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Kathy Marshack News

What’s the Harm in Being a Perfectionist?

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Are you a perfectionist? A perfectionist is a person obsessed with being perfect and anything less is a failure. They expect perfection from themselves and of others. This type of behavior is not only harmful for yourself, but it also harms those around you. Perfectionists usually suffer from depression, guilt, low self-esteem, and a lack of motivation to try new things.

Here are a few tips to help overcoming perfectionism:

Redefine real success. Real success comes not from doing it perfectly the first time, but trying, falling, and picking yourself up again. Doing something perfectly the first time is impossible. So, if you feel like you have failed, try again. That's true success.


Recognize your strengths and weaknesses. Honestly evaluate what your strengths and weaknesses are and trust me . . . everyone has both! By realizing who you really are will help you to see what you would like to work on. When you can recognize an unhealthy pattern developing, you will be more equipped to stop and change your "perfectionist thinking."

Look for the positive. Human tendency is to look at the negative rather than the positive. Make a conscious effort to look for the good in others and yourself. Over time, you will be more inclined to think positively instead of negatively.

Being a perfectionist doesn't necessarily always have to be negative. If you learn to harness your tendencies in the proper way, you can be very successful because the core of perfectionist is the desire to succeed. If you need assistance in this regard, consider psychotherapy. A therapist can assist you to emphasize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. For more information, visit Psychotherapy Options.

Addressing the Challenges of Adoptive Families

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Thousands of children are adopted every year in the United States. Raising an adopted child and growing up adopted only applies to a specific group of people. Because of that, it does make them different, creating a unique set of challenges. Adoptive families can create a successful family unit, but the key to doing so is knowledge and application of such knowledge.

If you are thinking about adopting a child or have done so already, it is vital that you educate yourself about the effects that adoption can have on you and your child. You are both involved in a completely new experience and you must be prepared. Where can you go to educate yourself on parenting an adopted child? Fortunately the resources are endless!

Books and seminars are a wonderful place to start. You can also consider joining a support group with other parents that have adopted. Finding a group of people that can relate to the blessings and the challenges can be a real source of comfort.

Being an adoptive parent myself, I have found that one of the most valuable resources would be to regularly speak to an adoption professional who is also a mental health care professional. Since each adoptive family is different, this type of professional can specifically address the needs of your family. Books and seminars are for the masses, but a one to one discussion will be completely focused on your needs and the needs of your child. If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, I would be happy to assist you. Contact my office to set up an appointment. If you live elsewhere, speak to your doctor or pediatrician for a referral.

The blessing of raising an adopted child are plenty. Take the time to be prepared to meet the challenges. You'll be happy you did! For more information, visit Adoptive Families.

Helping the Neuro-Typical Children of Aspie Parents

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Over the past few years, there has been increasing interest in learning more about adults with Asperger Syndrome, a high-functioning form of Autism. Asperger Syndrome has gone from being unknown to a term you can hear regularly on television. It has been exciting to see that awareness of this disorder is growing. However, there is still an area in the Asperger world that is a vast territory and largely uncharted. I am speaking of parenting and Asperger Syndrome.

I am starting to find more and more adult Neuro-Typicals who grew up with Asperger (Aspie) parents. This type of situation is unique to say the least. Feelings of neglect, depression, perfectionism, and low self-esteem are common for a child of an Asperger parent. Largely to blame for this is due to the lack of empathy and nurturing from the Asperger parent. NTs report that their Asperger Parents are difficult to connect with and hardly reciprocate love and emotion. Usually, the child ends up with severe resentment toward their Aspie parent.

Asperger parents do love their children. They just don't know how to parent effectively in many areas. If you are an NT who is parenting alongside an Aspie, then you have an uphill battle ahead you. The good news is that you can do it with the right tools. Finding a mental health care professional who specializes in Asperger Syndrome is key. You as well as your partner will need therapy. A specialist can help you see what you can do to help train your child to survive and grow in this unique home environment. Your child may also need therapy to help understand their parent and to build self-esteem and value in themselves.

