Brooklyn Bo

I am 73 years old
Male
ADHD (diagnosed approx. 20 years ago); Not taking ADHD medications.
Retired
Married 46 years (same woman)
2 adult children (1 of each); my son has ADHD (diagnosed at age 4, some 38 years ago)
2 grand daughters

I have mild depression and episodic bouts of anxiety (for which I take meds.).

My greatest challenge is my poor impulse control in expressing anger.

I overreact to “small potato” things . . . And get stuck staying angry. I don’t often yell; I don’t curse or use foul language (except when driving, alone), but I get a hard edge in my tone. And then go silent and smolder. This happens mostly with my wife. In fact she is dismayed how I can be that way with her and then 5 minutes later be pleasant with friends. She has low tolerance for any level of anger from me.

Over the years I have been in therapy, all of which helped me get unstuck with my life. But the emotions continue . . .

So I will hang out here and hope to get support and ideas.

Thanks!

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(test)

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Now there is the test on if ADHD folks can have Long Term Relationships and work through stuff!

I feel you on the anger issues. I don’t know what I can offer that 70+ years of living with it has not, but I can try.
Most of the time I feel the urge to channel my dad, and isolate myself from my wife. The idea is that I don’t lash our and hurt her, but I recall when dad did that, and it did more harm than good.
Instead, I am vulnerable with her. I explain, in factual terms, why I am feeling angry. I explain that I am sure she did not mean for X thing to anger me, or to insinuate something, or whatever. I simply heard what she said differently than how she said it. If that makes any sense. Once we can put a stop on the initial rage, I can breathe and we can deal with it.
From when I was a Foster Dad, I learned that often some kind of activity can help the emotional mind clear it’s view, release some chemicals our brains need to think clearly… -er. So, sometimes I pace. I might let her know that I am not running away, or “fleeing”, but that I need to burn off some emotional haze, and then I go for a walk. Climb some stairs (live in an apt). Something 15 minutes later I can come back, think better, and then we can deal with whatever set me off.
Learning to be vulnerable with my wife is the only way I know to have a healthy relationship with her and still experience the conflict two people will have when living in proximity to each other.

Eric (I presume) -

I do the same, I get angry over things that really don’t seem logical to be angry about. I know it is what they call emotional dysregulation, attributable to ADHD and poor impulse control. It’s difficult for my wife to understand that it is not my intention to get angry and then hold onto it (mostly in silence). She does not understand why I get angry with her for no apparent reason and then five minutes later can walk into a room of people and be nice to them. I’ve been in therapy over the years a number of times and while I benefit it doesn’t seem to change those things that I think are neurologically based. I take an SSRI and NSSRI. Perhaps they help somewhat with the anger issue but I doubt they do very much.

I have taken up meditation / mindfulness, got myself an exercise bike and try to get on it regularly. Sometimes I’ll just say I’m going for a walk and leave the house. But sooner or later another incident will occur. I hope it does not happen but on occasion (and just last night) my wife has expressed possible separation if I could not get my act together.

Is there a “topic” here on emotional dysregulation or anger? Haven’t found such.

When you get a chance I would appreciate your further thoughts . . . and support that I derive from communicating with a like-soul!

Thanks,
Barry

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My wife has a blood glucose monitor, the kind that you stick on your arm and sync to your phone via bluetooth. Helps track her blood sugar without constant finger pricks (she has a fear of needles. Irony aside what with the needle in the sensor… sigh).
Funny thing… if you whack that sensor on the doorway/chair/book/spouse, etc, (or… uh… spouse accidentally puts weight on it during… some intimate moments… cough) it REALLY EFFING HURTS! And HOLY CRAP IT HURTS. And just about the only thing she can think about or talk about for a short while is OH GOD IT HURTS.
I mean, its only an half inch long needle or so that is stuck in your arm and suddenly got worked around inside and scraped against God knows what.

It’s kinda like we have this direct wire to our Anger circuit. And some things just brush against that contact and Houston, we have ignition.

Ok. Reasonable steps we can take here.

  1. This SUCKS… but she needs to be able to understand that the initial anger is not entirely controllable. And, that it doesn’t just suck for her. YOU don’t like this either. YOU don’t want to be angry! YOU are just as much a victim in that you being controlled at the first by the emotion.
  2. Show her that you are trying, no matter how successful. The act of trying, and of her seeing the earnest effort, matters.
  3. Write down the things you get mad about. “Wife asked me to pick up my tools.” “Neighbor said my car was in the way.” “Cat shat on my pillow.” Whatever. Don’t go super detailed, but just a note on the event, X did Y, and I was mad. Any BRIEF details if you feel you will not recall the event later.
  4. Once you have a few days or a week of this (… and hopefully have not lost the notepad. Cause we Brains never do that) see if there is ANY correlation. AT ALL. Like, even the “out there” ones.

