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Kathy Marshack News

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.

Post Traumatic Growth: Struggling to Find Meaning in Trauma

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


People can suffer through horrendous traumas, and then they find ways to turn the tragedy into a means for helping others. Learn how they’re experiencing post-traumatic growth and how you can develop greater resilience now.After being gang raped, a woman spends the rest of her life fighting for the rights of rape victims. After losing his legs in an armed conflict, a retired soldier dedicates his life to helping veterans. After surviving the vicious murder of her daughter by members of a different ethnic group, a mother advocates for racial equality. How do all of these people live through such horrendous experiences, find meaning in them, and become such selfless, giving people? While it wasn’t easy, they all experienced post-traumatic growth.

What is Post-traumatic growth (PTG)? It’s a theory that explains how positive transformation follows a trauma. It was developed by psychologists Richard Tedeschi, PhD, and Lawrence Calhoun, PhD, in the mid-1990’s. They hold that people who endure psychological struggle, following adversity, can often see positive growth afterward. Avoidance, on the other hand, perpetuates pain. You can’t fix the harshness of a trauma, if you can’t face it. Only then can you grow and live a better life.

According to Tedeschi, as many as 90 percent of survivors report an aspect of posttraumatic growth, such as a renewed appreciation for life. Some other aspects are:

  • Improved relationships with others.
  • New possibilities in life.
  • Personal strength.
  • Spiritual change.

Post-traumatic growth occurs when someone who has difficulty bouncing back experiences a traumatic event that challenges his or her core beliefs. Then they endure a psychological struggle, like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. After which, they ultimately find new understanding of themselves and the world they live in. They learn how to more closely relate to other people, and they come to a better understanding of how to live life.

Someone who has resilience when trauma occurs, won't be rocked to the core by the trauma and won't have to look for a new belief system. Less resilient people, on the other hand, will become distressed and confused as they question why such a terrible thing could happen to them.

There’s a lot you can do right now to prepare yourself, before a trauma occurs. Developing the highest level of empathy, EmD-5 or Radiant Empathy, allows you to hold onto your beliefs and values, no matter what happens to you. My new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS” reveals seven ways you can keep your resilience in the face of trauma. I invite you to download the first chapter for free. It will introduce you to the trauma I experienced, and how I thrived. Or you can purchase the book on Amazon to get the complete story, plus seven warrior lessons learned.

Make Your Time Count and Live Life to the Fullest

Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Make your time count and live life to the fullestDo you often turn down opportunities because you don’t have “enough time?” We, as human, have a funny relationship with time. Every week, each one of us has the same amount of time - 168 minutes. In a year, you have 8,736 minutes. In a lifetime, if you live to 80 years old, you have approximately 700 thousand minutes. We talk about “cheating time” or “living on borrowed time.” We act like we have an unlimited amount of time to spend, so we even “kill time.”

However, I believe we live better lives when we stay aware of our limited time on this Earth, because, no matter how much we hate to admit it, we are all going to die. Science agrees with this mindful view of life. According to a new analysis of recent scientific studies:

“Thinking about death can actually be a good thing. An awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us re-prioritize our goals and values. Even non-conscious thinking about death -- say walking by a cemetery -- could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.”

Knowing that you have a deadline helps you avoid procrastination. So what have you been putting off, until you “get the time?” In reality, the only time you have is the moment you’re living right now. There are no guarantees about tomorrow. When we lose sight of that fact, we forget to focus on what’s truly meaningful...spending time with family and friends or making a difference in the world.

How can you get back in touch with what’s most important to you? Try living a month, like it’s your last. Imagine you’re moving across the world. Who will you miss seeing? What will you miss doing in your community? What will you be giving up? When you believe that you’re never going to see or do something again, you’ll experience them with more intensity and joy. Try this exercise, then come over to my Facebook page and let me know how it impacts your life.

Most people are familiar with the concept of budgeting money to make sure they have enough to cover expenses. Thinking about how you spend time is more important than thinking about how you spend money. Because the truth is...your time will run out. And it will run out sooner if you engage in risky, self-destructive behavior. Life is short; we need to make the best choices so we fully enjoy the time that we have.

You can’t change this harsh truth, but you can grow and thrive from accepting it. That’s what successful people do, as they face life with courage and resilience. If this is something you struggle with, please get a copy of my book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS. ” At the end of the book, I offer seven profound tips on how to gracefully handle life and all its challenges.

Mr. Rogers Was a Brilliant Example of Radiant Empathy

Wednesday, August 08, 2018


Mr. Rogers displayed Radiant Empathy - the highest form of empathy where a person holds dear the feelings of others, while keeping personal boundaries clear. For over 30 years, Mr. Rogers quietly and calmly entered our lives, as he put on his sweater and changed his shoes. He radiated kindness, goodness, acceptance and hope to every child he met. It wasn’t an act. His life was a reflection of his firmly held values and beliefs that we are all valuable just the way we are. Even in his last recorded message to his fans, he said,

“I would like to tell you what I often told you when you were much younger. I like you just the way you are. And what’s more, I’m so grateful to you for helping the children in your life to know that you’ll do everything you can to keep them safe. And to help them express their feelings in ways that will bring healing in many different neighborhoods. It’s such a good feeling to know that we’re lifelong friends.”