I am in the process of writing a book entitled, "Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind, Out of Sight." I hope to shed light on this lifestyle and give practical support to NT parents. Click here to download a free sample chapter. If you live in the Portland, OR or Vancouver, WA area and would like to set up an appointment to discuss your life with an Asperger family member, contact my office for an appointment.

Are You a Neuro-Typical in an Asperger Relationship? You Are Not Alone!

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Loneliness is common for those who have an Asperger partner or family member. I am constantly reminding my clients who are in this position that they are not alone. Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD now has 298 members. Our members are from all over the world. I wanted to share a few thoughts from our overseas members to remind all of you that you are in fact NOT ALONE.

"Thank you for welcoming me in your group. My husband and I met met over 25 years ago and his defense all those years was blaming me for everything that went wrong in his or our life. It was an eye opener that he was diagnosed with Asperger's and now it is time to become ME again. The ME I was when I was just a teenager. I can't battle autism (and I am not in war with autism) but I refuse to let me be overruled by it."

"Hi Kathy, thanks for your welcome. Its a great relief finding this group. My husband is an aspie - nobody understood me. Being isolated and unbelieved made me feel crazy. Then one day I found your book and I realized "this is my story - this is my life."

I appreciate the personal thoughts and comments from our members. The topic for the next Meetup is "You are not alone. Let's play!" It will be held on September 17, 2011 at 1:00 PM in Portland, Oregon. It's time to reaffirm your friendships and reaffirm your right to be alive. We all deserve some time to have some fun! Are you a Neuro-Typical in an Asperger relationship? You are not alone – join us!

Click here for more information about the book, "Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?"

The Negative Side Effect of Bitterness on Your Health

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


The mind and body connection is very real and very powerful. Our emotions affect our bodies and can cause many physical health problems. Perhaps it’s not surprising that new research from Concordia University suggests that feelings of bitterness can have a negative impact on a person's physical health.

Researchers took note of the connection between failure and bitterness. According to psychologist Dr. Carsten Wrosch, "Persistent bitterness may result in global feelings of anger and hostility that, when strong enough, could affect a person’s physical health. When harbored for a long time bitterness may forecast patterns of biological dysregulation (a physiological impairment that can affect metabolism, immune response or organ function) and physical disease." For more information on this research, read the article - Bitterness Can Make You Sick.

Bitterness can stem from a wide range of events in one's life. It could come from a failed marriage, being a victim of abuse, being laid off or fired, or parenting a disabled child. Whatever the reason may be, you could be left with feelings of bitterness. If that bitterness is left unresolved, you will begin to see the negative affects not only on your physical health, but your entire life. Therapy is a wonderful tool to help someone overcome feelings of failure and bitterness. It will require hard work and an honest assessment of one's self, but you can conquer those emotions. Beat it before it beats you!

For information about therapy, visit Therapy FAQ.

Divorce and Asperger Syndrome

Monday, August 08, 2011


Sadly, divorce is common in Asperger marriages. It has been described that being in a marriage with someone with Asperger Syndrome (AS) is like walking on eggshells. What does that mean? For example, men with undiagnosed AS often feel as if their spouse is being ungrateful when she complains he is uncaring or never listens to her. He knows what he thinks and how he feels, so should she. He has no motive to understand her interior world so her complaints are bothersome to him. He can come to be quite defensive when she asks for clarification or a little sympathy because he knows that he has good intentions so he resents the pressure. The defensiveness can turn into verbal abuse (and sometimes physical abuse) as the husband attempts to control the communication to suit his view of the world.

