Cassandra Syndrome

Cassandra Syndrome.  What is it?  In Greek mythology, Apollo gives Cassandra the gift of prophecy; the ability to foresee the future.  He did so out of an act to seduce her but when she ultimately rejected him, he hexed her with a curse of never being believed.  Even though Cassandra had the power to predict the future and could warn people when something bad was about to happen, no one believed her.  She was dismissed and rejected, regarded by the townspeople as an insane liar.  The curse of never being believed became a source of pain and frustration throughout Cassandra’s life.  Despite her powers as a clairvoyant, she was all but invisible.

My husband has Asperger Syndrome (AS), making us a Neurodiverse Couple.  During the years before we obtained an unofficial diagnosis, I was quite troubled and experienced a great deal of psychological and emotional distress.  I was an emotional hostage, suffering through daily trauma of feeling invisible to my AS partner.  My husband could not express empathy, was awkward socially and had a limited ability to express himself non-verbally.  My response was to act out.  I was angry, unreasonable, hurtful and verbally abusive.  My self-esteem was being demolished by a partner who could not provide the connection I longed for.  There was either something terribly wrong with me or my husband had some sort of undiagnosed psychological challenge.  As a result, I was losing my sense of self.

I was experiencing an ongoing traumatic relationship syndrome (OTRS), known in this case as the Cassandra Syndrome, a term coined by the families of adults affected by AS.  Like Cassandra in the myth, I had become invisible, disregarded, and ignored.

 

There was never any doubt I loved Phil but the Asperger’s was creating many challenges.  I didn’t want a divorce so I educated myself on AS, and Cassandra Syndrome and acquired coping skills to manage my emotions more appropriately.  We also found the tools my husband needed to be more relational and put systems in place for better communication.  This had made me so much happier.  Today, our Neurodiverse challenges are much more manageable and our mutual commitment to stay together and keep moving forward is truly one of the great achievements of our unique love story.

 

For more information on coping with Cassandra Syndrome and moving forward with your Aspie husband (or wife/partner), please contact me at (858) 735-1139.  I know I can help.

                      with my husband Phil

 

 

Do You Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?

Do You Think Your Husband Has Asperger’s?  I’ve been married to my husband for twenty years and from the beginning, I thought he might be on the spectrum.  We all are to a certain degree but those who suffer from the syndrome show signs of severe debilitation which affect social interaction, behavior, and communication.  What exactly is Asperger’s?  Asperger’s syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized as an autism spectrum disorder  (ASD).

A person with Asperger’s, an Aspie, is very high functioning and has no problem with basic speech, are quite intelligent and capable.

Common traits of Asperger’s include:

  1. Not being thoughtful – despite any ill intent, the impact may appear rude or callous.
  2. Have memory problems – forgetful
  3. Have a lack of theory of mind (Mindblindness) – incapable of putting themselves “into someone else’s shoes.”  Cannot conceptualize, understand or predict knowledge, thoughts, and beliefs, emotions, feelings and desires, behavior, actions, and intentions of another person.
  4. No self-awareness.
  5. Time management problems – lose track of time as they can become involved in restricted or special interests.
  6. Have a narrow range of interests – hyper-focused on one (often very specific) hobby.
  7. Show little to no empathy.
  8. Have sensory problems – sensitive to bright light, loud sound, skin sensitivities, and sometimes taste.
  9. Repetitive behaviors – like routine, have little tolerance for change, inflexible.
  10. Struggle for small talk – limited relational skills.
  11. Conversations can be one-sided.
  12. Difficulty making friends.
  13. Have awkward moments and mannerisms.
  14. Little eye contact.

As a Marriage Counselor married to someone on the spectrum I’m working with and able to help Neurodiverse Couples (a couple is neurodiverse when one or both partners has an Asperger / Autism Spectrum profile) focus on problem-solving, developing coping strategies for one or both partners, and acquiring relational and communication skills through putting systems in place and implementing a process that is successful.

I love my husband as he is a kind, generous, and intelligent man. I didn’t want to leave the relationship so I educated myself on this syndrome and acquired the coping skills to manage my emotions (Cassandra Syndrome) more appropriately while getting my husband the tools he needed to be more relational.  We have put systems in place and are implementing a process that is actually working well.

For more information on being able to move forward with your Aspie husband please contact me at (858) 735-1139.  I know I can help.