So what do I DO when he blows?

Hi all.  I'm just feeling so frustrated.  I'm aware of all the symptoms.  I know my spouse has ADHD.  I know his anger is a problem in our marriage and has slowly chipped away at our relationship.  He was just diagnosed in the Spring and he's trying meds but they do NOTHING for his frustration tolerance.  We go for days/weeks with no incident.  And then WHAMMO, I (usually the trigger) say something that sets him off.  And there isn't just anger.  There's sarcastic anger, which is all the more insidious.  After years of this kind of thing repeating itself, I find it hard to look him in the eyes.  Or reaching out to hold his hand.  When he blows up I feel like an injured animal.  It takes days for me to 'come back.'  I shut down and clam up just to keep things peaceful, so I end up festering.  But this is all wrong.  I don't know how to change it.  I just feel it and do it automatically because I don't know what else to do.  Telling him how I feel, even if I wait for the 'storm' to pass is useless.  He KNOWS how I feel.  He feels bad about his behavior.  Yet, he has trouble catching himself before he blows.  And I don't know how much longer I can ride this coaster.  So, folks, WHAT ELSE should I do???  When he loses it unnecessarily?  When I get that biting sarcasm?  When any words that fall from my mouth make the situation worse?  When he apologizes and I just can't accept it because I feel so hurt?  What HELPS for others out there???

Anger = out of control....

Look for patterns; make notes concerning what was said or done that he lost it over and write it down....Try to not let his problem overwhelm you, so that in those moments you can walk away and not reply...Train yourself to not engage him at all.....Nothing you have to say in the moment (like you said and know) can be digested, but, will be retaliated against no matter what you say back....

When he tries to apologize, just stick your notes in his hand and encourage him to go get help...Forgiveness though is for the one doing the forgiving...Like you said above....What is going on w/ you harboring up resentment is all wrong....I"ve found Jesus will give me the ability to push past it...( to be able to forgive)

It's not a good thing to get to where we accept our own short comings. (Self justification is a foundation built on the sand) Especially those that cause pain for others....Anger is a human emotion, but it doesn't produce any right thing!

Blessings Goldi....

C

 

Blowing up

The inability to handle frustration is one of the core issues that people with ADHD struggle with.  My husband has expressed to me how frustrated he feels most of the time and he is aware that others don't seem to have that level of frustration about so many things.  My husband blows up too and it has really ruined my day many times.  I am trying to learn what I'm telling you, so I know it isn't so easy, but I think you do have to think of it as a thunderstorm that will blow over.  Once it's done, in their world, it's done.  I know my husband says awful things, but a short while later he doesn't even remember saying them (while I'm spending all day mentally defending myself and creating arguments against what he said).  He has described it as a reaction to "feeling" attacked and the key here is that he "feels" that way - not that he is being attacked.  I think what you can "do" is not engage - you know you will never be successful no matter how right you are - in that moment you will be criticized for ANYTHING you do, say, don't do, don't say.  If they could control these outbursts, they would.  Remember, they can't.  If your husband ever apologizes, you're lucky, because mine almost never has.  I know it's hard to do - like I said, I'm trying to learn this too, but I think you should just let it flow over and around you like a big wave and try not to engage with it - either with him at the time or even in your own mind - think of it as temporary insanity where the person doesn't even know what they're saying and it's not worth your emotional energy to try to figure it out - it doesn't make sense and it's about them and not you anyway.  I think this is called "disconnecting with love".  You are your own person; your husband might be angry and you love your husband, but just because he's angry doesn't mean you have to spend time and energy trying to figure it out - especially when you know he has this condition - you know he's prone to high levels of frustration and low levels of impulse control.  Of course, if he ever tries to talk to you about his feelings you should try your best to listen and not interrupt and not overwhelm him with a lot of information in return.  The times I'm saying to not engage are the times when he's "blowing up".

