Husband blew up during worksheet discussion

I don't even know what just hit me. My husband and I sat down to listen to Session 3 of the couples seminar, and we were discussing our worksheets beforehand. During our anger worksheets discussion, I said that I answered one of the questions according to my resentment because I don't really have anger. He asked me what I was resentful for. Normally I would not answer because in the last 6-8 weeks, he has been very irritable, and little things set him off. But I figured--hey, we're having a nice honest talk, so I will try to explain. Well, he immediately rejected my first answer because, "I do way more than the guys in that book." He could not understand why I would feel resentful at having to take on most of the child care, manage the household, and make sure things get done, because he does his fair share of the chores (we both work full time). When I tried to explain nicely that it is not about comparing him to anyone in the book but about addressing our issues, he exploded. He told me we don't have that problem anymore because he is done. He mentioned divorce (hopefully it is just his anger) and stormed off. (That has never happened before.) I was stunned. He wasn't even making sense, and I feel like a truck just hit me. He asked me why I felt how I did and then did not "agree with" my answer, which of course is unfair, to say the least.

I know this is just another of his anger outbursts, so I don't take it personally, and assuming (which right now may be a big assumption) he realizes that his reaction was irrational, my question is, how do we effectively make progress going forward? Should we not discuss anything heavy until the completion of the course? I feel very afraid to be honest with him because these reactions are quite frequent recently (it was not like this before his diagnosis, so I know some of it is his own dealing with this). But every time he acts like this, I feel more reluctant to share my feelings. 

I read in another post in this forum that the first year after the diagnosis is the worst, but how do we even make it to a year if he has this much anger and doesn't fully buy into the course? 

carathrace's picture

these things must be done delllll-icately

I haven't been thru the couples seminar, but I don't think that's relevant to your question.  It sounds to me like he's feeling threatened and/or overwhelmed.  But it would be good if he were able to say that to you.  One thing I do with my husband when I sense he's in that state is ask questions that center around the phrase "How is it for you?"  I make up my mind in advance that this is a fact-finding mission and I'm not going in to it to express my opinion, feelings, thoughts.  Just to find out what it's like for him.

You could wait til there's a calm moment, maybe when you're rubbing his feet or having a cup of coffee together, when he's relaxed.  And you could say something like, "I've been thinking lately that you've had an awful lot of changes in your life in the past year.  How has it been for you with this new knowledge that you have ADHD?"  No matter how he responds, make up your mind not to react personally.  "How is it for you to be in this course with me?"  "I've been wondering how it feels for you to be talking about  ADHD with me."  Your aim is to be non-threatening and reassuring.  The conversation may not go the way you hope/expect it to, so try not to have expectations.  If you get more of his trust, you may be able to talk about "how it is with YOU" in a subsequent conversation.

I wouldn't be too upset about the divorce comment.  My guy blurts that one out every once in a while when he's under GREAT stress and GREAT overwhelmed-ness.  It's a kneejerk kind of statement that I think means "I'm going to reject you before you have a chance to reject me" or something like that.