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Kathy Marshack News

Does Your Love Relationship Feel One-Sided? 10 Signs it Is!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

My Neuro-Typical clients describe their relationships with their Autistic loved ones as feeling one-sided.

When you fell in love with your life partner, you, no doubt, had expectations that your emotional and physical needs would be met. As you got to know each other, you opened up and talked. You were on your way to building emotional intimacy. When you began a life together, you felt loved and wanted. But what do you do when your life dramatically changes on you? Is there any way to cope when you feel like you’re married to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde?

That’s the life many of my Neuro-Typical clients live. They often describe their relationships with their Autistic loved ones as feeling one-sided. It’s odd isn’t it that our Aspies don’t feel the same way? As long as their needs are met, they don’t seem to notice that we’re lonesome, sad, or frustrated. Worse, when we try to explain how we feel, they draw a blank look or get defensive. Once again it’s one-sided…and not in our favor.

So how do you know if you’re in a one-sided relationship?

  1. You have to initiate conversation.
  2. Your partner takes, without giving.
  3. You give up your friends for his or quit socializing altogether.
  4. You apologize for things you shouldn’t have to.
  5. You’re always soothing ruffled feathers.
  6. You justify his behavior to friends and family.
  7. You never feel peace, but you’re always walking on egg shells.
  8. You’re made to feel like you’re a burden or an afterthought.
  9. You’re loving gestures aren’t reciprocated.
  10. You feel alone.

Feeling like your relationship is one-sided doesn’t necessarily mean your partner doesn’t care about you, in his or her own way. Lack of empathy is the reason for this one-sidedness, but that reason isn’t comforting is it? Instead we need tools for interacting with our Aspies, since they aren’t wired to connect. We also need tools to keep from going crazy over these one-way relationships.

One of the necessary tools is our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, where you can at least connect with others who get it. Support is essential to your mental health. But there are other more direct tools too. There are ways to problem solve with your ASD loved ones, even if their default mode is one-way.

If this topic interests you, and you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, please make plans to attend our Video Conference: “One-Way Relationships.” It will be held on both Tuesday, October 2nd and Thursday, October 11th. Let’s explore all of your options.

If you prefer one-on-one counseling, and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

Use the Eisenhower Decision Matrix to Simplify Your Life and Get More Done

Monday, September 17, 2018

To get more done, realize your brain is working against you because of the “mere urgency effect”. We choose urgency over importance. The Eisenhower Decision Matrix is an excellent way to organize all your tasks. The other day, I Googled the phrase, “how to get more done.” It turns out this is a very popular query, and there is A LOT of articles written about it. In fact, Google gave me 2,070,000,000 choices. Then I Googled, “websites about productivity” and received 101,000,000 results.

Productivity, decision making, and procrastination are topics that the U.S. population can’t get enough of. They read about them over and over again…and still don’t get enough done. What’s the source of this dilemma?

Why do we have the desire to get more done, but we don’t get it done?

Obviously, reading the articles isn’t enough. If you want to get long-term projects done, you’ve got to do the work! However, your brain is working against you, and it’s because of a phenomenon called the mere urgency effect. According to a recent study, our brains choose perceived urgency over importance. Here is what the researchers said:

“In everyday life, people are often faced with choices between tasks of varying levels of urgency and importance. How do people choose? Normatively speaking, people may choose to perform urgent tasks with short completion windows, instead of important tasks with larger outcomes, because important tasks are more difficult and further away from goal completion, urgent tasks involve more immediate and certain payoffs, or people want to finish the urgent tasks first and then work on important tasks later. The current research identifies a mere urgency effect, a tendency to pursue urgency over importance even when these normative reasons are controlled for.

Specifically, results from five experiments demonstrate that people are more likely to perform unimportant tasks (i.e., tasks with objectively lower payoffs) over important tasks (i.e., tasks with objectively better payoffs), when the unimportant tasks are characterized merely by an illusion of expiration.”

The bottom line is that people seem to need deadlines to perform their best. How can you use this information to your advantage?

President, Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” He developed The Eisenhower Decision Matrix, which is an excellent way to organize any task you need to perform. Here’s how it works:

First, list all of your tasks according to these four factors:

Priority 1. Important / Urgent – Do these today!

Priority 2. Important / Not Urgent – Schedule these to do as soon as possible.