 You could try agreeing to some time-out rules with your husband; that can work, although it may take a couple attempts to master it.  Either of you can call time-out and both immediately stop talking and interacting, physically separate, and whoever called the time-out has to time-in again (within a time frame you've set up between the two of you as part of your personal time-out rules).  You don't have to be angry to call a time-out - either of you can do it if you feel overwhelmed or need time to collect yourself - you could do it to stop the verbal abuse in the moment.

Also, it sounds like a cliche, but it has helped me: try to get some counselling to learn to value yourself and to be happy with yourself so you are not so negatively affected by someone else's reactions or opinion of you.  We each ultimately only have one life which is happening now (not some day when we solve all our problems - or other people solve theirs ;) )  and one person we need to live with for that whole life. How you feel about you is more important than how anyone else feels about you.

To Chevron

I read your post last evening - thankyou for sharing your experiences.  I was going to read it again today, but it's gone.  I'm not so familiar with the logistics here, but just wanted you to know I saw it and appreciated it!  

I Read Your Post Too......Chevron

It meant a lot to me to here you say what you said.  I came back to read it again but the impact it had on me was really the most important part of it.  I appreciate it now more than ever since I'm not actually feeling all that great right now.  I'm having a great deal of difficulty resolving two things that do not go together well right now and I realize it's still the same thing that goes around and comes back around with no real answer or solution in sight but the fact of the matter is, it is not just my imagination but my memory as such.  My heart tells me one thing, and my brain is telling me another....and at the end of the process that comes out the end of it....comes the word "deserves".  Another one of those "sound bites" you've heard countless times and it never could be resolved but it's there, and it's real and there is no two ways around it since "it's been said to you so many times you know it like the back of your hand.  "You get what you deserve".

This is one of those things that can sound like your going down the victim path, but not everything is "being a victim" when you are actually being realistic and pragmatic.  Depends on how you hear it or look at it, but the end result is still the same?  I really don't even like the word "deserves" for many reasons but mainly it sounds like "entitlement" or a replacement for "entitled to" which sound pretty much the same from my perspective.  And I do remember what you said pretty clearly as I've been thinking about that too?  I think you said something like "people with ADHD see themselves quite different from one another.  Yes, they are....but the "actions" are quite similar.  Male or female it doesn't matter which was what I've spent to much time observing and trying to see myself?  Trying to observe and experience what is the same, and what is different and I did come to one conclusion over that as I sat and reflected back..

This is that "thing"....the "rock and the hard place" or the "catch 22"...which just becomes and endless circle with no end to it which is true.  It's the "Kernel of Truths" that can apply quickly and easily to either side of the coin ( from the non-ADHD side ) and coming from the ADHD perspective as well?   I mean, either "we" are "this"...or "we're" that?  I've had a lifetime of people "telling me what I am" and I just went through that again for the last few months solid.  And I did talk to one of D's friends just today to see what she wants to do with her stuff which I do not want around since it just reminds me of her?  Not in a bad way but simple of the loss and / or....."my failure"....once again.  To be sure....."I'm not a failure"...but I feel like I really failed more...actually more this time since this time was different.
 

This time,  I had my ducks all lined up and put in their place.  I knew exactly what I was up against and I knew ( for the most part ) what my part and what my past mistakes were.  And I tried to be out in the open and honest about everything.....no secrets, no hidden booby traps.....no "selling myself" as someone I wasn't....and did my best to be up front and willing to do what ever...to make up the difference as needed?  And no lying either.  That is "overt conscious lies"....even "embellishing" or "creative selling" to the point of almost going out of my way to make myself "not look good" by saying all that was "bad about me" as objectively as I could?  I understand where my thinking in this was not completely followed through or considered but hey....there's a first time for everything and this was that "first time".  Not to mislead but the first time that I "knew so much"..and tried to cover all the bases as best I could and not trip over and make the same mistakes twice or again?  All of it....was in an effort to address..................."what people have told me I was, that wasn't good".  Taking from everything that has been said in the past by anyone and everyone...and using that to formulate a strategy to possible avoid these things as much as possible?  And not on of those things is "positive" .  Not one of them?

