ASD or Apathetic Husbands and Side Effects for Wives & Partners| AfDD
(I will be using the Cassandra Syndrome and Affective Deprivation Disorder in tandem, as they are one in the same)
You May be Suffering From Affective Deprivation Disorder AfDD (aka Cassandra Syndrome) and Not Even Know It
In part one, we discussed what it can be like to live with an apathetic husband and today we’re going to detail what it FEELS like to live with an apathetic husband and how that might cause what is known as Affective Deprivation Disorder, aka AfDD. I’d forgotten that I read about this before, but was had the same light bulb light up in my head when I found the information again while I was trying to learn about my apathetic husband and what might be Adult ASD.
In Part three, I’d like to delve into ways to make this work- to find happiness and contentment in marriage and overcome Cassandra Syndrome.
I want to share this info with you so that you might have the same Aha! moment that I did and hopefully what I write today can help you moving forward.
One symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorder is apathy or alexithymia, namely in men (the symptoms for women are different for Female ASD and I’m going to touch on that a lot in future posts). One does not have to have Asperger’s (now known as ASD) to be apathetic or alexithymic, however.
Living with an apathetic husband is exceptionally difficult for the partner, especially if her love language is words of affirmation or words at all really- beyond surface talk because being understood is a cornerstone to feeling at peace in a marriage, along with honesty, a sense of humor, etc.
What is AFDD / Cassandra Syndrome
We can shut down and become a shell of who we once were. There is a name for this and a list of symptoms here, which I’ll list below as well. Affective Deprivation Disorder (AfDD)
I could give Maxine Aston a big fat hug for her website detailing Affective Deprivation Disorder which mimics the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder except are the results of living with someone who lacks empathy.
If your Husband is Alexithymic, ASD or otherwise Apathetic, you may notice some of these symptoms below in yourself:
Possible Psychological Symptoms of Affective Deprivation Disorder AfDD/ Cassandra Syndrome
• Low self-esteem (although I’ve had this since birth I think)
• confusion (It doesn’t take much for me to be confused, but I’m definitely more bewildered now that I’m 19 years into marriage)
• Feelings of anger, depression, and anxiety (every. single. day)
• Feelings of guilt. (I feel guilty that I sometimes want to escape a marriage from a “good man”)
• Loss of self/ depersonalization (most definitely- I am a shell of who I once was, that’s the best way I can describe it. My husband would never WANT this for me, which is the main thing in my opinion, that makes Alexithymia different from Narcissism)
• Phobias – social/agoraphobia ( I never really did have social anxiety until a few years after marriage- I always just chalked it up to trying to be a mature adult after having babies, and never feeling like I WAS that. Now, I see that it might have been that, but is also a result of
• Post-traumatic stress reactivity – all of the above
Possible Psychosomatic Effects of Affective Deprivation Disorder AFD / Cassandra Syndrome
• Fatigue (every single day- but I also have 6 children. I do feel definite mental fatigue in trying to explain things to husband or get him to understand me)
• Loss or gain in weight. (I eat my stress)
• PMT/female related problems.
• ME (myalgic encephalomyelitis). – also known as Chronic Fatigue and I’ve definitely got this. I’ll post about this in the future for sure, as it plays such a huge role in my life.)
• Low immune system – colds to cancer.
Comparing Affective Deprivation Disorder to SAD/ Seasonal Affective Disorder
The easiest way to understand AfDD is to relate it to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is caused by sunlight deprivation which can cause a neurochemical imbalance in the brain.
The symptoms of SAD usually occur regularly each winter, starting between September and November and continuing until March or April. A diagnosis can be made after three or more consecutive winters where the symptoms, including a number of the following, continue to recur.
some experience this in Summer as well and you can have this along with AfDD. I feel as though I have SAD all year long.
A Desire to oversleep- yes yes yes!
Most of the time I feel as though I could just sleep every moment of my life away, mostly due to overwhelm, but also to feeling invisible.
Lethargy: Feeling of fatigue and inability to carry out normal routine.
Some days I can barely lift my arms to do the dishes and I’ll just sit down and wait it out. I’ll have to do things in segments a lot of the time.
Overeating: Craving for carbohydrates and sweet foods, usually resulting in weight gain
Most certainly, for me.
Depression: Feelings of misery, guilt, and loss of self – esteem, sometimes hopelessness and despair, sometimes apathy and loss of feelings
Social problems: Irritability and desire to avoid social contact
Anxiety: Tension and inability to tolerate stress
Loss of libido: Decreased interest in sex and physical contact
-1.5 years, need I say more?
Mood changes: In some sufferers, extremes of mood and short periods of hypomania (overactivity) in spring and autumn.
-I seem to buy more in the spring- expensive cameras that we cannot afford, etc.
Most sufferers show signs of a weakened immune system during the winter and are more vulnerable to infections and other illnesses.
– While the husband gets nothing but a headache or a tiny cold too
SAD is very, very real! However, where SAD is about sunlight deprivation – AfDD is about emotional deprivation!
Similar symptoms experienced by the SAD sufferer, are experienced by the AfDD / Cassandra Syndrome sufferer. Yet there is an even more damaging effect for the AfDD sufferer insofar as it is another human being, they probably love, who is unintentionally responsible for their emotional deprivation.
Emotional reciprocity, love, and belonging are essential human needs if these needs are not being met and the reason why is not understood, then mental and physical health may be affected. Awareness and understanding can eliminate this.
AfDD is a consequence of the relational situation a sufferer is in, therefore it is possible to find ways to rectify this. Just as sunlight restores the balance in SAD – emotional input and understanding can restore the balance in the person affected by AfDD.
Relationships, when one partner has alexithymia, can work if both partners work together to understand their differences and develop a better way of communicating, showing emotional expression and loving that works for both of them.
On Monday I’m going to go into a little bit of detail about what I think it will take to find happiness in these types of marriages.
Maxine’s present focus is on Autistic Spectrum disorders with particular emphasis on Asperger’s Syndrome, due to the high 85% prevalence of alexithymia in this spectrum. ASD’s frequently include impairment in theory of mind (ToM) ability which is thought to further aggravate the affective deprivation experienced in AfDD. For more information on this subject visit Maxine Aston’s website at http://www.maxineaston.co