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
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

Why Aspies Always Say NO and What You Can Do About It

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Why do our Aspies always default to a non-committal answer or say NO outright? Insight into this one question can save a lot of hurt feelings. “Are they just being rude? Shouldn’t I be offended?” That's how we feel, when someone ignores us, as we try to talk with them. Being ignored usually signals that something is wrong. But, what about when you converse with those on the Spectrum? Have you noticed that they often break the rules of conversation etiquette?


Sometimes our Aspies say NO! Sometimes they ignore us. Sometimes they resist and walk off — then inexplicably do as asked. What on earth is this about?

A number of years ago, I wrote about how those with Aspergers default to non-committal answers. I used a true-to-life setting where a wife beats around the bush, trying to get her hubby to go on vacation, and the Aspie husband just doesn’t get it. It’s the perfect storm for miscommunication and hurt feelings in a NT/AS relationship.

We have to remember that Aspies have great difficulty with change or spontaneity, much more than the rest of us. A new idea creates tension. In the decision-making process, we have to think it through, examine its relevance to our plans, get past the novelty, build a new paradigm to incorporate the idea, and so much more.

Non-Spectrum people create change fairly easily, even with all of the aforementioned steps, because we aren’t self absorbed. Because we have empathy, we can include the other person in our new paradigm. Into the equation, we incorporate the person asking, how they ask, and the mind of the asker.

On the other hand, Aspies don’t do any of this. Instead they opt for saying “no,” or “I’m not interested.” This buys them time to get away from our demands and to protect themselves from confusion.

There’s much more to learn about this phenomenon. If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, I invite you to the next international, free teleconference: Why do they always say NO! It will be held on Thursday, June 21st. We’ll be building interventions to get past their penchant for saying NO.

If you have questions about this teleconference, you can post them on my Facebook event page or you can post them to the group on the Meetup page. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

As a reminder, if you’d like to stay up-to-date on all of my articles, make sure you’ve signed up for my Enriching Your Life newsletter.

Dr. Kathy Marshack on the Radio Show “Autism with Dr. Andy McCabe”

Wednesday, June 06, 2018


Dr. Kathy Marshack outlines some practical tips that she’s gleaned throughout her personal and professional experience with those on the Autism Spectrum.Dr. Andy McCabe and his guests explore the world of alternative therapies for children on the Autism Spectrum. Recently, he interviewed me, and we had a delightful conversation about some tips I’ve gleaned throughout my personal and professional experience with Aspies. (You can listen to the 57 minute interview by clicking on this link.)

We started by talking about how, even as a psychologist, it took me over a decade to get a diagnosis for my daughter. During that time I doubted myself, wondering what I was doing wrong. And while there were a number of things I could have done better, I came to realize that best thing I could do was to keep coming from that loving place and persisting in trying to connect.

It was so frustrating at times though, because not one professional got what I was talking about…the emphasis was always on helping the autistic deal with life, not helping me understand how to live with an Aspie. That’s why I began writing for non-Spectrum family members who are struggling to cope with their Spectrum loved ones. I knew I couldn’t be the only one out there experiencing this.

Some powerful nuggets I shared on the show are:

  • “Please trust that the other person means well, even if their behavior is odd.
  • Separate intent from behavior…they think that because they mean well it’s enough.
  • You have to realize it’s a communication error, it’s not personal.
  • Blaming and shaming is mean, so let’s not do that to ourselves and our loved ones.”

One brilliant idea emerged as Dr. Andy and I talked…look for the patterns. What do I mean?

There’s a saying: “Once you meet one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person,” because each one on the Spectrum is so different. But there are patterns that they universally recognize and use. And once you understand those patterns, you can help them communicate and connect more effectively.

For example, at seven years of age, my autistic daughter tried to explain her day at school by saying, “You’re a psychologist, right? You study patterns in people. Today we studied patterns in math.” Amazing observation from a seven year old, right? Aspies are great observers of people, yet they have so much trouble interacting with them.