Priority 3. Not Important / Urgent – Delegate to someone else.

Priority 4. Not Important / Not Urgent – Do these if you have spare time or not at all.

Once you have your priorities set, put a deadline to each task using specific hours and dates. If you have an unrealistic deadline for things that are not important, reschedule them or delegate them.

Now that you’ve mapped out your tasks, chunk them up into tiny goals that make them more manageable.

If a deeper issue than being disorganized is keeping you from creating the life you desire and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for your busy schedule.

Do You Know What to Do When People Let You Down?

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

How do you handle it when people let you down? When feelings get hurt, we often do things we’re not proud of. Here’s a warrior technique for handling disappointments so you have fewer regrets.  We’ve all experienced it...You confide in your best friend, and she betrays you, by telling someone else. To her, it’s not a big thing. To you, your friendship is OVER, because you can’t trust her anymore. While this scenario may seem somewhat juvenile, it illustrates how often and how easy it is for people to let us down.

So how do you handle it when people let you down? Do you overreact and keep everyone at arm’s length, refusing to trust or rely on anyone from here on out? That’s not really a reasonable or practical response, is it? Because you’ve let them down, too. You can’t expect people to be perfect, just as you should be glad that no one expects you to be perfect.

People disappoint people. It’s a fact of life we have to learn to live with. We can’t get all bent out of shape every time it happens, because we’d soon run out of friends. And we can’t afford to lose them. We need relationships for our own well-being. Loving relationships are the number one predictor of a happy life. Without trust you can’t be happy. So how do you balance the hurt with the happiness?

Put it to the test

In situations like this, I often encourage people to increase their ability to show empathy. And yet they say, “How is THAT going to help?” I know they’re thinking, “How is MY empathy going to change HIM? He’s the one that needs more empathy!” But increasing your empathy is a warrior technique for managing your own attitudes and emotions. And that is what will improve any situation.

One way to turn on your Radiant Empathy powers is to put situations that make you feel used or betrayed to this test:

Ask yourself how you would feel if the tables were turned.

What if you didn’t realize the importance of a confidence and you told someone what you knew. How would you feel if your friend cut you off, because she felt betrayed? Wouldn’t you want an opportunity to explain? Wouldn’t you want a second chance? Wouldn’t you want to be forgiven?

Forgiveness is a necessary part of life. When you forgive, you’re not just giving to the offending party, but giving to yourself. And as much as forgiveness is a virtue, so is taking responsibility for one's mistakes and correcting them. Simply saying "I didn't mean to" doesn’t take full responsibility for the error. It's as if you’re saying that no wrongdoing was done if you "didn't mean to." So the next time those words start forming on your lips, stop and make a straightforward apology for your actions and offer to clean up the problem, whether you committed the deed "accidentally" or intentionally. The more you practice this, the more others will respond in kind.

People will cause you problems — but they also will be your biggest source of happiness. That’s why I’m busily working on a training program that will help you develop the highest form of empathy. Does this interest you? Visit this post on my Facebook page and let me know. The more I know about your needs, the better the training will become.

Expats - Do You Know How to Ask for Help?

Monday, September 10, 2018

Expats - Do You Know How to Ask for Help? Don’t you love it when people ask for your help, when you’re in a position to give it? It makes you feel needed, useful and valued. Yet, when the roles are reversed, and you need help, do you hesitate to ask? Perhaps you think, “I don’t want to be a bother.” Why do we have so much trouble asking for help?

"Do it yourself." "Be self-sufficient." "Don’t rely on anyone." Many people, especially those who have grown up in the United States, embrace these ideas and pride themselves on being self-reliant. However, you simply can’t do everything on your own. And when you’re an expat, living in a strange and new location, the sense of isolation can become intense.

To become part of your new community, you need to turn your thinking completely around. You’re not showing weakness when you ask for help; you’re providing an opportunity for others to show kindness and to feel good.

To help overcome your reluctance to ask for help, remember these three important points:

Don’t expect people to be mind-readers. We’re taught to mind our own business, and that offering unsolicited help makes us a busy body. We also develop inattentional blindness as a protective mechanism against the immense amount of information coming at us daily. So people will hold back until you pointblank say, “Could you help me with something?”

