Physical Violence, anyone???

I'm hoping that someone else with my same issue can at least offer some support. My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years. I did not know that he had been diagnosed with ADHD as a child, but I did know that he had many behavior problems as a kid. His parents medicated him for a short time, but stopped when he said that he did not like it (around age 8 or so), and he never received other treatment for ADHD that I know of. They just decided to "trust God" that he would grow out of it. His family often discusses his rage issues, and his mom has recently admitted to me that she always felt verbally abused by him when he was living at home. He underwent a conversion experience around age 21, which did help some of his issues, and then met me a few years later. He definitely hyperfocused on me, which ended the day after we got engaged. Seriously, it was like night and day. I blamed it on wedding planning, school, work, whatever, but when I recently started learning about ADHD, I was able to identify it immediately.

Starting from our honeymoon, we would have major disagreements over minor issues, that he would just become so enraged about. Things that I don't think would make other people very angry, and usually involving what he felt was a personal attack on him, but which stemmed from me simply having a different opinion to him. Not always, but about 4-5 times per year, this would escalate into physical violence... with me being hit or kicked or put in a headlock or thrown to the floor. As soon as the physical altercation was over, he would seem to feel better, and not understand why I was so upset over what had happened. He definitely didn't want me to tell anyone, and this became a fairly normal part of our relationship for years. I went to our pastors for help a couple of times, and we did try counseling, but he was really unable to identify any root issues. He always just said that "I made him that angry." I tried for years to change the way I spoke to him- did not help. I tried to speak to him the way he spoke to me to "shock" him into getting it- did not help. I then just gave up, after two particularly difficult episodes of violence, and tried not speaking to him or engaging with him at all. As I've read in another post on here, things were bearable only when I offered no opinions and just let him do whatever he wanted to. In the last 6 months, after some personal tragedy in my own life, during which he was emotionally unavailable to me for support, and a few more incidents of violence, I confessed that I wanted to leave him. He became "crisis husband" again at that point (we had been separated before, and it was the same then), where he tried to fix everything all at once, and convince me to come back. He also became extremely paranoid, extremely controlling, and while acknowledging ADHD, has tried to definitely downplay its role in the breakdown of our marriage. He tells people that I'm playing "the abuse card" or "the ADHD card" but seems to have no idea, still, why I'm so affected by it.

We've been separated for almost 4 months now. We have a beautiful young daughter (having a child only escalated the stress in our home), and therefore the waiting period for divorce is a year. While he says that he wants counseling, he is personally unwilling to take responsibility for these issues we have, and wants me to share the blame- to say that I've also been abusive because of the ways I responded to his physical violence. His family want me to go to counseling with him and confront him on his issues and "sort him out" which they were never able to do. I feel sad that it's come to this. I feel sad that we never had a marriage without the element of violence. I feel angry that he won't take responsibility for the role that abuse and ADHD have played in our marriage. I think it's very sad that I don't miss being with him at all. That now, my life is much easier to manage, even as a single mom, than life with him was.

Much of the info I've read on ADHD stops at just anger issues, and doesn't go into actual violence. Is this considered abusive behavior, if he has ADHD, or just another symptom of it? Has anyone got any insight into this or had this same experience? Thanks!

ADHD is no excuse for abuse

I'm not a doctor and what I'm going to tell you is purely my opinion. Abuse is abuse and ADHD is no excuse.  With that said, the verbal and emotional abuse I've experienced from my husband go hand in hand with his ADHD and anger.   He's only been violent once and we got separated not to long after that incident.  ADHD is not an excuse for physical violence.  It's also no excuse for verbal/emotional abuse but its not compromising a person's existence ALTHOUGH its very very painful and harmful to a person in other ways.  I think that's why it was harder for me to walk away, the wounds were internal and I would also blame myself.  

