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Kathy Marshack News

Empowering Leaders Excel at This One Quality…So Can You!

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Throughout life, you’ll have opportunity to lead and empower others to achieve wonderful things…IF you fully tap into the power of one very specific quality – empathy. Do you think a childhood game is a good business model for today? Many companies seem to think so...As a child, you might have played Follow the Leader. The leader is out in front of the group and each member tries to copy the actions of the leader as closely as possible. Today many businesses are run by leaders who lead from the front, dictating the moves of each individual under their authority.

On the other hand, some exceptional organizations have learned that emphasizing the quality of empathy and leading from the sidelines is a highly effective style of leadership. Yes, there are still times when leaders must make command decisions to keep the business on course. But these leaders know they get the best performance from their team when they empower them to use their unique talents to achieve outstanding results.

How important is empathy to empowering leadership?

Without empathy, it’s impossible to empower others, because empathy is the quality that allows you to see others clearly. Here are seven reasons why displaying empathy is so important for people in leadership positions…

  1. It gets the focus off of self and onto others.
  2. It helps you prioritize the well-being of your team, so you look for ways to daily practice kindness and consideration.
  3. It makes you realize success hinges on your team, so you create a favorable work environment for them.
  4. It helps you work harder at explaining your vision and showing your team how they fit into it.
  5. It moves you to supply others with whatever they require to work at their best capacity.
  6. Problems are addressed with concern, not censure. Rather than leaping to punitive actions, the simple question, “Is everything okay?” helps a leader identify the source of a problem, so it can be fixed.
  7. It promotes team building.

I like how Simon Sinek explains empathic and empowering leadership in a recent Success article, “True leadership isn’t the bastion of a few who sit at the top. It’s the responsibility of anyone who belongs to a group, and that means all of us. We all need to step up, take the risk and put our interests second—not always—but when it counts.”

Learning to empathically lead others is a skill you can use in business, in your community and even within your family life. If you’d like to master this skill, I’d love to work with you in person at my office in Portland, OR. Please contact my Jantzen Beach office and schedule an appointment. I also offer online education if that works best for your busy schedule.

The Prison of Loneliness – It’s Time to Stage a Jailbreak!

Monday, May 21, 2018


The Prison of Loneliness – It’s Time to Stage a JailbreakDo you know someone who is wrongfully imprisoned? From personal experience, I can tell you it’s a frighteningly traumatic experience to be held in a literal jail without cause; to have no one who listens or supports you; to feel totally abandoned. (You can read about the three times I was falsely arrested in my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS.”) But the prisoner to whom I’m referring could be your next door neighbor who is a work-at-home entrepreneur, your widowed and elderly aunt, your sister married to an Aspie, your coworker living with an abusive partner, the clerk at the grocery store from another country…many people today are wrongfully in a prison of loneliness.

Your first reaction might be, “well, they just need to get out more and try harder.” But it’s not as easy as getting over a little bit of “cabin fever.” The bars of their prison may come from a lifetime of rejection, ostracism or abuse. Not only are there deep psychological wounds, but their plight also leads to physical pain and illnesses that further add to their social isolation. They become too weak to fight anymore. They give up.

Dr. Cacioppo, one of the founding fathers of social neuroscience, likened loneliness to hunger. A New York Times, in remembrance of him at his recent death, highlighted some of the profound things he’s taught us:

  • “About one in four Americans are lonely, without any confidants, and that social isolation results in negative emotional and physical consequences.”
  • “Chronic loneliness increases the odds of an early death by 20 percent, which is about the same effect as obesity, though obesity does not make you as miserable as loneliness.”
  • “Being with others doesn’t mean you’re going to feel connected, and being alone doesn’t mean you’re going to feel lonely.
  • “If the only acceptance you can get of yourself is a fake representation on the web, that’s not going to make you feel connected.”
  • “Being lonely is not the same as being alone.”

Loneliness causes people to turn their attention inward. They start second guessing themselves. Their minds race to the darkest possible conclusions.

What can we do? It doesn’t take a lot to make a difference. Here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Really notice everyone you encounter.
  • Smile and say “hello” to each one.
  • Even if something about their situation makes you uncomfortable, acknowledge them as a fellow human deserving of dignity.
  • Listen with your whole being, when they speak.
  • Make a phone call, send a text or card to remind someone you value them.
  • Rather than having a critical attitude, look for the best in others and give praise when possible.

