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Kathy Marshack News

Recommendations from Family and Partners of Adults with ASD

Friday, December 14, 2012


Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group was a dream that I had for a long time and it became a reality in 2009. We currently have 474 online members including many from other countries. Our monthly support group meetings are going strong as well as our online message board discussion groups. The stories that pour in are amazing. They are from real people, living a real life as family or partners of an adult with Asperger Syndrome.    


Members online have been sharing resources that they have personally found helpful in regard to being in a relationship with an Aspie. I have decided to share these recommendations through my blog. Who better else to share what works than those who are dealing with it day in and day out?   


I have compiled a few of the recommended resources to share:   


Books


Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work by Katrin Bentley   

No Team Player by Judith Newton   

The Asperger Couples Workbook: Practical Advice and Activities for Couples and Counselors by Maxine Aston   


Websites   

  

Prosper with Aspergers: Autism Facts and Solutions   


The Neurotypical Site   


If you have any recommendations for books, websites, and other Asperger resources, become a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD online support group. I will continue to post these recommendations regularly on my blog. Thank you for your continued support.   


If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join us in person on January 19, 2013 for a discussion on this topic - Should I give up?   


Click here to read additional Asperger Syndrome Recommended Links

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome

Friday, November 16, 2012


Great news! My new book, Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome, is finished. I wrote this book to specifically address the unique issues that come up when you’re co-parenting with an Asperger Syndrome partner.


In this book, there are extremes on both ends such as poignant stories with deep despair along with progressive thrills of discovery. I focus on the harsh realities that NTs (Neuro-Typicals or without Asperger’s) face when co-parenting with an Aspie. I discuss the NTs’ fears and anguish and losses. I also give you hope and ideas on how to co-parent more successfully. But it is important to recognize that if we don’t reveal the dark side of these relationships, we can’t search for solutions to the all too real problems of the AS/NT family. The last thing I want to do is leave NT parents with the feeling that they are alone. Erasing that aloneness is the first step toward parenting successfully with an Aspie co-parent.

If you’re parenting with an AS partner, I believe you should learn all you can about Asperger Syndrome because information clears up the mystery of the Aspie behavior. This will help you detach from the emotional distress of reacting to those not-so-ordinary moments.

Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome will be available very soon. I am eagerly anticipating its release and will keep you updated through my blog and the Enriching Your Life Newsletter.

Until then, please download a free sample chapter! If you live in the Portland, Oregon/Vancouver, Washington area, please join me for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group on November 17, 2012. The topic for discussion is "How to Find and Work with a Decent Psychotherapist." Hope to see you there.

How to Avoid Communication Problems in Family Businesses

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Bad communication is a major pitfall for family businesses. If families in business together do not learn how to properly communicate, the business and more importantly, the family will suffer. Poor communication or miscommunication is commonplace because not everyone is a naturally born communicator. It is a skill that has to be developed.


Before a complete communication breakdown, there are usually a few minor missteps that occur. Consider a few of this missteps and how to avoid them. 


Using a filter.  Humans have the tendency to only hear what they want to hear. Our desires, our past experiences, and what we focus on are filters. Filters shape how we listen and how we respond. So, when in conversation, ask yourself if a filter is shaping what you are hearing and speaking. If it is, remove it.  


Complaining. If there is a problem that needs to be solved, don’t be a complainer. Constant complaining is like a nail on a chalkboard and it doesn’t accomplish anything but aggravate the people around you. If there is a problem, speak about the problem and how to solve it. 


Poorly chosen words. You have heard it a million times, but it must be repeated. Think before you speak. Words have the power to cause a lot of damage and it is hard to erase what you say. So instead of saying something you will regret, think about it in advance. If you need time to think, ask politely to resume the discussion after putting some thought into the manner. 


Families in business can learn much about proper communication by enlisting the help of a family therapistContact my office if you are interested in setting up an appointment. 


