Hey everyone, I've written about this on here before but I am back. I am 32 and my husband is 30. We've been married for a year and together for five. For the first 4 years, I was in law school at night will working full time, then graduated and was studying for the bar exam at night while working full time, then just tense waiting for results and hoping i'd have a job. Well I did pass in May, 2013 and my employer hired me as an attorney right away, and I see that May 2013 moment as the point from which my high strung, stressed out, work out law school self began to slowly fade and the calm and patient me slowly started to return. It's now been 17 months and I am probably 90% back to "normal".
I say this bc when me and my ADHD husband got together, it was a volatile combo bc he is a loose canon/emotional guy and while I would normally say i am NOT, the few years i was in law school and working so much and trying to get the best grades all while it seems the law profession was imploding, im building up my school loand debt, my old dog was very sick and dying, etc., it was like a period of nonstop stress for me and i was my most emotional, unstable self. Now that it's all smoothed over I feel a million times better and the nerves are no longer shot. BUT, the problem with all that was that I think bc i was sometimes behaving just as badly as my husband in the emotional/loose canon department, and also responding in kind to HIS behavior like that, i think we formed a lot of bad habits.
Anyway here we are, and we are to a point where, i am back to normal and it's basically like, depending on the week, once a week (maybe even once a day if hes on edge about work or something), my husband is having an emotional meltdown about something and im just standing there, completely calm, just sort of wondering how in the world he can be such a wreck. I think it confuses him bc for four years we were both emotional and both apologizing for overreacting and such, and now were at a point where i feel like its me remaining calm and composed constantly and just him embarassing himself one time after another after another....I do notice that he retreats and behaves "well" quicker these days now that i am not there to impliedly condone his behavior by acting similary in response....however, i still worry myself with how to deal with it.
My problem is that yes, it is GREAT that I am in a peaceful and happy state of mine about life and not feeling codependent toward him, so when he gets that way it leaves me 100% unaffected most of the time and maybe only a little upset other times when i can at least hide it and remain happy....the bad part is that i dont want this to drive a wedge of resentment between us.
The other night we hosted a wedding reception in the banquet room that is available in the high rise building we live in....it's a long story but me and my husband went upstairs to our condo and were packaging leftovers for the bride and groom (bc i asked him to help) and when i sensed him getting inexplicably annoyed i immediately said, it's ok - nevermind I can do this, you just go back to the party....he is like NO!!! and DEMANDED to do it, even insisting that i move out of the way and do it all....so i left and went back to the party instead of being around that. Then he was mad that he "had to do it all."
Later that night i was very honest with him, even though i feel it felt harsh...i told him that there was nothing to be so angry about, and that when i told him nevermid he was free to leave, without my guilting him, and instead he wanted to be this martyr that "did it all himself" and basically he paved the path that was most dramatic and focused on him. I also told him that these emotional outbursts over little or nothing happen at least once a week, and that it's like living with a dramatic, emotional teenage girl. I told him that he needs to learn to be in control of his emotions, and that he lets them control him. I also let him know that when acts that way he embarasses himself. Like, when he insisted he put the corn in a tupperware himself, I had started to walk back into our hall to go down the elevator, and he was literally screaming "I DONT EVEN WANT TO BE DEALING WITH THIS I AM GOING TO THROW THIS CORN OFF THE F*CKING BALCONY!!" and i literally just laughed at how absurd and silly and dramatic he sounded, and to make matters worse, while he was yelling this, our neighbor was also standing out there, waiting for the elevtor with his dog and baby. I walk out and im completely fine and shaking my head and hes like "hi how are you?" and we have a nice conversation on the elvator. But like, of course our neighbor I am sure is thinking "ok that guy is nuts." I told him that our neighbor was right in the hall and heard everything and maybe it would serve him better to not say and do things like that.
So my question is, while I DID feel that all HAD to be said that one time, i dnt want to keep talking like that to my husband bc i feel it's emasculating and condescending almost...i mean, yeah it may all be true, but at the same time he is going to grow to resent me if he sees me as this person that is just looking down on him all the time. The fact is, OTHER than the isolated outbursts like this, he is totally great and sweet and nice and smart and everything, and a really good guy with good intentions....i DO love and respect him EXCEPT for this one thing - so yeah, I guess int he future how do i react to this stuff? I dont expect him to change, at least not based on what i say....i feel like maybe i need to stop talking like that to him and just ignore him completely.....i just dont want him to harbor feelings of resentment toward me, even though it's him behaving badly.