Being empathic, you “see” the plight and it moves you to do what you can. Are you the sort of person who fears getting involved, because it feels too draining? This indicates you still have room to improve your empathy skills; for the highest form of empathy, radiant empathy, lets you feel for others without confusing their pain or thoughts with your own.

I’m delighted to announce that developing Radiant Empathy will be the focus of my upcoming membership site. If this excites you as much as it does me, please sign up for my newsletter to receive notification of when it’s available.

Confused? Learn the Differences between Sensitivity and Empathy

Monday, March 26, 2018


. If you confuse sensitivity for empathy, you’re not alone. I’ve discovered that both neurotypicals and Aspies have trouble understanding the differences between sensitivity and empathy“He’s a really sensitive guy.” “She’s such an empathetic person.” You may think these statements describe the same characteristic. If you confuse sensitivity for empathy, you’re not alone. In my practice, I’ve discovered that both neurotypicals and Aspies have trouble understanding the differences. For example, how would you answer these questions?

  • Is it sensitivity or empathy to cry at the sight of an injured pet?
  • Is it sensitivity or empathy to feel comforted by an embrace?

Would you be surprised to learn that neither instance is empathy? To produce empathy a person needs an integrated symphony of neurology, traits and skills. Here’s how I define empathy in my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you”:

"Empathy is a dynamic, evolving process—not a human trait. From empathy comes the ability to hold dear the feelings and thoughts of others.
Those with highly-evolved empathy skills do not confuse the psychological boundaries between themselves and others. They can care, feel compassion and sympathize without taking on the responsibility for another person’s intentions or feelings. This distinction is critical. Empathy is respectfully allowing the other person to take responsibility for their life. (In AA and other 12-step programs, the ability to do this is called detachment.)
A symphony may best represent the dynamics of humans empathizing. A great composer creates a musical score that allows for the best use and sound of each instrument, while staying faithful to the melody and the meaning of the piece. Sometimes we hear a solo. Other times we embrace the resonance of the horn section or the rumble of the tympani. Often the room is filled with what sounds like a thousand string instruments. We may feel thrilled, calmed, or seduced by the music.

A symphony is not complete without the audience, which provides energy to the musicians. Have you noticed how much more alive a performance is when the audience emotionally joins with the orchestra? Empathy is like this, too. It is far more than the sum of its parts. It is the sense that everyone in the room is breathing the music. So, too, empathy creates a powerful oneness that lets us know we are not alone.”

Would you like to improve your ability to tell the difference between empathy and sensitivity? If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, I invite you to attend the one of the upcoming Video Conferences entitled “Sensitivity is Not Empathy.” They will be held on three different days: Thursday, April 5th, Wednesday, April 11th, and Wednesday, April 25th. Spaces are very limited, so grab your spot early.

If you haven’t heard yet, I’m pleased to tell you that my new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS,” can now be purchased on Amazon in paperback or kindle edition. I urge you to get a copy today. Its down-to-earth advice will teach you to protect yourself from those with Empathy Dysfunction. After you read it, please add your review on Amazon. I’d love to know what you think about it.

My Book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you” is Available!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying youWhat do these all have in common…narcissists, sociopaths, addicts, brain injured, autistics, a vengeful ex, corrupt city officials and greedy neighbors, bullies, stalkers, fake news mongers? Some people are upset that I include autistics and the brain injured in the same list as sociopaths and narcissists. But I do so only because they all lack some level of empathy. I ought to know. I’ve endured a 12-year perfect storm of a high conflict divorce, lawsuits, assaults, cyberstalking, false arrests, predatory prosecution, and the loss of my daughters to parental alienation. Throughout all these experiences I’ve noticed a common theme, namely people with Empathy Dysfunction (EmD).

The increasing prevalence of Empathy Dysfunction helps explain societal and family decay today. On the other hand, empathic acts are the stitches that hold the fabric of all relationships together. As neuroscientists map the human brain, we see the numerous connections that must be made to activate empathy. It’s a complex system that requires the brain to connect Emotional Empathy and Cognitive Empathy, and multiple transitions between the two. If one part of this amazingly intricate and complicated connection of circuits doesn’t work correctly, the system malfunctions. When the brain is damaged, whether through a war or sports injury, substance abuse, or congenital brain disorder, Empathy Dysfunction occurs. Empathy Dysfunction is so prevalent it's no longer if you meet someone with EmD, but when...