My book - Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home – is also available for purchase and is highly beneficial for helping entrepreneurial couples to be better communicators. I’ve recently released it as an ebook. Download it and share a copy with your spouse for easy and convenient access via laptop or tablet. Take it with you on your next vacation or business trip! Click here to order your copy.

Tips on Landing a Job When You Have Asperger Syndrome

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Do you or someone you know have Asperger Syndrome? Are they looking for a job? Since Asperger Syndrome impairs nonverbal social interaction, landing and keeping a job can be intimidating. Would like to know how to effectively navigate through this situation?

The book, The Hidden Curriculum of Getting and Keeping a Job: Navigating the Social Landscape of Employment A Guide for Individuals with Autism Spectrum and Other Social-Cognitive Challenges, is a practical guide for teaching the "unwritten rules." These "unwritten rules" are not so obvious for someone on the spectrum. For instance, how to talk to your supervisor, networking, or dealing with frustration.

Two of the three authors are on the spectrum and can speak from experience. I recommend it for anyone on the spectrum, young or old, who is looking for work or looking to improve their social skills in the workplace.

AAPC is the publisher of The Hidden Curriculum. Click here if you are interested in purchasing your own copy.

Autism's Context Blindness

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Mind blindness has become a common phrased used to explain the lack of empathy exhibited by individuals with autism. It has been used to explain the disconnect between social and emotional cognition. The facts are clear to an individual with autism, but non verbal communication or body language is lost due to mind blindness. Understanding mind blindness has been a critical part to understanding the autistic brain. According to some new research...there may be another type of blindness known as context blindness.

Dr. Peter Vermeulen discusses context blindness is his new book, Autism as Context Blindness. Vermeulen says, "The term context has its own intriguing historical context. Context comes from the Latin word contextus, the past continuous tense of contexere, which means to 'weave' or 'entwine.'" Context shapes our responses to life. For a person without autism (referred to as a neuro-tyical in the autistic world), life is relative or depends on the context. For someone with autism, life is absolute. Absolute is necessary to certain aspects in life, but not when it comes to social interaction.

NT's are always in the process of weaving a tapestry of relationships within relationships. Other people are how we come to know ourselves and our lives. NT's feel bereft without the connecting that is so important to us. Aspies cannot see the forest for the trees.

We will be discussing Context Blindness on September 15, 2012 at 1:00 in Portland, Oregon for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. Until then, pick up a copy of Autism as Context Blindness or click here to read Dr. Vermeulen's article: Autism: From Mind Blindness to Context Blindness. This new light may prove to be ground breaking.

My upcoming book, Parenting with a Spouse or Partner with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind, Out of Sight will discuss context blindness with regard to parenting with an Asperger partner. Click here to read a free sample chapter. 

Sweat the Small Stuff When Co-Parenting With an Asperger Partner

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Have you ever heard the expression, "Don't sweat the small stuff?" I'm sure you have. Sadly this expression does not work if you are co-parenting with an Asperger partner. (Asperger Syndrome is a high form of autism. Common symptoms include lack of empathy, impaired use of nonverbal behavior to regulate social behavior, and lack of social and emotional reciprocity. For more information, visit Asperger Syndrome Frequently Asked Questions)

When you are in a relationship with an Aspie and co-parenting, your life is turned upside down every day because of the "small stuff." Small stuff is the problem and if you ignore it, it may lead to dire consequences. What can you do to work through this problem? Learn to attend to the things that you can and let the rest go. Easier said than done, right?

You may not be able to change the situation you are in, but you can change how to react or respond. In order to do this in a healthy and positive way, you must take care of yourself. Learn all that you can about Asperger Syndrome. Doing this will help you somewhat to detach from emotional distress you face while dealing with the small things. Also, take out a little time for yourself every day. That may sound impossible, but if you do not, you will spiral down into a dark place and then who will be there for your family? So, prioritize and drop the rest.

My upcoming book is entitled, Parenting with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Out of Mind, Out of Sight. A FREE sample chapter is available for download. You can also checkout my AAPC bestseller, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge?, which focuses on relationships and marriage with an Asperger partner.