Don’t be vague. Be specific with your request and make sure your helper knows why you’re asking him and not someone else. This will make them feel invested in your success and want to help.

Don’t push, if they say no. If the person you’re asking doesn’t have the time and resources to help, don’t take it as personal rejection. Turn it into a request for a referral by saying, “I appreciate your honesty. I really need help, so can you recommend someone else?”

On a practical note: Find the telephone numbers for the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for each place you plan to visit and keep those numbers with you at all times. If you lose your passport or are a victim of a crime while living overseas, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for help as soon as possible. If you don’t have that number, contact the Department of State in the U.S. to obtain information on local services.

Perhaps, as an expat, you need help dealing with the unique challenges of adjusting to life in a foreign country. Or perhaps you were disappointed to discover that your “old” personal problems or family challenges didn’t disappear when you relocated. If so, I offer online counseling for expats. Please contact my assistant and schedule an appointment. I’d love to help you settle into your new life successfully.

Learn How to Talk About Failure in a Highly Productive Way

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Even if you feel like you’re going to die of embarrassment, you can learn how to talk about failure in a highly productive way. Here are five things that will help you resiliently turn a failure into a positive experience.Have you heard the expression, “Fail Fast”? It’s a catchphrase that today’s entrepreneurs use to remind themselves that failure isn’t a bad thing, because it informs us on ways we can improve as individuals and companies. If we learn from failure, we can work on a better product, a stronger strategy, and a clearer sense of purpose, and what we need to do to achieve our dreams. Failure cultivates humility, builds resilience, and breeds courage.

But for failure to do the most good, we have to be willing to talk about it. In fact, research shows that talking about failure can make us happier and more productive.

Even if you’re the type of person who wants to hide every mistake; even if you feel overwhelming shame and embarrassment; or even if you physical cringe and feel sick when you think about it – you can learn to see the positive in a failed situation.

Humans are not perfect, so we shouldn’t be ashamed of failing. Nor should we be ashamed of the feelings that come with our reaction to failure. How you feel is natural. The important thing is to reflect on how it can be turned into a learning experience for yourself and others. An informative New York Times article outlines five ways you can turn failure into a positive experience. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Focus on the fact that face-to-face conversations around failure are opportunities to build stronger connections among colleagues.

2. Frame the incident as, ‘Can you help me?’ This dignifies the person as knowing more than you and activates the spirit of helping.

3. Remember that discussing failures humanizes you by showing that you’re not perfect. This makes you more approachable and relatable.

4. When you look for the positive in a failed situation, you develop greater empathy for others when they fail.

5. Failure identifies processes and protocols that aren’t complete, so it provides an opportunity to improve on them.

It takes the Resilience Factor to frame failure as a positive learning experience. If you work with your spouse in a family business, it can be especially difficult to discuss failures, because it affects not only your business life, but your home life too. However, it’s critical that you don’t hide your failures. Learn to use them to draw you closer to your business/life partner.

If your family company doesn’t have a culture that welcomes this kind of openness, it might be beneficial for you to start working with a family business coach. If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works best for you.

What Makes You So Afraid to Speak Around Your Aspie?

Monday, September 03, 2018

Do you fear speaking up around your family member who has Asperger’s, because of how he will react? Do you also worry that others will reject you, if you speak up? I understand. You’re not alone.Many people describe living with someone with Asperger’s as walking on eggshells. This especially is true, when speaking directly to your spouse who has Asperger’s. It’s so easy to say something that will set them off into a defensive tirade.

But this walking on eggshells also extends to when you’re talking with others. You feel like you have to run everything you say through a mental filter of questions like:

  • Will what I say make others think less of my spouse, even though it’s true?
  • Will I reveal too much about my situation and cause others to feel uncomfortable?
  • Or worse, will what I say cause them to reject me or dismissively respond, “You’re overreacting a bit, aren’t you? It can’t be THAT bad.”
  • Will my spouse take offense and bluntly belittle me in front of everyone?
  • Will I face the silent treatment, or worse, once we get home?

After years of running your every thought and comment through this mental filter, you get really good at hiding what you think and feel. Because of your empathy, you still want to protect your spouse from ridicule, even though he (or she) will never appreciate that you’re doing so. You also might think it’s worth it to protect yourself from criticism or open threats and downright terrorism from your Aspie. You just want to keep peace in the family. But is it worth it?

