Struggling with Long-Term Boyfriend's ADHD & Anger - Need Advice
I am currently struggling with my long-term boyfriend's battles with ADHD (yes, he has been diagnosed) and, as a result, an out-of-control temper. I have been with my boyfriend for over 8 years, and we have lived together for 7... just to give a bit of background information.
I've come to this forum because I truly feel as though I have no one to talk to about my situation... all of my friends are "our" friends, and I don't want to put them in the middle of our problems. I don't want to talk to my family because they automatically take my side on any situation, and I am looking for constructive, unbiased feedback. I apologize in advance for what will be a lengthy post.
I'll be honest, I have been staring at my computer screen for the past few minutes because I don't know where to begin, but I suppose I'll start with some background information. I have been unemployed since January of this year. I quit the job I had because they were knowingly breaking the law. When I approached them with my concerns, I received a reply that was basically, if you don't like it then leave. My boyfriend and I discussed the situation on multiple occasions over several months before we did make the decision that I needed to quit. Because I quit the job, it has been an ongoing battle with unemployment, which I am still not, nor may ever receive.
I fully understand that the stress level for him is high since he is now the sole provider in our household (no kids yet thankfully, but 2 dogs & a cat). We are by no means wealthy, but he makes more than enough for us to pay our bills and go out to dinner/movie, etc every once in a while. I have taken on the role of a housewife, in which I keep the house clean, manage all finances, take care of the animals, meals, everything. Which isn't really all that different from when I was working full-time anyway. All that he needs to worry about is waking up in the morning and going to work.
He vocalizes his stress to me, and I am there for him to let off steam whenever he needs. My problem is that when I talk about being stressed, his response is, "What do you have to be stressed out about? You sit at home all day and watch tv and play on the computer!" This cannot be further from the truth. It takes me several hours every day just to keep up on our small house because he is incredibly messy... for example, he will take his dirty clothes from the bathroom and sit them in front of the hamper in our bedroom. I don't mind picking up after him, and I know that I can be messy too, so I usually just bite my tongue... but yes the clothes hamper thing is one of my pet peeves! And I have talked to him about it... he just doesn't care that it bothers me, and to be honest, it's not the end of my world, so I let it go.
I spend several hours every day applying for jobs as well. He does not believe that I apply for jobs, so I have created an Excel program that I update with the job description, copy of the email that I applied, etc., for him to check at any time. He has a difficult time believing that I am having such a hard time getting a job interview, let alone a job, and feels it necessary to tell my all of the ways in which I am doing my job search wrong. This drives me crazy, first of all, because I feel that the way he speaks to me is the way an adult would speak to a child. Second of all, he has worked for his family's company since we began dating, so he has not had to apply for a job in over 8 years. He has no idea what the market is like, nor the amount of time it takes to apply to just one position. I've tried to speak with him about how much this hurts my feelings, and he tells me that I am just too sensitive, that he is only trying to help, and then as he's explaining himself, he gets himself worked up, and finally just starts yelling about how stressed he is and how I have no respect for his opinion. He has also told me that if I don't get a job soon, he's going to go out, apply for jobs, and see how fast he gets one to prove that he knows what he is talking about.
I constantly feel like I MUST walk on eggshells around him. The littlest thing sets him off. For example, we were out on a friend's boat a few weeks ago. I was swimming in the water with my boyfriend and his best friend. They were discussing a loud exhaust on the back of a boat, and I said, "The only reason you would want something like that is to get attention from all the hot ladies!" Then I laughed, and his friend laughed. It was obviously a lighthearted joke. He then started yelling at me, in front of all of our friends, something along the lines of, "How dare you disrespect me like that! I'm sick of you constantly putting me down you eff-ing b!" I was ready to cry, so I started to swim back to the boat. He continued to yell at me, saying, "You get back on that boat you inconsiderate b! You're always starting **** with me." Ten minutes later, he was back on the boat, being sweet and loving, so I just let it go. I didn't want to continue the "scene" that had already begun.
We never discussed this situation again. I have come to find that it is not worth it. It is very difficult to talk to him because he is always on the defense. I have tried "owning" my feelings, by saying things like, "When you put your clothes in front of the hamper, I feel disrespected." Yes, back to the clothes. When I try to talk in that manner, he accuses me of being selfish and only thinking about my feelings.