Patterns are in everything around us. The more we can expand on the skill of recognizing the patterns that Aspies see, the more we can help them navigate through this world, even though they don’t operate from the theory of mind.

The part they miss is that they don’t think about communicating these patterns to us; they don’t think it’s exceptional or out of the ordinary. They think everyone sees it like they do.

We also discussed many other points from my books: Going Over the Edge, Out of Mind, and WHEN EMPATHY FAILS. I encourage you to listen to the full interview by clicking the link below.

Listen to Dr. Kathy Marshack on "Autism with Dr. Andy"

How to Speak to your Aspie so They Listen and Understand

Monday, June 04, 2018


Have you noticed any patterns that get in the way of your Aspie listening to you? Here are some some things to avoid and to include in your conversation.When you want to have a relationship with someone who has Asperger’s Syndrome, you have to learn a new language...Aspergian. This involves understanding their unique patterns of thought and speech. With this understanding, you can neutralize everyone's distress.

Something clicked for me when I recognized the mindset of Aspies. I started developing an awareness of what they meant, why they do what they do, and how to communicate with them in their language. The mind blindness, the context blindness, the lack of empathy - understanding all of this helped me to think like an Aspie. Once I got it, I could speak to them so that they would listen, actually hear me.

This is no easy feat of course. Step one is to get our emotions and traditional beliefs out of the way. Step two is recognizing that Aspies want the same things we do, though they go about it differently. Step three is to speak their language - because they can't learn ours.

If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, I invite you to attend the next video conference entitled, How to speak to your Aspie so that they will listen. It will held on Tuesday, June 12th or Wednesday, June 27th. Each aspie is different, but you will find that there are communication patterns they all follow. Come prepared to write down your own Rules of Engagement, as you identify problem areas in your communication. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Things to avoid when speaking with your Aspie

  • Sarcasm
  • Double entendre
  • Ambiguity or vagueness
  • Hints
  • Passive-aggressive speech
  • Slang or colloquialisms
  • Metaphors
  • Beating around the bush


Things to include when speaking with your Aspie

  • Say what you actually mean.
  • Be open with your intentions.
  • Voice your feelings but remind them this isn’t a criticism of them.
  • Speak clearly and concisely, without rambling.
  • Ask direct questions.
  • Ask them to do one thing at a time.
  • Withdraw from circular arguments.
  • Accept that sometimes communication will hit a brick wall.
  • Remain patient and calm.

Have you noticed any patterns that get in the way of your Aspie listening to you? Join me on Facebook and let’s start brainstorming some solutions.

How Do You Survive the Loneliness in Your NT/AS Family?

Monday, May 07, 2018


The loneliness we feel when in a relationship with someone with Asperger’s Syndrome is indescribable. Even Aspie children can contribute to this feeling. We know we love them. They say they love us. Yet there’s this deep, profound loneliness, the source of which we must discover in order to combat itThere is something ineffable about the loneliness we feel when in a relationship with an Aspie. Even our Aspie children can contribute to this feeling. Even though we know that we love them; even though they say they love us; there is this deep, profound loneliness nevertheless.

To be perfectly honest with you, I still feel lonely on a daily basis. I know it's not reasonable, since I have such abundance in my life. Nevertheless, spending decades of my life with those unable to acknowledge me, understand me, or connect with me, has left me longing for the sense that I am loved and belong. My head tells me I am wrong about my loneliness, but my heart tells me differently.

When you search the Internet, you’ll see numerous articles and resources for people with Asperger’s who feel lonely. Those with Asperger's have trouble fulfilling the basic human need of bonding and connecting, so it’s not surprising that they feel lonely. Because of this, I help my Asperger clients develop rules for engagement, so their families can thrive, despite these challenges.

But there’s still not much out there for family members who live with an Aspie. We depend on family to provide warmth, belonging, acceptance, respect and value. That’s lacking in NT/AS families. On the outside, everything looks normal, so friends don’t understand, which adds to the loneliness you feel.