Interestingly, within our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, I notice that roughly half of the members don’t post a photograph or use their true names. This is perfectly fine with me. In fact when I started our group nine years ago, I made a conscious decision to protect the privacy of our members. If people need to protect their identities for safety reasons, I support you.

However, this phenomenon of being secretive is also indicative of fear, the kind of fear that comes from years of chronic emotional stress that comes with living with Aspies. The only way to conquer this fear is to talk about it with others in this group, who really get it.

It’s time isn’t it? Time to take your life back. Time to laugh again. Time to know that the real you is worthy. Time to know that others really want to know you. I do. Please come to the teleconference: “Why are we so afraid?” on Thursday, September 20th and share your story if you wish. Or just support others who take the plunge.

If you’re not ready to open up within a group setting and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy, if that works best for your busy schedule. It’s time you reclaim your life.

Is It Time to Renew an Old Friendship?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

why it’s good to keep old friendships alive and how you can renew a lost friendshipHow many friends do you have? If you’re like many people today, your thoughts may immediately go to the number of Facebook friends you have. The word friend has taken on a very casual meaning, since social media has become part of our lives. We can “friend” people we don’t even know. Or we can “unfriend” someone with the click of a button.

While there is a place for Facebook friends, it’s not a substitute for close friendships. Between true friends is a special bond of affection and respect that takes time and effort to develop. According to a report in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, an acquaintance becomes a casual friend after around 50 hours of shared activities and everyday talk; a best friend takes more than 200 hours.

Friends are especially important to our health and well-being, as we age. Studies show people with close friends have lower incidences of inflammation and chronic illnesses and higher levels of happiness. Friends help us remember and reminisce about important milestones in our lives.

To have a good friend, you have to be a good friend. Recently I read a New York Times article that reminds us that we shouldn’t let good, close friendships fade away, if we can help it. It also gave some interesting tips on how to revive a friendship from the past. Here are a few highlights:

Why did the friendship fade?

You might have outgrown the friendships for a very good reason, so it’s good to consider if it’s worth reviving. If you’ve kept in touch somewhat, it will be easier to rekindling your relationship.

Why do you want to renew the friendship?

It’s important to be honest about why you’re reaching out now. Your reason can be as simple as you miss the person. If you’re going through a similar life experience, you can use that as a way to make a genuine connection without appearing to be intrusive or prying.

What do you hope to get out of your renewed friendship?

As with any new relationship, it’s good to start slowly and be slightly guarded. Put out some feelers and see if that person is open to renewing a friendship. If you get a positive response, slowly draw that person back into your life. Don’t assume you know them and can trust them. You’re basically starting over, so avoid sensitive topics at first.

Are you prepared for whatever happens?

You have to be willing to be vulnerable to put yourself out there, without being sure of the response you’ll get. It’s a real possibility that your overtures of friendship may be rejected. Do you have enough self-compassion to allow them the dignity of making that choice without taking it personally?

As Robert Louis Stevenson so eloquently stated: “A friend is a gift you give yourself.” Close, personal friendships add so much joy and richness to our lives. Why not think about some friends you haven’t talked with for a long time, and reach out and see where it takes you. I’d love to hear about your rekindled friendships over on my Facebook page.

Love Versus Logic - Why Simple Conversations with Aspies go Awry

Monday, August 27, 2018

Contributing toward the communication gap between those with aspergers and their neuro-typical partners is the Love VS Logic conversation styles.As a parent, you want a happy and healthy home for your family. And your Aspie partner does too. But when it comes to discussing a specific area that needs attention, your Aspie partner takes your comments as a direct criticism of his or her identity as a good marriage mate and parent. So right away defensive explanations begin to fly, and, before you know it, it’s turned into an all-out argument. How did it go so wrong? All you wanted was to open a dialogue and start a conversation.

No wonder it's such a jumble with our Aspies when we try to have a simple conversation. You’re nowhere near being on the same page. You’re assessing everything first from an empathic perspective, which requires tuning into your feelings and the feelings of the other. Your Aspie, on the other hand, is focused on the logic.

