A post for sharing hope and possibility today!
Learning about Cassandra Syndrome (or OTRS – Ongoing Trauma Relationship Syndrome or Affective Deprivation Disorder) was a groundbreaking discovery about me when my partner discovered he’s autistic in 2014 and we’d been married for 15 years already.
Called a number of different things by different people/organisations over the last 10 years or so, it’s a collection of symptoms that can develop from experiencing the following relational circumstances:
- insufficient social/emotional understanding and reciprocity,
- persistent and cumulative mental/emotional stress,
- living with inflexibility,
- denial and invalidation of your experience and
- navigating unknown difference
It manifests as social isolation, deteriorating mental, emotional, social and physical wellbeing, unconsciously behaving more like your partner, self-doubt and a distorted sense of self. Whilst historically and typically applied to neurotypical partners in a relationship with someone who’s autistic, this same set of circumstances and symptoms can be experienced by neurodivergent individuals too.
It was hugely validating to discover Cassandra/OTRS. I didn’t feel mad or alone anymore. However, everything I heard and read suggested it would persist as long as I was in the relationship, which is really depressing reading when you’re committed to staying, when you know that you love your partner in spite of what’s difficult. I met a lot of people who’d known for a lot longer than me and hadn’t been able to change their experience at all, they still felt just as bad. I started to feel hopeless and lost. Around the same time, I began to notice that not every non-autistic partner in a neurodiverse relationship developed these symptoms – intriguing!
As I read more non-autism/neurodiversity literature I also discovered that elements of Cassandra affect people who are in non-neurodiverse relationships too — so neurodiversity was an additional dimension, not the primary cause. That got me more curious. What I subsequently discovered and learned was illuminating and enlightening. It also meant I could do something about it, reverse the effects and get back in the driving seat of my life.
Symptoms of Cassandra Syndrome/OTRS and the impact of unknown neurodiversity are reversible once you know about it.
Cassandra Syndrome/OTRS is a reactive disorder to a situation you didn’t know you were in. It can be reversed. With new knowledge, insight, awareness, perspectives, tools and strategies, you can unravel the mystery, of the relationship and yourself, restore your wellbeing and begin to live with purpose and flourish.
This is exactly what I support clients to do now and the results are spectacular. Clients have called the impact of my coaching as ‘indescribable in such a short amount of time’ and their new experience as ‘unimaginably different’.
There is another way. A happier now and future is possible.
The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone and forgetting that you are special too. It’s liberating and empowering to discover that change starts with you then ripples outwards into your relationships and your life.
Do you recognise the symptoms of Cassandra Syndrome in yourself or the relational circumstances I’ve described above? Are you interested in how coaching can support you to begin reversing the impact and symptoms of unknown neurodiversity in less than 10 days?
Book a complimentary call to discuss how private coaching can assist you to make the changes you desire or access support from me and other travel companions right now via Coaching in Community, with transformational and surprisingly fun coaching adventures that support your step by steps to reverse the impact of unknown neurodiversity, be YOU again and flourish – in your relationships and your life.
I know how hopeless and lonely it can feel where you are now and I want you to know that you absolutely can sort things out and there are step by steps to support you when you’re ready.
With love and sparkle…