Very, very particular

My sweet husband has ADHD and I am finally realizing how much I don’t know about it and NEED to know about it. I love him very much and want to be supportive and I'm 100% for our marriage... So I’m studying everything like a hawk, especially Melissa’s book.

But I need huge symptom of the ADHD is how particular the husband is about certain things, and how things are done, and then how he is brutally honest if you don't meet up to the particulars.. It is as if there exists a "rulebook" written in his mind (which there is) of how things should be (stupid people don't get any tolerance).  Thus, I totally fear his reactions and his criticism.  This has plagued us since we were newlyweds (only 4 yrs ago).  I know most of the time his intentions are good (but still hurtful yeah).  I fear making him mad when I do something “wrong” or if I don’t do something--if I don’t have the house clean enough, or if I leave a candy wrapper in the car for 2 days, if I accidently drop something, if I’m too loud when I do the dishes, if I stay too long at the grocery store, or even if I am too open about my feelings on something…. Because of my fear of what he thinks, I get on the defensive WAY too often when he brings this up, like I just broke one of his “rules”.. I feel like I'm "in trouble" and try to justify and explain why I did what I did. I am REALLY trying to work on that—and honestly trying to validate his opinions and stop talking about myself in these situations.  But I can’t always do things the way he wants me to. I can try differently to be better, etc. etc., but I can't be afraid of being myself.

I know it’s largely a communication issue, right? It usually blows up in an argument, because I 1) make a big deal out of things 2) take offense 3) am overly emotional/sensitive. It’s the symptom-response-response pattern, right? But then, he turns into “parent” and treats me like a kid, teaching me how to do things better and think through things like an adult, and how to stop “acting like a kid” with my emotions.

I don’t mean to play victim.  I just hate making him mad more than anything, and then I hate myself for making him mad, but then I end up getting so mad at him for this whole cycle we go through over and over and over again!  Because I don’t know what to do at that point.  I take the blame upon myself.. which eventually burdens me enough that I get even more offended the next time I do something wrong in his eyes.  I can’t always say, “Oh I’ll try not to be so sensitive next time” and then magically learn what his rules are. Sigh.

I've tried explaining how I feel, but it usually ends up that I am complaining about things, and he hates complainers.  I've tried asking what his expectations are which sometimes helps, but he often can't verbalize them and I just have to "figure it out". What usually works is trying to walk on eggshells, praying I don't do something stupid, and not getting offended by his remarks when I do.  But his rules are bound to get broken, if not by me then our children, and I can't stand the thought of them getting criticized and "taught" the way I am right now.

Any suggestions of what else to try?