Naomi Campbell

When my husband's angry, upset, frustrated, hungry, overtired, "triggered," or just took his medicine / forgot to take his medicine, the diva behavior comes out. Today, he pulled a Naomi on me -- that's right, he screamed at me and threw a phone at me.

How did it get to this? Well, my mother is dying. My husband spent one evening with his arm around me while I cried about how sad I am, especially since we live on opposites sides of the country and I can't be with her. But then I spend the rest of the weekend soothing his anxiety, ADHD, tactile defensiveness, and various other issues. The one and only thing that calms him is massage which, after a long work week, managing the house, the kid, and all our adult responsibilities, is really tiring for me.

First it's headaches. Then it's muscle tension. Then it's irritable bowel symptoms. Then it's anxiety and panic. Then it's his groin muscles that hurt (I don't even want to know why). Then it's his eyes that are bothered by the living room light. Then the faint smell of nail polish remover (I should KNOW BETTER than to use nail polish remover when he's in the house) has "triggered" him. Then he's crabby because he's hungry. And at last, the piece de resistance, he's "worried" for me because my mother's dying and can't be calm, so I have to massage him until he stops shaking and panicking.

I sometimes feel so pissed off -- shouldn't HE be the one soothing ME? But then I remember that I'm in ADHD w/anxiety relationship, which means that I'm always the "parent." So let's be honest. I'm lucky that I even got empathy and a few minutes of his attention.

So back to the phone incident. Today, I ask him to help me with one of the household chores. He makes a long list of excuses. He tries pointing fingers at all the things that I do wrong, all my inadequacies, things that I don't help out with. I simply say, "fine, that may be true. But you still need to help me with this. And if I'm not helping with X,Y, or Z, let's talk about that, too." He gets so frustrated and angry that he screams and barks at me, "nothing I ever do is GOOD ENOUGH! Why are you always putting me down!?" I try to calm him, "I'm only asking for help. I'm not putting you down."

He kicks a chair, SCREAMS, runs down the hall and starts banging around on everything in his way. I'm so upset that I'm shaking and crying. I remove myself from the situation by going into the living room and sitting on the couch. Then comes into the living room, hurls the phone at me (thankfully, he missed), runs into the bathroom, and slams the door. WTF?!

If there's a silver lining to this situation, is that I learned how to set limits with him. When he got out of the bathroom, I said, "This is not healthy. I won't tolerate you swearing at me, yelling, or throwing things. I need you to leave." This of course prompted more yelling, but I held my ground, "you can come back when you're calm. But I won't allow you in the house while you behave this way. It's too upsetting."

And you know what? Little miss thang put on her coat, marched out (slamming the door on her way out, of course), and left me in peace.