and and laid back. Don't fret the small things. I guess you could say I was a fairly high functioning ADDer who fooled pretty much everyone until about 43 years into this life. Often what I felt on the inside is the classic low self-esteem guy afraid of the next failure of major disappointment for a loved one. I always felt that I over-sold myself and was destined to disappoint. Love, work, wives and girlfriends and families. I was like what you described above. I had taken a great opportunity with a new company and decided to leave my former job where I worked with for over 12 years, yes I said years, and my wife worked they in a completely different capacity. My wife and I worked together for our entire marriage up to that point. So leaving the nest was terrifying beyond belief, but the opportunity was too great.

Pause for a moment now... From day one i Knew my wife had boundries and a zero tolerance clause in the cheating department. I had been awful to just about every girlfriend I had ever had, and since they rarely lasted long the list was fairly lengthy. My wife was the image of everything I had ever wanted. Beautiful, brunette, blue eyes (No contacts) curves, smart, conservative, yet fun. I had to use Hyper-Focus Powers I had NEVER used before to complete a love relationship with her. I knew my weakness with women and tried to never get put in situations that can go wrong. I did not go out with the guys, I did not travel at work, and I worked in the office with her, so an office romance could not happen.

Un-Pause now... Now I am working crazy hours trying to prove that I'm as good as I said I was. So focused on the job, because I can't fail, and my long term employee status does not exist. A major part of my life family member dies, I have to work with guys that I know are getting laid off fro 6 months and they have become close friends. I work at a place where my wife knows Nobody, female coworkers go to lunch with me, usually in a group, sometimes working as late as 2-3am. our marriage had been slowly getting more like room mates for several years, before all of this, eventually my friends get laid off and I am cracking under the strain. I was always able to juggle my share of life, but in a two year span I had too much to deal with... Anxieties set in because I had female friends that I could not really talk about, because I would not explain it well. I finally called my GP, who sent me to a Psychiatrist and found out about the ADD.

I Was like you explain your husband to be, but finally my persona and coping mechanisms were over-loaded and cracked under the strain of it all.

I hope this makes a little sense, as I'm having to hurry through the response.



I do feel that his ADD is

I do feel that his ADD is much milder than others I have read about on here.  My husband doesn't have the short temper, anger outbursts.  His past relationships were not filled with infidelity, on his part at least, and he was pretty burned by his first wife, who only wanted him when she thought she would be living the high life.  His biggest symptoms are forgetting things, important or not, though he can quote books and movies he saw years ago which I find fascinating.  Procrastinating and avoidance are his biggest issues.  His seemingly lack of anxiety creates a lot for me because I don't feel we are on the same page.  I know things are stressful and there are a few things that need to be fixed (i.e. the taxes) but I feel like I worry about them alone.  When I talk to him about how he wants to approach and solve these issues I get a lot of "I Know" s and "I'm Sorry" s but I've explained that what i really want from him is a plan or some sort of action his is going to take to work on fixing this problem.  I know he knows, and I know he's sorry but never telling me what he wants to do to fix things.  I've explained many times that actions speak louder than words, and his lack of action continues to show me that he still doesn't think it's a big deal and he still isn't going to do anything about it.  I wish he would outwardly express to me if he is worried about something or he is anxious about it too because then at least I wouldn't feel so alone with my anxiety.


He really is a great guy with a great heart.  He was the one who initially brought up ADD and thinking he still had it from childhood.  I encouraged him to the Dr and he was put on medication.  I stressed to him the importance of diet, exercise, and CBT therapy.  There is a CBT therapist who specializes in ADD in our area, however I'm beginning to think this man has ADD as well because we can never get him to call us back lol.  I bought him a planner but he wants a fancy Smartphone instead.  I subscribed him to an add magazine.  He says he wants to work on strategies and ways to compensate for his weaknesses but he can't make the commitment physically to put them into action.  I know it is overwhelming, but he has to start small and build upon that.  I think he would feel some much better if he made a 100% commitment to just one strategy and see how that goes, that will motivate him to add another strategy.  The house will stay clean, the files will stay organized and things will no longer get lost in the shuffle.  The better he feels the more he will want to do to sustain those feelings.  Let me know if I'm talking crazy or my ideas sound unreasonable but for my non-ADD brain it makes sense lol.

