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When Empathy Fails: How to stop those hell-bent on destroying you ("ASPERGER SYNDROME" & Relationships: 5 Books to Rebuild Your Life Together) Paperback – March 12, 2018

3.8 out of 5 stars 16 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


From Kirkus Reviews:A hard-luck memoir, intertwined with life lessons on empathy.This account of psychologist Marshack's (Entrepreneurial Couples, 2017, etc.) traumatic trials and tribulations will likely elicit great empathy for the author herself. In a personal narrative that's troubling but often engaging, she documents the fallout from her divorce, her challenging relationship with her daughters (one is autistic and the other suffers from the effects of a brain injury), and her arduous, toxic legal battle with neighbors over property rights. It's almost unimaginable what the author goes through, and following her journey from chapter to chapter could leave one emotionally spent. Her negative experiences led her to consider why some people have empathy and others do not; her reflection resulted in the "Empathy Dysfunction Scale (EmD Scale)," which she says can help readers "identify the kind of people you're dealing with in your life." Overall, though, the book largely concentrates, almost to a fault, on the injustices that the author says that she suffered during a very ugly dispute  with authorities and neighbors over residential land use. Indeed, the extent to which the book describes the case--with accompanying reprinted emails and property drawings--is extraordinary, and its tone sometimes feels almost vindictive. However, the book is engaging when it addresses Marshack's five levels of "EmDs." The second chapter does a particularly good job of describing each one of these, ranging from EmD-0 ("having zero degrees of empathy but not intending harm") to EmD-5 ("epitomizing empathy"). By the end of the author's sad but engaging tale, the EmD levels do resonate, and the implications of empathy dysfunction become clear.A compelling, if sometimes-painful, read that offers a lesson in personal resilience.

About the Author

Kathy J. Marshack,Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with more than 40 years of experience as amarriage and family therapist and business coach. Dr. Marshack received her bachelor'sdegree in psychology from Portland State University, her master's degree fromthe University of Hawaii, and her doctorate in psychology from the FieldingInstitute. She is a member of the AmericanPsychological Association.
Dr. Marshack is a prolific writer who pulls inspiration fromher extensive research, insight from counseling thousands of clients, and herown life experiences. Her first book,
EntrepreneurialCouples: Making It Work at Work and at Home, published in 1998 andrereleased in 2017, explores theunique lifestyle of couples that run a business together.She was also a contributor to the nationally acclaimed book, Sixty Things to Do When You Turn Sixty, 2006. After discovering how many people werestruggling with a family member with Autism Spectrum Disorder, without anysupport or guidance, she wrote two books: Goingover the Edge: Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome in 2009,and in 2013, Out of Mind - Out of Sight: Parentingwith a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD). Her latest book, When Empathy Fails, is her mostpowerful and intimate book to date.
Dr. Marshack has been extensively profiled in the media,including
Kiplinger's, The New YorkTimes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, BusinessWeek, and has appeared on CNN, TheLifetime Channel, BBC, and NationalPublic Radio. She also works as an investigative journalist for the USObserver.
Learn more about Dr. Marshack's articles, onlineconsultation and therapy, as well as her International Meetup for Partners& Family of Adults with ASD, by visiting

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 12, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 554 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1979969000
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1979969000
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.62 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.25 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    3.8 out of 5 stars 16 ratings

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Right from the start, I want you to know:

• You are not alone.

• Your voice matters.

• I am here to help you --- through my books, my online courses, and my international online communities

I am Dr. Kathy Marshack, psychologist and author. As a professional I specialize in helping my clients who are in Complex Relationships that are tough to treat with conventional psychotherapy. The short list (but not all inclusive) of couples and families in Complex Relationships include:

• “Asperger Syndrome” or High Functioning Autism

• Codependency

• High Conflict Divorce

• Empathy Dysfunction

• Entrepreneurial Couples

My credentials go back decades including a Master’s Degree in Social Work, and a Doctorate in Psychology. I’ve worked in every conceivable professional setting from child protective services, home health agencies, public schools, colleges, hospitals, and mental health clinics. I’ve covered lots of territory in those years, as you can imagine; everything from working with young children, teens, couples, families, seniors, and entrepreneurs; and with every conceivable diagnosis.

I’ve trained with the best too. My favored clinical skills include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Ericksonian Hypnosis, and Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET). I find these techniques incredibly powerful in creating elegant and long-lasting healing and change.

But as valuable as my education, training and experience is, I also know that each one of you is as unique and special as your fingerprints. Did you know that no one on the planet shares your fingerprints? That’s right.

What this means is that there is no “one size fits all.” That’s why I have designed my course and communities with differing levels of service depending on your needs: teleconferences, small intimate video conferences, community forums, and one-on-one video conferences with me if you like.

You may already know that I am the author of several books to help you with your NeuroDivergent relationship.

“Going Over the Edge? --- Life with a Partner or Spouse with Asperger Syndrome.”

“Out of Mind-Out of Sight: Parenting with a Partner with Asperger Syndrome (ASD).” "When Empathy Fails: How to Stop Those Hell-bent on Destroying You."

“Asperger Syndrome & Relationships: Everything You Need to Survive a NeuroDivergent Life” (an eBook).

"Empathy is More Than Words: Groundbreaking Tools for NeuroDivergent Relationships," has just been released. It is available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback.

There is one more thing I want you to know about me. I can relate personally to every single one of the Complex Relationship bullet points listed above. I was raised by a High Functioning Autistic mother, and an alcoholic father. My eldest daughter is on the Autism Spectrum. I’ve been an entrepreneur for many, many years, and raised my children in this environment. I too went through a hostile divorce, including parental alienation.

Just like you, I went through a lot of suffering before it occurred to me to take another approach. I learned to build resilience. I learned to use what I know as a psychologist to reshape the outcome. I counted on the principle that Michelle Obama champions, “When they go low, we go high.” This doesn’t mean that you don’t get hurt, or angry during all of those trying times. What it means is that when you’re up against the harshness of a Complex Relationship, “your response has to reflect the solution,” according to our former First Lady.

I call this response, Radiant Empathy) something I describe in detail in my book “Empathy is More Than Words.” Life isn’t perfect, and you will keep making mistakes. But with Radiant Empathy you will learn to use your mistakes as feedback to refashion your life for greater healing, love and happiness.

Learn more about Dr. Marshack's articles, online courses, and consultation by visiting


For more information and to stay up to date, please visit:





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Customer reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5
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