Suggestions to stopping a tirade?

My husband (Add) and I (non-add) had a 2 day 'fight' recently where he would not stop arguing/ yelling (including following me around the house and outside) until I admitted that everything that was wrong in our marriage was my fault. My low self-esteem, my parents alcoholism, my affair etc. everything. All were my fault. Yes, the affair was my fault, but that's a different forum all on it's own.  I would say "yes, it's all my fault." but he never believed me because he could read my body language. it wasn't until i was so broken down sobbing on the floor that I did finally begin to believe that everything was my fault.

Then the next day, we awakes as if everything is fine and asks why i'm so upset. I say "everything is My fault" (Still truly believing it) and he said "Oh no honey, it's our fault. Both of us has made mistakes". ROAR!!!!

But now, two days later, i know it was just him having a fit, not everything is my fault. We are in this marraige together, we both screw up, everything is both our fualts. In the heat of his tirade, is there anything i can do to stop it. Knowing it's just an ADD fit. I've heard of using key words etc, b/c god knows if i mention add while he's upset like this our argument goes nuclear.

Any suggestions are welcome! HELP!

Stopping a Tantrum

You call it a tirade, but can I call it a tantrum?  He's trying to control you when he does this - and to hurt you - it seems to me.

First suggestion - if you don't have a therapist, please get one so that you can start working through your own issues - the low  self esteem that you say you have, the affair and any residual guilt or anger you might feel about it, etc.

Second suggestion - when he moves into tantrum/tirade mode refuse to engage.  He can't manipulate you if you don't engage with him.  Try things like "I'm not willing to engage with you when you treat me like this" and "You're throwing a tantrum.  When you're done with it and want to talk to me like an adult I'll be happy to talk with you, but not until."  He'll hate those words, by the way, but will also likely recognize their truth deep down.

You don't mention whether or not you have kids in the house watching all of this, but if you don't then you can also leave the scene and tell him that you'll come back in a while when he has calmed down.  The library can be a good place for you to go because it's supposed to be quiet and if he follows you in there they may well kick him out.  Or the house of a girlfriend where you can chill for a while and where there will be witnesses if he follows you.

He needs help if he gets satisfaction out of you broken down on the floor sobbing.  You don't mention how long ago your affair was, but perhaps he is punishing you for this?  If that is the case and you have not apologized for your actions yet, then you should do so.  And you can also tell him that your own difficult feelings about it result in a lot of self-punishment...and that you don't wish to have him add to that.  You'll help him work through his issues and feelings as best you can as long as they are offered in good faith, not in anger (this reinforces the "I won't put up with tantrums but will be happy to talk with you in a mutually respectful way" message) Ask him to seek therapy around the topic if he needs to work through it a bit without you, or offer to go to marriage counselling if you would like to work through your feelings together.  Whatever feels right.  It takes quite a while to get past the sting of an affair, even when handled as positively as possible, so don't be surprised when bad stuff crops up...but also stick up for your right not to be harassed.


  Thank you, Melissa, for


Thank you, Melissa, for your words. This has definitely been a stressful time. We are in marriage counseling, with a doc who knows ADD very well. In fact I feel badly most days after our sessions, as he and my husband argue, as my husband is NEVER wrong. Just this past sessions my husband went off on me, as I sat staring at the floor. Basically I had asked that when he compliment me, he not say I’m 'cute' as I find that a bit insulting. Kittens are cute; I want to be beautiful in his eyes. He basically refused to say anything but cute, it's not in his vocabulary to say beautiful. So he laid in to me about how I need to bend on this instance, and isn't it good enough that he complimented me at all and why should he change how he speaks. While (I feel) he yelled at me (another tirade) I stared at the floor, as I always do. I'm just so beaten down at this type of behavior. Just another example of how my needs are not met, and even basically told my needs aren't good enough and he refuses to meet them. Our doc interrupted him and said "look at her. Look at what your doing to her" Then our doc started saying "this isn't about you, it's about something she needs to feel good about herself. She has low self-esteem; this is something you can help her with to feel better about herself. You tell her she has low self-esteem, then tell her 'no' when she actually express something that will help her feel good about herself" The rest of the session my husband argued with him that i should just be happy that he complimented me at all. Finally the doc beat HIM down and when we got in the car afterwards my husband said "well I feel like an ass" but that was the extent of anything. The next day when I got home from work (I had an important meeting that day and was all gussied up) he said “you look cute; no I’m sorry you look hot and gorgeous and beautiful”. I felt he said it sarcastically, but ignored the (supposed, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Again.) sarcasm and smiled and said thank you. I'll take what I can get, even if it's not meant to make me feel better, and just to be an ass.