Build on small changes

I am very familiar with the ADD symptoms you describe. Taxes, been there, Finally corrected that. I used to have a real hard time starting something that I knew was going to turn out bad. Taxes - when you owe year after year you file extensions, then when you finally look at the tax return, it's too late obviously for the past year, but now the current tear is already screwed up. Evil cycle.

I think I never knew what anxiety was before my physical symptoms showed. Many times with ADD you appear to be oblivious to things, but you are really not. You know you need to start, but can't, then when it is brought up, you feel like crap because you know you should have started, now your spouse is mad, or not, but it looks like yet another ball dropped. 

I am far better with things after meds. TIME is the most important thing that I understand now, almost too much, it is a bit over-whelming to realize all the things that need your attention. With tough things now, I would rather tackle it and see what it is, then formulate a plan to deal with it. A regular exercise program Really enhances the affects of the meds too. When you actually feel good, it's far easier to deal with the tough stuff.


Thanks for you post.


I'm going to continue to try

I'm going to continue to try encouraging him to eat better (since I cook dinner it is easy for me to influence what he eats and I would like to instill healthier eating habits for our children so it's win win for all of us) because he said he felt better when he didn't have sugar, sodas, and junk.  I suggested family walking sessions around the neighborhood in the evenings.  I've begun my own exercise program.  I kind of feel like I have to set the example and he will follow my lead, which I hate to say is what you do with your children..lead by example and hope they follow you. 

As exasperating and challenging as it is trying to fix this tax issue I also find it somewhat humorous.  It's not that he didn't file his taxes, he went to H & R Block each year, had them prepared and efiled.  Unfortunately 1 year he forgot to sign one of their forms and never returned their call to come in and sign it so that year was never filed.  The 2 other years they were rejected by the IRS because he made a verbal agreement with his ex-wife to each claim 1 of their children but she is not the trustworthy type and went ahead claiming both of them.  He never returned the calls of H & R Block to discuss the problem.  Each of those years he was owed a refund for crying out loud.  I would think knowing I was suppose to get thousands of dollars back would be enough to make me find out what the heck was going on when I didn't get my money.  I still have to practically beat him over the head to get this resolved.  Thankfully he comes from a family of money (his grandfather was an MLB GM back in the 80's) and I finally got him to talk to his father about the depth of the issue and he directed us to the family accountant, with whom we have a meeting with this evening, to help us work through this particular issue, because while he was owed a refund from the federal he owes to the state for all those years and they just keep tacking on the penalties and fees making it almost triple what he originally owed.  Ok, I'm not laughing anymore, this blows.

I try my best not to make him feel like crap..I think him feeling like crap about himself is part of the problem, almost like it paralizes him because it is easier for him to avoid the problems so he doesn't have to face the fact that he created it in the first place.  I've tried telling him that realizing he has ADD makes the mistakes he made in the past more understandable and to take the knowledge forward to prevent them from happening again.  Taking a small step to resolve something small prevents it from becoming something big.  But as the same conversation always goes I get the response "I know" and then he wanders into the office to read the newest chapter of his online syfy book...blarg.

Don't be the parent :-)

Subtle nudges here and there are good, but we were stuck in the muck for so long the marriage was falling apart. My GP had put me on anti-depressants which helped a bit, but numbed everything, good and bad... When I started having panic/anxiety attacks (I knew why on the inside, of course) I knew I had to get help. The GP thought I might be Bi-Polar ?!? I was the most consistently laid-back person in the world 95% of the time. The Psychiatrist had me pegged in about 10 minutes. When told me ADD, I said whatever... He said okay, pointed out that my leg had not stopped bouncing since I sat down, I said "So, sometimes both are bouncing and I'm 43 years old and someone should have noticed by now, Right?!?" I got the recommended book, and began reading immediately, then realized I needed a highlighter because the inside of my brain was seemingly on every page. (I had not read more than a Motor Trend in 10 Years)

Once I knew what I had been dealing with all my life and there was a way to correct my crazy brain, I was all over this... Maybe in time to save my marriage... My point is HE has to understand this thing and want to get better. You can certainly help him through this process. You are here and learning about the things he carries that affects you so much, which is great! I applaud your efforts to understand what you both are faced with. ADD Sucks for Everyone!