Do you find that you suffer in silence, because there isn’t a safe place to talk about your loneliness? I understand. That’s why I’ve created a safe and supportive space for members of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group. Are you ready to reach out? I invite you to join my next Video Conference: Surviving the Loneliness on Wednesday, May 9th or Tuesday, May 22. It will help you identify the source of this loneliness and how to combat it. One powerful way to combat the loneliness is to participate in our conference call and share our experiences.

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 better for you.


How to Handle “Micro-Hits” without Losing Your Cool

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Do you often feel belittled and trivialized by a family member who has autism spectrum disorder? “Micro-aggressions” is a phrase coined by psychiatrist, Chester M Pierce, MD, in the 1970’s to refer to the intentional or unintentional ways of invalidating, degrading or insulting an individual based on a bias. Usually it’s used in the context of bullying and discrimination in schools and the workplace. However it perfectly describes much of what we experience while living with someone with Aspergers Syndrome.

Aspie micro-aggressions are those subtle messages that deny your reality and denigrate your status with your Aspie partner or family member. But not all subtleties or micro-behaviors are aggression, are they?

I call this other category “Micro-Hits” because they still throw us off balance. When your Aspie shuts you up with a comment like, “You don’t know that!” that’s a micro-hit. It’s confusing, since you may have been stating your opinion (which you are entitled to, by the way), but now you have to explain why you said what you said.

Isn’t it okay to chat, to offer conjecture, to suggest another possibility, without having to prove your point? We get this. Aspies don’t. They’re not aggressions exactly, but micro-hits still confuse and derail us. It’s time to learn how to stay on track with a snappy comeback, instead of that dazed and confused feeling, as your Aspie walks out of the room.

If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join us at the upcoming free teleconference: Micro-Hits. It will be held on Thursday, April 19th. We’ll figure out some snappy comebacks, plus discuss tools to stay confident and calm. Perhaps we’ll even discover new ways to help our Aspies a bit.

And if you haven’t heard yet, my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS,” can now be purchased on Amazon in paperback or kindle edition. Its down-to-earth advice will teach you to protect yourself from those with Empathy Dysfunction. As a favor to me, can you please add your review on Amazon, after you read it? I’d appreciate it.

How Can You Tell if You’re Codependent of Your Aspie?

Monday, January 29, 2018


Merriam-Webster defines codependence as “a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (such as an addiction to alcohol or heroin); broadly: dependence on the needs of or control by another.”

What are some signs of codependency? If you answer “yes” to the following questions, you’re codependent…

  • Does your sense of purpose involve making extraordinary sacrifices to satisfy your partner's needs?
  • Is it difficult to say “no” when your partner makes demands on your time and energy?
  • Do you cover for your partner’s social faux pas, substance abuse, or problems with the law?
  • Do you constantly worry about others’ opinions of you?
  • Do you feel trapped in your relationship?
  • Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?

Healthy relationships take a lot of work, and they begin with knowing who you are, what you want, what your higher purpose is. If those things get overshadowed, neglected, or stifled because of your partner, you’re suffering from codependency.

So what is the likelihood that you’re codependent of your Aspie? Extremely high. You can't help it. The moment your Aspie leaves something undone, you take over; that's codependency. The moment your Aspie walks away before you've finished your sentence, and you let it go or follow him/her around trying to be heard; that's codependency. The moment you make excuses to others for your Aspie's rude or thoughtless conduct; that's codependency. The moment you warn your children to avoid annoying their Aspie parent or sibling; that's codependency.

The worst part about codependency is waking up one day to realize that you've become so codependent that you're not sure who you are anymore. You have fully become the structure underpinning the life of another. Your own sense of self and your self-worth are nonexistent. Evidence of you still exists in the form of memories when you used to laugh and be creative, and you could sleep peacefully instead of fitfully. Shall I go on?

