CONTACT MY OFFICE:
(503) 222-6678 - Portland, Oregon
(360) 256-0448 Vancouver, Washington
   info@kmarshack.com

Therapy

ADD & ADHD
ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
ASPERGER & MARRIAGE
COUPLES IN BUSINESS
DEPRESSION & STRESS
ENTREPRENEURIAL LIFE
EXPAT ONLINE THERAPY
HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE
MARRIAGE COUNSELING
MIND & BODY HEALTH
PARENTING
PERSONAL GROWTH
RECOMMENDED LINKS
NEWS CENTER
ONLINE STORE
Overview
ADD in Adults
Parenting a Child with ADD
Overview
Articles
Overview
Coping with Anxiety Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Overcoming Depression
Managing Stress
Conquering Fears & Phobias
Overcoming Social Phobia
Overview
Couples at Work & Home
Dual Career Couples
Families in Business
Overview
Recognizing High Conflict Divorce
Overview
Conflict & Communication
Infidelity
Couples at Work & Home
Love, Sex & Intimacy
Maintaining Strong Marriage
Dual Career Couples
Codependence
Advice for Singles Only
Overview
Alcoholism Recovery
Stop Smoking
Weight Control
Headache Relief
Holistic Health
Managing Blood Pressure
Releasing Unresolved Stress
Overview
Am I a Good Parent
Blended Families
Gifted Child
Coping with ADD/ADHD
Adoptive Families
Overview
Gifted Adults
When to Seek Help
Psychotherapy Options
Laid-Off from Work
What is Career Coach
Overview
Calendar of Events
Media Coverage
Newsletter
Press Center
Seminars
Related New Stories
Subscribe
Sample
Enriching Your Live Archive
Entrepreneurial Couples Archive

Enriching Your Life!

Sign up for my FREE newsletter! Get practical tips for you and your family.

Kathy Marshack News

What to Do When Your Asperger Mate Makes You Feel Invisible

Monday, October 31, 2016


What to Do When Your Asperger Mate Makes You Feel InvisibleYou fell in love with your husband because he was kind, attentive and very intelligent. He wasn’t like the other guys you dated. He made you feel special. Now the specialness has worn off, and you feel as if you are living with a robot that has no feelings for you. (This can also apply to a man married to a woman with AS.)

But it is not true! He still loves you, but Asperger's or AS makes it hard for him to convey what is in his mind and heart. Because he can’t read faces or body language well, and because he can’t show you with his eyes or his gestures, a huge chunk of interpersonal communication is lost between the two of you.

You’re holding your breath, waiting for him to come alive with you and share the pleasures of life, but instead you see the years disappear as you getting older. This lack of nonverbal connection that means so much to most of us feels like a rose trying to stay alive on the desert.

You long for the type of bond between lovers that evolves over time from all of those small touches, glances, and whispers that we expect between couples. But it’s not there. Instead you feel invisible.

With their lack of empathy, Aspies fail to send us signals that we are recognized, heard, affirmed, and loved. But after years or even a few short months with an Aspie, the sense of invisibility is hard to shake, isn't it?

Even when we are with friends who do affirm us, or even when we have accolades for our community or career accomplishments, we still feel invisible. We long to belong . . . to be understood . . . to be cared for . . . without doing anything except to BE.

This phenomenon of invisibility is about as hard to shake as other symptoms of PTSD. Remember that PTSD or OTRS (Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Syndrome) is a normal reaction to abnormal stressors. This is why our sense of invisibility is so hard to shake. It’s our reaction to living with a lack of empathy for our very existence.

Our next video conference, How to Shake Your Invisibility will be held on Thursday, November 10th at 9AM PT. If you can’t make it, please check back for future Meetups or book a one-on-one educational session with me. While this is not therapy, you can get a lot of your questions answered. Knowledge is power, so with a deeper understanding of how we became invisible, we should be able to come back out into the Light and Love, where we are meant to be.

How Codependency May Secretly Be Hurting Your Family Business

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


Codependency can be a problem in family businessesAre you in a codependent relationship? Perhaps you have no close family or friends that are suffering from addictions or illnesses, issues that commonly result in codependence. You are not enabling anyone, picking up the slack when they refuse to do their part, making excuses… wait a minute.
 
Maybe you aren’t doing these things in your personal life, but if you tend to do them as a business owner, you could very well be on the road to codependency, and it could be hurting your business.
 
Codependency occurs when a person consistently allows their own needs and rights to become secondary to someone else’s. They take the emotional needs of others onto themselves. As a business owner, this can include neglecting your business in order to take care of other people.
 