Keep up the great work :-)


He knows what he is dealing

He knows what he is dealing with and says he wants to change things but there is no commitment to action.  There is no compensation for his ADD symptoms.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses, we have to decide how we deal with the weakness.  There is no magic cure that is going to make him remember.  Forgetfulness is his weakness, so he has to implement strategies to compensate for not remembering.  A planner, reminder alarms on his phone etc.  It takes commitment and diligence.  I know it's not easy but it has to be done.  The planner I bought him for Christmas is still sitting on the coffee table, glanced at and forgotten.  The calender on his phone remains unused because it's not the fancy phone he wants and if he only had the phone he really wants he would be sure to use it, and the reminders he does set on his phone go off at an inconvient time (ie when he is in the middle of one of his online stories or during a round of call of duty) so he will do it in 5 minutes, knowing full well in 5 minutes he will have forgotten all about that reminder ever going off.  I know I don't have ADD and besides that everyone's brain works differently, but it seems simple in my mind to decide that if I know I won't remember to do something in 5 minutes that no matter how badly I want to put it off, I have to suck it up and do it right then and there because otherwise it won't get done.  Yes I know 29+ years of traveling down 1 road it is hard to suddenly veer off onto another but I'm not looking for perfection I'm just looking for effort and I don't think that is too much to ask for.


I don't want to act like his parent, but I also feel a strong need to protect myself and our family.  How can I in good consceiance leave things to his responsibility, knowing if they don't get taken care of it is going to put us worse off than we already are?  Where do I draw the line and say no he has to handle this I'm not going to say anything about it and if it doesn't get done it's on him when really if he sinks we all sink?  How can I not continue to bail water out of this sinking ship because if I stop it's not just him that drowns but our entire family drowns too?

No Time....I Agree...please read.

As I stated in my blog 1st. meeting...He told her I had kicked him...I just said yes, no other comment. I have NO EXCUSE for doing kicking him or the other two times I have slapped him, I have learned to remove myself before I go there. This is what happened all three times....He had used his ADHD (the behaviors that are common) with me I pointed them out to him....within 10 min's he's trying to get somewhere with me (kissing etc...that would lead to sex)I would say stop..I don't want you to kiss me etc...stop...He would say your mine to do as I pleased ( he truly does not believe this , but was trying to force me to get pass what had happened then get what he wanted)  He backed me up against the wall once, the frig once , and the other time drugged me across the room threw me on the couch and got on top of me with his knees on my chest.This is when I would strike out, I am not in anyway making an excesses for my part, I own it and it hurts that I played a part of these ugly acts. I have ask him to forgive me,said I would never do it again ( have not) and he says he has,but when we disagree about almost anything he acts like I'm going there again and has even got in my face and acted out how I hit him in the past...yes trying to get me too. I learned that when this behavior starts I remove myself before he has a chance to back me in a corner. I'm the only person that can be responsible for my actions . Thanks for reading, feedback and prayers needed.

No means "No"

You have Every right to say NO! You have Every right to defend yourself! I'm sorry if you thought I meant you could not try stop an attack. I don't know your entire story, but This sounds like spousal abuse to me, and it should be made VERY Clear that he cannot attack you. ADD is awful to have, but fundamental Right and Wrong should be obvious, even with ADD, attacking your wife is totally wrong. Please seek help with this... Family, friends...

This anger sounds over the top, and honestly, scary.

I wish you the best.

Speaking from my own

Speaking from my own experience (which is very limited) I can ASSURE you that the medications can (and DO) make some 'laid back' men into angry men. My husband has has this exact experience. He was only on Concerta about 2 months total...but it was enough that it almost pushed me over the edge....things had been going SOOO well for us and all of the sudden he is argumentative, combative, irrational, and refuses to listen to anything I have to say. He stopped it...was off of meds completely for 4 days...and all of the sudden I had my sweet husband back. About 4 weeks into Vyvanse now and he is snappy and VERY easily aggrivated. Better than with Concerta, but still NOT MY HUSBAND! :( I'm trying to be patient and see if maybe it isn't just psychological changes and not really the medication itself. Maybe he is operating under 'real time' now and it is throwing off his world just enough to make him irritated...paranoid...short fused...moody.. :(

I urge you to try and get him to consider the changes the meds have made in his personality. If he was laid back and chill before the meds and now you're seeing this snapping turtle who is now becoming violent...especially if he's depressed on top of that...SOMETHING ISN'T WORKING. That is where I would start. Something isn't right. You know it and he knows it. He needs to talk to his doctor about the changes YOU'VE seen and the changes I'm sure he feels...God willing he'll admit to what he's feeling/experiencing...and he needs to change meds.