So today.....I contacted D's friend who also has ADHD...and I simply told her that I don't want anything more, than to get her stuff to her and get anything that isn't mine or doesn't belong to me back into her possession.  And her comment to me was that she hasn't read any of my emails ( which I figured...she never has in the past ).....so nothing I said in anger or otherwise ever got read?  Typical.  And the only text I sent her was restating what I told her that she is not allowed back or I'll call the cops and then in the text which was gentler still...l.saying an apology would go a long way to show good faith in the future.  The response was not necessarily a surprise but it still left me right where I was which all she said was "I don't think she's ready to talk to you since she's afraid of you guys getting into a fight and she's still getting over what happened.  Since I know her well enough, and since she was the one who spent the night with her recently...where D snapped at her an they got into an argument and told D she was being "mean".  I replied to her starting with that as something that she could relate with and I knew exactly what that was so I opened with reminding of that?  And the last time they went out with friends was the time months ago now....that D came home drunk....and "told me.....all about me...and how horrible and worthless I am"  For two hours I had to hear "all about me and who I really am" in a drunken tirade or character assassination to some audience other than me....except I was the only audience there?  It really was like she was talking to someone who wasn't even there since she wasn't even looking at me at the time?  Just spewing to the choir I guess...none the less......I never fully recovered from that.  I went on to explain that since I'm working from home.....I don't get out and meet and greet and lot of people anymore.  Actually ....."0" people now....which is new in my entire life just for the past 3 years so I was putting that into perspective since....both of them are social workers and work with people for a living.  This is not to build up to a sad, lonely and isolated ....poor me.......it's simply a statement of fact.....not too hard to understand?  So as I explained to her, that I ser "one" human being...at morning and at night.......this "one human being" amounts to 100% of the human interaction I get or have gotten in the last few years in an on going basis depending on the day...but especially in the last years since I had dedicated all my time and efforts to one thing.  Improving on my life, my symptoms and taking care of anything that had to do with a "complaint"...that I saw as legitimate related to my ADHD.  Including the time I've spent here...as just one resource for knowledge and learning more about "me" and my challenges.  I actually have never...tried tso hard or devoted that much time and energy to one singular thing...in an effort to "not be me" ...or to "not have the ADHD parts" have a negative affect on my relationship or her.  To the best of my ability with that in mind.

What I'm saying is......I made choices and made decisions to this in a deliberate and intentional way....as best I could so outside interests or even the stay at the homre part and not going out and doing other things was a choice and that was not a problem since it was not going to be forever.  There was  and is...a beginning and an end to it and I am very good at following through...even if it takes longer than most?  Finishing, is not my problem but getting many things started is.  But I didn't start anything new......everything was about finishing what was already started.

The point again is merely to say......I still have ADHD....nothing changed there......what changed was my decisions, my thinking and my approach in everything and if I had to do it again....I don't know what else I could do differently since I ran full steam out of energy and was killing myself in the process...all to "beat the clock"...so time wouldn't run out?  Anyway...I didn't get into that with her friend...I merely said  " sometimes your best is not good enough" which is another one of those handy sayings that give you insight in the moment.  But her rely to me was really poignant...and it really hit me right between the eyes  as she said "yeah,  I remember having a old boyfriend where I just wasn't sure what to do...and I had to get to the place where I hated him.....before I could leave.  I think that's more like it with D....she doesn't know how she really feels but ....I know she doesn't want to hurt you, she going through a lot right now."

And I said  "but do you realize from that day that she can't remember ( when you guys went out ) that she broke my heart that day...and then for the past 4 months....took it out on me daily after that....till she ramped up the point your saying....and then left.  Then came back a week later......and started in on me again?  She's worried about me getting angry...and anger is not the emotion I'm feeling at all?  Neither was I then  ....until she pull a knife out and decided to stick it to me again just for good measure or what ever the hell she was doing?  She had already left...and then had come back a week later....and was still kicking the dog since I wasn't doing what ever she wanted?"

And her reply was....."I don't know, you know it's not all about you and she has other things going on as well.... but I don't think she's ready now".....which I concurred was fine, and it is but I wanted to make sure that no one thought I was playing games or was not a least making an attempt to get her things to her.

