How to get myself and our son out of the "firing range"

It's my 1st time posting here and I guess this is as much of a vent as anything.....but any tips on how to keep myself and our 3 year old son out of the way of my husbands anger would be very helpful. My husband has ADD. He takes all his stress and frustration out on us every day. I think about ending this marriage every day when the three of us are together and the stress is killing me. I can't wait for my husband to leave for work so that we can have some peace in the few minutes before I bring my son to daycare and I go to work. He is so irritated by my and my son's behavior that he yells at us from the minute we get up until our son goes to bed at night...

When I pull up to the house I can hear him or my son yelling or crying before I even get into the house. I don't want to go in some days but I feel the need to protect our son. Dinner is a nightmare every night. My husband yells and threatens my son to make him to eat. My thoughts are that he will eat when he's hungry and stop when he's full, if he doesn't eat enough he'll be hungry in the morning, lesson learned with no threats. He tries to talk about serious subjects with me during dinner and my son interrupts all the time and gets himself sent to bed or spanked. I have suggested that he save those thoughts until after our son goes to bed so that we can discuss them more easily. If I try to interfere the anger gets turned on me also and we have a huge blow out in front of our child...again.

My husbands ideas on discipline are totally different than mine. He feels yelling, threats, and physical reprimands are the way to deal with a "bratty" child like ours...I feel our child is a typical 3 year old and needs to be taught what is expected of him and needs firm boundaries. I have found that natural consequences tend to be the best teacher and employ them whenever possible. I feel expecting a child of that age to ask "how high" ever time he is commanded to jump is unrealistic..(he literally screams this at our child "when I say jump, you say how high" "NOW!!!") Even when playing with our son, wrestling tickling etc...he doesn't stop when our son asks him to, he keeps going until our son is crying or screaming.

He pushes, slaps, shoves, grabs our son by the face and yells at him. He feels these are the things our bratty son deserves. My son "makes" him do it. I "make" him yell by voicing my opinion of this behavior...The other day  he said "Why don't I just spank you and get it over with, it's what you want and it will make me feel a whole lot better...."

I am exhausted from trying to keep everything together. I am tired of tiptoeing around and running interference between him and our son trying not to make him mad....I try to use natural consequences with my husbands ADD behavior also and let him deal with the results, but sometimes have to interfere because his forgetfulness if affecting me. Like when he's late picking up our son and I get spoken to by the daycare provider about it (she's afraid to speak to him because he gets so defensive). Or when he leaves our sons coat and boots somewhere and I don't have them when we need them, or leaves dangerous thing like knives and medication within our sons reach, etc....

He's been going to a counselor who has experience with ADD, sporadically, but he feels as he does with all councilors that she's just in it for the money and isn't offering any eral solutions for him....he isn't a good candidate for medication due to his obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.....he does take and anti depressant also...he always tells me that the counselor says it "takes two" to create a problem and that I should think about how I am contributing to these issues (which I do all the time), but contrary to his belief, I do not "make" him react the way he does that is under (or not ) under his control....

Anyway I just wanted to tell someone....I realize that no one can really help me help him, he has to help himself. I just don't see it happening and I'm exhausted and sad that this is the way we have to live if we're going to be together....I don't know if we can be together and my son loves his Dad and is going to be devastated if we are not. The life I thought we were going to have does not exist.

DF's picture

I'll tip toe here

The Dude needs a new doctor - Period!

There's a lot here that is not my business, but as a father with ADD and two boys of my own it bothers me greatly your description.  I will not make judgments on what I think you should do because I like to think that every marriage can be helped.

So with that said, "not a good candidate for meds"?  What?!  For real?!  Says who?  I'm no doctor and I'm only in the second month of my diagnosis, but my doctor keeps firing away about alternative meds for me.  My ADD is pretty mild in that I'm impulsive, forgetful and have wicked anxiety ( that was the big shocker for me ).  So my doc is okay with giving me a stimulant for a while because I'm not abusing them, but they keep mentioning that there are all kinds of synthetic drugs that have been modified.  They even told me I might want to try a non-stimulant high blood pressure medicine that they took out the high blood pressure stuff and noticed it killed anxiety.  I'm just trying to say there is such a thing as non-stimulant ADD(HD) meds.

If he has high blood pressure and a weight problem then he doesn't have to take a stimulant, but he needs to "want" to change. 

