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Kathy Marshack News

Living with an Aspie – How to Find Freedom from Blame and Shame

Wednesday, May 04, 2016


We often feel shame when dealing with our Aspies, because they can't put themselves in our shoes, they tend to find fault or blame us for misunderstandings.When you’re living in an Asperger home, you may often end up feeling that it’s all your fault, that you should have better control of your home life and family relationships. We often feel shame when dealing with our Aspies who lack empathy. Because they can't put themselves in our shoes, they tend to find fault or blame us for misunderstandings.

Why do those with Asperger’s Syndrome blame others?

This is a natural byproduct of an empathy disorder, unless the Aspie develops a strong moral code. It’s harder to take responsibility for a misunderstanding (or other interpersonal breakdown) when you don't have empathy to compare yourself to another. As a result Aspies can become quite manipulative, narcissistic and engage in the Blame Game.

Furthermore, we NTs may also be blamed for overreacting to our Aspies. I know I used to be called on the carpet for not "controlling" my Aspie daughter's public meltdowns. I was accused right on the spot of being a "bad" mother.

That's where the shame comes in. If you are blamed long enough, and you have made a mistake or two in the relationship, you might take on responsibility for too much and feel Shame. Shame is also a natural byproduct of living daily with a blaming spouse or partner or acting out Aspie child.

What can you do?

If you’re a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, you’re invited to the next free TeleConference where we’ll be discussion: Freedom from Blame and Shame. It will be held on Thursday, May 12th at 2:30 PM PDT.

Please join us for a rousing discussion on how to free yourself from Shame by breaking up the Blame/Shame Game. It's not enough to understand what's happening to you. You need strategies to take back your life and to know how truly wonderful you are!

Are you a neurotypical (one who doesn’t have Asperger’s) and you’re living in an Asperger home and haven’t joined Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD yet? It’s a free worldwide Meetup where you find support and understanding. Why not join us today?

Another option available to you: If you would like more one-on-one counseling and you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

How to Handle the Loneliness of a NT/ASD Relationship

Friday, April 15, 2016


The loneliness you feel in your relationship with one who has Asperger’s (ASD) is heartbreaking, leaving you emotionally bereft, but there is help and hope…I often hear from new members of our Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group, or those who have found my books, that they finally don't feel so alone. They’re stunned that someone knows what they live with. They tell me that the stories in my books are nearly identical to their own. And they wonder how that’s possible!

It's possible because I know only too well the loneliness of life with Aspies. When I was first coming to terms with the loneliness and how to take back my life, there was no one to help me. There were no books, no knowledgeable psychotherapists, and not even friends anymore. Not only was I alone and trying to parent two children with special needs, but I was dragged into a hostile divorce that intrigued the community (e.g. more than once my situation was front page news).

The main thing that saved me was writing my books. I knew that there had to be others like me. I had a few clients with the same dilemmas too. When I sat down to draft my books, I felt free. Finally I was freely expressing myself about the convoluted life of ASD/NT relationships.

The second thing that saved me was starting the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD group. Inviting all of you into a worldwide community has made all of the difference to me. We come from all walks of life, from every continent. We speak many languages and celebrate a variety of cultural traditions. Yet we instantly understand each other when we share our stories about ourselves and our Aspies.

If you’re a member of this group, you’re invited to the next free TeleConference where we’ll be discussion: How to handle the loneliness. It will be held on Thursday, April 21st at 2:30 PM PDT. Join us as we break down the loneliness barriers. Come prepared to share your successes and your dilemmas. After all we’re a community and we’re here to support you and to gain support.

One recent member was helped so much by this group that she said: “Thank you for creating this group. Since learning about ASD, my husband has done a lot of work on his emotional awareness and responsiveness, in therapy and on his own. We're doing well! Thanks again for the support.”

If you’re a NT in an Aspie relationship – whether with a spouse, parent, partner, or child – know that there is a community of people waiting to welcome you with open arms. Join the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup group and start getting acquainted today.

Read more on my website: Asperger & Marriage and Asperger Syndrome Support.

How Do You Deal with Conflict - Capitulate, Compromise or Detach?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


When dealing with conflict do you compromise, capitulate or detachIt’s inevitable in any relationship that there will be conflict. No two people are going to always see eye-to-eye on everything. That’s why communication is called the lifeblood of a relationship. The sooner you talk out the problem, the better.

But what if you’re married to someone with Asperger’s Syndrome? It’s not their fault that they have trouble communicating their thoughts and feelings and can’t understand yours. They try their best within the framework that we built with them.

