Episode 152: Toxic Relationships and A Medical Diagnosis

The Valley of Grace Podcast
The Valley of Grace Podcast
Episode 152: Toxic Relationships and A Medical Diagnosis

Toxic Relationships and A Medical Diagnosis-It seems easier to trust God with what it is he has told you to do when you know what the outcome is going to be. However, we know that if we only trust God when certainty is involved, that means that we don’t fully trust him. Our trust becomes conditional.

Listen 🎧 in to this candid conversation between Lauren Roskilly and I as we dissect Toxic Relationships, A Medical Diagnosis, Codependency, and Obedience.

In case you missed last week’s episode, grab it here.

Until next time,


Healing From Narcissistic Abuse-The Art of Self-Care


One of the hardest things to do after being in a narcissistic or any other kind of toxic relationship is to practice self-care. Self-care is an art. Not a science.

At first, the temptation can be to write out a list of different things that must be done for self-care to take place. There is no right or wrong way. However, a must-follow list will only have you focusing on rigidity. Self-care shouldn’t be painstaking.


The common things that we think of when it comes to self-care is polishing our nails, going to the spa, shampooing our hair, etc. All these things are part of self-care. However, when you think of self-care in terms of caring for your mind, body, and soul (mind, will, and emotions), the things that you do to enforce self-care will become more of a holistic and natural approach rather than one that is forced.

One thing that helps to reinforce a natural approach is to journal, asking your mind, body, and soul, “What do you need today?”

Narcissistic relationships drain all your resources and energy on every level. This was your norm and has to be unlearned. And as with any other habit, releasing one habit means replacing it with another.

The Challenge

Developing principles of self-care for yourself, and then other care for your children, extended family, and other important relationships in your life will be the driving force for helping you to move forward.

Once you know what these principles will look like, then you can establish boundaries around these principles for yourself and others. For years you have conditioned yourself to placing yourself at the bottom of the list. After your partner. After your children. And after everyone else. And in some instances, not at all.

Self-Care as Self-Love

Self-care is part of self-love. And self-love is part of the practice of developing an intimate relationship with yourself by becoming self-aware of who you are as a person, where you are as a person, and where it is you are going, along with where you want to be.

You are already enough. You do not have to wear yourself down and ignore your self in order to please others and gain approval from others. Grab your keys to the kingdom and get your inheritance.

Healing from Narcissistic Abuse- The Art of Empathy

As you are embarking on your healing journey, you will quickly become aware of certain things. One of the first things you will become aware of is your emotional threshold. Although you are away from your narcissistic ex, it may take a while before the emotional residue of that relationship manifests itself. Your brain only releases what it can when it can.

What do I mean by this?

Your brain will not allow you to feel the entire impact of the relationship that you were in all at once. This can be misleading at first. However, it is for your own safety and protection.

If we could feel all of the trauma that we have ever experienced all at once, it would be a nervous system disaster.
So, you can look at gradual exposure to trauma as a gift rather than a nuisance.

What often happens is that you are tempted to transfer over some of the same toxic behavior patterns that you had with your ex to your children.
One of these such patterns is toxic empathy. You are probably wondering how in the world can empathy becomes toxic.
Empathy becomes toxic when you leave the space of understanding the feelings that a person is going through due to their trials, tribulations, and traumas, and you allow yourself to be completely engulfed by their situation.

When this happens, not only can you not support the individuals who are hurting, you can’t even support yourself because you are in overwhelming pain.
Your children need you to understand their feelings without becoming overwhelmed by their experiences. Otherwise, they have no support system. And this is the tricky dynamic that has to be reckoned with when it comes to empathy.

Prayer, having them to talk it out, and more importantly, setting them up with their own therapist and or coach, will help them to deal with their own pain, allowing you the space to support them, and deal with your own.

As we are reminded in scripture, the blind cannot lead the blind.

Sometimes sympathy and empathy are often confused. Sympathy holds sorrow or pity for. Empathy holds feeling space for. And toxic empathy is on a whole ‘nother level.
Toxic empathy consumes all emotional space for. When we remember the whole concept of boundaries, we also honor the fact that establishing our emotional space is part of it.

Surrendering to God what we are not supposed to carry helps us to release what we cannot control. It is human nature to try to control what we don’t understand.

When you remember these things, you practice self and other care. When you don’t, you sign up for burnout.

You are enough. You don’t have to adopt toxic empathy in order to prove it. Grab your keys and get your inheritance.

Until next time.


Healing From Narcissistic Abuse & Parenting With Oxygen


When it comes to healing from narcissistic abuse, it can be so tempting for women to think their number one priority after leaving the toxic ☠️ relationship is pouring everything that they can into their children 🧒 so that they will be OK. 

In theory, it seems like the perfect thing to do. Give them everything that they have been missing and more. 

However, in reality, the best thing that you can do as a mother is to follow the instructions 📄 of the stewardess on the airplane ✈️

You must put your oxygen mask 😷 on first. 