I want to deal with his tantrums in the way that is the least damaging to our marriage.
Submitted by c ur self on
Awesome post from a genuinely caring and loving wife....Suggestion: In the future if you ask him to do or help with something...Like in your post w/the food packing...If he shows frustration and anger at all; continue to keep the mindset you seem to have...One of peace! But, if you will setup a small boundary with him when all is calm...make it work both ways...You and him...Keep it fair:)...call it our Stop and Breathe Moment...maybe agree when either of sense high tensions we stop breathe, get a kiss and a smile then the one feeling anxious or frustrated is free to walk away from the chore....This allows for a reality check..time to think about, and own their emotional state...Then if they change there mind and can share in it peacefully, then return, if not don't come share in it with resentment or destined to make insulting remarks....Nip it in the bud...In the beginning this way....One reason I love your post is, you truly want to have a husband and wife relationship...You are wise enough to see mothering him, or loosing respect for his position will kill the beauty of that...
One other small point...With ADHD, the statement you made in your post about your conversation that night...You said he needs to learn to be in control of his emotions, instead of letting them control him....While in theory, it's an excellent statement...In reality, he probably is thinking...OK, I want this to disappear worse than you, But, how? So, keep being at peace...the fly on the wall if you will...And that mirror of love and calm will do so much more for him than anything you can say...
"Communication is vital, but, only use words when absolutely necessary, kind one's then"
Got the t-shirt
Submitted by sunlight on
I will tell you that from my perspective, meds are the only answer to this if it is a neurochemistry issue (if it is, talking will not help because the reason for the blowout is that he is experiencing a total failure of normal response because he is literally not able to rationalize *in the moment* regardless of how much he tries and discusses what he will do beforehand). My husband knows with certainty that if he does not take medications for his ADHD and mood issues that he will be divorced (clear simple language, no ambiguity). The tantrums (I've seen worse than you are describing) only occur now when he is NOT medicated (meds worn off, unable to take them at the correct time etc) and as a result of a build up of frustration which he is unable to process in real-time. And when they occur I leave him to burn out (being a type A person this was not my initial response but it is the only thing that works) and get on with my life. Revise his meds with his psychiatrist, it's my advice, worth what you paid for it of course :)
Thanks for the responses!
Submitted by kathy1208 on
Thanks for the responses!
What medication does your husband take for it? Mine is not on anything but I do think it would help. I wrote about a month ago about how he took one of the cold meds w a lot of caffiene in it during a camping weekend when he was sick and I felt like that extra boost of stimulant turned him into a surprisingly laidback at ease person, until he woke up on sunday with no cold meds left and the packing up portion of camping and the drive home turned into a huge course of stress and pissyness on his end once more....
Yeah when my husband gets like that i feel like it's just this odd pent up thing where he just has a strong urge to overract abotu SOMETHING, ANYTHING and once he does and rides it out then suddenly after awhile hes calm and back to normal. It's so strange. he is otherwise a person that i would even call bubbly (if you can call a 250 pound rugby player bubbly haha) and he is a people pleaser, but then get him in this mood and it's like i can tell the moment the "swtich" has been flipped....
and yeah i think deep down he hates that about himself. In the moment there is NOTHING you can do to convince him that his behavior/attitude/reaction is wrong or merits a calming down, but once hes burnt out he totally goes back to zero and is fine and happy and often seemingly a little bit embarassed...and will just be like sorry!!! im sorry!!! and regretful....and then it starts all over again.
Classic caffeine response
Submitted by sunlight on
The response to caffeine that you describe - that may be a pretty good indicator of how he may respond to stimulants.....
Adderall, guanfacine, gabapentin are the meds my husband is on here. All generics. But each person is unique, this might be totally counterproductive for someone else.
As for the rugby - have you considered minor head injuries or concussions. Head injuries, even apparently minor ones, seem to be capable of causing symptoms that can be confusingly similar to some ADHD traits. I'm pretty sure my husband has residual effects from sporting and other 'hyperactivities' - when younger he threw himself fully into everything that an energetic young male might do and sometimes he's still tempted...