But to build a framework that supports you and your Aspie partner takes work and a special understanding of your own needs and that of your partner. At times, the lack of empathy demonstrated by Aspie loved ones may lead you to lose sight of your own reality so that you collapse into agonizing despair. This type of mental and emotional confusion needs powerful therapy to break through the faulty reasoning that is a result of using NT logic to make sense of the Asperger world.

Oftentimes, it just feels easier to capitulate, compromise or detach. Yet, none of these options sound good do they? I mean when you just want to be heard and understood and maybe even get your way once in awhile. . . why does it have to be soooo hard? But Asperger/NT relationships are very hard. That’s why we need to support one another and share our success and challenges.

If you’re a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup, please join our next Free TELECONFERENCE: Capitulate, Compromise or Detach Thursday, March 31, 2016 at 2:00 PM. We’ll explore the options to navigating a conversation with our Aspies. Yes, we still have to use a lot of capitulating, compromising and detaching to get anything accomplished, but there might be a few other tricks to move the conversation along toward a mutually satisfying agreement. Come prepared with questions and solutions. I don't have all of the answers either. I do know, however, that when the mood is right, and I am very centered, it does go better.

Please note: This call is for NT members only. Do not invite your Aspies. Please find a private place to listen away from others, so everyone's privacy is respected.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and would like some in-person help with your NT/AS relationship issues, please contact my office and schedule an appointment so we can find the strategies that help you and your family thrive.

Read more on my website: Asperger and Marriage.

Asperger Syndrome Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup is Filling an Incredible Need

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


The Asperger Syndrome Partners and Family of Adults with ASD MeetupCan you believe it’s been seven years? The free Asperger Syndrome Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup was founded on April 5, 2009. And I’ve been offering the free international teleconference for two years now! Our first teleconference was held on February 21, 2014, and the worldwide response has been phenomenal! People are signing up months in advance.

There’s so little support for families with children on the Autism Spectrum. And there’s next to nothing for partners and families with adults on the Spectrum. This Meetup group and my books are really filling that gap.

If you’re a member of the Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Meetup group, you know about the monthly free international teleconference and the paid video conferences.

Here’s what one of our participants said about a recent Video Conference:

“This group has been a lifeline to me and I can see it is for so many others as well. Even though we were not in the same room, and even though we didn't have time to say very much; seeing each other's faces and expressions and interest level – on top of the fact that we "get" each other – was a monumentally positive experience. Very encouraging and uplifting, and the information learned was vital.”

However, there are many other resources within the Meetup dashboard that you may not know about…

When you're a member of the group, you can listen to past teleconferences. Go to Discussions Tab, scroll down the page and click on Teleconference Meetups folder. Select the topic you wish to hear. Or login and click on this link to take you to the index of topics. Note: The more intimate video conferences are not recorded!

When you become a member of the group, you can also join ongoing discussions around informational, inspirational and fun topics.


If you’re cautious about preserving your anonymity, you can use a pseudonym. However, we’ve made this a safe place to express yourself freely, so most members feel very comfortable with simply using their first name. Remember, this is a group for Neurotypical family members to get the support they need in dealing with the craziness of living with someone on the Spectrum. If that describes your situation, feel free to join us today.

Free International Teleconference: Should you Stay or Leave Your NT/AS Marriage

Monday, February 08, 2016


stay or leave your asperger syndrome-neuro typical marriageBreaking up is hard to do for any married couple. When Asperger’s Syndrome is thrown into the mix, the question of staying or leaving becomes especially poignant.

I don't know how many times I have heard neurotypical partners of a NT/AS marriage say, "I'm staying . . . for now." The sadness and heartbreak is intense in these words. Yet there’s hope that the relationship will turn around. Or perhaps the speaker is aware that they have no other options. Another possibility is that commitments to children outweigh leaving a disastrous marriage. However, "staying for now" is a strange place to be, isn't it? Not quite a commitment. Not quite an answer to the painful dilemma of these relationships.

The February FREE International Asperger Syndrome Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Teleconference will address this topic: To Stay or To Leave. You can tie in by telephone on Thursday, February 18, 2016 at 2:30 PM PDT. Already 39 people have signed up because they’re so eager and hungry to be heard and learn how to make their NT/AS marriages survive and thrive if it’s at all possible. Often there are 50 to 60 people from all over the globe who call in. No matter where you live, you can gain free access to this call.
After I make a short introduction and presentation, I’ll open the call for questions from the audience and systematically work to get to all of your questions. Don’t worry! It’s very organized. Everyone doesn’t talk at once.