When a person has difficulty breathing 😮‍💨, and is in emergency status, needing to get some serious help, they do not stop 🛑, and say, “let me give away the little oxygen that I have left instead of calling 911.  This is a heroic deed.”

For those who have, what is often said about this person is, “he or she saved everybody else, but could not do what was necessary to save him or her self.”  

There is no trophy 🏆 given out. There is sadness and a realization that this person was so caught up being Superman or Superwoman, that they did not understand their own needs, and the need to put their needs before others was necessary for their own survival.


Although it may seem counterintuitive, we cannot pour from an empty cup.

After a while, your jars of clay will manifest cracks.  And instead of taking heed to the warning, and patching up the cracks with taking care of yourself, you keep using your jar until it completely breaks.


As long as you are OK, healing ❤️‍🩹, walking through the steps of reclaiming your power 💪🏾 and identity, your children will be OK, and can walk into the steps of reclaiming their power and identity by using your actions as a template for theirs.  

And instead of trying to somehow become their therapist, the best thing to do is to help them find a therapist of their own who can assist them in processing what was, what currently is, and what is to come.

Getting back to your true self, the one who’s identity is in Christ, is hard, but not impossible work.  And it begins by displaying love to your children, through the love the Father has for you, and in turn, you are showing to yourself. 

Pouring from an empty or half-full jar 🫙means that you risk single-parent and grief burnout.  Honoring and loving self, with the love of God as your guide leads to honoring and loving your children.


Your brain needs to be retrained. All of this time society has taught you that the best way to take care of your partner and your children is to sacrifice yourself in the process.

Healing from narcissistic abuse is a journey, and that journey involves a process.  And that process involves a fight. A fight to reclaim your power and identity to get to your true self. Not the old self. 

Remember: the old self misunderstood the concepts of love and freedom. The old self sacrificed everything for the survival of others at your own expense. It didn’t love self enough to honor identity in Christ over every other identity.  The old self didn’t understand that royalty status helps you to value yourself as having enoughness and worthiness in the kingdom of God.

You are saying goodbye to the old self and reclaiming your true self as a daughter of the king, Who lives and walks in royalty, understands self love and boundaries, and knows how to pour out God’s love onto others.

Healing From Narcissistic Abuse: The Art of Grief

One of the most important things that you can do when healing from Narcissistic Abuse is to give yourself permission to grieve.

When we think of grief, we are tempted to think of it as being linear.

Grief is more of an art form. I say an art form because no two people grieve alike.

We are allowed to take grief and transform it to whatever experience that we desire.

It can be sunsets, rainbows 🌈, and beach balls producing perspective and healing ❤️‍🩹, and then other times like waterfalls, waves, and up-and-down rollercoasters 🎢.

Whatever experience that grief is taking you through, it is with the intention of producing a new self, a true self, one that enables you to heal from past hurts, and reclaim your power and identity.

The five stages of grief are: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Although these are the five stages, and this is also supposed to be the exact order, The first four stages can actually be mixed in altogether like one massive ball of rubber bands, and then also dealt with individually at the same time.

There is no one ☝️ set of rules.

Grief can be released in several different forms as well. Dancing, walking, talking, exercising, and crying 😭 are all different ways to help grief to travel 🧳 through and be released from its maze in your body.

The first temptation can be to stuff and suppress your emotions when the grief comes. However, as we talked about before, this only leads to alternative construction healing.

Ignoring things never make them go away.

The only way to get to the smooth pavement is to go under construction and fully heal. Going around the healing ❤️‍🩹 can take two to three times as long.

The second temptation is to compare your grief process with someone else’s. Comparison can often lead to self-judgment, self- condemnation, and self-blame.

When you embrace your art 🖼 of grief, you embrace and surrender to your art of healing ❤️‍🩹.

Remember: you are enough. You do not have to surrender to someone else’s idea 💡 of how your healing ❤️‍🩹 journey should be.

This is for you and God to decide.

Until next time,


Healing After Narcissistic Abuse: Give Yourself Permission

One of the most important things that you will have to do on your journey of healing from Narcissistic Abuse is mastering the art of giving yourself permission.

You need permission to heal, permission to feel, permission to reveal, and permission to not be okay ✅.

Permission to heal means that you acknowledge that the only way to get from point A to point Z is to go under construction 🚧. Going around 🚘 the healing has played out. And getting the five dollar fill-ups ⛽️ has reached its max.

Permission to feel means that you are acknowledging the fact that suppressing and ignoring your feelings are no longer working out for you.

If anything, it has kept you on a merry-go-round of coping mechanisms and dysfunctional behavior.

Any time that we suppress and ignore, it leaves our emotional 😭 , mental, physical 🏃🏿‍♀️, and spiritual 🙏🏿 systems out of whack, and needing to release the emotions through some form or another, even if that form is unhealthy 🤒 behavior.

A lot has happened. And just like it took several years for you to get to the state that you are in, it will take several years for you to get to your true self.

I don’t say old self because the old you has been using the operating system entitled, I’m not enough.

The new you reveals your true self, using the “His Way” operating system, and the “Daughter of the King 👑 “ software.