He has broken up with me on more occasions than I can count, and has emotionally cheated on me on at least 4 different occasions. He has told me that he feels he cannot talk to me about his feelings because he feels like I am constantly judging him or making excuses, which is why he became so emotionally involved with other women.
I am very confused by that. His biggest gripe with me is that our sex life has been lacking for the last 6 years. We start out with a conversation about it, with him telling my how it makes him feel unloved that I rarely initiate anything. I let him speak his peace. Almost every time, he asks me, "why don't you want to have sex with me?" I reply that it is difficult for me to want a physical connection like that with someone when I feel that emotionally he is not there for me. I also have a hard time wanting to have sex with someone after earlier that day, or even the day before, he flipped out on me about one thing or another, and continually put me down. When I explain this to him, after he asks why, he starts yelling about how I can't take responsibility for myself. I always need to find someone to blame all of my problems on. Why even ask if you don't want an honest answer?! Besides that, every single time, without fail, that we have sex, the next day, we get into a huge blow-out and he won't talk to me for days and stays out till late enough at night that he needs to go directly to bed to wake up in the morning for work. Nothing absurd, usually around 11:30pm.
I have a hard time opening up with him about anything. I have confided my fears of constantly being stuck in a dead-end job, despite taking steps to further my career path. I have confided in him how it drives me crazy that my mother is so co-dependent on me. I have confided how much it bothers me that my father and I don't have a good relationship. Every argument that we get into, he throws it in my face that if it weren't for him, I would never amount to anything. That I will never have a good job. That my mother coddles me too much, so I can't take constructive criticism. That my dad left because my mother and I are two emotional messes. So basically, when I confide something to him, he eventually brings it up in a conversation to put me down because he KNOWS it will hurt me.
Of course, once it gets to that point, I end up lowering myself to his level, and pulling crap out that I know I shouldn't. I know I'm not an angel, but it's difficult to sit there and let someone remind you of all of your weaknesses and not say anything to defend yourself, or make them feel pain as well. I know that is immature, and the WRONG way to do things. I try to refrain from that, but yes, there are plenty of times that he pushes too many of my buttons and I give it right back to him.
I try very hard not to let him see me cry. It doesn't take much for me to cry, and I sincerely wish I had more control over it. Every time I cry, he laughs at me and says that my pathetic attempt at crying to get him to feel badly for me won't work. That's not why I cry, and when I start to feel like I might, I try to get out of the situation. Walking away doesn't work, because he will follow me around the house, and stand outside of doors just instigating, "Oh can't the baby take reality? Better go hide and cry yourself to sleep," among other things.
It's just incredibly frustrating. I try to accommodate him because I understand that he does have ADHD, and a side effect for him is an explosive temper. I try to understand that sometimes, when I think he is ignoring me, it's not always his fault. I try to understand how frustrating it must be for someone to have a million things racing through their head at any given moment, and not be able to focus on the one thing that you need to. I can't even come close to understanding, but I can't imagine the level of frustration that comes with the effects of ADHD. Anymore, he is by far one of the most negative people I have ever been around in my entire life, but I try to understand why he is the way he is. Perhaps this is why I have given so much leniency.
He has gone to a psychiatrist twice since we've been together (he was diagnosed at a young age, then rediagnosed after we had been dating for over a year and he decided to get rough with me. I left and refused to return until he got the help he needed.) and did not like the way the drugs he was prescribed made him feel. But he did not give the medication a chance, and did not take them as prescribed. He stopped taking them after a couple of weeks, and refused to get any additional help.
I totally respect his decision to not want to be medicated; however, there are other ways in which he can get help with the ADHD. He just has no care to. Now we have been talking about having a child. I continue to say that we are not ready for a child, but he disagrees. To be honest, I'm scared that he will do something to ensure that I do get pregnant.
I am honestly at my wit's end with him. There are parts of him that I still love, but I feel like the negativity is taking over his personality, and I do not like the person he is becoming. He is increasing combative and arrogant. You should hear the way he freaks out if someone cuts him off in traffic! Little things, big things, it doesn't matter, he is ALWAYS ready for a fight, but then he says that I'm the one that picks fights and loves to fight with him! I've tried to talk to him about this several times, in different ways, in different places (public and private). Every time it turns into a huge fight with him saying, "all you do is put me down, why are you even with me? You are only with me for convenience. You are using me," etc.