I'll just leave my opinion and feelings at the door here.....and simply say I was fine with her friends response only that it's her friend and I understand where that was coming from.  But I don't care where that was coming from......there is something inherently wrong about that?  In her "take"....and even in her "thoughts" about........"oh, it's just what happens....people do that......I did it too.........it's pretty much par for the course."

Is it par for the course.....or is that just me?  Is this a "male'..."female" thing..and that just how women see it?  And do I "deserve what I get"?

I don't know either. I have no answer on that.  I am as clueless as I have ever been, and no closer to an answer? Objectively speaking....leaving my feelings at the door here?

But I really appreciate what you said more than anything Chevron......it was the little piece of sunshine that has helped keep me going.  Thank you for you kindness.....it does not go unnoticed by me.  I actually did come back to read it again....but the message came through loud and clear and I pretty much remember everything you said.

J

J - You sound very

J - You sound very discouraged because you tried so hard, tried your best, and still things didn't have the outcome you were hoping for.  I'm not sure what to say to that - I want to believe your efforts were not in vain - that you grew as a person and that you will continue to do so as you reflect back on all this in the future.  I guess this is what is called "cold comfort": sometimes things don't have a happy ending no matter how hard we try and it's nobody's "fault" - they just weren't meant to be. You aren't alone in experiencing and being sad about such a situation.  Remember when it was popular to say "Life's a bitch and then you die"?  I always found that expression darkly funny - I hope you have a dark humor side to you too - I think you do from what I've read in the past.  I hope you can draw on your sense of humor during this difficult time.  My heart goes out to you. I'm sorry you're feeling so sad and discouraged.  (Respectfully, I think D's friend was doing her best not to take sides with what she said to you - it sounds like she doesn't want to cast blame.)

Very Kind.......Thank You

I'd like to say that I'm doing better but I am kind of aware of where I am in all of this which goes back to grieving again.  There is no side stepping that and a big part of it feels like the loss of all you put into it for sure.  And yeah,  I think you're right with her friend......she was kind of running interference a little I think and was trying to be the go between which I told her I can wait..........not going to start triangulating but we'll see.......I told her I would load up her stuff and take it to her and anything left over can wait to discuss later.  It's an option I'm Okay with.  And when you were mentioning reflecting back, it did hit me just today that I was certainly angry from that one day which was simply more than I could handle but moving from there rather suddenly.....the good times and good memories are always there too.  It's not a good time to do much of anything since that will change too after a while.  It was just noticing when you go from anger to sadness and what caused that to happen?  Those good memories make you sad but that will change to acceptance after long enough?   Sadness is the heart talking and telling the thinking part to shut up! LOL   And sadder still for D in this.....it was these moments, when I would say "but I always Love you.......that never changes"  and she would disagree with me and say that's not possible.  Last time we confronted this she brought me a magazine article from that says that couples normally hate each other.........which her trying to say that it's normal for me to hate you and not Love you which was one of those "weird moments".....there said but the gist that I was seeing and she was saying was "no, you can't Love someone and Hate someone at the same time".....as if it was either one or the other.....you can't feel both at the same time.  You can't do that because that is not possible.....we will have to agree to disagree " which she was adamant about.

The Love doesn't go away.......and these are those times where she would adamantly not believe me?  As if that unheard of?  And because I Love her, that makes me very sad, but it part of the process and you do get both, the good and the bad for sure.  Thank again, that was very nice of you to say.

J

Say, J

I read you well.

I have had a problem in myself, not with anyone else but in myself, building as I've read and/or written posts on the board for awhile.  I often feel the odd one out, on this board, recognizing, thinking about and believing what people are saying about their lives and their thoughts about living with ADHD or ADHD plus, but I can't join the chorus that says all people with ADHD naturally are selfish... you know the "all people" claims that show up some times.  In order to do their thinking, people on this board have to separate out for themselves, what is ADHD, and what is not ADHD in my marriage/SO dynamic?  What can change, what is fixed and will never change.   I go through periods on the board when people are saying that all ADHD people are screwups, when I don't at all feel like I fit on this board, enough to offer anything on it that could be of use to anyone else.  Because I'm not being abused by my husband.  He's not coasting while I bring home the bacon.   He doesn't fit the claims that all people with ADHD don't, or can't, relate in marriage that I read.