Let's meet to share ways we "stay for now." While some have progressed beyond this place and others are just waking up to what living with an Aspie is all about, there is a huge group in the middle. How do you do it? How do others do it? Let's share our collective wisdom.

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.

Aspie Rants, Meltdowns and the Silent Treatment – What Can You Do?

Monday, February 01, 2016


Conversing with ones who have Asperger’s is fraught with stress, because you never know how they’ll react – the rants, meltdowns, or the silent treatment hurt. A conversation with some who has Asperger’s Syndrome is fraught with stress. You never know how they’ll react to the simplest of statements. Whether your Aspie rants, or melts down into a rage or torrent of tears, or gives you that blank look and walks away, you feel rejected, confused and abused.

An Aspie client of mine once threatened me with quitting therapy because he claimed I was "judgmental." He said he could get better therapy from the Internet. He told me he just wanted to get the anger out of his head but that my judgmental behavior got in his way. I thought for a moment and had an epiphany. "Do you just want to rant with no interference from me?" He looked at me with surprise and said, "Of course. That's the type of therapy that works for me!"

I don't consider listening to my clients rant very effective therapy. It just reinforces anger. On the other hand it may be a place to start.

But what do you do when you aren't the psychologist? How can you explore the confusing logic and sensory system of our Aspies and figure out why they dissolve over the simplest of human interactions? And in the process, how do you support yourself during these extreme emotional reactions? It overwhelms our sensory system too. So how do you hang in there with your loved ones and still take care of yourself?

The February Video Conference will address this topic: Rants, Meltdowns and the Silent Treatment. You can choose from either of these two convenient time slots, Thursday, February 4, 2016 at 8:30 AM or Thursday, February 25, 2016 at 4:00 PM. These sessions will NOT be recorded, so make sure you honor your commitment to attend. The price is $15.00 and there are a few spots still open. Let's discuss this mysterious need to rant, control, and hide from strong emotions. And in the process, let’s support each other as we learn to cope.

Also, be sure to read a free chapter of “Our 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.

Don’t Be a Victim in Your Asperger Relationship

Monday, January 04, 2016


don't be a victim in your asperger relationshipJanuary is a great month to commit to New Year's Resolutions. It’s a time to reflect on what’s happening and look for opportunities to improve the quality of your life.

Over the last year in our video conferences, we've been talking talk about the stress of life with an adult with Asperger Syndrome (or ASD). It’s been a relief for many to talk about this because we all need that acknowledgment that we are not alone. However, if all we do is focus on what's wrong, we can sink into a depression that’s so severe we cut ourselves off from hope. We can become so negative in our thinking that we feel like victims and act like it too.

Learning to thrive in the face of such hardship is the ticket. Truly resilient people have a number of traits that we can learn. For example, they accept what is and stop wishing for the impossible. They also believe that no matter how hard it gets, there’s a way to survive and thrive…even if they don't know how to do it yet. They turn to good friends for support and love. And if all else fails they turn to their religious and spiritual foundations (or should this be first?).


The January Video Conference will discuss this topic: Thriver or Victim? You can choose from either of these two convenient time slots, Thursday, January 7, 2016 at 8:30 AM or Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 4:00 PM. These sessions will NOT be recorded, so make sure you honor your commitment to attend. The price is still $15.00 and there are a few spots open.

We’ll share inspiration on how to thrive in the face of adversity, especially when so few people really know what we go through. Let's also help each other out of the stuck, depressed spot. We've all been there more than once. Helping others is one trait of resilience too.

Dashed! Crashed! Trashed! Is That How Your Aspie Relationship Has You Feeling?

Wednesday, November 04, 2015


support group for families with adults with asperger syndromeMost of you who live with a family member with Asperger’s Syndrome can instantly relate to these feelings. Living with the Aspie Mind means that your hopes are frequently dashed. It means that your spirit/mind/body crashes from time to time too. And in spite of your best intentions, your Aspie trashes you and your efforts to repair the relationship. Rather than ignoring these feelings, it’s time to address this problem head on. If you’re to repair your relationship you absolutely must take care of yourself instead of fall victim.

Furthermore, relationship repairs are required daily in these Asperger/Neuro-typical marriages and families. The communication problems are intense as you well know. But before you can be successful at managing your life, you really must understand the phenomena of dashing, crashing and trashing.

Have you been looking for a supportive group that “gets” what you’re going through in dealing with your Aspie family member? Learn more about the November paid Video Call on the topic: Dashed! Crashed! Trashed! It will help you parse the system that may lead to dashing, crashing, and trashing by your Aspie. We’ll discuss how to keep yourself safe, how to rebuild your inner life . . . and how to hold people accountable for their behavior. Each Video Call is held twice a month so you can choose the most convenient time for you. Register early, because these calls fill up quickly.