What does this actually look like? Maybe you have an employee or business partner who has to be reminded over and over, and over again, to get things done.  They aren’t doing their job. They aren’t fulfilling their commitment to the company. But then again, they don’t have to. You are there pushing, pulling, and reminding them to do their work. The result is wasted time, energy, resources, and money.
 
Things get trickier when we are talking about a family business. With regular employees, it tends to be easier to lay down the law, make cuts when necessary, and enforce consequences. When it comes to family – your spouse, your daughter, your cousin – we make more allowances and offer more assistance. But this can quickly go from being kind and loving to a family member to being codependent.
 
The reason it is so easy to confuse kindness and codependency is that they are essentially the same behavior, just within different contexts. To be kind means to give unconditionally, share, and show that you care. When this giving and caring is reciprocated in a healthy relationship, the condition is kindness. However, when the kindness is not reciprocated, and you find yourself constantly giving, it may be codependency.
 
How can you tell if you are a codependent business owner? Perhaps you see yourself in the scenarios mentioned above. Here are some other signs of codependence: 

  • Difficulty saying no or feeling guilty for being assertive

  • Extreme preoccupation with the opinions of others, perhaps even valuing their opinions over your own

  • Difficulty communicating, identifying your needs, or making decisions

  • Sacrificing your good reputation to help someone who doesn’t give back

  • Feeling unappreciated and resentful

  • Physical symptoms such as feeling tired or depressed, or experiencing headaches or stomach pain

  • Relying on food, shopping, alcohol or other drugs to give you a lift

As in personal relationships, a codependent business relationship will eventually result in burnout for you and/or your business. You can only go so long putting other people ahead of yourself and your business until something breaks down. Choose to have positive self-esteem, and realize your limitations and personal responsibilities. Give responsibility for other people’s actions back to them.
 
Breaking codependency is extremely difficult to do without help and support from others. Because codependent tendencies are rooted in childhood dysfunction, it is often necessary to consult a therapist to determine the cause. I can help you work you these issues and empower you to take back control of your life and your business. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Entrepreneurial Couples – Disconnect to Reconnect

Monday, October 24, 2016


Couple laying in bed looking at phones instead of talking to each otherMany entrepreneurial couples I work with decided to pursue this lifestyle because they crave flexibility, independence, and the ability to spend more time with their family. However, what often ends up happening is they get sucked into working every waking minute to make it all happen. The result? They experience extra stress and their marriage suffers.

What can help? Taking time to unplug and reconnect.

Entrepreneurs do not have the luxury of “leaving work at work.” The entrepreneurial life is demanding and requires time and attention outside of 9 to 5. And since most of your work is conducted through your smartphone, unplugging seems impractical, perhaps even impossible. Making time for friendship, romance, and family is difficult, but if you continue to ignore the most important people in your life you might wake up one day and discover they’ve moved on without you.

So how do you make time to reconnect? Put down your phone, tablet, or laptop! It really is that simple. Put it down, put it away, turn it off. Start small, taking just a few minutes each day to unplug, unwind, and refocus. As a couple take 15 minutes to engage in meaningful conversation without the distraction of devices. Talk to your significant other, not about business, but about your feelings, hopes, and problems.

Schedule larger blocks of “unplugged” time, too. Notice the word “schedule.” Successful entrepreneurial couples realize that spontaneous dates and waiting for the “right moment” to reconnect probably won’t happen. Rather, they have to plan for love to happen and be sustained. This is where scheduling comes in. Schedule a date night once a week. Take a long weekend or a mini-vacation, something that pulls you away from the demands of entrepreneurial life.

When you spend this time together, do your best to put away your devices. Sitting in the same room together or eating at the same table is not the same as connecting. To connect to each other, you must disconnect from technology for a while.

Of course, as business owners you can’t always completely disconnect from the outside world. On vacation, for instance, you may have to take time to reply to some emails, make a call, check in with your business. Give yourself a time limit. Once your time is up, put everything away and get back to that relaxation and reconnecting you went away to do!

Spending blocks of time disconnected from devices provides a great opportunity to examine the way you interact with technology. Are you spending so much time on your devices because they are helping you be efficient and creative? Or has your technology usage become a compulsive behavior? As you spend more time away from your devices, you will get a clearer picture of when they are truly helpful and when they are simply distractions.

You work diligently to ensure that your business runs smoothly, receives adequate attention, and continues to grow. Do this with your relationships too. Take time out from the rigors of business-ownership and the constant pull of technology to remember why you’re working so hard in the first place – to share your success with the ones you love.