Have you ever...

  • Been victimized, swindled or lied to by your best friend?
  • Loaned money to loved ones who squandered the gift and never paid you back?
  • Had to fight unscrupulous prosecutors for your freedom?
  • Been forced to defend yourself from your vengeful ex or your ungrateful children?
  • Bumped into a beguiling, but shifty, stranger?
  • Felt someone following you?

If so, you've crossed paths with someone operating with Empathy Dysfunction (EmD). My new book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS,” helps you not only understand why this is happening, but how to protect yourself from those hell-bent on destroying you. 

What will you find inside “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS”?

  • Hard-learned lessons on how to stand up for yourself when dealing with people who literally couldn’t care less about you.
  • A way to identify those with a dysfunctional lack of empathy using the new Empathy Dysfunction Scale (EmD Scale), so you can shield yourself from the destruction they leave in their wake.
  • Clues you should never ignore for your own safety - like a rotten neighbor, friends who start believing the nasty gossip spread by your ex-partner, or a nagging feeling you're being watched. Pay attention, it may be because "they" really are out to get you.
  • Warrior training to protect yourself from dangerous people. If you've been hurt just once, or maybe too many times to count by a person with EmD, apply the warrior training in this book, increase your own empathy to a higher level, and reclaim the beautiful life you are meant to live.
  • Seven life-preserving tips that will protect you and enhance your own level of empathy.

The truth is, sometimes, people are out to get you: Be prepared. Use “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS” to help you navigate the unruly world of Empathy Dysfunction. If you haven’t done so already, please download a free sample chapter. I’m pleased to announce that you can now order the entire book on Amazon in paperback or kindle edition. And after reading it, please be sure to go back to Amazon and leave a review. I’d appreciate it!

Choose Your Empathy Perspective Wisely – It’s the Difference Between Mental Health and Anguish

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


Empathy is what binds all humans. It’s in the act of relating and connecting to others that we become more human and develop our identity within the human family.

On the other hand, Empathy Dysfunction can divide us from that human family. Attempting to engage with someone with Empathy Dysfunction can leave us feeling unheard and unimportant. This disconnect brings us down emotionally and creates chaos in our lives in no time flat!

Empathy is multidimensional – it’s a dynamic, evolving process, not a human trait. From empathy comes the ability to hold dear the feelings and thoughts of others. And if your empathy skills are highly-evolved you won’t confuse the psychological boundaries. You won’t be taking responsibility for another person’s intentions or feelings. This distinction is critical. Empathy is respectfully allowing the other person to take responsibility for his or her own life. (In AA or other 12-step programs, the ability to do this is called detachment.)

Because most people register EmD-4 on the scale, (more about the Empathy Dysfunction Scale in an upcoming blog post) they can often confuse these boundaries and take on too much for themselves. They energetically internalize the feelings and pain of others — and often have trouble distinguishing someone else’s discomfort from our own.

A new study shows that how we arrive at the empathy – our perspective – is as important as being empathetic. Researchers found that there are two routes we take to achieving empathy.

One approach observes and infers how someone feels – the imagine-other perspective-taking (IOPT).
The second approach is putting yourself in someone’s shoes – the imagine-self perspective-taking (ISPT).

How do these empathy perspectives differ?

You can acknowledge another person’s feelings without it affecting you deeply. That’s the IOPT perspective.

The ISPT ups the ante by actually taking on the emotions you see in the other person. They’re sad and you feel sad. The researchers in this study found that:

“When we are feeling threatened or anxious, some peripheral blood vessels constrict, making it harder for the heart to pump blood through the body, and people who engaged in ISPT had greater levels of this threat response compared to people who engaged in IOPT.”

It’s important to learn how to continue to be empathetic without that empathy creating a burden. If you don’t, you’ll burn out or at the least shy away from helping others, because it’s just too painful.

Dr. Poulin, one of the co-authors of the above study, suggests, “Rather than saying to a child, ‘How would you feel if that were done to you?’ maybe we should be saying, ‘Think about how that person is feeling,’”

My new book, When Empathy Fails – How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you sheds a great deal of light on how you can protect yourself and still be a highly empathetic person. My readers get a sneak preview…download a free chapter even before it’s available for sale. After reading it, I’d love to hear feedback over on my Facebook page.

