One Cassandra Talks to Another and Discovers the Truth through SALVE

The email conversation unfolded over many months:

Dannii: I’m desperately in need of support. I am an NT woman (all new to this) trying to claw my way out of this pit. I am emotionally shattered and suffering as a result of my most recent relationship with a man who has functioning autism. He was diagnosed by a forensic psychologist as AS with sociopathic tendencies. 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading but feel alone and some support would be much appreciated and beneficial to me. 

JAM: What I recommend is that you find trusted friends, relatives, your GP, anyone who believes you about your experience and talk to them. I’ve attached the Effects Chart of our experiences here and it gives us the words to describe our experience. If someone doesn’t believe you or minimises your difficulties they will not be helpful to you.

Mention the AS in your social circles. There will be many people who also live hidden lives with someone with AS. They will be able to relate to your experience. If you get any feeling they may be AS, then don’t share with them. They are mind-blind and will deny what has happened.

A forensic therapist will also be someone to seek out and share with. By sharing and being believed we can gradually make sense of what’s happened. Then we can begin to come back to normality. It is a slow process, but if you’re self-advocating, you can find assistance. Our confusing, abusive experiences are denied by the AS community and thus kept hidden.

Dannii: I have been speaking with a dear friend who is not familiar with AS but very supportive. 

My partner knew about his AS but never disclosed this till the end of our relationship right as I was walking away. Then he reeled me back in. I am reaching out to others because of my immense pain. I feel like I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown; I’m severely depressed and almost suicidal. I already take meds for depression, but no pill cures this. I can't sleep. I can barely work 

I gave EVERYTHING to this person; treated him like gold, spoiled him, tried to show him unconditional love in spite of all the red flags. In the end my intuition knew better.

This has been by far the most painful relationship I have ever had and I'm 46. I feel used, abused, manipulated, stolen from and lied to. I am the exact opposite of this man. He broke me, sucked me dry and tossed me aside like I was nothing. I offered help and the willingness to work through our problems together. He cut and ran. I feel like a complete failure.

This has truly broken my spirit.  I can't help but feel like this. He knows better but uses his AS a fall-back excuse. My last conversation with my ex this past week was more than I could bare. He takes no responsibility for anything. 

JAM: I get it. Everything you’ve said is correct. You were groomed and chosen by him, to be his social guide and “mother”. He betrayed you and your trust. He abused you. These are huge reasons for you to be angry. It is not your fault, you didn’t cause the autism and you can’t fix it. No-one can, not even himself. It’s not love, it’s manipulation on his part. Love is kind, not hurtful.

I can let the anger of the betrayal override my thoughts at times. It’s how I harness that anger, what I do with it which is important. Keep talking to people you trust.

Dannii: In the last few days I’ve been feeling better little by little. I had one last brief conversation via text with him. Said what I felt and believed to be true. I'm sure it fell on deaf ears but I felt much better as a result. I have some anger and resentments but that will dissipate. There is a dear woman friend I will meet with and unload about this. As irrational as this may sound, it's self-preservation. 

I've been playing with fire. It helps me a lot to hear from a woman who knows 100% of the experience. Him and I were only together for 9 months but spoke for over a year prior to meeting face to face. It was many things that came into play but the repeated emotional roller coaster and upheavals were like adding a match to gasoline.

I'm working on not feeling like a complete ninny for not trusting my intuition which is usually spot on. I've never treated anyone like this nor put as much into a relationship as this one. 

Thank you again for reaffirming that I was not going crazy. Reading literature is one thing but human acknowledgement and understanding is priceless. I enjoy writing. It used to drive him crazy 

I really did love him though on first sight. He was someone that I knew was very special but couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. I respect the commitment to work through challenges in relationships. I tried to do that, but he cut and ran. 

This is the most excruciatingly painful relationship I've had. But I am feeling like I'm getting back on track.  Several days of keeping busy and no tears, yet I am still completely blindsided and floored by the fact that someone could receive so much and give so little, then walk away as if I were a stranger. 

JAM: It’s great you are beginning to see a way forward. Keep that positive vibe going if you can. Keep talking to trusted friends. Don’t try to make sense of AS. It doesn’t make sense. They have their own strange reality concocted in their heads and will never see things the way neurotypicals do. They groom us and when they’ve captured us they betray their true colours. It is not your fault. It is the neurological developmental disorder. Take care and continue your path to change.