If you need help reconnecting and making love your top priority, and you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment. If you live out of the area, I can still help! Please consider Video Education sessions that are available to help you as an entrepreneurial couple.

How Negative Thinking Fans the Flames of Anxiety

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Negative thoughts fuel the feelings of fear and anxiety, so when you suffer from OCD or panic, change your thought patterns and you change the way you feel.Negative thoughts are like pouring gasoline on a smoldering fire. Normally, anxiety, like the smoldering fire, will die down as you complete the letting go process. However, people who have developed anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks, phobias, or obsessive compulsions, have trouble processing things. In fact, their negative thoughts add fuel to their anxiety as they tend to jump to wrong conclusions or predict the worst case scenario.

However, if you suffer from an anxiety disorder, be assured you can identify and correct these negative thoughts and beliefs. You can change the way you think, thereby changing the way you feel. You’ll finally be able to douse and extinguish the fear and anxiety you feel.

How can you stop negative thoughts?

Identify negative thoughts. Do you perceive situations as more dangerous than they really are? It may not be so easy to see negative patterns in yourself, so one strategy is to ask yourself what you’re thinking when you start feeling anxious. Often it helps to have a mental health professional assist you in identifying your specific anxieties and negative thought patterns.

Challenge negative thoughts
. Evaluate these anxiety-provoking thoughts by asking yourself: Is there real evidence for your frightening thoughts and predictions? Are they founded in unhelpful beliefs? What are the pros and cons of worrying or avoiding the thing I fear?

Replace negative thoughts with realistic thoughts. Once you’ve identified the irrational or negative distortions in your anxious thoughts, replace them with new thoughts that are more realistic and positive, which is easier said than done. Often, negative thoughts are part of a lifelong pattern of thinking. It takes time and practice to break these habits. So don’t expect instant results, but be kind and patient with yourself.

Anxiety disorders are not all treated the same, and it’s important to determine the specific problem before embarking on a course of treatment. Your doctor will conduct a careful diagnostic evaluation to determine whether your symptoms are due to an anxiety disorder, which anxiety disorder(s) you may have, and what coexisting conditions, perhaps alcoholism, may be present. The coexisting condition will need to be treated at the same time or before treating the anxiety disorder. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more on my website: Coping with Anxiety Disorders.
 

Exposure Therapy vs. NET – Which Produces Better Results for Anxiety?

Monday, October 17, 2016


Exposure Therapy vs. NET – Which Produces Better Results for Anxiety?Recently I mentioned exposure therapy as a treatment for PTSD, and some of you have been wondering what exposure therapy is and how it works. Here’s a summary of how exposure therapy works, plus an explanation of why I prefer NET (neuro emotional technique).

Fear and anxiety are debilitating states of mind. It causes a person to react in ways that they don’t want to. Often it causes the sufferers to avoid situations, even important events, if they know it will trigger these strong reactions. The problem with avoiding your fears is that you won’t have the opportunity to overcome them. To the contrary, it often makes them stronger.

Exposure therapy makes you confront the situations or objects you fear. A mental health professional will either ask you to imagine a situation that causes you anxiety, or you may literally confront it in real life. Of course, facing your biggest fear right away would only add to your trauma, so exposure therapy starts with a situation that’s only mildly threatening and works up from there. This step-by-step approach is called systematic desensitization. The idea is that through repeated exposures, you’ll gradually challenge your fears, build your confidence, and learn how to control the panic and anxiety.

NET has longer lasting benefits and is a much gentler approach.

First, it’s important to understand how your body reacts to stress. When something disrupts the natural letting go process, the mind and body holds onto this unresolved stress and continues to reproduce the same stress reaction when it's triggered by a stimulus or memory. Then the person experiences real physiological problems such as chronic pain, organ dysfunctions, neurological problems, musculoskeletal and immunological conditions, allergies, and headaches. It may also cause psychological problems such as phobias, depression, anxieties, ADD / ADHD, nightmares, disruptive behavior, fear of public speaking and more.

A NET practitioner treats the disruption with a homeopathic remedy that uses the verified law of pharmacology Law of Similars – or like cures like. For example, a large dose of ipecac will induce vomiting. However, minute particles in a homeopathic remedy will stop vomiting. Once the system is brought back into balance, your body and mind can heal itself relieving you of the headaches, chronic pain, phobia or whatever symptom is caused by this unresolved stress.