It would be wrong to say that abuse is a symptom of ADHD because not everyone is abusive.  We all have different experiences since we are dealing with different types of people with different pasts.  All I'm saying is that verbal/emotional abuse was part of the territory but I think its fair to say we are dealing with abusive people that have ADHD (among other issues) and its an unhealthy (sometimes dangerous) combo.  

Do not give anything the

Do not give anything the blame for your husband's behavior! I have ADHD and I would never lay my hands on my husband! ADHD does make us a little bit different, work a bit different but it does not make us not responsible for the things we do wrong. Your husband has major issues and you need to walk away, focus on you and your daughter. Don't go back to violence.

I'm with you, Sister

My husband has extreme anger issues, and once or twice, it has crossed over the line. In a way that is very uncomfortable (threatening to hurt my pet, throwing things at me). So when you wrote your post, my heart went out to you, my Sister.

ADHD makes it more difficult for folks to control their anger and make good decisions. But violence is a CHOICE, and it is not excused because your husband has ADHD. You don't need couples' counseling. Your husband needs batterer counseling, which is different from individual counseling. (Link removed by editor)

Don't believe me that abuse is a choice? Well, does your husband beat people at work when he has a disagreement with them? Does he lay is hands on his mother and father? Does he take a swing at your pastor? No. He chooses to batter his wife, and it is wrong. (Link removed by editor)

Also, the religious community (and I'm a faithful woman, too, so I understand why you went to see your pastor) has been notoriously bad at recognizing and dealing with domestic violence. Many pastors will treat DV as if it is a shared problem, when the root of it lies with the abuser's fundamental need to control. Yet some pastors hesitate to suggest that women leave their batterers because of the stigma of divorce within the religious community. But God will not fault you for leaving your abusive husband. If he has taken a vow to love, honor, and protect you, and abuses you instead, he has made a "false covenant." But don't take my word for it. Check out the biblical guide to abuse from Abigail's Support Group. (Link removed by editor)

Moreover, your participation in marital counseling will not change a thing. In fact, it is actually dangerous for you, since it's yet another arena for him to abuse you and control you. My suggestion to you is to send the batterer counseling info to your husband's family or to your pastor, get counseling from someone who treats battered women, and then stay away from your husband at all costs. You've been strong these four months, and I'm positive that you have the strength and wisdom to make it for a full year.

And finally, if you don't leave your husband, you can be sure that the violence will escalate. I don't know if you're aware of this, but studies of batterers show that their abuse tends to INTENSIFY -- not get better -- over time. When will it be enough? When you're six feet under? Not only that, but your beautiful little girl could also become a target. Even if your husband were to spare her the physical abuse, she'll be traumatized from watching her mother being battered. And she will probably develop unhealthy ideas about relationships, perhaps doomed to repeat them as an adult.

I hope that this info helps. Please make the right choice. For you, for your sanity, and for your daughter. And if you need more help, I encourage you to contact one of the organizations below.

National Domestic Violence Helpline

The Wheel of Power and Control

A Christian Perspective on the Cycle of Abuse 

PS -- The Honeymoon phase

PS -- That sensation that "things are better," after the abuse is called the honeymoon phase. It's a false feeling that the abuse is behind you, and that things will be okay. But in reality, it buys your batterer a little time, until the NEXT time he hits you.

Who you are describing is my

Who you are describing is my dad. I've seen him behave this way for over 40 years with my mom. One would think that all of this would stop now that she has terminal cancer. It hasn't.

It has enormously affected me, it has ruined my mom's life, and it's a waste of a life. Get out. This has NOTHING to do with ADHD. It will get worse and will never stop. I've seen it first hand.

You are a godsend

 Bitanonymous is right. Your only choice is to leave. 

Linsy's picture

violence and ADHD

My husband is still not diagnosed,it is much tougher to get a diagnosis and treatment in the UK. Now my teenage son is dropping out of college and showing many of the same symptoms. My husband's behaviour was occasionally violent in the past - but I managed to disregard this although I did involve the police so he would know how unacceptable it was. Unfortunately it escalated and he was raging daily, we were walking on eggshells, and he was completely immune to reason. It was the manhandling of our youngest child that forced my hand. I could not bear it, and finally there was an injury, and that was it. Since then he has used my getting him arrested as an excuse not to address his multiple issues, and for unknown reasons his family keeps him and looks after him, not at all trying to help him face up to his responsibilities. 

