Posted by fxckfeelings on November 17, 2015Share This Post
You’d think that people would want to stop doing things that are irrational and painful, but it’s because they’re uncontrollable that they’re doing them in the first place without being able to stop. In any case, don’t let your allergy to irritability control your partnership decisions. Look at the whole person before making up your mind about the value of preserving your relationship. Then, if you decide it’s worthwhile, we’ll have tips later this week for using your acceptance as a tool in negotiating a better relationship that any (mostly) rational person could agree to.
My husband has been diagnosed with ADHD, takes meds for ADHD, and sees a psychiatrist twice a month. A couple times a week (sometimes more) he gets angry/irritated with me for the tiniest of missteps. I’m usually surprised and I never know what will set him off. I’ve been seeing a therapist who helps me to maneuver around it and not take it personally, etc., but it always stings when he gets pissed at me. It seems kind of human to flinch when anger comes at you out of the blue. Plus, he denies that it’s anger, even though if any human were to overhear his voice and see his face, they would say, “wow, he’s pissed at her.” He’s really wonderful in many ways (which is why I’m trying to find a solution), but I don’t know if this is something that can be resolved. I have a metaphor for the situation: its like we have this lovely glass of water, but he keeps pissing in it, then says, “just drink it, it’s just a little piss.” Well, no thanks. I know sometimes bad and unfair things happen and when they do, by all means, get angry…but his anger is way out of proportion. My goal is to have peace and harmony in our marriage.
Just as it’s totally human to flinch at anger, it’s also human to reflexively deny shameful behavior; nobody wants to be yelled at, and nobody wants to admit they’re the kind of person who yells at their wife for no reason. Pushing him to admit to his flare-ups is probably as useless as your trying to achieve a state of Zen-like calm when they occur.
As such, your goal of peace and harmony isn’t realistic, at least not unless you remove your husband’s larynx. Otherwise, the fact is that you didn’t marry a peaceful guy, and pushing him to change will probably make him less peaceful and make you feel less successful.
So it’s time to decide whether the package is worthwhile, irritability and all, knowing that his irritability will probably always cause you pain, even when you know it isn’t personal. In other words, you need to decide whether you can actually stomach that piss water or not.
Do a business-like listing of what you require in a partnership and then use those criteria to grade your husband’s contributions. Include, of course, his ability to do his share and build the kind of future you want in terms of kids, security, and your other most important priorities. Other good traits to include are honesty, earning potential, reliability, and freedom from substance abuse and, of course, the ability to accept you as you are.
Then ask yourself whether you can accept his temper because of what you believe is valuable about the whole package. Whether or not you choose a marriage that lacks peace and harmony, brace yourself for a tough decision.
As long as you make a careful assessment on the basis of accepting your husband the way he is and determining what’s best for you and your family in the long run, you will make a good decision, even if it sometimes leaves you unhappy. Even if he can’t face his temper, you’ll be honest about your life together.
“I will never feel comfortable with my husband’s angry tone of voice, but I accept it as a problem that will not go away. If I stay with him, I do so because our marriage is worthwhile in spite of his irritability. If I stay with him, I will accept him, even as I try to give him voice-training.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname