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Kathy Marshack News

NEW MEETUP: ENTREPRENEURS – Making It Work for Couples and Families!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at HomeHave you ever felt alone? Like you’re the only one going through a unique situation? Of course, you know there are support groups for people with addiction problems, family crises, and so forth, but it’s hard for entrepreneurial couples to find people who understand the unique challenges you face. Many of your peers may be going through the same things, and they may complain about it, but few are talking about how to solve the problems.

I’m happy to announce that there is now a place for you to gather with fellow entrepreneurial couples who are struggling with the same issues you are such as...

  • No boundaries between home and work. 
  • A lack of intimacy because all you talk about is work.
  • No time to focus on personal rejuvenation.
  • Avoidance techniques instead of meaningful communication on problems.
  • Parenting conflicts, especially when kids begin working for the family business.

I’ve organized a monthly, local Meetup in Vancouver, Washington. If you become part of our group, you’ll be sent an email with the date, time and location.

What is a local Meetup?

Meetup is the world's largest online networking service that helps anyone organize a local group so people with similar interests can meet face-to-face. This is a great resource for entrepreneurial couples and families in business together.

You know that hard work and discipline are needed to launch a business. No less is needed to keep it going. The same is true for our loving relationships. But the pressures of work can get in the way of love. Our new Meetup group is designed to help entrepreneurs get the tools to make it work at work and at home. Learn how to meet the challenges and stresses of working with your spouse and family so you can have the best of both worlds - a successful business and a strong relationship with your family.

If you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington you can join us in person for our first Meetup ENTREPRENEURS – Making it Work for Couples and Families in May. We’ll have a chance to share a meal together and discuss our experiences and ways to look at your situation from a new perspective.

And I have more great news! I know many of you would love to be there in person but can’t because the distance is just too far to travel. I’m arranging to provide the same opportunity for meeting fellow entrepreneurial couples via a free conference call. True, we won’t be sharing a meal, but on the plus side you get to stay at home and get practical advice on how to cope with your unique entrepreneurial challenges. I know you’re going to want to take advantage of this opportunity.

The doors are open and you can sign up today to be part of this special community of people who truly know what you’re going through. And I’ll use my 30 plus years of experience as a psychologist and family business coach to guide you toward healthier thoughts and actions. Plus you’ll have access to a safe, members-only online community. See you soon.

In preparation for our Meetup and to lay the groundwork, I encourage you to grab a copy of my book, Entrepreneurial Couples Making it Work at Work and at Home.

Is There “Shame” in being Married to Someone with Asperger’s?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Asperger Syndrome Parnters and Family of Adults with ASDLet me say this right up front…No, I don’t think it’s shameful to acknowledge that your spouse suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a highly functioning form of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nor is it shameful that your spouse has Asperger’s. But, the shame associated with living with Aspies can be extreme for some.

There’s such a stigma against being “labeled” Asperger or Autistic, that Aspies may fear losing their standing in the community or their business relationships, so they don’t want anyone to know of the diagnosis, if indeed they consent to being diagnosed at all. This puts pressure on the Neuro-typical family members to hide what their lives are really like. In fact, Neuro-typicals are terrified to come out of the closet and talk about their lives.

NT family members work so hard to please the person on the spectrum that they aren’t able to live their authentic selves. The Aspie thinks everything is fine and normal, but you can see your friends having loving relationships and you know that’s not what you have. Yet, you may start doubting yourself, thinking that maybe it is your fault, blaming yourself that you’re unlovable and unreasonable in your expectations. The pressure of keeping it secret and not having anyone who understands to talk to can make you question your own sanity.

This situation is so similar to the cycle of abuse. The victim is terrified to confront the abuser. They fear retaliation. But even worse, they fear that they are wrong about the abuse . . . and the abuser.

Sadly the nature of living in these relationships is that they cause confusion and defensiveness and shame. If we are to restore our lives to sanity, we need to be honest about our feelings and our situation. This doesn't mean blame and it doesn't mean shame. It means facing the problem squarely and developing a solution that works.

If you are a member of our Meetup group, Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Families of Adults with ASD, please join us for “The Skeleton in the Closet”. We’ll be discussing questions such as…why are we afraid to discuss our feelings or complain about our Aspie family members…and why are we afraid to admit we have failed in our relationships? Our Local Meetup will be on March 15th at 1:00pm PST.

The International Teleconference will be on March 28th at 2:30pm PST. Our first Teleconference was greeted with heartfelt thanks. One member wrote, “It is a small world when we all share the same difficulties, whether we're in London or LA. I think the teleconference was fantastic and absolutely historic. Look forward to talking to you all again in March!”

To be a member of Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Families of Adults with ASD Meetup you must be a Neuro-typical family member who loves and cares for an adult with Asperger Syndrome because we meet to openly discuss issues and concerns without hindrance of saving someone’s feelings. After joining the group you will receive an email with all the details. Join me on Facebook and let me know your thoughts on this.

Is It Codependency if You’re just Trying to Survive your Autism Spectrum Relationship?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

meetup is it codependency if you're just trying to survive your autism spectrum relationshipWhen we love someone, we like to do nice things for that person even if it means sacrificing something that we want at times. But the operative words to indicate a healthy relationship are “at times”. There’s a balance of give and take. If on the other hand, you find that you are doing it all of the time, then you’re dealing with codependency.

Codependence is defined as “a state of mind where you put your needs and dreams aside in order to help the other person have a life. In a codependent relationship, no matter how much you give, the other person does not return the favor. Yet you keep on giving and getting more fatigued, frustrated and resentful.”