SherriW you are so

SherriW you are so right about the meds.  Im not sure what is happening at this point with the meds - abt 3-4 weeks ago he admitted that he had been off his meds for about 1 month and had just re-started taking them again (that morning). This was quite a surprise to me since I had been overlooking some  negative behavior/attitudes  because I thought "we are working so hard at rebuilding our trust and connections through therapy - that maybe I need to loosen up and just keep seeing the good behavior." You know, justifying his behavior/attitude.  Now I realize what the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach was trying to tell me!  But as part of my new non nagging/mothering I have nothing to do with his med situation (I used to ask him did you take your med's today? Is it refill time - I could pick up the prescription for you. ect) which he says is what he wants- at least some of the time.  Anyway, he had an appt with GP to discuss meds and how he was feeling on them (which he can't describe anymore than I don't like how I feel and I don't like taking meds) and he did ask me to go to that appt - I agreed.  He made the appt for the middle of the day that I was working. I mentioned that I would not be able to go to the appt since it was in the middle of the day - his reply- that's fine, Ill go.  Okay, when I got home from work that night he didn't mention anything about his appt - I thought maybe it would be a good topic for our daily meeting that night - so I mentioned to him that for our meeting I'd like to hear about how he was feeling about what he learned at his dr appt. His face went blank and laughed saying Yeah, I totally blew that off. Forgot all about it. Guess I need to reschedule. - Still no new date for the dr appt. But I honestly can not say that I know he is taking his meds everyday - because I don't believe that he is.  He said that he was out of his prozac for "a few days, or just one day" and needed a refill. Again, not sure if he took care of that or not.  If I offer help then he wants to leave it all in my lap to handle. If I don't offer help - I have no idea of what he is or isn't doing.  So I am wondering if the mix of on/off again taking of meds is playing into all of his chaos- or if he is over doing the caffenine again (which in addition to his meds made him MEAN last summer) - or maybe it is just time to try a different med?  

I have begun to notice that I am having a difficult time with learning how to set boundaries. I am concerned with doing so I will sound like my old-self (which I don't want at all)  - do you have any suggestions of how to set boundaries without the spouse feeling like I am trying to control him? I KNOW I need to set boundaries, but I seem stuck on this.

Thanks for your support Sherri - and for (Wayne, yyz, Topaz) everyone else, too. This website is so fantastic. I feel the positive energy from everyone's comments and suggestions; and reading about those that have tackled their ADD issues and repairing their marriages is so inspiring! 

I avoid the 'nagging' role

I avoid the 'nagging' role with everything in me...even when I know that something he's doing might end up causing him stress or some kind of trouble in the future...BUT...when it comes to the meds, I will not..CANNOT keep my mouth shut if I feel they are causing issues for him..that are in turn causing issues for our marriage. Our counselor told me that my observations are critical since the ADHDer isn't always acutely aware of what they are doing or how they are acting. It was obvious that my husband, who had been sweet and considerate of my feelings BEFORE taking Concerta, turned into a combative, short fused monster...and although he REFUSED to admit it was in any way at all effecting him the way I was saying it was, he did make an appt with his PCP and go off of it. Fine by me...deny all you want, as long as you stop taking it. :)

It would depend on what boundaries you're trying to set for yourself...there is NOTHING wrong with setting boundaries. It does not make you a nagger or control freak because you need certain things for yourself and demand them from your spouse. Him taking medication that makes him (my husband) a jerk when there are SOOOO many other options just isn't acceptable. It isn't fair for the rest of us that have to live with him....and in the long run, it would be destructive to our marriage which is, by default, destructive to him. Ya know?

Medications like Prozac, that require a constant level to work right, are really really bad to take sporadically. I'm not sure if you're saying that he's been taking them without any consistency for the 2 years that things have been bad or are you saying that things were better when you were in charge and he was taking them regularly? IF he were to stop taking the Prozac, it is vital to his mental health that he wean from it too...I've been there, done that, and it is NOT pretty when you don't. (just an FYI, incase).