NET helps you re-engage the physiological response and complete the unresolved mind/body pattern of stress and extinguish it. Rather than making you relive the experience, N.E.T utilizing Manual Muscle Testing, which pinpoints your very real physiological response (such as a racing heart and profuse sweating) to a stimulus (a situation that brings up the unresolved stress reaction memory). This accesses how emotions affect the way your body works and helps identify the best way to resolve the issue.

In order to help my clients obtain lasting relief, I’ve trained to be a Level 2 Certified NET Practitioner. If you’re ready to get your life back, please seriously consider NET as a highly effective alternative treatment for PTSD and anxiety. And if you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please feel free to contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more on my website: Coping with Anxiety Disorders.

Alternative Therapies for PTSD – Which Are Effective?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Alternative Therapies for PTSD – Which Are Effective?Do you remember when you first heard about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? It wasn’t formally recognized until 1980. That really wasn’t long ago, so therapies for treating PTSD are still in their infancy.

One traditional medical approach involves using medication and controlled re-experiencing of trauma, called exposure therapy. However, veterans aren’t finding this as helpful as hoped. Rehashing the event, without giving them coping skills, leaves them feeling helpless, which compounds the problem.

As a result, many alternative therapies are springing up. According to a recent New York Times article, some of them are: “therapeutic fishing, rafting and backpacking trips, horse riding, combat yoga, dogs, art collectives, dolphin swims, sweat lodge vision quests and parrot husbandry centers, among many, many others.”

Are these viable options or are they just ways to avoid the issue?

Some of these therapies challenge veterans to overcome fears and build new experiences that put traumatic memories into perspective, which can be helpful.

However, the overall effectiveness of alternative therapies is hard to assess, beyond anecdotal evidence. Yet I believe that a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Neuro-Emotional Technique, Yoga, meditation or pet therapy can help PTSD sufferers maintain lasting gains. I’ve seen it reduce PTSD symptoms of depression and anxiety without any side effects, plus there’s no stigma attached to it.

I’m by no means alone in believing this. For example, in 2006, Dr. van der Kolk published one of the first studies about the effects of yoga on PTSD. He said that even “after six months the positive effects of yoga are still there.”

If you are a veteran or are experiencing PTSD for another reason, you deserve these life-empowering skills. You don’t have to settle for feeling broken, helpless and hopeless for the rest of your life. With patience and the help of a professional, you can get your life back. Please contact a qualified health care specialist in your area as soon as possible to discuss your options. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can determine and get started on the best therapy for you.

Read more on my website: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

How to Explain Asperger Syndrome to Others

Monday, October 10, 2016


Trying to explain Asperger’s Syndrome to others is tough, because people just can’t understand that a normal-looking person can be so difficult to live with"Aren't all men like that?"

"It takes two to make a problem and two to resolve it."

"No one's perfect."

"Look for the silver lining."

"I would never allow someone to talk to me like that!"

"If it's that terrible why don't you leave?"

These are only a few of the comments we receive from our family and friends when we try to explain our plight with our ASD loved ones. After being shut down several times, many of us don't even try anymore, for fear that we'll be blamed for complaining yet again. In fact, we might even believe we’re at fault for the failure in the relationship, so we suffer alone in silence.

Recently the New York Times published an article on "Who Blames the Victim?" I think this article sheds some light on why it’s so difficult to explain ASD and our Asperger loved ones. First, of course, autism is complex, so coming to terms with our Aspie's Mind Blindness, Context Blindness and lack of Empathy has taken a lot of work on our part, let alone helping others understand the theories.

Second, it’s a stretch to consider ourselves victims. No one likes that. However, this group is about just that. Recognize that you are being victimized and that it’s time to take back your life. It matters not that your Aspie doesn't intend to harm you. Simon Baron Cohen considers the Aspie as having Zero Degrees of Empathy. Zero means that you are left holding the bag over and over again, with no sympathy from your Aspie, or those who blame the victim.

Third, a bulk of the population tends to blame the victim for breaking the rules of loyalty, obedience and purity. A minority understands that to truly understand the victim, you need to care about an individual and consider fairness. Truly enlightened people understand that you can be harmed by an Aspie who doesn't intend to harm you. And they want to help. They will listen to our complex story.

If you’re a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD, please join our free international teleconference on Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 2:30 PM. We’ll discuss “How to explain Asperger Syndrome to others”.


And if you’ve been putting off getting a copy of Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD) because you thought it was just about parenting, don’t wait another moment. It also explores the science behind Aspergers. If you want to understand your Aspie better, this is a must read. Get a free chapter by clicking on the image below.