It just breaks my heart to have someone that I care about so much put me down the way he does. It hurts to see anger ripping someone apart from the inside out. I am not a negative person, always trying to see the bright side of things. He is the exact opposite anymore... it makes me sad to even think about how miserable his life must be for him to be so mad at everything all of the time.
The craziest part, is that he has a TON of friends. Like, a ridiculous (to me) amount. So every time I try to talk to him about his negative feelings, he tells me I'm crazy, and that none of his friends think there is a problem with him.
Please help me. I don't know what to do. I can't go to counseling myself because I don't and have not had insurance for quite some time. I doubt he would consider going to joint counseling anyway. Anytime I have brought it up, he tells me I'm the crazy one.
Thanks to everyone in advance for your feedback! It is greatly appreciated.
ETA: Has anyone on the forum been in a similar situation with a SO/spouse that has been diagnosed with ADHD? How did you handle conflict? Am I actually enabling him by trying to be forgiving because of his diagnosis? Am I just giving him a cop out? I am very unsure of myself... my self esteem has taken a beating. I just want us to be happy together, like we can be on occasion. I'm just tired of the highs and lows.
Re: Struggling with Long-Term Boyfriend's ADHD & Anger - Need Advice
I am currently struggling with my long-term boyfriend's battles with ADHD.
Jzsa, welcome to the TAM forum. You are describing behavioral traits that go well beyond those of ADHD. The traits you describe -- verbal abuse, temper tantrums, inappropriate anger, lack of impulse control, blaming-shifting, always being "The Victim," black-white thinking, and a cycle of push-you-away and pull-you-back -- are classic traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW suffers from. Only a professional can determine whether those traits are so severe as to satisfy all of the diagnostic criteria for having full blown BPD.
Yet, for the purposes of deciding whether he is a good marriage candidate, you don't need to know whether his traits surpass the diagnostic threshold. Even when they fall well short of that threshold, these traits can make your life miserable. Moreover, strong BPD traits are easy to identify when occurring in a man you've been living with for seven years. There is nothing subtle about symptoms such as verbal abuse and temper tantrums.
Originally Posted by jzsa
Little things, big things, it doesn't matter, he is ALWAYS ready for a fight....
If he is a "BPDer" (i.e., has moderate to strong traits of BPD), he has been carrying enormous anger and shame inside since early childhood. You therefore do not have to do anything to CREATE the anger. Instead, you only have to say or do some minor thing that TRIGGERS the anger that is already there. That's why his anger typically will erupt in less than a minute -- often in only ten seconds.
Every single time, without fail, that we have sex, the next day, we get into a huge blow-out and he won't talk to me for days....
This is not surprising. With BPDers, the very WORST fights usually happen right after the very BEST of times. A wonderful evening or great weekend often is followed -- the very next morning if not that same night -- by an argument that he creates out of thin air. Although he does not consciously realize it, he creates the fight to get breathing space. Indeed, the push-you-away and pull-you-back cycle you have witnessed is a hallmark of BPD.
Because a BPDer has an unstable fragile self image, any time you draw close in intimacy (real intimacy, not just sex) he will experience engulfment. It is very frightening because he feels like he is being taken over by his partner's strong personality -- like he is evaporating into thin air. To get breathing room, he will push his partner away.
Yet, as you back off to avoid his strong fear of engulfment, you inevitably will trigger his greatest fear, that of abandonment. This is unavoidable because a BPDers two great fears -- engulfment and abandonment -- lie at opposite ends of the very same spectrum. This implies that, as you move away from one fear, you necessarily are moving closer to triggering the other fear.
Hence, if your BF has strong BPD traits, after his tantrum dies down (they typically last only five hours), he may wait a few hours (or days or weeks) and will start reeling you back in. Of course, as you draw close, the cycle starts all over again. For 15 years, I kept hunting for the "Goldilocks" position between "too close" and "too far" to avoid triggering both of those fears. I can tell you that, if that safe midpoint position exists at all, it is a knife edge that is continually shifting.
I constantly feel like I MUST walk on eggshells around him. The littlest thing sets him off.
That's why the #1 best-selling BPD book (targeted to the abused partners) is called Stop Walking on Eggshells.
He continued to yell at me.... Ten minutes later, he was back on the boat, being sweet and loving....
