How Do I Stop Myself?

I seem to have this switch in my head that activates whenever my SO talks about money. After the switch is thrown, I become this evil, guilt-inducing asshole about money. It complicates matters that we run a business together and money is a bit tight and she's been underpaid. I'm finally able to double her salary this month and then, instead of being normal during dinner, I went on a rant about how I couldn't afford to buy holiday gifts because of the extra money I was giving her. I knew it was wrong from the second it came out of my mouth, but I couldn't stop it.

Afterwards, I feel like a complete and utter asshole. My SO is usually crying  in the bedroom... she's starting to hate me and I can't blame her. I feel terrible, like a worthless scumbag.

 

How do I stop this from happening? How do I stop hurting the one true person I want to be with for the rest of my life?

 

FYI, both of us have ADD. We have been living together for two years.

It's great that you can see

It's great that you can see this after your bouts with your SO. As they say, having knowledge of it means you are already on the road to improving.

My ADHD dh has this too and to me it appears that there is a rush of anxiety, followed by feeling helpless or out of control, then it turns to bursts of anger. There is some online references to "money phobia" which seems a legitimate phobia to me. We all have a phobia about one thing or another.  Even non-ADHD couples argue over money when money is tight enough to worry. Does your SO spend impulsively (actuality vs perception) and is that a contributing factor to the stress?

Would you be able to have your SO cue you immediately once you go into the money fixation? Instead of feelings of anger and anxiety (which I assume you have when the subject of money comes up) you might be able to condition yourself to respond differently . I think it would help if you received some kind of cue to switch over to it because it is hard to cue oneself.

Dh and I have been married 20 years and it wasn't until 16 years into our marriage that I was allowed access to the household accounts, if that gives you any indication how deep it went.  My spouse questioned the price and the reason for every item I purchased, including the family grocery list, down to a simple salad (not all the time, it is just unpredictable) -- and all this was happening when I was earning a full time salary. While I was responsible with money, but I am one of those people who believes <Life is Short We all will Die>, and we should enjoy something out of this short time we have on earth.

However having said all that, my dh improved tremendously over the last couple of years. We both worked on him equating our financial needs as the same. My love of books is as important to him as his DVD collections, for example. It is not less. It is as meaningful to me as his DVDs are to him. I had him imagine my telling him or grilling him every time he purchased a DVD how he would feel and would he be happy with the DVD after the negative talk? It took a very long time, all these years. I think he had to respect we all need to feel we matter as part of a couple.

He told me he had to "swallow hard" over time, many times, and then he became more supportive. I think it happened once he realized he didn't need to worry about not being able to control the finances of another person other than himself and I was really reliable. I always have a budget plan in mind and the bills would always be paid within a month or two. I continue to point out to him what the thrill his electronics equipment gives to him, is the same when I find a book or an article of clothing. In the end we are both experiencing the same thing.

For my part, in order for me to understand his anxiety, I had to get him to sit down as an equal to let me know exactly where all the money was going every month. Once he was able to sit down and itemize everything, then I too, understood a bit more of our finances, then our dynamics, and my own choices. I make a conscious effort not to "nag" him, which alleviates the anxiety/anger for him too. I also respected his role as the provider more. We had to come together in order to move ahead.

We still have ups/downs. After all, we're undoing 20 years of conditioning each other in a way. You are in a good spot to start, you already understand yourself 2 years into your life with your partner :)