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?

I have no suggestion but am

I have no suggestion but am ready to hear some. My hubby has the same peculiarities. Apparently I do not know how to load this dishwasher or wash his clothes and god forbid I drink a glass of water in his presence, that is way too loud for him. He is also extremely critical of the things I accomplish.  It also takes him at least 30 minutes to get into bed once he is in the room. He needs to set the pillows just right, adjust the bedding, set up the headphones etc. but then he gets upset with me because once I'm in the room I'm ready to sleep. I just can't seem to win....

Spot On

first post, but been reading the site weekly for the last year or so.

This resonates so much with me. If i had not known better, i would have mistaken the OP for my own writing of my situation. I cant eat anything loud around him. He shows his annoyance loudly (not shouting, i already got "taught" the difference one painfully long night) and in a very harsh tone and message content. I drink too loud, i eat chips too loud, i 'should know better' not to order tacos (my favorite) when we go out to mexican food places (very frequent). I cannot clean using certain things, as he pitches a tantrum like a child about how he doesnt like the smell. But it doesnt end with the initial lecture. Its then brought back up over and over again from that point on, with occasions becoming less frequent until he is reminded again, then the whole thing starts over again - even years down the road. He has no tolerance for stupid people either and lacks empathy and compassion for anyone. At this point, i dread talking to him, as i sit and know a lecture is right around the corner. When he is stressed more that day, its obvious cause then our friends get to feel the lectures as well, esp the ones whom he deems (without outright saying it) to be lesser or not up to his level. Even though i want to stand up for them, i find myself more often then not, only meeting their eyes with understanding of their feeling, and then zoning out, so that i dont drag myself into it and thus cause myself more lectures when in private. Unfortunately, i have no suggestions to help =/ but, just know that you are not alone.

Stay strong.

Sensory sensitivity

You are not doing things that are stupid, but it sounds like he has some other co-existing problems that need to be addressed. If that is the case, he may be living by a set of standards that is completely different than those of the average person.

Look up information about sensory sensitivity (example:   )  and Asperger's syndrome as it relates to ADHD ( ) and see if he fits any of the descriptions.

(Quote from Wikipedia -- " Common symptoms of sensory defensiveness include intolerance of high-pitched noises, intolerance of chewing sounds, intolerance of overhead lights (especially fluorescent lighting); experiencing a feeling of being attacked upon being touched (especially from light touch or sudden touch); intolerance of certain types of fabrics in contact with the skin; becoming nauseated upon smelling something that does not smell bad to neurotypical individuals; difficulty maintaining eye-contact; severe intolerance of foods due to taste, texture, or temperature; and generally becoming overwhelmed when exposed to a lot of sensory stimuli at once.")

Be Very Aware Of What You're Doing To Yourself

That's one piece of advice I wish Id have gotten early on. Years later ended up regretful @ the situation Id tolerated, as it got worse n worse. The criticism point is interesting, happened as soon as we marriaged. Oddly, he tolerated none on his end, but brutal honesty was totally fine when directed @me. I totally agree with the poster who mentioned Aspergers. Though my husband doesn't officially fit the criteria for dx, he certainly has all the symptoms of it plus odd. The tactile sensitivity was so bad our bodies can't touch @night. No husband holding you @ night ever. Accidentally touch him with your foot, he'll scream like you're killing him. He builds what I call the pillow barrier between us @ night. Usually about a foot by foot tall and has always denied the reason behind it. Gave various reasons, but none made sense. Sex? Yeah, forget that requires being you touched. Thank goodness I got support for that issue here. I thought I was a horrible wife or something. My self esteem tanked. It really became not a marriage @ all. (Please don't let this discourage you, just putting this out there because I accept the fifty percent that is my fault n am urging you not to go there) Can't wait for the moment my marriage is over, that said, do not end up like me. This is a situation of give an inch they take a mile. To be healthy you need to set boundaries. That was a mistake I made that landed me where I am now. Things are so deteriorated I'm not even interested in saving sh*t, pardon my language. If you want it to work I suggest counseling for yourself and being proactive because being the giving tree constantly will get old, no not in a day, week or month, but year after year will do it.