Losing Ourselves plus an Interview

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Hey Gals!

Over the holiday, I had the opportunity to talk via Zoom with a lovely woman from New Zealand.  Her name is Lisa Taylor and she just published a book entitled Beyond Betrayal.  Here is a link to the video.  She asked me to discuss denial and shock which is what all of us encounter shortly after disclosure or discovery and continue to cycle through as we grieve.  Would love for you to check out our conversation.


I think more than anything, what I took away from our conversation was this:

Denial and Shock are normal, natural and okay to embrace.  I love what Melody Beattie says about them – “denial isn’t lying…it’s the shock absorber for your soul.”  The denial and shock gives our brains and our bodies time to adjust to the terrifying reality that we are faced with.  This time allows us a space to latch on to coping mechanisms that we’ve used in the past or quite possibly are using for the first time.  Remember, shock and denial are good things.

However, think of denial and shock as a double edged sword.  If we get stuck in this stage of grieving – it can be costly.  And the thing is, getting stuck in the grieving process is easy to do.  This is not a linear process.  It’s a messy crazy process.  And I don’t know about you, but I was SO afraid of messing up the messy process.  Well, guess what – messy means imperfect.  I’ve yet to meet the woman who did this process perfectly so take a deep breath and embrace the imperfection.

So back to getting stuck in denial – I think one of the biggest costs for us if we get stuck in denial or shock is this Loss Of Self.

Here is why:  when we stay in denial for too long, we have to divorce ourselves from our reality in order to keep doing life.  There is an unhealthy detachment that must occur.  And there are women out there that have lived in this state for months (as I did) and there are women out there that have lived in this state for years (as I so easily could have).  Know that there is a lot of fear and survival wrapped up in getting stuck and it can cause a paralysis.

For those of you that resonate with feeling stuck, my prayer is that the time will come when you realize you’ve had enough.  Your heart is broken (for me, I couldn’t stand the bitterness and resentment I felt toward Jason) and you need help.  Now.  It’s a sweet surrender.  To give up control of the outcome of your marriage and to stand up for yourself and ask for what you need.

It’s through surrendering our outcome to God and letting others into our pain that we start to find ourselves again.

Both the sweet surrender and letting others in are key.

And it’s never too late.  Whether you are 22 or 102 – it’s never too late to cling to Jesus and share your pain with someone you trust.

Can any of you relate to this loss of self or the struggle to surrender to God and let others in?  What helped you move forward in your process?  Would love to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to post a comment below.


ps.  Lisa will post part 2 of our conversation on Friday.

10 thoughts on “Losing Ourselves plus an Interview

  1. Stephanie

    January 14, 2016  |  06:03 pm

    I had a huge loss of self after D-day in Feb. of last year. I felt like my marriage wasn’t real and our life together was a sham. But, I realized that God shined his light on my husband’s secret life and brought it out to be seen for a purpose.
    It took awhile to surrender complete control of everything to Him. But, I have done that and I have a peace in my soul now. No matter what the outcome is of my marriage, I know that I can trust God.
    It helped me tremendously to find a real life group of Godly women to walk beside in this journey. I also have an online group that has been a life saver for me. It was shocking when I learned how many women and families are/were affected by sexual sin. I realized I was far from alone.
    It has helped me to remember that this is an endurance event, not a race. I have also made sure to make time for myself, things that I enjoy and spending time with people that I love. I refuse to let his addiction take away the core of who I am.
    Boundaries have been a key to staying true to myself. I love myself enough to erect those fences in order to feel safe. I also do not isolate myself. That doesn’t mean I don’t need alone time. It means that I reach out for help when I am struggling. I am so grateful for women like Shelley, who have helped me navigate something that I have never dealt with before.

    • Shelley Martinkus

      January 15, 2016  |  09:36 pm

      Thanks Stephanie for sharing more about your loss and the long road to recovery you are on. Your post is overflowing with hope. xoxo

  2. Bethw

    January 14, 2016  |  09:30 pm

    I totally felt like I had lost myself in the aftermath of discovery. I don’t think I sat in denial but mine was from the horrific shock. I actually counted how long it had been since I felt like me. It was 350 days post discovery before I had my first several hours of actually feeling lighthearted . I felt smothered by the darkness and ugliness and crippled by grief and heartbreak. Joining a support group through RLFW helped immensely!! I too was frightened by the anger and bitterness I felt toward my husband, knowing it would destroy me . I had every reason to be angry but I couldn’t stay in it. I had to give him up to God because I never had nor will I ever be able to control his mind and his choices. He had to do his work and I had to do mine. God seemed to send me so many blogs about self esteem , self worth, not feeling like you are enough, and why comparisons steal your joy and your sanity right when I felt like I would go crazy from the constant barrage of images I had of prostitutes he had been with. It’s hard to take the death grip off of your marriage and hand what’s left of it to God but you must. He is the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient One and the only One who can bring beauty from the ashes. You can’t carry this weight on your own sisters- hand it to Jesus , and rest in that.