Of course, love doesn't lack logic, but we start with love to prepare the space for our conversation. Logic comes second. But not so with Aspies. There often is no second tier for Aspies; it's logic all of the way. It's not that your Aspie has no emotions. It's that they don't use them to assess their interaction with you. Logic is easier and simpler. As a result, they miss the nuances that logic doesn’t assess.

If you want to understand your Aspie, listen to the logic and stop searching for the nuance. You might even disregard the nuance entirely, since your Aspie may inadvertently use the wrong tone or gesture, which only confuses the communication. And certainly don't expect them to integrate your nuances into the meaning of your logic.

Don’t give up hope. It's not as complicated as it sounds.

If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, please sign up for the low cost video conference: Love VS Logic. It will be held on September 4th and again on September 18th. I'll help guide you through this conversation gap, so you better understand your logical Aspie.

If you prefer 1:1 counseling and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy, if that works best for your busy schedule.

Can Autistics Tell Lies?

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

all people lie, but how Autistics lie is unique. It’s that uniqueness that gums up our relationships. I am not sure who started the rumor that those with ASD don’t lie, and even that they are incapable of lying. Clearly this is not true. Sadly, all people lie, but how Autistics lie is unique. It’s that uniqueness that gums up our relationships.

Without empathy, Autistics lie similarly to psychopaths, although Autistics don't have the ruthless intent. They aren't considering how we will feel when they lie to us. They aren't even considering a "smooth" way to lie. They just lie to avoid confrontation, anxiety, being wrong, or any number of reasons the rest of us may lie.

When confronted with their lies autistics have a variety of defenses that mimic psychopaths too.

  • They tell us they "never said that." 
  • They elaborate the lie. 
  • They change the subject. 
  • They ignore us. 
  • They even lie when the truth would work better. 

What's with that?

It might just be that they need help with what I call the Rules of Engagement. They don't always have the social awareness that lying will cause harm to the relationship. Once they get this, they try harder. This is a tough subject, so I have reserved it for a small group of people who sign up for the Video Conference, “Yes! Aspies do lie” held on September 11th and again on September 25th. Together we’ll get a handle on this.

If you would rather work in-person with me, and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA, please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online therapy if that works better for you.

2,259 People Exonerated from Wrongful Convictions

Monday, August 20, 2018

2,259 People Exonerated from Wrongfully Convictions | Kathy MarshackBecause of my own experience with being wrongly accused and held in jail on two different occasions, my eyes were drawn to a recent New York Times article. It reported that, within the last year, there have been 139 people exonerated and released from being wrongly imprisoned, some had even been put on death row. They spent an average of 10.6 years in prison.That adds up to 1,478 years these men and women had been wrongly incarcerated.

Can you imagine what that feels like? Spending years behind bars - day after day, year after year, decade after decade - when you’re innocent? It’s not something we want to think about usually, is it?

Yet there’s a group of people who have dedicated their lives to exonerating people from wrongful convictions. They are "professional exonerators," mostly lawyers in prosecutors’ offices and private organizations, like the Innocence Project. They must have a highly developed sense of empathy, which I call Radiant Empathy, to fight so hard for the rights of others.

There’s even an online National Registry of Exonerations, which tracks such cases. According to the registry, there are 30+ conviction integrity units in the nation and 50+ private organizations dedicated to uncovering and overturning wrongful convictions.

DNA was first used in an exoneration in 1989. Since then, 2,259 people have been cleared of their convictions adding up to a total of 19,790 years lost, according to the registry. Sixteen of these exonerations have been in Oregon, with a total of 65 years lost; and 49 exonerations in Washington State adding up to a total of 236 years lost.

What contributes to these false arrests? The Registry lists these factors:

  • mistaken identification, 
  • coerced and false confessions, 
  • bad forensic evidence, 
  • perjury and false accusation, 
  • and official misconduct.

You can read the exonerees' stories on the Registry website. As you look at their photos, it becomes so real that these people have suffered terribly...some put on death row for murdering their children that died, in actuality, from health related problems. It takes a lot of courage, hope, strength, resilience and Radiant Empathy to survive and thrive after an experience like that.

If you’d like to read my story of being falsely accused, feel free to download a complimentary chapter of my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS - How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you.” If being wrongfully put in jail can happen to me, it could happen to you, too. I’ve written this book to help you protect yourself by learning how to develop the highest form of empathy - Radiant Empathy. You can purchase my book on Amazon.

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