A smart way out of anger?

Hey people,

Great to subscribe to this forum after a) recently getting diagnosed with ADHD (I'm 39yrs old), b) finally 'getting' what is causing my relationship of 22 (& marriage of 13) yrs to dysfunction as badly as it has done and c) starting focused therapy and medication in a few weeks.

Reading the first chapters of the book on the ADHD Effect was like reading a biography of our marriage. In our case, I'm the guy with the ADHD and, next to my wife, I have two girls (2yr old and a 6 months baby) to take care of. The past three years have been an emotional roller coaster. Obviously due to the birth of our 2 daughters, which were life-changing events for the positive. Also because of a diagnosis of MS and an (unrelated) miscarriage for my wife in the same period. Finally because I had to leave my business through problems in the ownership and my wife had to leave her job since it was making her very unhappy. I'm working as a consultant now in volatile market conditions, while my wife juggles a psychology masters with caring for the kids.

I'm sharing this to help explain why we even got to my diagnosis, as the ADHD totally has gone out of hand through all these stress-inducing circumstances. I know we've got a long road ahead and will need to tackle each issue the ADHD is causing or worsening, but the one that I have most difficulty with is the (lack of) emotional and motivational control. I used to be a very optimistic, happy and positive person, but at home I'm now quick to anger and very hard to deal with. My temper was the reason for me to look for help. First I thought I was depressed, but fortunately a good psychologist got me off the anti-depressants and diagnosed ADHD. This was part of marriage therapy we are going through.

Finally, my question: do you have any really smart -practical- tips on how to prevent escalation from small irritations? I am trying to work on the "length of the fuse", but in the meantime I need a way to "get away from the fire". I'm especially allergic to emotional opinions about my performance/behavior and any stress levels around organization (of kids, home). I also realize I cannot prevent these, but I'm feeling "physically" incapable of -not- getting angry. In my newly raised anger, I often "race" through a discussion in my head before the first argument is mentioned, often wrongly interpreting my wife's motivation in the meantime. This leads to only bigger problems because it's now about my anger and not about the topic. If I try to get away from the situation, my wife is relentless (bless her!). Sometimes this helps, more often it makes my head "explode". I just have to get out of the situation and will do anything (most often: use verbal insults) to get her to stop talking to me. I feel very bad about that later off course, but haven't been able to stop it yet. I have to mention I'm not on any medication yet as that is just starting.

Hoping for some good advise, next to the great book!


You are on the right track...

I was diagnosed at age 43, when my life had gotten much more complicated. I refer to a sucessful ADDer (undiagnosed) as one who is "Juggling the right amount of oranges". Knowing that I need extreme order and repetition to function well, having children was a real adjustment, though I embraced it and still do. We spaced our two girls by 4 years which helped me. I did not know why, but I knew having two babies close together would be too much for me. 

When I got diagnosed with ADD, my whole life began to make sense. The meds helped immediately, and I continue to read and post to this day, obviously. Your spouse has been through a lot dealing with your ADD and so have you. The meds wake up your brain, but you must get some counseling and work on Un-learning bad coping skills. We ADDer's all have them... It will take a long time to create new perceptions about how you will behave in certain circumstances, but keep trying and don't give up when you get a reaction based on how you used to behave. The Non-ADDer's are afraid to Drop the Shields because they are worried that the new behaviors are only temporary and a part of your latest hyper focus.

Good luck on your journey!

Just a guess

This is just a guess, and I don't have ADHD.  But I do (and lots of people do) have trouble with getting angry "inappropriately" when I am angry in general.  The old story, work all day and go home and kick the dog?  In my reading and living over many years I have also come to understand that men in particular are uncomfortable with fear and so display it as anger (which is more accepted culturally from men).  So I'm thinking that in your long transition time, post-diagnosis to living in your new reality, you probably ARE angry, and you probably ARE fearful.  And the anger will just squirt out whatever crack it can find.  In your counseling, you might ask for advice in identifying and working through the BIG fears and anger, and maybe the "small irritations" won't be so hard to control.  Best wishes.

Hi Gardener, You make a valid

Hi Gardener,

You make a valid point. It's quite true I am angry, mostly frustrated though, not a lot of fear as far as I'm aware. A lot of powerlessness and shitty circumstances have gotten to me. What I need is time to let this flow away again, as time usually will, with a little help from exercise and good talks. Its just that in the meantime, I'm still struggling to keep my cool under quite normal circumstances as described above.

Any tips on that would be very helpful