I'm new to this ADHD world - but I need some help with my boyfriend's angry outbursts.
background: He's 46, I'm 51. We've been dating about a year. He recently switched from Concerta to Adderall (he was diagnosed in his 30s, I think). I am fairly fresh out of a long marriage to someone who had anger 'issues,' but they were mostly when he drank too much.I was married for 25 years. My BF was married twice.
Everything is fabulous except for sudden angry outbursts - over stuff that is so unimportant..... They really surprise me and I cannot figure out how to not get into an argument with him. It's so disheartening.
He is an amazing man in so many ways- smart, outgoing, talented, curious, polite, attentive, protective and loving. But he can go from 0 to 60 so fast - it completely catches me off guard and my old defenses kick in. I know I make it worse by my reaction (I've recently started counseling to help me with my own stuff) so I could use some help in understanding what to do. I feel like I never say the right thing. Do I keep talking? Do I shut up? Do I leave the room? Do I stand up and yell back? I'm not physically afraid of him, but he has punched the wall.
I'm reading Driven to Distraction but thought I could open a conversation about this here. I want to be able to talk to him about everything and in the beginning of our relationship, we really could. But now, it's starting to really keep me from saying anything that's important.
thanks for any insight.
What does he say about it once he has calmed down? The 0-60 anger thing is a function of the lack of inhibition that many people with ADHD experience, but they usually learn how to control it somehow, to some extent, especially once they start on meds. The problem comes in when they are diagnosed late, and this has become an ingrained habit type of behaviour.
As I say repeatedly (yeah, I know, but it is IMPORTANT!!) ADHD is NOT an excuse for bad behaviour. It may explain some things, but then that person is responsible for their own behaviour, and their own choices.
If you haven't talked to your BF about his outbursts, you really do need to. Punching the wall is not an acceptable thing to do when angry - it tends to be more a behaviour seen in children and teens, rather than adults.
Just out of curiosity and concern - you said he has been married twice previously. Did any of those relationships involve, or end becuase of, allegations of physical abuse? If yes, even if he denies it, you need to be careful.
He needs to get himself some counselling to learn new patterns of behaviour. Only you can decide how long you can put up with the behaviour in which he is currently indulging.
My best suggestion for what to do when he does indulge himself in these anger outbursts is to say, very calmly, "I don't think we can deal with anything productively right now. Let's talk again once we both calm down." and leave the room. Just ignore anything else that he says at that time - unless it becomes a safety issue. Responding angrily yourself is likely to simply escalate the problem. Feel free to take some time for yourself, and let yourself calm down too. When you do talk about whatever made him so angry, you need to calmly point out that your really don't like the way he explodes, and that it makes everything worse.
Let us know how things go.