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Why your ADHD Husband is Emotionally Abusive could have more than one answer. Nevertheless, ADHD can greatly contribute to abusive tendencies.
As new research emerges in ADHD, a few things are even more certain now than they ever were in the past.
ADHD is more often than not a co-occurring disorder. It’s also clear now that ADHD symptoms do more than cause us ADHDers to lie awake at night and lose focus at work.
They can also create temper outbursts, major time management struggles, exacerbate depression symptoms and permeate every facet of our lives.
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From our relationships to our self-awareness, ADHD can wreak havoc in more ways than one.
Temper outbursts, interrupting others, impulsive decisions, and also Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD) among the symptoms of emotional dysregulation. Emotional Dysregulation being a new term associated with ADHD.
According to CHADD (National Resource on ADHD), up to two-thirds of people diagnosed with ADHD also have a co-occurring disorder. Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disability, Substance Use Disorder, and now Rejection sensitivity dysphoria among them. As well as other well known co-occurring disorders like cluster B personality disorders. The latter being linked often to domestic violent perpetrators.
Why is it that I often get asked from women if their ADHD Husband is emotionally abusive?
And why are ADHD Husbands displaying abusive patterns of control wheeling?
There is no direct link currently. More research will be needed to conclude if there is a link scientifically, but what we do know are a few things. One of them being that mental illness goes hand in hand with abusive relationships. Both with the abuser and the victim.
Understand something before we begin.
“Mental Illness is not an excuse to act like a Jack-Ass.”-Pete Davidson
Your husband’s ADHD (or any mental illness) is not an excuse for him to abuse you.
It’s only a possible explanation. It is my hope that you and your husband seek treatment and repair the damage done to your relationship.
If you feel you are at the point of no return in the emotional abuse you’ve sustained so far, I highly recommend reading my How to Get Out Series. It’s a 6 part Guide on where to turn when you feel it is in your best interest to leave your spouse. Due to either emotional, physical or a combination of those types of abuse.
Why your ADHD Husband is Emotionally Abusive:
Reason Number 1.
ADHD Makes for large (and small) deficits in Executive Functioning.
Executive functioning is the part of the brain that helps us prioritize tasks naturally and congruently. Its the part of the brain that when we ADHDer’s lack its sufficiency we are late, unorganized, and forgetful.
What it also does is help us manage our thought process including long-term consequences to our actions.
Further down this list, we’ll discuss that many ADHD Adult men with an impulsive and hyperactive presentation of their ADHD struggle with temper outbursts.
Combining those temper outbursts with the inability to see long-term consequences could easily make someone act out in a moment. Getting angry, having what I’ve witnessed as an Adult “Fit” or “Tantrum” of sorts and not realizing the people one is hurting in the process. Sounds precisely emotionally abusive to me, yet could be extreme symptoms of ADHD.
Reason Number 2.
ADHD Adults often have limited awareness of their character flaws.
Many undiagnosed or newly diagnosed adult ADHD men have little understanding of how their struggles in day to day functioning differ from anyone else. Making it that much more difficult when they apologize but don’t understand why their spouse sees their behavior as off the wall and uncalled for.
Aren’t they the same as everyone else?
Even if they are diagnosed with ADHD, they often fail to realize how their actions like interrupting someone usually, no willingness to wait their turn can effect someones psychological well being over time.
Imagine a husband who with his impulsive and hyperactive ADHD has a heightened sex drive.
But has no patience to wait for sex from his wife, instead of feeling the need to beg and plead with her to have sex even after she explained she really doesn’t want to. Now add his lack of understanding of how these actions repeatedly add up to long-term consequences. Such as the relationship breaking down because his wife feels unheard, and invalidated. Especially with something as intimate as her sexual preferences. This problem can really strike a wrecking ball into the foundation of any relationship. Over and over again until it comes crashing down.
Reason Number 3.
Your ADHD Husband is emotionally Abusive because Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria makes for a very passive aggressive individual.
It is now known that alongside our ADHD symptoms, RSD or Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria is extremely common among us. ADDitude magazine defines it as:
an extreme emotional sensitivity and emotional pain triggered by the perception — not necessarily the reality — that a person has been rejected, teased, or criticized by influential people in their life.-ADDitude Magazine, How ADHD Ignites Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria
ensitivity Dysphoria can look so similar to a mood disorder untreated & undiagnosed.
If a person has the worries that they are being rejected by their significant other, even if the rejection is not actually there they are going to act out. Sometimes aggressively, sometimes passive-aggressively. Making it so you, as their spouse may have to tiptoe around their feelings. Never knowing if they will feel defensiveness to your suggestions. It’s a real relationship breaker if you ask me.
Reason number 4.
Childhood Trauma with u
ndiagnosed and untreated ADHD makes for an Adult profoundly lacking in Self-Esteem.
At the root of every healthy relationship, many experts will tell you that self-love is required. Undiagnosed ADHD adults often go their entire life feeling like they are just categorically faulty. They have hard wiring that differs from the rest of society and makes it easier for them to be unorganized, late for work, indecisive and forgetful.
Any of these symptoms can make someone feel like they are a crappy human being who can’t succeed in life.
Add in that their parents were possibly uneducated about ADHD. Touting is as non-sense or an excuse for adults to medicate their children. Associating a lot of guilt and shame with these innate inabilities to deal with life.
This is most often when ADHD people turn to substances.
Substance Abuse Disorder effects so many untreated ADHD adults and we can’t even be sure how many because so many Substance Abusers fail to come forward. Anyone lacking in self-esteem is going to struggle to accept love from someone else. They will push away, sabotage the relationship and blameshift until it ultimately fails.
Reason Number 5.
Their Constant search for Stimulation can lead them to do things that are hurtful, insensitive, and bullyesque.
ADHD men and women tend to live in the now, and not now of their lives. Impulsivity, and always searching for stimulation can easily lead them to do dangerous and hurtful things. Presenting habits such as infidelity, drug abuse, and gambling, etc. It’s not to say that ADHD people are more prone to Addiction but untreated ADHD can lead to many searching for that answer. Often in the wrong places.
In my personal experience, most ADHD people are hanging on to something in their life to cope with whether they realize it or not.
Often its food, exercise, video gaming, hobbies. Those can be the healthier ones. But sometimes it’s sex, gambling, drugs, and drinking.
Make no mistake, Infidelity is abuse. Especially done more than once. Can it be reconciled? Absolutely, but it’s vital that people who have done it in the past set themselves up for success in the future. That may include treatment for their ADHD, or any other co-occurring mental illness they are struggling with.
Keep in mind that ADHD exists on a spectrum.
There are three different types, or if you are like me and follow Dr. Daniel Amen’s teaching according to brain scans, there are actually seven.
If your ADHD husband is emotionally abusive, it’s time to set some serious boundaries.
Read How to Overcome CoDependency Here
And get realistic that you will need outside help.
Get informed with books by Lundy Bancroft on angry and controlling men. Find out how untreated ADHD could be the secret enemy in your relationship. A 3rd party set out to sabotage even your best efforts.
Seek counseling, and set the boundary that your Husband must seek his own treatment as well. Be prepared for the backlash. But don’t give up. There is hope.
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