So, what can you expect if you divorce an Asperger man? Unfortunately he will probably not understand why the woman wants a divorce and he is likely to be quite angry about it. Not knowing how to handle his distress he may turn the energy into revenge. It is believed that many high conflict divorces are the result of the negativity and obsessing of the AS partner regarding the wrongdoing he perceives of his NT spouse. It is likely to be a long, painful and expensive divorce where all suffer, including the children. Some Aspies however, just leave quietly and never remarry because they cannot quite figure out how to rebuild a life separately from their former spouse. Some NT former wives report that their former husband even still refers to her as his “wife” years after the divorce.

If you are struggling in your Asperger marriage, seeking counseling. Click here for my therapy recommendations for this type of situation. With husband and wife working hard, the marriage may be salvageable. I also recommend reading Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? This book specifically addresses the touchy issues of sex, rage, divorce and shame and gives a glimpse of the “inner workings” of these relationships. It offers new ways to look at the situations presented, as well as tips on how to handle similar situations in one’s own life. Click here to download a FREE sample chapter.

In a “Blended" Family? How to Make It Work Despite the Obstacles

Friday, July 29, 2011


High divorce rates and remarriage in American has created many "blended families." Blended families refer to those in a household composed of parents and children who are not related by blood. The results of blending families creates stepparents and stepchildren. If you have ever been part of a blended family, you know the unique stress it can create. Since so many households are not the "typical" anymore, we need to redefine the family and begin educating ourselves as to how to rear healthy children in whatever family constellation they live. It’s not the family that’s important, but family life that exerts the most important influence on the development of your children.

What can you do to help ensure a healthy blended family environment?

1. Teach your children that there is enough love to go around to all family members, biological or blended.

2. Show respect for the care your child has for your ex-spouse. Don’t be threatened by your child’s stepmother. Don’t make your children have to choose between you. Work together so that the significant adults in your child’s life can expand and enhance his or her learning.

3. Look at your blended family as an opportunity to develop tolerance and flexibility. Be creative about the ways that you include extended family member into your family life.

4. Teach your child to appreciate that happy family life is created by caring, committed people of all ages and connections.

5. Educate yourself by reading and attending classes on parenting. Be humble and accept the fact that you may need some help.

6. If you encounter a situation that is beyond your understanding, seek the expertise of a family therapist. Sometimes personal problems or relationship problems interfere with productive family life. It is important to recognize these problems, to seek professional help and to restore family life to a healthy, happy balance.

By taking the responsibility seriously, you can have a successful blended family. For more information, visit Parenting Effectively - Happy Blended Families. If you would like assistance from a family therapist, contact my office to set up an appointment.

Are You a Manipulator in Your Family?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Would it surprise you to know that con artists and manipulators are not that different? The only real difference is that a manipulator has created an illusion that they are different, that they would never stoop to the level of a con artist, or that they would never willfully take advantage of a person that way. In my work as a Family Business Consultant, I have seen firsthand that being an manipulator in a family and family business can be devastating both emotionally and financially. It is important to ask yourself if you exhibit manipulative qualities before it gets out of hand.

To investigate your manipulative qualities, ask yourself a few questions...and be HONEST!

1. Are you in sales? 2. Does your business require that you use persuasion, diplomacy, and charm? 3. Have you ever lied? 4. Have you ever taken advantage of another's ignorance or naiveté? 5. Have you kept something you didn't pay for? 6. Have you ever cried in order to get your way? 7. Have you ever intimidated your opponent into capitulating? 8. Have you ever hurt someone else? 9. When you have hurt someone else, did you say, "I didn't mean to do it." 10. Have you kept a secret to avoid conflict? 11. Have you ever "dropped names"? 12.Have you ever changed the subject when the topic was too close for comfort? 13. Just once, was money your only concern?

The tools of persuasion, diplomacy and charm can be used ethically or unethically. They are like a hammer and screwdriver. The hammer and screwdriver can be used to build a house or to break into someone's home. The choice is up to the individual using the tools. Likewise, persuasion, diplomacy and charm can be used to swindle or to negotiate a mutually rewarding settlement.