Preparing the Next Generation to Take a Stand Against Corruption

Monday, January 15, 2018


Young people are upset and confused by how deep corruption, greed and abuse of power runs in our society so we need to help this next generation create a world where there is no #MeToo.Have you had a conversation with a young person about what we see going on in the news today? Are they concerned or bewildered when they see how deep corruption, greed, and abuse of power runs in our society? If you’re a parent, a teacher, a grandparent, or mentor to the next generation, you want to give careful thought about the message you’re passing on to them.

Isn’t it true that we tend to think of ethics, and a sense of justice, as inbred qualities every person has from birth? And yes, we are born with a conscience and a sense of fairness. But ethics and justice go deeper than that. For one thing, true ethics and social justice go beyond standing up for your own self. Ideally, they lead to standing up in defense of others. A deep sense of justice should motivate you to defend those who don’t have the ability or the opportunity to defend themselves. It takes real courage to stand up against a flawed institution.

Think about the #MeToo movement. There are many brave women who have stood up and come forward to reveal their experiences with abuse of power. But an equal number, if not more, of men and women who have not personally experienced abuse, have chosen to stand up right alongside them, helping lend strength to their voice. There are situations where one woman has become the public face amidst a sea of anonymous accusers, giving more credibility to the accusations.

Why is this culture of abuse and sexual harassment so prevalent in the first place? Because for years, sexual harassment was viewed as “normal.” Almost every woman has experienced some sort of unwanted sexual advances. It has gotten to the point where many women consider it a part of starting and advancing in their career. And many men come up in universities and corporations being led to believe that with power and prestige come the freedom to do whatever they want.

The issue of ethics and social justice are taught skills and qualities. Most young people haven’t yet been exposed to the corruption that is possible with unlimited power, money, and other resources. They have no experience dealing with these issues. It is our job as parents, educators and mentors to prepare them for what lies ahead in their careers and lives.

How can we help the next generation to create a world where there is no #MeToo? 
  • Create and enforce boundaries. It is absolutely vital that children learn to establish and enforce personal boundaries. They must learn that no matter how much power or influence the person asking has, they have the right to control what they do and allow others to do to them. Children must learn to stand up for themselves, even in the face of powerful people. Also teach them to respect other people’s physical and emotional boundaries.
  • Discuss and deconstruct gender roles and biases. There is nothing wrong with boys playing with trucks and girls dressing up like a princess. But make sure your kids know that they don’t have to fit into a certain box based on their gender. They can’t expect other kids to act a certain way or prefer certain things based on their gender, either.
  • Engage young people in meaningful discussions. Sexual harassment sadly begins early. Students experience it, and those who don’t, will hear about it on the news and through social media. Educators should engage their classes in conversations on the topic. Ask students questions, let them express themselves. This helps young people see that sexual harassment is not a taboo subject. It is something that can and should be discussed openly.
  • Teach young people to be each other’s allies, not just bystanders. Help the children in your life learn how to act as allies and support their peers when they see something. Teach them “ally behavior” – supporting the victim by saying something in the moment to try to stop the situation or telling a trusted adult about what happened.
  • Show them they are not alone. It is well known that someone is more willing to report a crime or challenge authority, if at least one other person joins her. So communicate with your children and make sure they know they have someone in their corner. School administrators and counsellors can create a culture in which students feel comfortable reporting problems by being approachable and showing empathy when students come forward. 
Could you use some help engaging your children in discussions about sexual harassment and helping them navigate through this tumultuous world? Or perhaps you’re coming to terms with experience that in hindsight feels like abuse? Contact my office in Jantzen Beach to schedule an appointment. With the pressures and time constraints of work and school, you may want to advantage of my online therapy option.

Make sure to sign-up for my newsletter to kept updated on the release of my newest book, “WHEN EMPATHY FAILS: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you.” If you’ve felt powerless in the face of abuse by someone with severe Empathy Dysfunction and are ready to take back your power, please grab a copy as soon as it’s available.

How Spirituality Can Help You Survive the Autism Disconnect

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Discover how to survive spiritually with an Aspergers partner who wants to know who you are…but just doesn't get your whole body-mind-spirit connection.Spirituality defines us and connects us with others. It’s an essential third element of the body/mind/spirit connection that makes us truly balanced. It involves a self-awareness and internal dialog that, over time, identifies who we are as individuals, where we fit into the world, why we’re here, what gives purposeful meaning to life. These are deeply introspective questions we all must struggle with at some point in our lives.