But he's not "naturally" a narcissist; he's not one at all, and I know what narcissists are.  He's not a failure.   I know he doesn't need me to defend him on this board when someone wants to strike up the chorus "all people with ADHD are incompetent....selfish..." or whatever they want to say about it.   But these sweeping generalizations about "everyone on this board" and "all people with ADHD" ....it's what the writer thinks, affected by her/his own life...  but when I hear that stuff about people with ADHD and relations with ADHD in the failing, I feel like I'm really not in the right place.  Because I can't join the chorus of descriptions that it's all bad, the relation with the ADHD person was, is, and ever shall be damaging.  That's really not true in my life.  My life is that my husband and I have ups and downs, no he is not an abuser nor do I think he is.  

As a matter of fact, offline & at home we're in a real hard place.  Not between us, although the pressure of the multiple hard times from without the relation certainly is putting pressure on the relation. It's not easy offline.  My husband is NOT the reason for what we're going through.  In fact he's more hit by our troubles than I am, in multiple ways.  

 J you're fast, you probably picked up that I was deleting because I thought I was getting some good signs that it was time for me to stand down, and disconnect.   

Hah, and then you wrote.   Well, J, I read you.  I don't know what I'm going to end up doing about lowering my contact with the board, but let the board be for a moment.  This is between you and me:

This time,  I had my ducks all lined up and put in their place.  I knew exactly what I was up against and I knew ( for the most part ) what my part and what my past mistakes were.  And I tried to be out in the open and honest about everything.....no secrets, no hidden booby traps.....no "selling myself" as someone I wasn't....and did my best to be up front and willing to do what ever...to make up the difference as needed?  And no lying either.  That is "overt conscious lies"....even "embellishing" or "creative selling" to the point of almost going out of my way to make myself "not look good" by saying all that was "bad about me" as objectively as I could?

J, this is all that anyone can do, at the beginning of a relationship.  It's the absolute top.  You show who you are, because that's the person you want to be with the person you care about.  You.  As you are.  That's the best that anyone can do at the beginning.  It's a beginning, not the whole relation.   I don't think that you need to use that inquiring mind to do this right now...you're right in the middle of times in which with good reason, you're having feelings and having to do interactions that relate to the separation.  Just doing those two things...have the feelings and have to do interactions, because the separation was fresh, would burn up most of the psychic energy I had.  LOL, and I don't even have ADHD lability.    So I suggest that you save the thinking everything over for a little later.    Give it some time.   If you do, I suspect more clarity will come to you, because your sadness, alarm, or whatever is in the mix of what you're feeling has quieted some.   For me, it takes me awhile to see some patterns.

Don't worry too much about wanting her friend to understand how things really are, or really were between you and D.   It's a natural desire, especially if there was accusation of you in the past in your home.  It's so natural.   But remember that your friend never, ever will have been inside your relation with D, to hear what the two of you said to each other, and to see how things were from day to day.  No friend can see inside the relationship, to see what you and D saw in it.   The friend will only get what D wants to tell her and what you want to tell her, and that's far, far from enough for that friend really to know what was going on between you and D.  It's just a fact.  

: )

I didn't find the right man until I found the right man.  I do think I had to go through some things and grow in some things before that happened.  

That's going to be your situation, too.  Don't worry about that right now, though.  Tend yourself and get through what you have to get through, in the immediate.

 In time, but not tonight, nor while you are riding out things like communications or their lack, getting her things back to her and so on, do a full balance sheet on yourself, not only the half of the sheet on which you list what you think you didn't do well.  Do the other side, too.  Not inflated, but realistically: what did you do better in this relation, than in the one/s previous to it?  There will be some things.   You see, people like you and me who were treated like we were insufficient or F ups when we were young, have this Achilles heel in tough times when we haul out recent but also old coping, of thinking because something didn't come out, it was all because we were to blame.   That just would play along with the untruths about you that you heard from D.   So when things are quieter, do both sides of the sheet.