As I noted above, this push-away and pull-back behavior is one hallmark of BPD traits. It largely arises from a BPDer's intolerance of ambiguities, mixed feelings, and uncertainty. The result is his frequent use of black-white thinking, wherein he will categorize everyone as "all good" ("with him") or "all bad" ("against him"). And he will recategorize someone -- in just ten seconds -- from one polar extreme to the other based solely on a minor action or comment. This all-or-nothing thinking also will be evident in frequent use of expressions such as "you never..." and "you always...."
He has broken up with me on more occasions than I can count....
A recent member survey at BPDfamily.com found that a third of the relationships with BPDers had broken up 6 or more times (and nearly a fourth had broken up 10 or more times) before the relationship was permanently ended.
He feels like I am constantly judging him or making excuses.... I am very confused by that.
Feeling "confused" is a hallmark of someone dating a BPDer. Indeed, many partners and spouses are so confused that they feel like they may be going crazy. Of the ten PDs, BPD is the one that is most infamous for making the nonBPD partner feel like she is losing her mind. The reason, of course, is the unending cycle of push-away and pull-back, always making you feel like you can restore the bliss by figuring out what you're doing wrong. And the BPDer adds to that confusion by always blaming you for everything.
I also have a hard time wanting to have sex with someone after earlier that day, or even the day before, he flipped out on me about one thing or another.
My BPDer exW was the same way. She would run about our home throwing a tantrum for several hours and then, after flipping back to loving me, would be ready to jump into bed and have sex. BPDers are able to do that because, as I noted earlier, they do black-white thinking, wherein they experience only one set of feelings at a time.
Hence, when a BPDer is splitting you white, he adores you and is out of touch with the bad feelings he has toward you. Those other feelings are "split off" from his conscious mind. In contrast, the rest of us remain in touch with our mixed feelings.
When I confide something to him, he eventually brings it up in a conversation to put me down because he KNOWS it will hurt me.
BPDers typically maintain a list of every infraction you ever made and they will pull this list out in nearly every argument or disagreement you have with them. If you are having a disagreement over what carpet color to buy, for example, it would not be unusual for a BPDer to bring up a dozen things you allegedly did wrong in the past. This process of expanding every discussion to include a long list of wrongs is called "kitchen sinking," because they bring up everything including the kitchen sink.
It's difficult to sit there and let someone remind you of all of your weaknesses and not say anything to defend yourself, or make them feel pain as well. I know that is immature, and the WRONG way to do things.
Yes, it is wrong but don't beat yourself up about it. It is called "picking up fleas," i.e., acquiring (or mirroring) some of your partner's BPD traits after you've been exposed to them every week for years and years.
Every time I cry, he laughs at me and says that my pathetic attempt at crying to get him to feel badly for me won't work.
If your BF has strong BPD traits, his emotional development likely is frozen at about age four and his self image is fragile and unstable. One result of this would be the lack of empathy, which is common in BPDers. BPD traits make it difficult to be empathetic because they distort one's perceptions of other peoples' intentions and motivations.
I understand that he does have ADHD, and a side effect for him is an explosive temper.
A recent psychiatric study (2006) reports finding a fairly strong association between adult ADHD and BPD. See European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, Volume 256, Supplement 1 - SpringerLink. I note that, even when BPD is diagnosed, it is common for therapists to not record it. One reason is that nearly all insurance companies refuse to cover BPD treatments but they will cover the "clinical disorders" such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, and bipolar. It therefore is common for these associated disorders to be reported but not the BPD.
He did not give the medication a chance, and did not take them as prescribed. He stopped taking them after a couple of weeks.
If he has strong BPD traits, medication will not make a dent in those traits even if he does take the meds. It is common for psychiatrists to prescribe meds to BPDers so as to treat the associated anxiety and depression. The meds do not treat the underlying BPD traits, however.
Now we have been talking about having a child. I continue to say that we are not ready for a child, but he disagrees.
I strongly recommend you not have any children with him until you consult with a psychologist -- on your own. If he has strong BPD traits, there is a chance he can pass them on to his children. It is believed to be caused by a combination of genetics and early childhood environment (e.g., abandonment or abuse).
The craziest part, is that he has a TON of friends. ...none of his friends think there is a problem with him.
My BPDer exW was the same way. The vast majority of BPDers are high functioning. That is, they get along fine with business associates, casual friends, and total strangers. The reason is that none of those folks pose a threat to the BPDer's two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. There is no close relationship to be abandoned and no intimacy that could cause engulfment. This is why it is common for a BPDer to be patient and caring all day long to complete strangers -- and then go home at night to abuse the very people that love him.