Example.
Boss told me I needed to resolve more tickets. ARGH, DOESNT HE SEE WHAT I AM ALREADY DOING?!?!?!

Wife inhaled sharply while I was parking/opening driver side door. SHE SHOULD KNOW BY NOW THAT I AM NOT GONNA HIT SOMETHING/DOOR DING THE CAR!!!

Wife asked where we are going when I missed a turn. WHY DOESNT SHE JUST TELL ME I MISSED THE TURN INSTEAD OF BEING PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE!!! (My own fault, since I like to surprise her by driving her someplace she was not aware of… )

Team Lead of another team sends an email saying we missed a thing. NO YOU TWIT WE DIDN’T KNOW IT EXISTED BECAUSE YOU CANT KEEP YOUR RECORDS STRAIGHT AND I HAVE BEEN STAYING UP LATE TWICE A WEEK FOR A FREAKING YEAR FOR YOU AND YOUR PROJECT AND YOU CAN GO F-

What is the common thread?
The implication that I am not doing what I know I should be (and generally am). What they said and what they meant wasn’t (strictly… that team lead can bite me) the same.
My boss sees the ticket count climbing. They do that, boss. Is cool. We got this. But he has a need to make sure we are on track, and it isn’t malicious. He just said something in a way that made it seem like he thinks I am lazy. And … I a bit twitchy on that topic.
My wife is legit afraid that I will ding the car door on the carport post. … Maybe… because I have. Sometimes. Also, my mom was pretty passive aggressive. So it is easy for my emotions to take that fear reaction of hers and attribute it to guilt tactics. I have to remind myself that it is not in my wifes nature to act that way.
She also GENUINELY THINKS I might be trying to surprise her with a road trip when I miss a turn. And I hear… (sigh) my mom’s voice being passive aggressive.
In both cases, the perception that she thinks I am too dumb to do this thing correctly… irks me. A lot.
And the Team Lead…
Are we allowed to swear here? I forget.
The… witch, of a team lead who kept saying we “missed” a device, fails to grasp the stress we had been under, and really is trying to communicate that “This device was not converted.” But the phrasing makes it seem like willful slack, which as established above I am a bit twitchy over.

I perceive that they are degrading my ethics or skill or ability. And, were that true, yeah. Legit reason for anger.
It just isn’t. (… save the witch)
Find our what your thread is (are, if there are a couple). Then, once you get a grasp on that, talk to your spouse about it. Explain what you heard inside what she said. Delineating the two is so vital. When I can lay out to my wife that when she said “I need to go make some food,” (and then not move) I heard “Food needs to be made, but I don’t really want to do it, let me see if I can guilt Eric into making it instead,” means I can explain the conflict without laying any blame on her! This means we can talk without fear of accusations.
She also sees that I am making efforts, and knows that I really struggle with this sometimes.

Next steps, try and find out why these things trigger you. In my case, really terrible home environment stuff, Dad was diagnosed ADD (back when it was ADD) when I was 14. Mom has never been diagnosed, but I would be SHOCKED if she was not ADHD. My twin sister lives at home with them, has a whole HOST of other mental issues, I imagine ADHD is among them, and no one is pushing her to get some much needed help. Isolated household, socially, homeschooled (glad about that, but lack of social stuff) and military to boot. Let’s say my social skills when I got to College were… lacking. Badly. Mom was manipulative, and I don’t think she even knows she does it. Dad has anger issues, his dad was even worse (tossed my uncles down the stairs when they woke him up “too early” for a fathers day breakfast in bed). Some abuse (from outside the family) of a sexual nature… I get a bit reactive to certain things.

But now I know. And I can try and deal with it. It takes work. And time. But once you know which way to dig, it makes digging feel worth while, and you can start to see even the small progress. Just digging in a random direction… well… doesn’t get me very far.
:smiley: Eric.

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Oh my god dude. I hear so much of my own experience in what you outline here.
In particular, I make the effort to demonstrate that I am trying to regulate when I have trouble with our kids. I’ve believed that even if i lose my head over something it’s important that I apologise when its necessary and explain to them so they understand as they grow that I’m not angry at them, but I’m losing control and dysregulating.

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My relationships at home as a child . . . YES
Misperceptions . . . YES
Misinterpretations / mistaken assumptions . . . YES
What she SAID Vs. What I HEARD . . . YES
My “triggers” . . . YES
Know where to dig . . . YES
Don’t BLAME . . . EXPLAIN . . . YES

Thanks for the nuggets!!

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Heh. Have trouble reading large blocks of text… will write a book on a topic of interest at the drop of a hat. Irony, thy name is ADHD. :crazy_face:

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you write the book and my challenge will be to read it :wink:

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Hi Barry,

just thought to drop you a line here, to thank you for hanging around. Every post I read from you is thoughtful and uplifting, I guess you know how important it is to lift ppl up and I just thought I’d repay the favour.

I could talk more but gotogo :slight_smile:

cheers

Lui

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