OK I'm going to pull rank on you because I'm older than you: break up your isolation some.  It doesn't have to be high octane, but get a little contact with people you'd like to be around.  Not to accomplish anything.   

Are you near the total obscurity path of that eclipse?  Go get some glasses and find out where people are gathering to watch it.  

You're probably going to do that anyway.   Well tell me what you saw.

I'll be around. 

Chevron

 

Will Do Chevron....Thanks

The eclipse is at 10:18am and my roof has a perfect veiw east.  And I have plenty welding goggles which reminds me, I better have then ready! lol

War and peace

In addition to or aside from ADD,  in our case, H's family of origin is more turbulent, vulgar and quick tempered, easily calling names and slamming doors and carrying grievances for decades THEN turning around and being best buds with the person of their wrath plotting against another family member in their energy of the hunger games. Sassy, loud and Impish.  Our family was stoic.  I am not saying one is better.  I am saying that there are different family dynamics that have become our ways of learning to relate and learning what to do with emotions.  

By walking away, stuffing it, trying to understand.... I have become a bitter, contemptuous victim inside of myself.  I have also, at times to see if THAT worked, fought fire with fire to hold my own.....and I find myself a non-authentic self that I can not respect when I am like that.  This is our dilemma.  I have become both contemptuous and have lost my self respect because I was trying, trying, trying to have a relationship in various ways with someone who needs to relate (if at all) differently than I am able. This is where I was before this forum....believing that it is the fault of different upbringings when it comes to relating.  In most physical, cultural ways H and I have many similarities in our upbringing but in communicating, relating, integrity, communicating....we are on opposite ends of the spectrum.   Therefore...we don't relate very well.  After a fight, I am devastated for days.  After a fight...he seems to hate me but does not remember the conversation.  The issue we were trying to discuss is out of his mind and he is left with just the emotions of fight or flight blaming me for a war that he started - but in his memory he thinks I started and he will not forgive me for starting the fight he started.  

I would say that a woman who could verbally dish out with just as much vulgar sarcasm as he does would be better suited to him. I think he "gets off" on swearing, teasing and sparring and he likens cattiness to flirting.  He would like hot bedroom scenes to keep him enticed.  War of the Roses. Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf.

I would say that a man who could look at me and be honest and partner with me would be better suited to me.  I tried to think of a movie that I would fit in...but I don't think of one.  Because a relationship I would be comfortable in would be boring...there would be no interesting, hystrionic story line.  No drama. No fantasy.  There would be just comfortable peace, loving walks, learning new things together.  Not interesting to watch for thrills or angst.  Maybe it would be a comedy where people feel safe enough and appreciated enough to relax enough to laugh. 

So, Goldilox, What do you do when he "blows"?  Be your authentic self.  It doesn't matter (to him) how you respond.  You are not in charge of how he responds. Just listen to what and how he responds...and don't take it personall. Just grieve it quickly and let it go.  Make sure you have support outside of him.  I think leaving is the answer.  Whether it is for an hour, a day, a week or for good.  It seems those of us who are having trouble in a relationship and are here trying to find support or answers, are the ones with the upbringing who expect more communication and comforting love than we are receiving.  WE can't change them. WE can't pull love out of them that is not there.  We can only accept that this is how it is.  Is this enough?  It will not get better.  Maybe we are in the situations because of finances, family, religion, culture or that there are no opportunities or options.  So all we can do is keep our own sanity and integrity and be our authentic selves as much as we can be with as many people as we can be with.  Sometimes we have to fight verbally back just to hear our own voices strong and in charge of ourselves - then drop it.  Sometimes we have to walk away and then drop it.  We are here on this board because we are trying to "drop it" in our relationships, yet we need to blow off some steam somewhere...so here we are.  It seems that the people on this board who feel best are the ones who have stopped trying to resuscitate these difficult relationships and have let go of the relationship altogether.