Yet, when you say "he has a TON of friends," I'm sure you mean to say "a TON of casual friends." Heaven help those people if any of them make the mistake of trying to establish a close LTR. Most likely, your BF has no close LTRs unless the person lives a long distance away.
He has gone to a psychiatrist twice since we've been together... and refused to get any additional help.
If your BF has strong BPD traits, it is extremely unlikely he would be willing to stay in therapy long enough to make a difference (several years at least). Even if he does, it is unlikely that his psychologist would tell him -- much less you -- the name of his disorder if he has BPD. There are several reasons why, to protect the patient, this information is usually withheld. I explain this in COguy's thread at It's official, I'm getting divorced.
I can't go to counseling myself because I don't and have not had insurance for quite some time.
On the contrary, you cannot afford NOT TO GO. Relying on your BF's psychiatrist for advice during the courtship is as foolish as relying on his attorney for advice during a divorce. If you are not yet willing to walk away from him, it is important that you see a psychologist -- for a visit or two by yourself -- to obtain a candid professional opinion on what it is you are dealing with. You need a professional who is ethically bound to protect YOUR interests, not his.
I doubt he would consider going to joint counseling anyway. Anytime I have brought it up, he tells me I'm the crazy one.
If he has strong BPD traits, he likely believes you are the crazy one. BPDers protect their fragile egos by projecting nearly all of their bad thoughts and mistakes onto their partners. This is why, if you suspect your BF has strong BPD traits, it would be unwise to tell him. He almost certainly will project it right back onto you, becoming convinced that you are the one suffering from BPD traits. That is exactly what my exW did when I told her.
Please help me. I don't know what to do.
Jzsa, I don't know whether your BF has strong BPD traits. I've never met the man. I am convinced, however, that you are fully capable of spotting any and all red flags exhibited by a man you've been living with for 7 years. Likewise, the Mayo Clinic believes you are capable of spotting such traits if they are occurring. That's why they post the BPD traits for the lay public to read on their website at Personality disorders: Symptoms - MayoClinic.com.
Similarly, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) describes BPD traits on its website for the public at NIMH · What are the symptoms of borderline personality disorder?. Indeed, hundreds of hospitals and mental health centers are now providing this information on their Internet sites in an effort to educate the general public. They do this because, when people know the symptoms for a disease or disorder, they are far more likely to seek professional help and to do so quickly. Simply stated, knowledge is power.
An easy place to start reading is my brief description of these traits in Maybe's thread at My list of hell!. If that description rings a bell, I would be glad to discuss it with you and point you to good online resources. Take care, Jzsa.
Re: Struggling with Long-Term Boyfriend's ADHD & Anger - Need Advice
I have to agree with Uptown. Most of your problems have nothing to do with his ADHD.
Originally Posted by jzsa
I try to accommodate him because I understand that he does have ADHD, and a side effect for him is an explosive temper. I try to understand that sometimes, when I think he is ignoring me, .........
but I feel like the negativity is taking over his personality
The stuff you describe here is indeed the result of ADHD. Uncontrollable anger that flares up really quickly and goes away just away just as quickly. The inattention to people speaking and yes the negative personality. Generally you can overcome the negativity by hanging out with people (such as yourself) who have a positive outlook. But i don't think this is the major source of your problems.
Originally Posted by jzsa
He then started yelling at me, in front of all of our friends, something along the lines of, "How dare you disrespect me like that! I'm sick of you constantly putting me down you eff-ing b!"
.......he accuses me of being selfish and only thinking about my feelings.
He has broken up with me on more occasions than I can count, and has emotionally cheated on me on at least 4 different occasions.
we get into a huge blow-out and he won't talk to me for days and stays out till late enough at night
when I confide something to him, he eventually brings it up in a conversation to put me down because he KNOWS it will hurt me.
All the stuff you described here seem to be the root of your problems and they have NOTHING to with ADHD. He is just being an insensitive and immature dic_k. Or like UPTOWN says it may be BPD which i don't know anything about.
Re: Struggling with Long-Term Boyfriend's ADHD & Anger - Need Advice
I'm on that same bandwagon. This is not simply attention deficit and hyperactivity at work. This is a hostile pattern of engaging you, which is nothing like ANY of the ADHD criteria.
You do not deserve to be called names or frequently criticized by the people who are supposed to love you. Unfortunately, you've discovered that talking to someone like this doesn't usually turn out well. Even if you do come to agreements, they will tend to vanish after a few days or a couple weeks at most.
