One of the first cracks in that facade, as far as the entire society is concerned, was the Klingon attack right when they were starting to pull things together into a form that might be a little better than before. That's when I first started getting really annoyed with the way they were being treated. They reform and get invaded for it. Talk about "no good deed going unpunished"...
Yeah, it got to the point that I actually wanted to see the Cardassian / Dominion alliance win... or at least beat the Klingons (I guess they had to go through the Feds first). I felt like the rest of the Alpha Quadrant kind of deserved it. No race should be invaded for trying to reform. Then the writers shot them again when the Dominion tried to exterminate them for standing up for themselves. I don't know what happens after the war, but I think the Federation would actually help them rebuild. Looking at the actions of Cardassians like Damar and Garak, and then finally acknowledging that it was
the fault of the Klingons and Maquis for having them (as Sisko put it) "run into the arms of the Dominion." Seriously, the Alpha Quadrant powers need to do a serious self-check. Plus, rebuilding will help them get some insight into Cardassian culture to sqush the stereotype that they are all militaristic xenophobic boneheads.