Letting Go to Achieve Greater Happiness and Health

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


There isn’t anything you can’t learn to gracefully surrender to and let go of as you become okay with the situation and experience greater health and calm.Many people today are dealing with chronic problems – mental issues, broken relationships and ongoing pain, to name just a few. An important phase of healing is to quit fighting it and begin surrendering to it.

Surrendering or “letting go” doesn’t mean you’re giving up on yourself, that you start self-medicating to forget, or that you’re practicing avoidance behavior. It simply means that accept the way things really are. Rather than continually knocking your head against the proverbial wall, you’ll be able to move in a better direction. When you come to terms with your situation in life, your happiness and health will improve.

One of the most powerful things you can do is to become congruent with your present-day situations. Yes, some of the life challenges in the following list can be really tough to handle. But with the right tools and support there isn’t anything you can’t learn to gracefully surrender to and let go of in time. A few of the difficult life situations we face are and need to become okay with might include:
  • Your current health level.
  • Your current level of pain.
  • Your limitations.
  • The death of a loved one.
  • Being lonely.
  • Your body image.
  • Who you are.
  • Your single or marital status.

It’s important to note that being okay with something doesn’t mean you like it. Many of life challenges require that we practice self-compassion when addressing a chronic negative reality. Be patient with yourself as you process it and learn to live with it.

Never give up on finding a treatment that works for you. One type of treatment may work for one person, whereas a different treatment will help another person better. As a qualified psychologist and N.E.T practitioner, I’ve seen many clients respond well to alternative, holistic treatments. These include dietary supplements, mind-body therapies, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, massage, movement therapies, specialized diets, and neuro-emotional technique.

There are ups and downs in the process of living. Sometimes our problems turn out to be gifts that provide us opportunities to grow as individuals. If you’d like to explore your options and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

Read more on my website: Holistic Health.

Are You a Driven Person? Why You Need to Understand What’s Driving Your Desire

Monday, October 03, 2016


Desire – the tingling anticipation of getting something you want – can be a powerful motivating force. What’s interesting is it’s often the desire to have something, rather than securing the item that brings excitement and a measure of happiness.

The danger is you can become trapped in a frustrating, never-ending cycle of satisfying desires. The excitement over procuring a desired item, position, or status can quickly be replaced by a feeling of emptiness, and an unrelenting need to acquire something else. Successful entrepreneurs are usually very driven so they need to understand their desires to avoid becoming a victim of their own ambition.

I worked with an entrepreneurial couple we'll call Barb and Kevin. As their wealth increased, they both took on the mindset that making money meant they had to spend it. And spend money they did! However, as they fulfilled one desire, another rose up to take its place. They constantly needed to make more money to fund their increasing desires. They eventually lost track of the roots of their marriage. They also lost track of what was exciting and appealing about their careers. Their careers simply became a way to feed their ever-increasing desires.

Of course there is nothing wrong with reasonably spending money you have worked hard to earn. But do so with purpose. Before you make a purchase of a luxury good, or even something on clearance at a big box store, ask yourself “Why?” Are you buying the item as a reward for your hard work, because it is a necessity, or because you just happen to like it? Whatever your reason for making the purchase, be clear and honest with yourself about it.

In life, if money matters take precedence over everything else, there are likely to be unhealthy repercussions. Instead of planning for wealth, examining their beliefs about money, and working out a life plan together, Barb and Kevin just spent their money. And it nearly destroyed their marriage. It also negatively affected their children. Their four children were given everything, had every advantage, and yet suffered because of the priority their parents placed on the acquisition of material things.

We all want a lot of things, but there is a distinct difference between wanting something and desiring something. For example, you may want to make more money. But what do you really desire? If your reason behind wanting to make more money is that you will then have more time, security, or freedom, then your true desire is not money – it is the time, security, and freedom that you hope money will help you obtain. You want more money, but you desire something much greater.

Understanding your core values and desires is vital to your success. Realize that what you think you want may not be what you truly desire. Once you clearly understand your real desires, you can take steps to avoid falling into the trap of always wanting more. The process of satisfying wants is what creates more want. In contrast, a real desire is not fleeting; it is concrete, able to be satisfied and enjoyed.

It is important, especially for entrepreneurial couples, to take the time to assess your values about money. I encourage you to take a look at my book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home and complete the self-assessment exercises. Once you have your values about money clear in mind, you will be in a much better position to satisfy your true desires.


Recent Posts RSS


Tags


Archive