I have written a few articles that may interest you. Here are the key ones I think apply to your situation:
Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Abuse
Unfortunately, the kind of abuse you're experiencing is one of the hardest to identify. It does the most damage, too, because it makes us doubt ourselves and think we are inferior. This article will help you figure out if his behavior really is abusive, since it can be very confusing when you're going through it.
I think that those "I statements" you've been using don't help matters a bit, either. "When you leave your laundry in front of the hamper, I feel disrespected" is just a backdoor way of making an accusation, "You don't respect me." Your guy is probably smart enough to see this.
When it comes to fighting fair, and finding win-win solutions, I'd encourage you to see if he will read and abide by the things I've written in Fair Fighting: How to Fight Fair When Emotions are High. If he won't abide by them, you should consider whether you two have any future if things continue the way they have been going.
I pick up that you're not very compatible sexually or emotionally. I hope that this is temporary, but I also have an article on compatibility and how much is needed in relationships that might interest you if you reach the point of determining if you should leave or not.
Re: Struggling with Long-Term Boyfriend's ADHD & Anger - Need Advice
Holy crap, you are dealing with a major Borderline Personality my dear. I was raised by one (my father) and I don't mean to sound harsh . . . . BUT RUN!!!!!
I know being unemployed kinda gets in the way of you leaving, and you may feel that some of this is your fault. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. You could be Jesus Christ and this man would find fault with you.
Thank goodness you have no children, he sounds like an awful husband, can you imagine how he would treat your children? I know you love him and want to help him. You are in year 8 right? By year 20 you will want to murder him in his sleep. I didn't read everyone's posts to yours because I know what they all said. We talk about this subject a lot on TAM. I'm sure someone told you to read the book STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS. It's a good book, I read it and it helped me understand.
People like your boyfriend never change or get help because they truly believe that everyone and everything is the problem. Not them. They can be very charming when they want to, so many of them lie to shrinks so they never get the help they need. A lot of Borderlines are also major narcissists, meaning they only care about themselves to the extreme.
Try this: next time your boyfriend starts to gripe at you for some imagined crime you committed against humanity, do not respond or react, just ask him something about HIS day. Like, "did you get that raise you were hoping for?" or "how was the car ride home? I heard there was construction on the road YOU use." He will instantly forget about going after you and start to yak and yak and yak about HIMSELF. His favorite subject.
His lack of respect for you is enormous, but you are in the middle of it. You probably can't see clearly. You are surrounded with negativity and don't know where to turn. I am so sorry you are in this situation. I know it's hard and I know it's scary. I know you love him with all your heart, but sweetie, he is what he is. Please don't let him ruin your goodness and turn you into a meek scared mouse or a depressed angry person. These monsters will eat you alive if you let them. They feed off of you, they are emotional vampires.
Keep reaching out, get help if you can, do some research on the web, talk to a loved one you can trust. You might be surprised that your friends and loved ones have noticed his behavior but have been afraid to ask you about it.
Try to emotionally detach if you can. Keep in mind the problem is not you, you do not need to constantly explain yourself and try to prove to him that you do a lot around the house, that you are a good house keeper, that you are trying to find a job, none of this means a thing. He will find something else to complain about. It's his nature.
It is NOT selfish to take care of yourself. Please do so and keep coming back to TAM, the people here will help you. They helped me and I am forever thankful.
Re: Struggling with Long-Term Boyfriend's ADHD & Anger - Need Advice
Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder. ADHD. Notice, if you will, that this disorder has to do with problems related to being able to focus your attention as well as you should. It can also have to do with being hyperactive. But there is nothing in ADHD which makes the sufferer an emotionally, verbally or physically abusive jerk. That comes from being...well....an abusive jerk.
My father, my brother, my boss and my son are all ADHD of various types and levels. None of them are emotionally abusive. They have trouble focusing, are fidgety, don't always pay attention, sometimes don't remember stuff, tend to get bored easily, often bounce from topic to topic or interest to interest, and they don't manage time well. But they are all giving, kind, caring, big-hearted men who manage to be very good to their friends and loved ones and to generally treat people well. Do they sometimes struggle? Yes. Is there a degree of frustration sometimes? Yes. But none of them are abusive.
ADHD isn't making your husband an ass. It's just giving him a convenient excuse for being one.