Our next Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup is going host the free, international teleconference entitled: Am I Codependent? It will be held on Thursday, February 15th at 2:30 PM PT. It will set the tone for getting the New Year off to a good start by taking back your own life! I'm looking forward to meeting the real you and you and you.

If you prefer to work with me one-on-one 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.

There’s Something Special Going on at Dr. Kathy’s ASD Meetup this Month

Monday, January 08, 2018


It’s been nine years since I began hosting the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup. When I started this group back in 2009, I intended it to be a place for those in the Portland, Oregon area to meet for lunch and find supportive friends who understood the often frustrating and isolating life of loving an adult with Asperger Syndrome.

I was ever so surprised when people from other states and then other countries started joining, just for the opportunity to share in the online discussions. We have grown to having members all over the world, on every continent. Whatever the language or the culture, we can all relate to the common theme of life with an adult with Asperger Syndrome. Currently we have 2,259 members. But there’s room for more!

What is the mission of this Meetup?

If you’re a Neurotypical Adult with a spouse, partner, sibling, parent or grown child who has Asperger Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD), you will soon learn that you’re not alone. We meet in small face-to-face group meetings, and hold international teleconferences, and have intimate video conferences for those who live abroad but want the small group feel.

If you need daily support you can join one of dozens of private, online discussions. You are safe here. Only members can access the discussion boards. You can ask questions and share stories of your day. Not everyone agrees on everything, but our diversity is what creates opportunity to grow and change, and perhaps even take back your life from these very tough ASD relationships.

I hope you’ll join us as we form a community for those of us who have this unique life of being in relationship with an adult on the Autism Spectrum.

Since beginning this group I’ve also written three books, "Going Over the Edge?" "Out of Mind - Out of Sight" and soon to be released "WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you."

So I have lots to talk about. However, this month I have something special planned for our free international teleconference on January 18th at 2:30PM PT. It’s entitled: Ask Dr. Marshack Anything! I'd like to "share the floor" with those among you who have lots of wisdom because you have lived this life with Aspies. Certainly you can come to the teleconference with your questions, concerns and anecdotes for me, but I also hope to hear from our many members who have been in the trenches a long time.

The reason this group thrives, is that we are there for each other. To know that you are understood and supported and not alone, is incredibly powerful isn't it?

If you’re not a member yet and you’re a NT living with an Aspie, please feel free to join this Meetup. It’s free to join, and you’ll gain a lot of supportive friends and helpful resources.

Time to Talk Openly on #MeToo Stress Effects of Having a Family Member with ASD

Monday, January 01, 2018


ASD meetoo stressAmid all of the stories of stress illness caused by sexual harassment and racism, shouldn't we also be looking at the stress effects on those who are caring for Aspies (those with high-functioning autism)? The research has been there for years, but now it’s surfacing in a new way. And people are finally paying attention.

While it’s more acceptable to discuss the stress of racism and now sexual harassment (thank goodness) it has been "politically incorrect" to discuss the deleterious effects of autism on the caregivers, especially when it comes to high-functioning autism. Sadly many NTs have to suffer in silence or be accused of being uncaring or even discriminatory, making us feel crazy. But it’s time to talk about it, isn't it?

Parents of children with autism especially experience depression and anxiety. They have to struggle with obtaining crucial support services, deal with the crushing financial strain, and relentless worry about their child’s future. It’s overwhelming! And if your mate is an Aspie, then it’s even worse, because the one you should be able to turn to for love and support can’t give you what you need.

That’s why I host video conferences so you can openly talk about how you can take back your health and lives from the incredible stress of living with family members with autism. If you’re a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join our next low-cost video conference entitled: #MeToo Stress Effects of ASD. It will be held on January 4, 2018 at 2:30PM or January 24, 2018 at 3PM. Please come prepared to open up about the stress you live with. You’ll get support from those who know and care because they are survivors and chose to be healers, too. We’ll also be talking about tools for healing.