If you live in the area you can join me May 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM in Portland, Oregon for the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group. We will be discussing, "Would we marry them again?"

Entrepreneurial Couples: Does Making Money Mean Spending It?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


When I first met them, Barb and Kevin they were on the brink of divorce. As an entrepreneurial couple (Barb a solo entrepreneur and Kevin a well-paid sales executive), they had the ability to create considerable wealth, but they were always at the point of financial ruin.

Instead of planning for wealth, instead of examining their beliefs about money, instead of working out a life plan together, Barb and Kevin just spent their money. They bought a huge house in the country for their four children, which required long commutes for everyone. They bought expensive cars. They bought a horse for their oldest daughter and paid for private riding lessons. They bought minibikes for their sons. And they recently sold one boat only to buy themselves a bigger one.

When Barb and Kevin sought my help, divorce was a foregone conclusion. Their debts were so large that they could not afford to cut back at work. In fact, they had to work longer hours to make ends meet. Therefore, they had no time for each other and to nurture the marital relationship. They also had no time for their children, who were now reacting to the lack of parental attention and supervision. The older children started turning in failing grades at school, and one son was regularly being suspended for fighting. The younger children were quiet and frightened; never knowing if their parents were going to fight, they hid in their rooms a lot.

Barb and Kevin thought that making money meant spending it. As they fulfilled one desire, another arose to take its place. As they made more money to pay or their increasing desires, they needed more. They lost track of why they had married in the first place. They lost track of what was exciting and appealing about their careers; their careers became just a way to feed their ever-increasing desires.

They tried to handle the enormous responsibility of rearing four children by buying them things, expensive things, and sending them to fancy summer camps. There is nothing inherently wrong with making money, nor with spending it. However, like everything else in life, if money matters outweigh everything else, there are likely to be unhealthy repercussions. It may seem contrary to common sense that satisfying a desire creates yet another desire, but this is a basic principle of human nature.

It is important, especially for entrepreneurial couples, to take the time to assess your values about money. In my book Entrepreneurial Couples - Making it Work at Work and at Home there are many self-assessment exercises, including one on Your Financial Plan. Self-Assessment is a good place to start in reeducating yourself about money, redefining your attitudes about wealth, and planning for the healthy management of your wealth. With clear values guiding your life plan, you are in a much better position to accomplish your goals, achieve wealth, and maintain a healthy balance between love and work. If, on the other hand, you are not aware of the values that guide you, you can fall into money traps just like Barb and Kevin.

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.

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.

Do You Feel Alone in an Asperger Relationship?

Friday, May 20, 2011


Do you feel alone even though you have a family? This is a common feeling for neurotypicals (NTs) who are in an Asperger marriage or have a family member with Asperger Syndrome. Even though you have a family, you can still feel very alone. Rest assured that your family member loves you, but they are blind to the emotional needs that you have. This is known as "mind-blindness." You may logically be able to comprehend this fact about your loved one, but after time, it can take a toll on you emotionally and even physically.

Your family may not understand what you are going through, but there are others who do. There are many men and women who are in the same situation, coping with the loneliness that comes from being in an Asperger relationship. How can you find each other ? By joining Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD. Time and time again, I hear our members refer to this group as a "family." Its intent is not to replace the family you have, but rather extend it by filling the emotional needs that each individual has. I find it an honor to be a part of this unique family circle.

If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area, I encourage your attendance. Some upcoming topics for discussion are: Is your body taking a beating? Is Asperger’s a disconnect between cognitive and emotional empathy? Is your Asperger partner or loved one a survivor?

If you do not live locally, look for a support group for families of Asperger Syndrome in your area. You are also welcome to join our site and participate on the message boards. We have lively discussions and would love to hear from you. Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD

Also you may find my book helpful. Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge? is available for purchase. The book primarily focuses on the NT in the relationship and how to guide yourself through these unique relationships. Click here to download a free sample chapter.


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