My oldest son(11) has ADHD and we butted heads for years.  I felt out of control because I could not control him.  I yelled out of frustration ( no name calling - EVER ) and he yelled back out of frustration.  Yelling makes us "think" we're going to get our point across.  It makes us feel that we're going to be heard and that will be the end of it.  My youngest son does not have ADD(HD) and talking to him has always been like a breath of fresh air.  The stark contrast between my two kids was so frustrating for me.

Now my son and I are both on meds as he was recently diagnosed along with me.  I'm "man" enough to know my symptoms when they appear and my oldest son is taking really well to the meds too and talking to him a lot of times now is very comfortable.

Find a new doctor.  Sounds like to me they haven't been reading up on ADD(HD) in a while.  You husband may have more going on that still needs to be found and there's a possibility that maybe the meds for depression are not the right brand for him.  Also, what's he like doing?  Maybe the guy is frustrated because he has no outlets?  A hobby can maybe get him out of the house too.

Your husband is abusive!

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. The desire to control everything is abusive. Threats are abusive. Call the domestic violence hotline in your area and get help for you and your son. My ADDer is the gentlest and most mild-mannered person I've ever known. ADD does not condemn someone to a life of violence.

As far as the obesity and hypertension (my ex had these too), check out posts by yyz, He lost, I think he said, 100 pounds when he got on Adderall. (He stopped self-medicating with food, and started exercising.)

Intuniv and Stattera are non-stimulant ADHD meds, he might be able to take them.

Is it possible your little boy is ADHD too? Maybe that makes them butt heads more. (not that you need to medicate him at this age.) By the time my younger (ADHD) daughter was that age, she was pushing all his buttons because they are very much alike. [It did not end well; that's all I can say.]

He does not feel good about himself. He is trying to control you and your son because he can't control himself. He is self-medicating with rage and food. Take if from someone who was once married to his "older brother." And please, get some help with his abusive behavior. Bullies don't stop by themselves.

I agree....

I agree that he doesn't feel good about himself, even though he says he has high self-esteme. I'm so frustrated because I start to second guess my self every time he sucks me into an argument, he claims it's always my fault....the way I speak to him, the way I treat him etc...

Yesterday he had the day off so he went to Costco...I gave him a list and the coupon book. Instead of going by himself during the day, he didn't want to encroach in "his" time so he waited until he had picked our son up from daycare to go around 4:30...lost the list (common occurrence) and called me on my way out of the office to ask what was on it. I replied that I wasn't sure of everything I don't have the list in my head that's why I write it down....So he starts yelling "What the ****, I'm standing here at Costco trying to do you a favor and you're trying to start some **** with me?" Just tell me what was on the list"   Now mind you my 3 year old is with him and they are in a store. I tell him what I can think of from the list. I tell him that I don't appreciate being spoken to like that. He tells me he doesn't appreciate the way I spoke to him, that I'm out of line, that he has a lot to do and has our son on top of that....and hangs up. He came home with some of the things that I told him but I still need to go back and get the rest.

His cell phone is beeping in the middle of the night because he hasn't charged it.....it wakes me up and I go looking for it 'cause the beeping makes me crazy. This wakes him up and he wants to know what I'm doing. I tell him and instead of saying "Oh I forgot to charge it, sorry it woke you" I get, "You are such a f****** light sleeper it's ridiculous!!!" You need some meds or something"....How is everything my fault???? And how can he not see this?????

He says I should plan better, check more, keeps tabs on things better and learn how to speak to him with out making him mad because I know he has ADD. I should touch and reassure him when he's angry and yelling and that I should toughen up and take his yelling like a big girl instead of a p****. My heart tells me this is wrong and that I shouldn't accept being treated this way. He tells me this is normal there isn't a man out there that isn't a p**** who doesn't yell and go off when they are mad. I feel that I can barely speak without irritating him. He says I make him yell at me because I make him so angry with my words and actions.....I told him that he is responsible for what comes out of his mouth, not anyone else....

I'm am so worried about my son, he will be devastated if we separate, he loves his Dad. How will I explain???? When he is not angry he is a great father and a good husband, but his patience is very short with our son and he seems to be so easily irritated with me that I don't see enough "not angry" and almost no actual happiness from him. Although I still look forward to seeing him when I get home that feeling often fizzles almost immediately due to whatever the issue of day is....

Help, help help....I just don't know what to do....it would be easier to decide if it was just me but when I factor in our son it becomes sooooo difficult.

Could have written this

I could have written this myself. I have no advice or suggestions, I just want to let you know you aren't alone.

He may well have ADD

But ADD is absolutely not an excuse for abuse--physical, emotional, verbal, whatever.