I have managed alone with no support at all for nearly two years now. It has been chronically lonely as I battle through mood swings caused by the menopause. Positives are gradual control over finances, gradually lessening stress levels (although recovering from hypervigilance lasting many years takes time) and often great joy as I know I don't have to deal with yet another disaster or negative incident.

I still think he has adhd, everything on this site convinces me. He went to an NHS psychiatrist who dismissed the possibility,but crucially I was not consulted. I am now trying to get my observations taken into consideration. As my son says, it is easy to hide the traits but impossible to suppress them completely. If we can get the father treated, then there is more hope for the son. It is just battling through great ramparts of denial that is the problem now.

I wish someone had told me years ago that ANY violence is completely unaccepable, but I was brought up in a rough and tumble of brothers and just could not see it. It always happened after a long period of me trying desperately to get through to him, and him being deaf and then treating me with scorn and spite. AT which point I would erupt, sometimes slapping him and pulling his hair and putting myself thoroughly in the wrong. Which is where he appeared to want me to be. 

His stress free life, at the expense of his family, means many less incidents. But they still crop up when any responsibility comes his way. He begins to fall out with people, snap, insult, demand and attempt to control. And that makes people dislike him. It is incredibly sad, and I personally cannot escape from my grief. Only diagnosis of whatever it is will end this mourning.


My partner has ADHD and he is

My partner has ADHD and he is not abusive.  (which is probably why I am hoping that my hubby can work on his ADHD issues as he is truly a kind hearted soul-and I had a bad history of abuse in a marriage I left 7 years ago.)     There are some excellent resources for you-this I know from the large amount of work I had to do on myself to make sure i would never stay with an abuser again. 

Try to get the book "When Love Hurts" by Karen McAndless Davis.  It explains things very well and is an easy read.  Also if you go to a counselor, make sure you see one about the abuse that understands abuse.   ADHD and Abuse are very different issues.  I am sure some ADHD folks are abusive as well, but I do not want to give the impression that abuse goes hand in hand with someone with ADHD. is a good forum as well on this.

 I recommend you look up the circle of violence:Tension building phase; then the explosion (the abusive incident); honeymoon phase (where he wants to change, maybe buys you gifts, is the man you love); then on again to tension building.

It is really important to go get help from a counsellor with abuse of any kind.

I hope this helps; I am sure you have your 'plate full' with dealing with the ADHD, but to add abuse into the mix must be additionally difficult for you. 


The best gift you could give your beautiful little girl would be to finalize that divorce. Teach her it's not ok.

Also, be on guard. He may abuse her. I have 3 daughters and left when they were 3,5 and 7. 18 mo ths ago he was founded of abusing them.

Document everything starting now. Also how family is putting pressure on you to do what they should have years ago. 


Get out. Period. 

stay strong

Your instincts and personal integrity are telling you the right thing. Yes, being hit, and kicked, and put in a headlock, and thrown to the floor: that is abuse. I am so happy for you that you left. It does not matter whether ADHD is causing him to be abusive to you, does it? It may very well be contributing--anger issues are one of the hallmarks--but, I urge you: Stay strong. I am not a doctor, either, but if this helps, my opinion is this. Abuse is abuse, pure and simple, and it should not be tolerated. Many abusers blame their victims for their behavior--"you provoked me, you made me so mad," etc. From what I understand, many abusive men can be very controlling and at the first sign their victims are going to leave them, they become more so. 