Dr. Melissa Orlov, I am new

Dr. Melissa Orlov, I am new to this blog. Thank you all put out this blog so I know I am not alone. My husband and I married for 2 and half years. I did not know any thing about ADHD until several months ago. My husband was diagnosed with ADHD but didn't tell me about it. His doctor mentioned it one time and I thought ADD is just being hyper. After fights and fights, I started to search about ADHD and realized how it has impacted our marriage. I print out some article about ADHD and showed to him. He does not want to admit it or talk about it. I found he gets satisfaction out of me broken down on the floor sobbing. He would realize that he made a mistake by treating that way and apologized to me after. But he will repeat this again when he builds up stress and anger. We had baby last year. He stays home with the baby. As soon as I walk in the door, he is ready to get out of house. I working full time and come home to take care the baby. I am just exhausted. I knew not to engage with him when he is mad and keeps blaming every thing on me. While I am tire, I couldn’t remember all the techniques and I just fight back. I end up crying and helpless on the floor. Then he would accuses me that I am the one is crazy. I am going to try Dr. Hallowell's advice to get help from family and friend. Is "stay home dad" a bad idea for ADD husband? He stays up late watching TV and sleeps late. He does not come to bed with me at the same time. And he eats meals in different times too. It seems we live in two different worlds/schedules. Is this common to ADHD people?


You know, I never thought to call it a tantrum.  But really, that's what it is, isn't it?  wow.  My husband only recently got diagnosed with ADD after 20 years of marriage and 3 kids.  All these years, the unreasonable fights, etc, make more sense now that we know what the problem has been.  I've been followed around the house while being yelled at, all the while saying to myself, I'm not going to engage, I'm not going to engage.  I know, logically, that the fight isn't about what's going on.  I know that he's frustrated with himself or overwhelmed at something and I am the easy target.  I know that if I do not engage that his tirade, or 'tantrum' will end faster.  But boy oh boy, is it hard.  In the early years, I fought.  I'm a strong woman, always have been, and he knew this going in to the marriage.  I will not sit by and be demeaned or mistreated.  But I know, after researching ADD on my own for at least 8 years and FINALLY, getting him to get diagnosed, that it will do NO good to argue with him while he's in the moment.  That the arguement will last forever unless I do not participate.  He will never see reason or common sense when he is 'in the moment' and will defend his point to the death.  It's like he has blinders on.  He says the sky is green and I show him the blue sky and still argues.  I even went so far as to buy a real full size STOP sign at an antique mall to use as a visual cue for him, to try and stop him when he is in the swing.  The only problem is that it's so heavy, I have to hang it in the garage.  :)  Not very effective in the house.  Maybe I'll make my own.

We've analyzed his tirades, discussed them after the fact, discussed why it started, what he was thinking and how we can stop them in the future.  And they are better.  But they have not stopped.  My problem is that now I am calm and irritated by them.  Resentful.  It almost defeats me in a way, like, great, here we go again.  Oh, another one.  We have a few good days of great attitudes, fun and you think everyone is good.  You want in the door being nice and kind and then, uhoh, something doesn't go his way, and WHAM!  We can only go a few days without him having the 'fit'.  It's almost like I can see them coming, see the look in his eyes, his demeanor, his body movements and have to warn the kids that their Dad is in a mood and looking for trouble, so watch out.  I've even told them to go hide unless they want to get yelled at.  It seems that if something doesn't go as he plans, his schedule, his day, dinner took longer to cook than he thought, etc, he gets upset.  Life isn't perfect and NOTHING goes as expected.  You've got to learn to roll with it, or at least deal with your emotions and not take it out on others.  With that said...what is he going to do when I accuse him of having a 'tantrum'?  Seriously.  Will he get even more angry, or will he see he's being foolish and walk away to cool off.  Hmmm... I really don't see him accepting that one.  I see him screaming at me more that I 'think I'm so perfect' and 'he's so stupid'.   And I love it when he yells at me because I won't engage.  He does everything he can to get me to argue, even yelling that 'you're always quiet when you know I'm right.' 