If you want to understand those with Asperger’s better and how to make your family thrive, please make the time to read my books, Going Over the Edge? and Out of Mind – Out of Sight.

Understanding the Aspie Mind – Our Next Video Call Topic

Monday, October 19, 2015


Understanding the aspie mindIt is often said that "Once you have met one Aspie, you have met only one Aspie."

While it’s true that those with Asperger’s Syndrome (Aspies) are as individualistic and idiosyncratic as Neuro Typicals (NT), there are patterns that define them that are distinctively autistic. It’s important to be alert to these patterns and to develop strategies to communicate and cope.

The major defining pattern in Autism Spectrum Disorders is their lack of empathy or the inability to connect and reciprocate in their relationships. The Aspie may care, may want to connect, but their lack of empathy prevents it. On the other hand NTs use empathy as a major organizing principle for how we think and plan and relate to everyone and everything. Obviously these are two very different mindsets.

Instead of bemoaning what they lack, let's take a look at how they construct meaning. In other words, if you are to relate to an Aspie and to teach them to relate to you, you need to understand how they think.

We had our first monthly Video Call on this subject already. Will you be joining us on October 29th at 2PM PT where we’ll discuss the same topic: Understand the Aspie Mind? The goal of this Video Call is to bring these two worlds together; the world of empathy inspired relating and the world of Aspie relating. We’ll examine this phenomenon of empathy disorders and then we’ll take it a step further by looking at the mind of the Aspie.

Here’s what one of our participants said about a recent Video Call:

“This group has been a lifeline to me and I can see it is for so many others as well. Even though we were not in the same room, and even though we didn't have time to say very much; seeing each other's faces and expressions and interest level – on top of the fact that we "get" each other – was a monumentally positive experience. Very encouraging and uplifting, and the information learned was vital.”

Have you been looking for a supportive group that “gets” what you’re going through in dealing with your Aspie husband or wife? Learn more about the paid Video Call or the free International Conference for families that deal with Asperger Syndrome.

If you want to understand those with Asperger’s better and how to make your family thrive, please make the time to read my books, Going Over the Edge? and Out of Mind – Out of Sight.

Hapa Aspie – How Can We Help Children Caught in Between the Asperger-Neurotypical Worlds?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Hapa Aspie refers to children raised in a family where one parent is neurotypical and one has Asperger’s, and they need help to cope with the mixed signals.Hapa is the Hawaiian slang word meaning half. Hapa Aspie is a term I coined for the children who are born and raised in a family where one of the parents is neurotypical (NT) and one has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a high functioning form of ASD.

Throughout mankind’s history there have been those who have been torn between two worlds because they’re the half – the half sister, the half brother, or even the derogatory term for mixed races.

Parenting children in a home with an Aspie parent is very complex, particularly if you have Aspie and neurotypical (NT) children. The NT spouse has to switch back and forth between the worlds of Aspie partner, Aspie children and NT children. This is also true for NT children (those who don’t have AS). Their world is a very confusing mix. At school or with friends, they can engage in the NT interactions that reinforce their perception of reality. At home, they get mixed signals. It’s hard for adults to maneuver the unusual world of Aspie/NT family life. Imagine how hard it is for NT children.

During crucial developmental stages, NT children who get different signals from their parents and their siblings learn to cope in unique ways that last a lifetime. Very often, NT children are lonely, depressed and feel invisible to others. They frequently develop a variety of Aspie-like traits, too. That’s not surprising, given that’s what is modeled for them. Whether by genetic inheritance or behavioral learning, NT children from these families acquire a unique perspective that can best be explained as Hapa Aspie. (Read more about how to help Hapa Aspie children in my book, Out of Mind-Out of Sight chapter 7.)

In order to free yourself from the confusing childhood of being raised by an Aspie parent…and in order to help your children keep their self-esteem in tact, we really need to look at this phenomenon very carefully. The usual parenting tips do not work. Nor does the usual divorce advice work.

The next free international teleconference will be held on Friday, October 23, 2015 at 2:30 PM PT and we’ll discuss this topic: What about the kids? Were you one? Please join us and bring your questions and share your strategies for parenting with a partner who has no empathy for his or her children (love maybe, but no empathy). Plus if you grew up with an Aspie parent as I did, this is your chance to clear the air for yourself and to give tips to those NTs still raising these Hapa Aspies.

If you live near Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA and need personalized counsel on helping your family come to grips with the conflicting Aspie/NT worlds, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.

 



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