"Playing the abuse card," is a joke, right? Think about it from an outsider's perspective. YOU are the abusive one because of the way you have responded to his abuse? A man puts a woman in a headlock, and she is abusive for confronting him, or mentioning it, or leaving him, or wanting counseling? What he did to you is assault, and he could be arrested for it. And most abusers escalate. Would you want your daughter to see him kick you or throw you to the floor? 

Good for you for removing yourself and your daughter from such a dangerous situation. Stay strong! Of course you feel sad and angry, but it is telling that you are already happier now. Work to live your life being the kind of person you want to be, and the kind of mother you want to be for your daughter. Think of the example you are setting for her. Be satisfied that you tried and gave him more than a fair chance to try to address and change his behavior. He may try to be controlling, or make you feel guilty, or to scare you, or threaten you. Get a good advisor about your rights and custody, and document his behavior. Something tells me that you may need it to protect yourself and your daughter. Best of luck to you. 


ADHD and Violence

I've read several posts on here saying that ADHD and violence do not go hand in hand.  But I've read just as many posts where there is a wife married to a husband who has ADHD and a violent temper.  

I've heard over and over from my husband that I am the cause of his raging temper.  That when I see that he is getting angry that I should back off.  By not backing off I am "asking for it."  I've told him to his face that is a lame excuse.  I do believe that the rage and anger and violence are a choice.  Which is why I also believe that "counseling" from a minister, or psychiatrist won't work.  If is he is making the choice to be violent with you, and only you. Then no amount of counseling and discussing and finding the root cause will cause him to make a different choice.  He already knows it is wrong.  Otherwise he would act like that towards everyone when he gets angry.  He chooses to act violently toward you because you are HIS wife.  A possession - not a person.  It's an issue of control.  I battle whether or not to leave my husband every time he gets this way.  He's not escalated to real physical violence yet, but I believe the possibility is there.  You also talked about the calm after the storm and how your husband can't understand why you are so upset?  I live with that, also...  My husband anger seems to almost cycle.  It will gradually build until we have a blow-up argument (or several blow-up arguments).  Then, he is calm again - kind, attentive...he is the man that I initially fell in love with.  This will go on for a few days, or weeks...then the tension will start to escalate more and more...lots of little arguments over nothing...then the BIG EXPLOSION (usually also over nothing).  Then there is calm again...

It's very easy for a stranger to tell you to have an exit plan.  To make sure you have options.   It's very easy for someone who doesn't live in the situation to paint a picture of how things should and should not be based on the ideal of what marriage should be - ADHD or not.  ADHD is this, and is not that...  I live in a reality that is very different from that ideal.  It sounds like you do, too.  I know that the man I dated 7 years ago became a different person after we were married.  It doesn't matter about the excuses of the stress of work, or unemployment or having's all excuses.  I'm not condemning...I know where you stand.  I love my husband with all of my heart, in spite of all of the bad things that have happened.  Part of me refuses to give up for selfish reasons.  What if I were to take our son and leave?  What if my leaving was his wake-up call?  If it were, and he decided to change for the better...and then he met someone else?  She would get to be married to the wonderful man that I love?  The wonderful man that I KNOW is in there?  How messed up am I for feeling that way??  I am almost ashamed of myself for having those thoughts.  I KNOW that I deserve better than the monster that he sometimes becomes.  I KNOW that I can make it with my son on my own.  I KNOW that if I did leave, I could find happiness.  Most of the issues I have in my life stem from him...either directly or indirectly.  But, at the end of the day, I do love him.  I know you love your husband, too, or you wouldn't be bothering with finding a forum for people who have the same would have just left.

I can tell you this...I don't know that medication can help.  My husband has only been taking Adderall for a week, and I haven't seen a difference.  I'm hoping it will come with time.  If not, maybe Stratera or another medication.  The one thing I do know that helps is...self-medicating with "herbal" medications - if you know what I mean.  Of course, it is not legal everywhere.  It also is morally objectionable to most people.  Bottom line is, I DON'T CARE!  This makes my husband a better person.  Not a criminal, or any of the bad things that someone might say.  It makes him more normal.