Also, are there any books or techniques for those with ADD to learn how to handle their tantrums?  How to not use anger and aggression when they are overwhelmed, but to understand that they are feeling overwhelmed and need to stop and change direction before they lose control.  I truly believe he loses his mind, because he will say stuff and not even remember the next day that he said it.  I've thought about video taping him, but I think that would really crush and embarrass him and what's the point in that.  I don't want to break him, I just want him to fix the things that are hurtful.  Everyone is different.  I know that.  I've tried to be considerate and not take it personally when he says he needs to move, can't sit still.  Okay.  Go outside, see you in the morning.  Or when he says he needs me to help him make a list.  I've done that BILLIONS of times.  Sometimes, several times in one day.  Or going over something that will happen in detail, hours before, knowing full well I will have to do it again and again and again and then, once again, right before it occurs.  Or, sit in a chair JUST TO KEEP HIM COMPANY while he works on a project because he knows that if I'm not there, he won't finish it.  And I'm the first to admit, I'm not perfect.  But I don't go out of my way to make life miserable for those I say I love.  If there is something about me that is hurting my family members (I had health issues after the birth of my 3rd son) I go and fix it and do everything I can to make sure that if I'm going to be angry, I walk away.  And I apologize, sincerely, especially to my children, if I've wronged them or hurt their feelings.  He just acts like 'What?' as if nothing happened.  

I don't know.  Sometimes I think, we can lick this thing and work together and it will be great.  And other times I wonder, am I just in an abusive relationship?  Accepting the 'I'm sorry' after the unreasonable behavior?  IS there a difference between a man beating you up and one screaming at you?  Because I swear, sometimes after the fit, I am depressed and down for days.  I count down the days my youngest graduates high school and wonder what the heck we're doing staying together.  And him trying to 'make up' for it, makes me sick.  Because you know they're only doing it because you got mad.  I've considered putting on my mp3 at full blast when this happens.  Maybe he will then quit faster when he knows I'm not listening.  Has anyone tried that?  I know it's like the old putting your fingers in your ears and going I can't hear you!  But there isn't a purpose when he's doing it, and NOTHING good will come from paying attention to it.  Does anyone have any POSITIVE suggestions for this?  

If I rambled, I'm sorry.  I find myself going back and forth.  I hate him, I love him.  I hate him, I love him.  AGH! 

Non-ADDer in an ADDer's World

Can someone explain to me what is happening in the ADDers mind when they fly off the handle over something very little, and what is the best way for me to react? Here’s the scenario:  Last night I poured myself a glass of Iced Tea from a Sun Tea container (brand new) that had a spout on it. After pouring the iced tea, I closed the refrigerator door, not realizing that the spout had not closed all the way. Well all the iced tea seeped out of the container and all over the fridge and onto the floor.  My husband was the first to notice this and went into a rage. Throwing things in the sink, throwing the mop bucket, saying the “F” word at least 10 times in about 20 seconds (thank god the kids, ages 2 & 4 were sleeping already). Granted there was a mess, a big one and a few items had to be thrown away, but I did not think this mess, warranted his reaction.  When he goes into these rants, I freeze. My whole body stiffens, I get butterfly’s in my stomach and I just want to cover my ears and run for cover in another room. I certainly was not about to tell him that I was the one who just poured myself a glass of iced tea. I could do nothing, I was totally frozen. I just waited for the storm to pass. I didn’t even offer to help him clean up, I just wanted to stay away from him. I should have offered to help him, but I know it wouldn’t have changed his reaction.