If he is saying he feels bad taking meds, then why would he take them? I wouldn't want my husband to take them if they made him feel bad. Was he leading a fairly successful life (job, marriage) before taking them? My husband feeling PHYSICALLY bad on Concerta is what he now will admit made him so irritable and combative with me. I didn't WANT him to take meds, to be honest...I was hoping to avoid them at all costs..but I think his job was becoming overwhelming due to his lack of organizational skills and his inability to follow-through on stuff...so it was something he wanted to do. I am probably hyper sensitive to how they're going to effect him because I went into it expecting the worst...but I do trust my gut and you need to as well. Get involved with the process of medications and what he's taking..if he needs to take anything..when it takes it, etc...if it means your marriage will be better for you.

Im a bit confused as to his

Im a bit confused as to his answer of why he does what he does. Sometimes, it seems like he is making stuff up (off the cuff or top of his head -which I can tell are B.S.) and other times his answers (that I think he really believes are true) just do not make any logical sense. So his statements were these:  I don't like how the meds made me feel so I went off. I don't like taking meds, so I went off everything. It's not fair that you (meaning me) don't take meds so neither should I. (the timeframe that he was off all meds was for 1 month) Illogical since I do not have any medical reason to use medication daily - he know this. But it didn't matter - to him it was unfair.  OooKay.  He has been known to not take his dextro on the weekends (says he doesn't need it) but then other times he will take it - very inconsitant is the only constant here.  At the best, when I was helping, I knew what he was taking and when he did or did not take them. 

DH stated the dextro to help focus at work - it was becoming so overwhelming for him that it was a deeper hole each day for him. So the dextro does help - he says that it helps him to focus better and he uses ear plugs at work and is in a less busy area in the office.  So the only thing that he has mentioned about the med is that he feels his tongue pushing against the inside of his bottom teeth. No pain, just a comment. Due to his addictive personality, I was scared to death for him to start dextro but he needed something to help with the lack of focus. 

The prozac he has been on and off for the last 5 years.  First the PC dr thought is was SADD and treated for those times of the years - it helped. Then the real depression came on and he was alert enough to go and get help for himself- KUDOS for that big step. And he has been on the prozac as a daily since then - about 3 1/2 years.

I don't blame him for not wanting to take meds but I also feel that since the randomness of him taking the meds is great - I don't feel that he has given that a fair chance to really work. I am almost wondering if the on and off dosing has attributed to the chaos.  I would love it if he were able to function w/o meds. 

DH has always been a great provider for us. He has in general been very successful and productive at work - times of boredom but he always was able to bounce out of it. It has been the last 6 years that he has bounced from job to job looking for the golden cup of jobs and always being disappointed.  He still has managed to stay employed, but I worry that with his increased negative attitude and aggressiveness - he maybe walking on thin ice.  I hope not, that would be terrible for all of us.

It was really the fact of the following: (1) I felt betrayed by his deception of not taking the meds when we had agreed that was one part of our therapy along with behavior mod (working on) and counseling (we are currently in) and we were working on this as a team. (2) that it was a stupid thing to just go off meds of those kind without any direction or help of a doctor (3) That he didn't talk to anyone (dr, counselor or me) about how he was feeling on the meds, or even to say "I've stopped taking them"

I don't know if he will continue on meds or not - I am willing to try it once we get to a point where things are more stable and we both would be able to observe if things are heading in a downward spiral. But at this point - I think that we need all of the help that we can get to get going in the right direction again. 

Thanks for you insight, as always  :)

I agree..I think the

I agree..I think the inconsistent dosing could be making him worse and setting up some kind of system to help him/remind him to take his meds (which we all know is easier said than done) might help. Consistent dosing for 6-8 weeks should give a clear indication of whether it is the meds themselves that might need to be changed or just the inconsistent dosing that is causing his outbursts. I do think it is hard for them to vocalize what they are feeling because my husband either couldn't (or wouldn't) describe what he was feeling on Concerta but now that he's off of it he can clearly state how it made him feel bad.

I would encourage you to get the support of your counselor and his doctor if necessary...because one of the concerns I have is just what I was talking about above...he wasn't willing to admit (or couldn't see it himself?) that the concerta had made him irritable and argumentative. I guess my point is that they're not always aware of what they're doing...so our observations are really important when medications are introduced or changed.

It just seems like he's got this situation out of control..maybe it is ADHD and maybe it is the meds messing with him...and maybe he just hates the way they make him feel and he is trying to take some control...either way, I would do what I could to help him get this situation under control. Maybe talk to him and see what he feels, discuss the problems with the inconsistency of his dosing, and ask him what you can do to help.