His faith-based approach to viewing the world as a neighborhood helped him look for the positive in people and see their potential for healing of the world in their own small way. Making a difference doesn’t require big acts. His gentleness was the antithesis of the violence, abuse, and brutality that feeds the minds and hearts of children today.

He recognized the strength that comes from childlike humility, trust and vulnerability. He didn’t buy into the slogans of today - “Win at all costs;” “Do your own thing;” “Might makes right;” “I’ve got to look out for #1;” “The winner is the one who dies with the most toys;” “Weakness must be hidden;” “Winners are better than losers;” and “You’re nothing if you’re not rich”.

No matter what was happening in the news, he was able to hold dear the feelings of others, while at the same time keeping his personal boundaries clear. And that is the very definition of Radiant Empathy. It gave Mr. Rogers a gentle strength that is sorely missed today.

Radiant Empathy helps us let go of the negative and shift to the positive more quickly. I’m busily developing a new resource for you to learn more about Radiant Empathy. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter, then you’ll be one of the first to have access to it.

In the meantime, if you’d like to enlarge your empathic skills, read my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS,” which is a practical guidebook for enhancing self-awareness and making decisions that protect yourself, while contributing to the betterment of your neighborhood. This is what EmD-5 or Radiant Empathy is all about.

Do You Know How to Protect Your Family from Bullying?

Monday, August 06, 2018


Do You Know How to Protect Your Family from Bullying? Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. You can’t always go by appearances. A bully might be a sweet-looking girl on the playground, a smiling tourist getting on your tour bus, or a lawyer entering city hall. Yes, children and adults alike are being bullied today.

Bullying is aggressive behavior that is characterized by two basic hallmarks:
1. Repeated and deliberate abuse
2. Exploitation of a power imbalance - preying on those who are weaker

Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse that often involves subtle methods of coercion, such as intimidation.

Verbal bullying includes:
Teasing, taunting, name-calling
Inappropriate sexual comments
Threatening to cause harm

Social (relational) bullying includes:
Leaving someone out on purpose
Telling other children not to be friends with someone
Spreading rumors about someone
Embarrassing someone in public

Physical bullying includes:
Hitting/kicking/pinching/tripping/pushing/spitting
Taking or breaking someone’s things
Making mean or rude hand gestures

Cyber bullying includes:
Posting hurtful or embarrassing comments, rumors, pictures, or videos about someone.
Threatening to hurt someone or telling them to kill themselves.
Creating a harmful webpage about someone.
Doxing - destroying their victim’s privacy by making all personal information public.

Now that bullying is so wide-spread, how are you and your family going to protect yourselves? Bullies don’t play by the rules of good conduct that we learned as children. They register EmD-0 on my Empathy Scale, which means they’ve lost their power of empathy. So we have to learn new rules of conduct to survive their threats. To address this urgent need, I’m writing a series of articles for the US~Observer. The first one is entitled: “Do You Have What it Takes to Survive a Bully?’ In it, I state:

The key to stopping a bully is to become more resilient. Throw out all your preconceived notions of how to stop bullies. Speaking your mind, offering a compromise, hiring attorneys to protect you, trusting that you’ll get your day in court — none of this works. In fact, these tactics make matters worse. Why? Because the psychopath who is after you is fearless. They won’t stop if you prove them wrong. They just double down. They love having you confront them with a “piece of your mind.” If they get you angry, you are off balance and easier to manipulate. Likewise, offers of compromise are viewed by the psychopath as weakness and something to exploit. Lastly, why on earth would you want your day in court? By then (usually two or more years later) the psychopath has totally ruined your life. All you’ll get in court is a stiff legal bill and maybe lose your case despite the truth.

By becoming fearless, pragmatic, doing your research, trusting yourself first, and a few other essentials you can become Resilient, with a capital R. If you’d like to learn more about how you can develop this protective quality, please feel free to download the first chapter of my book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS - How to stop those hellbent on destroying you.” Or you can purchase the book on Amazon.

Read a complimentary issue of the US~Observer here:
http://www.usobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/usobserver-ed2-num49-vWEB.pdf

Adults with ADHD – Bearing Up Under the Shame

Wednesday, August 01, 2018


For many adults with ADHD, shame arises from the repeated failure to meet expectations from parents, teachers, friends, bosses, and the worldWhat happens when a child with ADD or ADHD grows up? Do they outgrow their ADD/ADHD, so their lives become smooth sailing? Far from it! They become adults with ADD/ADHD, which has its own set of problems. One of which is a lifetime’s accumulation of shame.

“For many people with ADHD, shame arises from the repeated failure to meet expectations from parents, teachers, friends, bosses, and the world,” says Dr. William Dodson. Shame is so insidious, because it strikes at the core of who we are as people. It’s a much stronger emotion than guilt, because guilt is felt over something you’ve done. Shame attacks your worth as a person.