A few minutes later, when he was done with the tantrum, he asked me if I poured myself a glass. I said “yes”. He said did you leave the spout open. I said “I must have. Not purposely though.” Then we started the “blame game”.  I tried to point out to him it was an accident, and pointing blame wasn’t going to make anything different. Then he got mad because I didn’t offer to help him clean it up. I told him I was sorry but I froze when he started yelling and throwing things around. I tried to point out that he over reacted, but he couldn’t see it. There has got to be something else I can do besides freezing with fear when this happens.

His rant continued on this morning, just on a different subject: Today on the morning news, they announced new safety guideline for toddlers in car seats, and that the car seats should be rear facing until age 4. Well, husband thinks this is just ridiculous, and the safety authority just didn’t have the belts adjusted tight enough. Which to ME, sounds ridiculous. If he had just paid attention to the rest of the news report, he would have seen the safety tests that were conducted. This lead to another disagreement, and now this one could affect the safety of our kids. What really baffles me is the fact that my husband works in a Trauma Unit in the ER, he deals with life and death situations on a regular basis. His reaction to the sun tea, you would have thought someone died, his reaction to the car seat thing, you wouldn’t have thought this could save our children’s  life.

Now I’m at work today, and I’m fried. I keep playing over in my head what could I have done differently, if anything and I’m dreading going to my daughters dance recital today because it seems like it’s just another opportunity for him to go off on another rant. I also believe that my boss, although very successful, may suffer from some form of ADD as well. I’m a non-ADDer, living in an ADDer’s world. Help!



I live the same existance.  My husband yells, swears and rants over things that a normal person would just see as an inconvenience or annoyance.  He flips out like his whole world has come crashing down.  Its so hard to live with day in and day out.  What it is doing to my psyche is huge, not even sure if its reparable.  The man can't put the trash out without yelling at me and insulting me or being rude to me.  I walk around shell shocked all the time.  I can never relax or let my guard down. 

To bluelola

To blame his reaction on ADHD is wrong. Yes all ADDers are different but it is never an excuse for a temper tantrum or even verbally abusive behavior. I am the non-adder in my relationship and your husbands reaction is something I would be more likely to have than my ADDer...not sayig I would have that reaction, just saying I am the one with a shorter fuse.

The point is that I feel as if you are blaming his behavior on ADD when obviously something else is going on. If you haven't, I would highly suggest that you read up more on ADHD so you can see that these reactions are not caused by ADHD and is another element of your husbands personality. I know that I get lost in deciphering between ADHD and my fiances true personality but they really are two different things.

And one thing I can promise you about this site...we are all non-ADDers living in and ADDers world.

Anger tirade

There is an anger issue here that may or may not be related to ADD.  Has your husband had a full psych evaluation, or has someone just said "you have ADD?"  If the latter, you would both benefit if he would start taking his anger issues to heart as a medical problem that needs to be addressed.  A full psych evaluation is a good place to start, or a serious discussion with his doctor about what he might do to start addressing it.

His anger isn't your issue to control, it's his issue.  From the situation you describe (he's angry at the refridgerator/situation not at a person) it isn't your behavior that he's mad least not at first.  So while it is natural to ask yourself over and over again "what could I  have done differently?" it isn't helpful to you to do so.  You end up beating yourself up and feeling worse for no purpose at all.  You could have been somewhere else in the house completely and he would still have been angry.  Accidents happen and can't be completely anticipated or avoided.

That said, your life is affected by his anger, and in a significant and hurtful way.  And, when you participate in the blame game, then you put yourself into a conversation that isn't productive and continues to feed his anger (as well as your anger and bad feelings).  So, why not do some research about what options he has available to him to address his anger when it's self-generated, and about how you can keep from participating in fanning it when you are the target.  That way you'll feel more informed about your options, and his.  In my mind this would include talking with a doctor of some sort (psych or your regular doc) as well as reading books and looking around the internet.  One book that is a classic in changing anger patterns between couples (which isn't your only issue here, as I see it, but one of them) is called "The Dance of Anger".  The author will tell you to step out of the dance of anger, and will also provide good ideas about how to express your needs for the anger to be diminished.