If you truly want to end the con game within your family firm, you need to take a look at your own manipulative nature. Being conscious of your own manipulations, even the ones that you didn't mean to do, allows you to be ethical. With consciousness comes choice. Choosing to be ethical in your communications and dealings with others requires that you take the time to understand others and to be understood fully.

Another way to investigate your own manipulative nature is to ask others how they feel. In a family this is a perfectly legitimate question. Because you may be hot on an idea and have charmingly persuaded everyone else to cooperative with you, does not mean they all agree with you. Check it out. If you have bullied the others into submission, or charmed them into acquiescing, but deep down inside they do not agree, what kind of agreement do you really have? How much support are you really going to get in the long run? Do you really have your family's trust or are they just afraid of you?

If your goal is to make a lot of money or to have a lot of power, and you don't care how you do it, then there is no point in your reading this. But if you truly want to prosper as a family as well as a family in business, then it requires time to clean up the covert confidence games that are played at home and at work with the ones you love.

For more information on this topic, read my article - Recognizing Manipulation Can Save The Family Business

Entrepreneurial Couples - Is it Time to Renegotiate the Partnership?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


One of the most challenging of lifestyles is working with your spouse in a thriving business. Most entrepreneurial couples love the opportunity to be independent, in charge of their own destinies, and to work alongside the one they love and trust most. What do successful entrepreneurial couples need to know to keep a marriage and a business on track? One strategy is to renegotiate the partnership.

Keeping the love alive as an entrepreneurial couple must be the top priority. If there is no time to give or receive love, from each other, then it becomes time to renegotiate the terms of the partnership. If life isn't meaningful or fun for either of you, it is time to re-evaluate the marriage or the business partnership or both.

In order to keep a business healthy, a business owner must not only be aware of market trends, but they must also be prepared to alter their business plan accordingly. The same principal applies in your personal life. What are some reasons for negotiation? A marriage agreement that worked when you were twenty, may be outdated for a couple in their forties. Or aspects of the marriage contract may be archaic while others are still solid. Don't throw the baby out with the bath as the saying goes, but if some things need changing, do it now, or suffer the consequences of a loveless marriage.

I have met too many entrepreneurial couples where the only thing holding them together is the business. They have forgotten that the business is a function of their love for each other. By recognizing that the love is diminishing in your relationship and by being willing to renegotiate the terms of your marriage and partnership, you may be able to rekindle the romance and re-direct the business to new heights.

So, when you get off course, stop and renegotiate the terms of the contract, so that you can nurture and sustain business and marriage growth. If you find that you are unable to renegotiate on your way, you may want to seek the assistance of a psychologist who specializes in this type of therapy. Often problems that have a couple stuck, can be unraveled with professional help. For an appointment, please contact my office for more information.

For more information, visit Marriage Counseling - Entrepreneurial Couples. Available for purchase Do You Have What it Takes to Work with Your Spouse? Workbook.

How Managing Daily Stress Can Help You Avoid a Panic Attack

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Do you suffer from a panic disorder? If so, you are not alone. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, about one adult in twenty suffers from agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a panic disorder in its most severe form. Symptoms of panic disorders include difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing or choking, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, shaking, shuddering, sweating, dizziness, insomnia, and increased sensitivity to sounds and light.

A new study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders shed light on panic disorders and its findings could help those who suffer from panic disorders. The study was performed by researchers at Brown University. They focused the study on how day-to-day stress affects a person with panic disorders. They concluded that panic attacks can actually stem from a gradual build up of stress not necessarily from one event. This new information can help those with these types of disorders to work on regularly managing their stress level. Dr. Martin Keller, the principal investigator, suggests keeping your guard up for at least three months after the stress subsides.

Panic disorders can be treated. There are a variety of therapies that are beneficial such as deep relaxation, systematic desensitization, and "flooding." It is important to seek help from a qualified and trained therapist to help reach the root cause of your disorder. If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington contact my office to set up an appointment.

For more information, visit Conquering Fears and Phobias.


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