Dannii: I have to find out the hard way. I tried again to reach him. I got burnt but not set on fire this time. I ran to the nearest exit. If it wasn't for the truthful information provided by you I would probably have been strapped to a bed in a psych ward. He reached out to me today. We have not seen each other in well over a month, nor had a back and forth conversation as well. I don't know why I've had this attachment to him. I have NEVER had this happen before. I am proceeding with extreme caution. I have done continuous reading on this for well over a month, since things really went south. He is seeing a Dr and we did have a good conversation. This has made me very happy and feeling like there is hope for the future. Am I completely crazy to want to be willing to do all this work involved? Am I absolutely crazy to be willing to attempt to move forward? I know you are fully aware of the depths of the emotional pain I have just been through. It rocked my foundation. 

JAM: Be careful. AS never changes its spots. He's back in "charming mode".

Dannii: I have finally in the past weeks righted myself. It’s a slow process but with a lot of support and being kind to myself, instead of beating myself up and feeling self-destructive with rage, I’m recovering some peace. It's my relentless nature to fight, analyze and fix, but we surrender now to win in the end. I feel much better now. I've weathered much tougher storms but this one caught me totally off guard and damn near drowned me. 

I’m doing ok. The contact with my ex is intermittent. It’s turned so UGLY! Threats from him, but at the end of it all I only feel broken. You keep encouraging me to not blame myself and so does my dear older friend. It’s not been so easy to do because I felt like this was the love of my life. I treated him better than anyone ever could in an intimate relationship. I am struggling to get my footing and only blame myself for being a stupid, delusional 46-year-old woman caretaking a clearly very sick 31-year-old man/boy.

I read and realized all the stories of women who had completely changed into someone else in these relationships. It happened to me in a fairly short amount of time; shattered me, turned so UGLY. Daily it’s been a struggle to dust myself off. All the while kicking myself for not just shutting up and getting over it. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of it all.

JAM: It is a slow awakening as to the truth there will be no love there. His abusive attitude says it all...cross me and you’ll pay the price. Read some articles about abusive men which may help you. Please know it’s not you. You’ve been gaslighted, OTRS, Stockholm syndrome...all that stuff. Learn to like yourself, warts and all. Have self-compassion. Don’t waste your life on an ungrateful AS narcissistic man. He’s not worth it and doesn’t deserve the time of day from you.

What the heck are you thinking, when you even bother to think about him? Move on and away from him. Forget he exists. Leave him to his own fate.

Dannii: His job is in jeopardy. They may be pursuing legal action against him. But I don’t care. I know I’m in the right. It’s the principle and not about being right. He has reported me to Child Services with lies. CPS interviewed my kids and knew right away it was just malicious. I have all the documentation to avoid any arguments he puts forward, regardless of consequences to myself as long as it’s not about my kids. I am relentless in any battle. I’m shattered from this all and take evening time when my son is asleep to breakdown and regain my footing. 

Deep betrayal is an understatement. I treated him like gold: better than anyone he will encounter. I don’t want to be this hateful guarded person that I’ve become. It’s only temporary. I want to wake up one day soon and be free of hatred, revenge, resentment, betrayal, grief, hurt confusion and self -doubt. 

I started off with the principles of unconditional love and kindness, which was unwittingly directed to someone who was lying in wait. I’m so turned around from this I need to vent so I can get right sided for me and avoid any future traps. He’s threatened my kids, he’s falsely reported me to child services, he’s tried to make out I’m mentally unstable. I’m taking my information about this horrible disorder of AS and I’m off to court tomorrow.

JAM: Very best wishes, you’ve done your homework and you’re well prepared. Be strategic and unemotional.

Dannii: It’s DONE AND I’M FREE of this painful emotional entanglement. He finally realized not to mistake my kindness for weakness when it comes to my family. I broke him and I am celebrating. I know to stay guarded I got my bases covered. You must understand the relief I feel. Fortunately, or unfortunately I am a fighter to the bitter end. I could not have accomplished this without your constant support from my 2 dear friends. It’s truly been a life saver for me. I’m so grateful that the pain was great enough to reach out to someone like yourself. I’ve printed out all our conversations and the information I’ve gathered as a reference point and reminder.

Raise your hand; toast with me this evening, on this super moon. He may have won some battles, but WE WON THE WAR! Myself and my kids are indebted to your compassion, knowledge and continued support throughout these past tumultuous months.

I know to you it may seem insignificant but it’s been a guiding light at the end of a dark tunnel.

JAM: Congratulations, a very happy ending. You did it. You self-advocated, collected the information. Educated yourself and others about what AS really means and its impact on a relationship. It’s a terrible shame we have to fight so hard to be heard and receive justice because the truth of these relationships is not out there. They’re hidden and minimised by experts.

Be proud. I dip my hat to you.

© 2017 Dannii