You make a lot of sacrifices for your family member who is on the Autism Spectrum. You become an expert at reading labels so your pantry is gluten free. You relearn how to cook and bake your family favorites with gluten free flours. You snip all of the labels from your AS husband's shirts. You pay for a laundry delivery service because your AS wife can’t handle it. You soundproof the "den" so your Aspie preteen can scream. You graciously sidestep every confrontation. You drink an extra glass of wine to calm your nerves.

At what point is it codependency? Is it really codependency if you are just trying to survive?

More to the point is the question: Who is there for you? If you are always giving and never getting what you need, you will eventually experience burnout. You need to explore self-care. See that your needs are met. Since your AS spouse or child loves you but has no idea how you tick, it’s important to make your beliefs and needs known in concrete ways.

This ongoing issue of dancing around the needs of your family members on the Autism Spectrum will be discussed at our next Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Families of Adults with ASD Meetup, “Is It Codependency if You’re just Trying to Survive?” Make plans now to join us on Saturday, February 15, 2014.

Learn more about Asperger Syndrome and Relationships on my website.

Asperger Relationships: Coping with Unremitting Grief

Monday, June 10, 2013

When you love someone with Asperger Syndrome, you may hit a point where you grieve. You may be grieving over the relationship or for the loss of a dream. The problem with this grief is it may not be going away. When you continue to live with your Asperger partner, your keep triggering the loss. You feel it over and over again.

But what is going on when years later you are still so depressed, forlorn, and fatigued over the loss of your dream? I have heard some define this as "Ongoing Traumatic Relationship Disorder". I believe the symptoms are very similar to depression, but of a grief that never goes away or unremitting grief.

On June 15, 2013, Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Families of Adults with ASD will be meeting in Portland, Oregon to discuss the topic, "Unremitting Grief." Sharing stories and giving input from only those who have walked in these shoes can help to bind up the broken hearts of others. Come and join us and share what you know about "unremitting grief." This will be the last Meetup until September and it will not be one to miss. Click on the link for membership details.

Download a free sample chapter of Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge.

5 Mothers and Their Fight Against Autism

Friday, April 12, 2013

With autism statistics rising, a group of five courageous mothers are taking note of the disorder and how it is affecting African American and Hispanic children in the United States. Colored My Mind is a non-profit organization whose mission "is to educate, enlighten, and empower parents whose children are on the ASD spectrum throughout communities nationwide." 

The founders of Colored My Mind are working hard to see that minorities are receiving practical assistance when it comes to treatment and diagnoses for ASD children. Many in the African American and Hispanic community struggle getting health care and special education for their AS child and sadly some have dealt with negative racial bias. The goal is to educate all people regardless of race and nationality. Their story will appears in a documentary entitled, Colored My Mind, and will show at The Cannes Film Festival in May 2013. 

To learn more about this organization and the work they are doing to bring much need awareness about autism, visit Colored My Mind

Asperger Love - Is It Really Love?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

If you are in a relationship with someone with Asperger Syndrome, I have no doubt that at some point you asked yourself, "Is this really love?" The reason why you may ask yourself this is because how do you know if you are loved if you partner never communicates that with you, or shows your, or has empathy? This leads to other perplexing questions like: How do you know if your love is received or understood by them? Can you be sure that your AS partner feels love the same way you do? Does it even matter? 

How can a relationship survive when the issue of love is questioned? This is such a delicate and sensitive subject that many will think about it, but will never discuss it. On March 16, 2013, Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group will meet to discuss this issue. There is no easy answer or quick fix, but hopefully by having open and honest discussion can lead to a level of understanding that only those in this situation can understand. The meeting will be held in Portland, Oregon. If you do not live in the Portland area, please visit our webpage and become a member. The message boards are already discussing this topic online. We would love to hear your thoughts. 

For more on navigating through an Asperger relationship, pick up your own personal copy of my book - Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going Over the Edge

Where to Find Empathy in an Asperger Relationship

Monday, February 04, 2013

As promised, empathy in Asperger relationships is up for discussion again. On February 16, 2013, Asperger Syndrome: Partners & Family of Adults with ASD Support Group will be meeting to discuss - "Empathy Explains It All." I find myself talking about this topic again and again because it explains much about the mismatch in communication between someone with Asperger Syndrome and their Neuro-Typical partner.

 Why is empathy so important in relationships? Empathy is the ability to connect and know where the other is coming from at the same time that you know where you are coming from as well.  You don't have to agree with the other person to have empathy. You don't have to even be terribly interested in their interests. When you listen and are listened to...with empathy...a powerful connection occurs. It is the interpersonal world of connectedness that makes us feel loved and satisfied or even just okay. Empathy is so powerful that even research shows that a doctor who treats his patients with empathy will have better results.   

Empathy is usually lacking in an Asperger relationship. This can cause deep emotional pain for their NT partner. I chose this topic for the upcoming Meetup so we can listen to one another and empathize. Maybe empathy is lacking in the marriage, but you can find empathy amongst others who are dealing with a similar problem. Please join us for this important discussion whether it be in person or online.    

Visit Asperger Syndrome Support for more information. My book, Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome: Going over the Edge? is available for purchase. It is a practical guide for a Neuro-Typical individual in an Asperger relationship. 


New Location Added for Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD

Monday, December 31, 2012

Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Support Group continues to grow. There are three locations in Oregon: Eastside Portland, Westside Portland, and Beaverton. I am happy to announce that we are moving to California!    

This Meetup will be based in the Los Angeles area, but will rotate to different locations since LA County is so large. The first Meetup will be held in Pasadena on January 26, 2013. The following month, the Meetup will be in Redondo Beach. 

If you are interested in attending, please visit the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD webpage. Don't forget you can also become an online member if there are no meetings in your local area.

I look forward to hearing about the continued success of this group! Click here to read about how to find the right support group for you and your needs. 

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:   


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   



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.

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