Spirit is that singular life force that directs and shapes our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors. At the best of times, a person may take a lifetime to come to grips with their spirituality. However, concepts such as these are difficult for those with Autism Spectrum Disorder to grasp.

The author of "Spirituality and the Autism Spectrum," Abe Isanon presents us with a dilemma when it comes to sharing our inner life with a loved one on the Autism Spectrum. He discusses how difficult it is for our Aspies to come to terms with their humanity and their spiritual nature, when they can neither reflect upon, nor express their own life experiences. (To get a glimpse into the Autistic mind, Mary Hynes, on CBC Radio Tapestry, delivers an interesting interview about spirituality with Temple Grandin and Anthony Easton who are both on the spectrum. It’s entitled: “Through a Different Lens: Autism and the Divine.”)

Because of this disconnect, Aspies lack insight and empathy into who we are, which can leave their caregivers and loved ones bereft. Just because someone in your family isn’t spiritual, doesn’t mean you can’t survive spiritually. In fact, we must never give up on love, faith and hope. It’s what keeps us going.

At our next free teleconference we’ll talk about how to survive spiritually with a partner who may want to know who we are. . .but they just don't get the whole picture. And the missing piece isn't small is it? One Aspie husband said of his wife, that she had dreams for her life, "But I don't have dreams; I am not sure what dreams really are."

If you’re a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join us for our free teleconference Aspergers and Spiritual Survival on Thursday, June 1, 2017 at 9:00 AM PT. The focus of this call will explore this difficult subject and how to survive the loss.

Also, if you haven’t read my book, “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”, you can get your first chapter free by clicking here. This book has become an important resource for those who want to understand their Aspie partners better.

Muffled Love – Why Aspie Love Is Different

Monday, May 08, 2017


I’ve often been criticized for saying Aspies lack empathy; perhaps another way to consider Aspie love is that it’s muffled – they feel but can’t express it.One morning I was trying to fathom how Aspies love. I’ve often been criticized that I’m wrong to say that those with ASD lack empathy. Perhaps another way to consider Aspie love is that it’s "muffled;" filtered through a system of fits and starts and blind alleys and occasionally smooth sailing.

Empathy is far more than a collection of sensitivities. For example, the human body is 90% water with some chemicals mixed in, but I doubt that anyone would think this concoction of water and chemicals constitutes a human being. The same is true of empathy. Empathy is much more than the sum of its parts. Empathy is a marvelous symphony of instruments, musicians, composer, conductor and audience. It’s an interaction that creates the thrill of the concert. Just the same with love; it’s the interaction that makes it the art of loving.

I suspect what is so confusing about an Aspie's love is that it’s not complete. They may feel love in their heart, but never express it to you. They may melt into tears when they see an animal in distress, but have no compassion for your suffering. They may bristle with defensiveness if criticized but feel no compunction when criticizing you. The occasional offering of love stalled by a moment of disconnect is not loving, is it?

I’ve known enough Aspies to realize that they do feel love, of a sort, but it isn’t the reciprocal love we expect and have with others. The love is there inside them but it’s hidden by those blind alleys, so we have to assume it’s there. How confusing.

If you’re a member of my Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join us as we discuss this topic during our next free teleconference entitled: Muffled Love. It will be on Thursday, May 18th at 3PM PT. If you’re a NT in an Aspie/NT relationship and haven’t joined yet, please feel free to do so. Not only will you learn a lot, but you’ll find a group of very supportive members who understand what you’re going through.

If you’d prefer a one-on-one with me to ask questions, please take advantage of my Asperger Syndrome Remote Education. It’s not therapy, but it will help you have a deeper understanding of how Autism impacts your life. Not sure what we can talk about? Reading a free chapter from my book, “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”, will give you a place to start. Click on the image below to download your complimentary copy.

Setting Up the Next Generation for Success

Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Child holding parent's handWhen you ask a parent what they want for their children, most will tell you that they want them to be happy and successful. Success is a broad term, though. Success can equate with academic achievements, community influence, and wealth. It can also refer to character. Most parents want their children to develop industriousness, generosity, and kindness.

However you measure success, what does it take to get there? Does your child’s success depend on wealth, the best schools, a nuclear family arrangement…?

