Cassandra Complex

I have three women in my life who feel unheard. I hear from all three, often, about no one listening to them. I also say that it’s the “Cassandra Complex or Syndrome.” If you never heard of the Cassandra Complex let me explain. 

Cassandra, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of Priam. He was the king who reigned over Troy when the Greeks attacked it. Cassandra was a gorgeous woman who attracted the attention of the god Apollo who was the son of Zeus. Apollo gave Cassandra the gift of prophecy as a love gift. However, Cassandra refused his attentions and it angered him. So, he cursed her to always prophesy the truth but with the awareness that no one would believe what she saw. No matter what Cassandra saw in the future nobody paid attention to her. This curse became the source of pain and frustration for the rest of Cassandra’s life. 

In psychology the “Cassandra Complex” is a term describing those people who, in spite of emotional and physical effects, experience ongoing humiliation and are never taken seriously. Imagine the child who cried “wolf” too many times. They are in constant avoidance and annoyance of those around them leaving them in a manic state of depression for not being heard. 

Now, we’ve all experienced some kind of Cassandra phenomenon in our lives. We aren’t always taken seriously, or we are taken for granted. How often in relationships do our partners stop listening to what we have to say? Or as parents, we are ignored? Or, in a job, they keep passing you by without giving you the respect you deserve?

The Cassandra syndrome is one that plays with the person’s self-worth and ability to be heard. We are moved from how others see us, feel us, and love us. We require the sacredness of space and connections. When we are ignored or not taken seriously (for things we see or feel) it takes a toll to the self-esteem. It begins to deteriorate the ability to communicate openly. This leads to anger, rage, frustration, and emotional neglect. 

The question is, how do we make someone in our lives take notice and listen to what we say? How can we command that respect and attention? 

Whisper! This is what I do when I am done being ignored. I just whisper, talk less or lower my voice. I recognize that those around aren’t really listening. Plus, I am really great at compartmentalizing these emotions and just stop giving those folks the attention they also require. When I am done, I am done!

In my last relationship I was rarely heard. I would say something and months later would be told that I never said it. It would then border on gaslighting. And I began to shut down and believe that I had nothing worthwhile to share with him. Why speak when I wasn’t being heard? It leaves a huge trauma of feeling insignificant. One day I addressed it and he said, “Well, if you had something worthwhile listening to, I would totally pay attention!” 

From there on I whispered. Or just never shared anything. If it was something of importance, I would write it. This is passive aggressive. I know! However, if you want to get someone’s attention it is important to lower the ego and act wisely. How much time are we spending trying to get others to hear us who do not deserve that attention? 

It’s truly humorous that even though I have had relationships in my life that have not taken the time to listen to me or my stories, I make a living as a story tender and intuitive facilitator.

I am deeply sorry if you have been ignored. I hope and trust you know better than to shut down and not speak up when you need to. It’s no way to live. That feeling of emptiness and hollowness is also a sign that not everyone needs your undivided attention. Be gentle and tender with yourself. Love yourself enough to recognize it isn’t about you. As empaths it is hard not to let it affect our emotional, physical and spiritual bodies.  These are the times that require our truths to be heard. You do not have a curse. You have life experiences that have paired you with folks who have required you to heal wounds.

There is a great article about this on: https://www.adultaspergerschat.com/2020/09/recovery-from-cassandra-syndrome-tips.html. It explains how to recover from the Cassandra syndrome. I love this last suggestion:

“Recovery from Cassandra Syndrome is a gradual, ongoing process. The memories of the emotional neglect that you have experienced will never disappear completely. This can make life seem difficult at times. But, there are steps you can take to cope with the residual symptoms and reduce your anxiety and distress. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy [CBT] is a type of psychotherapy that has consistently been found to be the most effective treatment for emotional trauma, both in the short-term and the long-term. “Grief counseling” is also high effective. And don’t forget the NT (neurotypical spouses) support groups that are available online.”

I hear you. I see you. I love you,
Millie

3 thoughts on “Cassandra Complex

  1. Hi Millie….Interesting. I have found over the past two plus years especially, that my frustration has grown considerably since our world has been split in two parts and nobody listens to the other side! They are WRONG about everything. This asleep state the world has been seduced into has been so tough to endure, especially if you are awake to the truth! Seems like the world is embroiled in the Cassandra syndrome for sure! I just keep praying this all ends soon. Sheer
    insanity and evil is afoot. Thanks for the post! Be well….VK

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