    • Shelley Martinkus

      January 15, 2016  |  09:34 pm

      Thank you Beth for your powerful and encouraging words. xoxo

  3. JD

    January 14, 2016  |  10:21 pm

    Shelley, I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but your thoughts help soften my heart toward another wife/ Do you have any insight into engaging with a friend in denial as a wife who has been there?

    • Shelley Martinkus

      January 15, 2016  |  09:33 pm

      I want to make sure I’m understanding you correctly – it sounds like you are wondering how you should engage a friend that you feel is living in denial with a similar story to yours?

      That is SO hard, first of all. For myself, sometimes I question – am I projecting my story onto someone else? If you know this isn’t the case, my suggestion to you is to lead with your story and give her space and grace. I’ve heard recently that there must be a balance between truth and grace and although I agree, I find that women in this situation need more grace than anything else. So listening, giving empathy, letting them know that they are heard.

      If I didn’t understand your question, please let me know. xoxo

  4. Lisa Taylor

    January 16, 2016  |  01:05 am

    So well put, Shelley. I love your synopsis of our conversation!

    • Shelley Martinkus

      January 21, 2016  |  12:52 am

      Thanks Lisa! Much love, Shelley

  5. SLM

    January 19, 2016  |  10:08 am

    I just listened to the interview. WONDERFUL job to both ladies. I am just so happy to get validation for some of my emotions and proof to show my husband I am not CRAZY. I have bounced all over the place in my grief. Many times the pain is so great that I just want to throw every thing in my car and run away. Thing is this pain just follows me. Like Lisa there has been a history of trauma in my life and I watched EVERY SINGLE woman in my family deal with infidelity. My grandmother became bitter and resentful towards my grandfather, but remained married. My other grandmother divorced, but was bitter against all men. My father has been diagnosed by 2 different Dr.’s as a narcissist, but denies anything is wrong with him. My mother divorced him when I was 2 and literally passed his girlfriends moving van when we where leaving our home. My step-father cheated at least 3 times that I know about, and my mother became a classic co-dependent. My ex-brother in law became a sex addict and cheated on my sister, she divorced him, but has NEVER allowed another man to get even close to her. As I listened to Lisa’s story it sounded just like me. I told my husband before we married, cheat on me and it is OVER. He saw the damage of my step fathers last affair and how it wrecked the lives of my mother and youngest sister. He watched as I nursed my sister through the trauma of her divorce and has seen first hand the wreckage. I told him before we wed will never be my mother. D-day #1 was April 2014 when I he asked me for a divorce. I knew something was up for months before hand. A couple of weeks after his declaration of “I just have fallen out of love with you and I think divorce is the best option.” And me asking a 100 times who was she and him lying and denying that there was anyone brings me to D-day #2 when I found some text messages and my world and heart crashed into a million pieces. D-day #3 was in May 2014 when he confessed this was not his first affair but his third. And that for several years early in our marriage he went to strip clubs. In the history of our marriage we have also dealt with his gambling addiction.
    Anyway just hearing and allowing him to hear that I can’t fit into this pattern of grieving that we keep being told needs to happen in this order or what ever just is not working for me. I have to peel things back a little at a time. His first affair was 20 years ago….for him he has had 20 years to accept that he did this unthinkable thing. I have had 2. We have been told that the “process” is normally 18-24 months. I think the 18-24 months has been for me to uncover if I even want to save this marriage. Thank you for the things that you have said and for being honest and forth coming. The pressure I have put on myself and the pressure he has placed on me to move along has almost caused me to toss in the towel and say I just can’t move past this. Just hearing that I have the right to live my own recovery, and as long as I am moving forward I am coping was very reassuring. Just one suggestion. I would love for you and Jason to do a kitchen convo about the proper way for the betraying spouse to apologize and the importance of showing your hurt spouse remorse. It was mentioned in the video that Lisa has a client that can’t/won’t cry. I had a pretty tough shell before this, hardly ever cried. Now I am like a new born baby. My husband says that he has tried to cry but thinks that since he has lived behind a wall for so long he has lost the ability to actually feel those emotions and express them. So it makes forgiveness hard for me because I see very little expressions of remorse. He says he is sorry, but he says it like he stepped on my toe, not like he destroyed my life.

    • Shelley Martinkus

      January 21, 2016  |  12:57 am

      Thank you for what you have shared. I am beyond mortified at how deep the betrayal roots are in your family tree. I love what you took from the video (you have the right to your own recovery and can take as much time as you need, etc.). That wasn’t our objective in the video – so it makes me smile to see what you held onto from our chat. Has your husband read Worthy of Her Trust? There is an amends matrix in the book that will help your husband walk through what an apology looks like. I don’t have the book in front of me or else I’d give you the page number. I like your idea of doing a video on apologies. I’ll see what we can do.


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