Another great resource is my book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight. It gives great insight into how you navigate through the crazy-making, NT/AS world. You’ll find real stories from real people who will both inspire and instruct you. If you haven’t already done so, please download a free chapter by clicking on the image below. Or you can purchase your own copy from Amazon. It’s available in paperback or Kindle edition.

What Does It Mean that Autistics Think in Pictures?

Monday, December 04, 2017


Autistics think visually, why this hinders good communication, and what you can do about it.Have you seen the Temple Grandin movie? She’s a high-functioning autistic who has built a life helping others understand autism. (She also specializes in understanding what spooks cattle). She’s written a book about thinking in pictures because that’s the only way she relates to the world around her. There are a number of good YouTube videos, like this one if you start at the 9 minute mark, that give you some insight into her visual thinking process.

Temple has an interesting example on how people think about church steeples. Most people think of a generalized image, but her mind flashes through images of existing churches at specific locations that she’s seen in the past. She never sees things in a generalized way, but sees very detailed examples.

Of course, we can all visualize to a degree. At least we call it that. We might see a color in our "mind's eye" when told to see red. What about a checked tablecloth? Or your first car? But we don't generally "think in pictures." We tend to use pictures, or little movies as methods of organizing data, along with words, emotions, feelings, and other types of thought.

Autistics on the other hand rely much more on pictures. This explains why they have a photographic memory or can focus on the minutest detail. As handy as thinking in pictures can be for certain tasks, it can be a disaster for interpersonal communication. Without words to go along with those pictures, we’re left wondering what they’re thinking about. Without empathy, they may ramble on about their topic of interest without realizing we can't see their picture.

For our Aspies it’s also extremely troubling that we can't see their pictures. How can they convey what they are feeling or experiencing?

If you’re a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup

, please join us for the free international teleconference on Thursday, December 14th, at 2:30 PM PT. Our topic is:

What does it mean that autistics think in pictures? Bring your own examples of how your Aspies think in pictures. But if it makes no sense to you yet, don't give up. We'll keep translating for you.

If you’d rather have a one-on-one session 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 best for your busy schedule.

How Can You Tell if It’s Abuse or Asperger's?

Monday, November 27, 2017


As tough as it is to look at the issue of abuse, it’s important. We aren't helping our Aspies when we allow them to be abusive. Yes, they have sensory sensitivities. Yes, they lack empathy and miss important cues. Yes, they easily get confused and shut down or rage. But to allow the verbal abuse, or their self-abuse, is not OK.

The answer to the question, "Is it abuse or is it Asperger's?" is that it doesn't matter. Regardless of the source of the abuse, it has to cease immediately. That's always the first step.

The second, third and fourth steps require taking into consideration the source of the abuse and developing a treatment plan specific for the person. With Aspies it's a blend of anger management (or domestic violence treatment), and the kind of coaching that teaches them the Rules of Engagement.

For the NT, as you can imagine, the treatment involves a protection plan, plus psychotherapy to restore your confidence and teach you skills to cope with life better.

Like I said this is a tough subject but it's time to bring it up, isn't it? That’s why we’re talking about this at our next videoconference.

If you’re a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join our videoconference on Thursday, December 7th at 9:00 A.M. The topic: Is it abuse or is it Asperger’s? We’ll discuss how to assess the situation when the diagnosis alone doesn't help. In other words, let's find practical ways to communicate and problem solve with your Aspie, even if you have to make it up!
(If this time slot if full, I’m holding another one of December 20th.)

If you’re not a member and want to join here are the qualifications: you are a NT trying to deal with life with someone on the Autism Spectrum. That’s it. If that’s you, request an invite. It’s free to join the group and it has a lot of perks, like this low-cost video conference or free international teleconferences.

If you’d like to learn more of the science behind Asperger’s Syndrome, download a free chapter from my book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight. Or click the image below.



Recent Posts RSS


Tags


Archive