The Missed Experiences of Cassandra’s Life

Trauma events, while painful to discuss, can be articulated to empathic listeners. It’s possible to describe what happened to us with great detail, including the distress we experienced during and after the event. But what happens when we are traumatized by non-events? Just as neglect is difficult to characterize, so too is the absence of what we hoped for, dreamed of and believed would happen to us. The neurotypical wife struggles to name the trauma of what hasn’t occurred in her life – the sense of exclusion from joy, connection and safety that is chronically missing in her marriage.

Sometimes the harm of what hasn’t happened in a neurotypical wif’es marriage is equally, or more, traumatic than painful events.

Below are some examples of what a neurotypical wife may suffer as deprivational trauma of a lost, missed, botched or omitted experience in her life that is reasonably expected to occur in a marriage. Over the course of time, inadequate quantity of bonding moments establishes a sense of perpetual longing. Anger accompanies the hurt and regret, as the neurotypical wife exists with the bitter knowledge that many experiences cannot be retreived or saved. Her loss cannot be rescued from the past with a do-over.

A neurotypical wife has a fundamental need for empathy and compassion, which is gained through sharing of her thoughts with words. But when she lacks the words to convey her anguish at what hasn’t happened, it is very distressing. She is already dismissed by others when she tries to recount actual incidents in her marriage. If she’s able to convey to any degree what she has missed out on in her marital life, it can be minimized as petty, small, ungrateful, bitter, envious, resentful. Many do not understand that most neurotypical wives have not just missed out on just one, or a mere handful of events – she has lived without a majority of the following positive, routine occurrences and milestones in life. She has been destitute of joy, connection, tenderness, mutuality, and happy memories of shared experience with her husband.

Common Non-Existent Events in the Life of a Neurotypical Wife (married to an ASD man):

  • The specialness of a memorable proposal or wedding night
  • A husband who desires sexual intimacy with her regularly
  • A responsive, caring, generous and intuitive lover
  • Regular date nights and romance initiated by her spouse
  • A marital bedroom and shared sleeping space with her husband
  • A peaceful pregnancy and supportive partner during childbirth
  • Practical help and emotional support during post-partum
  • Shared joy of delighting in children together
  • Equal partnership in parenting
  • Teamwork in managing the neurodiversity of their children
  • Respect and admiration for her contributions to the family
  • A division of labor within the household
  • A distribution of responsibility for the marriage and family
  • Receiving care for herself during illness or injury
  • Apologies freely given and received
  • Holidays routinely celebrated happily
  • Seasonal fun
  • Thoughtful gift-giving from him
  • Her birthday remembered
  • Wedding anniversaries treated as a special occasion
  • Mother’s Day honored even though she isn’t his mom
  • Quality family time prioritized
  • Family vacations and couple trips
  • Weekends spent together
  • Travel in retirement
  • Shared money and marital resources
  • Truth-telling and transparency
  • Conversation that isn’t only informational
  • Daily physical affection
  • Evenings spent together
  • Conflict that is low to moderate in level and duration
  • Shared interests enjoyed together regularly
  • Compromise in difficult moments
  • Safety to communicate and be heard
  • Empathic concern and sincere mutual interest
  • Cooperation, agreeability and problem-solving
  • A husband who prioritizes her needs equally to his own
  • A spouse who remembers her likes and dislikes
  • A partner who dependably keeps his promises
  • Friendships with other couples
  • Socializing together in groups
  • Family parties, reunions and events
  • Inviting company to the home regularly
  • A best friend and companion for life

Sometimes the most traumatic, disappointing and heartbreaking non-event in her marriage is not even the cumulative effect of missing fulfilling experiences. It’s the lack of improvement in her marriage, despite the begging, pleading, researching, explaining and seeking of help. Her hope for future joyful events, experiences and milestones is stolen from her when a partner deliberately stonewalls any change.

If a neurotypical wife also had a childhood of neglect with a lack of attuned caregivers, unmet needs and invisibility to her family of origin – she may realize that perhaps her life story is one with many missing events and experiences. Perhaps her trauma is largely associated not just from what has happened to her in life, but all the countless moments of joy, celebration, togetherness, nurturing, caregiving, bonding, security, and valuation that were nowhere to be found amongst the relationships with those she loved.

Perhaps she has been a Cassandra for the entirety of her life.

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4 thoughts on “The Missed Experiences of Cassandra’s Life

  1. If you never received normal love as a child and growing up, A relationship like this will be extremely hard to navigate. with that said, If you grew up with unconditional love, and you know what love feels like, you will not survive this-Because your love circuits are normal and not cut off as mine are, due to abusive life as a child and care takers that never hugged me etc. You need to read everything on both parties to understand and form boundaries, and not blame yourself. for some reason people can not leave this relationship in one shot.

  2. If it wasn’t for my kids, I don’t think I would know there was another way to be loved or to love. They’re the ones who revealed to me the neglect I experienced in my childhood and my marriage. Love isn’t the struggle it was normalized to me as. Being their mom has taught me that.

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