Shame is hard to deal with because we keep it hidden, so it doesn’t get resolved. With ADHD, you’re always being reminded that you’ve failed to measure up to what’s expected of you. You may even be stigmatized as lazy or willfully disruptive and disobedient. I’ve read one statistic that “children with ADHD receive 20,000 more negative messages by the age of 12.” What’s so harmful is that most of these critical messages are directed at the person, not at a specific deed or action.

Combine this negative feedback with feeling out of control and you have the recipe for a toxic mix of emotions - anger, rage, self-loathing, and shame. Some try to handle these feelings by striving for perfection, becoming a people pleaser, or blaming others. But those are not sustainable solutions for coping with ADD/ADHD.

What does work is having a good sense of humor. Laughing at yourself and your mistakes makes it easier to take responsibility and correct them. It takes practice, but self-acceptance and self-love are vital for healing and moving forward. It’s also important to find an ally or support group that can remind you of the goodness within you. When you become overly negative, your friends can help you adjust your attitude.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Breaking this cycle of failure and frustration is the primary goal of treatment for the ADD/ADHD adult. Clinical experience shows ADD/ADHD adults benefit from a multi-modal treatment - combining medications and psychosocial interventions. If your life feels out of control because of ADHD, 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 you.

Read more on my website: AADD/ADHD in Adults and Clear the Clutter.

Make Time for a Hobby - It’s Good For You!

Monday, July 30, 2018


you’ll be a lot healthier, happier and more productive, if you make the time for a hobby and just have fun! When was the last time you participated in a hobby, just for the sake of having fun? You didn’t need to accomplish something...it didn’t matter how it turned out...you just wanted to have F.U.N.?

In our culture, hobbies have been relegated to when you have free time, after your work is all done. But with today’s entrepreneurial lifestyle, more often than not, your hobby has become your work! So your work is never done and you no longer have a fun, creative outlet that lets you rest and refresh yourself. There’s always something begging for your time and attention. So who has time for a hobby anyway?

Well, according to research, you’ll be a lot healthier, happier and more productive, if you make the time for a hobby and just have fun! Hobbies can lower blood pressure, depression and stress. In the long run, they can also help you become more creative and a better problem solver.

Studies do show that having a hobby can make you more productive at work, but it’s important to remember that hobbies are meant to be time away from work and enjoyed for their own sake. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed, isn’t it?

You don’t need an extravagant amount of time or money to have a hobby. Just think about what interests you the most. What would you like to learn more about? Gardening? Painting? Quilting? Knitting? Photography? Cooking? Playing a musical instrument? By the way, watching TV is not a hobby.

Perfectionism often gets in the way of enjoying your chosen hobby. If so, it would be helpful to shift your thinking from achievement to just enjoying the process and seeing what you can learn about your activity and about yourself.

Don’t feel guilty about taking time for your hobby. A life well lived is all about enjoying the journey, not about accumulating money, possessions, position or living up to what others expect of you.

So what are you going to do that makes you feel more fully alive? I challenge you to start a new hobby this week. Or if you already have a hobby, take it to the next level. I’d love to hear about your chosen hobby. Come over to my Facebook page and let’s have fun sharing ideas.

When Tragedy Strikes, Will You Be Able to Rise Above It?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


When Tragedy Strikes, Will You Be Able to Rise Above It?Why can some people rise above tragedy, while others are swallowed up by it? We’re all human, so what do these overcomers have that sees them through difficult times with such grace and dignity?

Psychologists have been grappling with this issue for years. While I don’t want to over simplify or minimize the suffering experienced, there’s a natural progression when tragedy strikes us personally - our emotions become highly engaged and then our dominant attitude takes over. Yes, attitude really is everything.

For example, if you’re prone to dwelling on the disappointment, you’ll sink into hopelessness and depression. If, on the other hand, you look for some meaning, you’ll bounce back more quickly. That forward-thinking, positive attitude is what fuels resilience.

Having a positive outlook in difficult circumstances is the most important predictor of how quickly you’ll recover from a tragedy. Resilience makes you better able to regulate your emotions, so you can maintain your optimism through anything.

I’ve found an interesting article in The Atlantic that collects together studies that show how a positive attitude, optimism and resilience are vital to coping with tragedy. This flies in the face of a popular strategy known as “venting.”

Ever since the time of Freud, psychologists have thought that people simply need to blow off steam to be happier. But venting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Dwelling on your suffering for even a short length of time or venting through punching something or yelling at someone tends to make people feel worse, not better. It’s only when you seek the silver lining that you make some sort of sense out of tragedy. The ultimate key to facing adversity with resilience is to find meaning in it. Probe into the causes and consequences of the tragedy and become wiser because of it.

Through my years of work, I’ve observed that the highest form of empathy on the EmD Scale, the complex trait of Radiant Empathy, contributes to greater resilience. It makes it easier to transform negative feelings into positive ones, because you develop greater emotional flexibility. You can let go of the negative and shift to the positive more quickly.

This summer, I’m working on pulling together a new resource for you to learn more about Radiant Empathy. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter, then you’ll be one of the first to know when it’s available.

In the meantime, if you’d like to enlarge your empathic skills, read my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS,” which is a practical guidebook for developing this quality. Or 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 offer online therapy if that works better for you.




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