The New York Times published the article, “What Does It Take to Climb Up the Ladder?”, and I found it intriguing. It examined the less-easily measured qualities that lead to success, like resiliency, curiosity, and self-control in relation to socio-economic and family status. What was interesting to me is that family money, in and of itself, is not a determining factor in development of these character qualities. What has more bearing on character development is the structure of the family unit.

How so? The young people who struggle the most come from broken homes, often from single-parent households. This quote from the article really sums it up: “Family disruption perpetuates disadvantage by creating barriers to the development of cognitive and noncognitive skills, which in turn sharply reduces access to college. The lack of higher education decreases life chances, including the likelihood of achieving adequate material resources and a stable family structure for the next generation.”

While this is interesting, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Children from a wealthy, stable, well-educated family can lack the resiliency and grit to make it through life successfully. On the other hand, many wonderful humans come from single-parent or disadvantaged households.

Whatever your family situation is, here are some tips to help raise successful children:

Embrace an authoritative parenting style. Authoritative parents are rational, receptive, and flexible. They encourage independence in their children, but give them only as much responsibility as they can handle. Instead of demanding blind obedience, they set clear rules and are willing to explain those rules to their children. Children of authoritative parents are independent, assertive, self-confident, and socially responsible and tend to do well academically. Because they are allowed room to try new things on their own, these children are well aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and are ready to work on both.

Model the behaviors you want to see in your children. Your children see everything you do, and soak it up like a sponge! Make sure your actions are saying what you want them to say. Be honest and authentic.

Don’t focus too much on achievement. Of course, you are proud of your child when they get good grades or excel in some other way. But are those individual achievements really what’s most important? Isn’t it the journey? True success comes from teamwork. The most successful people surround themselves with talented people who make up for what they lack. If you focus too much on the individual achievements of your children, they will not learn how to work with others, ask for help, and may give up out of discouragement.

Offer praise (but not too much). Children need praise to build their self-esteem, but not so much that they depend on praise from others to feel good about themselves. Their confidence must come from within. When you do praise your children, praise the effort they put in to something.

Say no. This simple, but powerful technique is key to raising a successful child. It teaches children to work hard for what they want, and to be patient when they have to wait for it. Help them set goals and create a plan to achieve them. This will teach your children how to deal with the initial disappointment, and refocus on the goal ahead.

Parenting is never easy and sometimes you find yourself unprepared to deal with a challenge. Rather than spinning your wheels and getting more and more frustrated with your child, talk to a family counselor. The right advice and the right time can save you and your family a lot of heartache. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, please contact my office to set up an appointment.

Empathy 101: Understanding the Neurotypical/Asperger Relationship

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Empathy 101: Understanding the Neurotypical – Asperger RelationshipEmpathy is a complex, multi-faceted skillset that allows a person to clearly recognize the other person, while holding constant their own feelings and thoughts. It’s respecting the boundaries of the other person. You don't confuse their pain or thoughts with your own.

Furthermore, the highest level of empathy is what I call "Radiant Empathy," or the ability to care for the feelings and thoughts of others without any need for reciprocity. It takes a lifetime to develop Radiant Empathy because it’s the combination of a healthy brain and life experience.

Asperger’s Syndrome is an empathy disorder, the result of the person not having a Theory of Mind. Basically, they don’t easily recognize that another person has beliefs, desires, intentions, feelings and perspectives that differ from their own (unless it is specifically pointed out). Empathy is a complex system that requires the brain to connect Emotional Empathy and Cognitive Empathy.

Neurotypical persons in relationships with those with Asperger’s Syndrome expect and need empathy, but they don’t receive it. This makes them feel so alone, depressed, and socially isolated. They suffer from numerous stress-related chronic illnesses, because no one really understands what they’re going through.

Once you understand the quality of empathy that is part of every breath you take… and is totally absent in your Aspie, you can better navigate this life. Furthermore, this understanding also helps you redirect your energy to take better care of yourself and to embrace a more loving reality. This doesn't mean everything works out; it just means that you're more in charge. That can feel good.

If you’re a member of our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join us for the next teleconference, Empathy 101 on Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 3:00 PM.

Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to read a free chapter of “Out of Mind – Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD)”. This book discusses the science behind Aspie behavior and how you can initiate the rules of engagement that help your Aspie give you the emotional support that you need.


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