What are the features of the “His Way” operating system?

  • Healing ❤️‍🩹
  • Identity
  • Self-worth
  • With
  • Affirmations &
  • Yielding

This operating system comes with a 100% money back guarantee.

When you purchase this new operating system, the “Daughter of the King 👑” software is included.

The perks to using this software are the following:

  • Your birthright inheritance
  • Keys 🔑 to the kingdom
  • A free crown 👸
  • And a lifetime access to the Kingdom of God

The only thing about this deal is that you must do your part, knowing that God will do his.

God has promised us a life of abundance. However, we must participate in the process.This is often the part that causes us to throw in the towel.

Just like getting groceries from the grocery store requires you to get in your car and drive for the end product, healing requires you to do your part to get to where God wants you to be.

Check out the next post on healing from Narcissistic Abuse where we will do an in-depth study of dealing with grief.

Until next time,


How do the problems manifest themselves in “The Problems and Unhealthy Patterns of Behavior Phase” Part 8

The Problems and Unhealthy Patterns of Behavior Phase” Part 8 Introduction:

You have gone without affection, attention, and having your needs met for so long that you are tapped out.  All the games have played out.  The breadcrumbing has phased out.  And you are out of options.

You can literally sense your partner detaching from you.  

Whenever you try to bring up the reality of the situation to your partner, his way of handling things is to just peace out.  

The Chase

He starts running away from you.

You don’t know what to do. And so you do what you feel makes the most sense.

You start running after him. 

And the more you run after him, the more he runs away.  It’s like watching Tom and Jerry, but it’s not a laughing matter. 

You stop the chasing long enough to sit down with pen and paper, trying to figure out the magic formula to fix/change/control him and/or the situation.

You forget about the fact that love involves freedom.  You just want your needs met.

The Chase starts up again.  But the formula isn’t working out like you planned.  

So, what are you going to do?

What any woman who has given herself the title “The Fixer” would do.

You are going to sit down at the table and come up with another formula.

And you are going to confront him about it. Besides, it has gone on long enough.  Arguing with him about the situation is better than no attention at all.

The problem is, you haven’t even stopped to pray or ask God about his will in the situation.

You are too exhausted to even think straight.  


You have been in this state for too long.  And you feel that the only way that things can get better is if you make them better.

Stay tuned for the next post to find out what happens next.

Until next time,


Episode 135: 6 Things That Happen When the Spirit of Manipulation Uses You For Supply

The Valley of Grace Podcast
The Valley of Grace Podcast
Episode 135: 6 Things That Happen When the Spirit of Manipulation Uses You For Supply

It’s getting cold outside. At least, that’s what’s happening here in the Midwest. Some people will be purchasing new batteries for their car. Other people will be purchasing new batteries for their games. These are not board games. They are games that narcissists play. Where do you fit in?

How do the problems manifest themselves in “The Problems and Unhealthy Patterns of Behavior” Phase Part 4

Unfortunately, “The Problems and Unhealthy Patterns of Behavior” phase is like a kid in a candy store for the toxic person in the toxic relationship cycle. For the toxic person, it is fun because they live and thrive off drama.

If there is no drama, they will create it. Undealt with Brokenness in a toxic person’s life causes chaos and confusion everywhere they go.

Whereas most people try to keep peace in their lives, for the toxic person, it is the opposite.

As soon as you mention their unhealthy patterns of behavior, they will pull out their dysfunctional coping mechanisms.

The first such behavior is gaslighting.

The word looks and sounds strange. And so does the effects of what the word entails.

Imagine having a strong gas smell in your house.

You mention to your partner, ” I smell gas.”

And then their response is “I don’t smell anything.”

The smell gets stronger and stronger.

And you scream out, ” I SMELL GAS!”

And then your spouse says, “Oh, that’s the cookies that are baking in the oven.”

After so many rounds of this, you are feeling nauseated from the fumes, and you start saying to yourself, “Those are the cookies in the oven.”

Then you hear an explosion.

Gaslighting is how it sounds. When you are talking to someone about how their behavior is impacting you, they turn it around on you, making you look and feel crazy, physically and spiritually nauseated and confused.

Your spouse, or whoever it is that is doing the gaslighting says things like:

“You’re over-reacting.”

“You’re so sensitive.”

“You’re so dramatic.”

“You are so insecure and jealous.”

After hearing this so much, you believe it, and they manufacture in you the emotional drama that they were hoping for.

Once the gaslighting starts, it alters who you are as a person. You began to walk around in a state of cognitive dissonance, knowing the truth, but in a spiritual state of denial.


Acknowledging what is going on means doing something about it. You are not ready for that. Your brokenness of unworthiness is depending on you getting your self-worth from them at all cost.

However, they cannot give what they don’t have. They are individuals filled with insecurities and unworthiness themselves. And their whole life, they have thrived off exploiting other people in the very area that they struggle with as well.

What appears to you as confidence exuding from them, is a very insecure, unworthy individual who has no sense of self. This “confident look” is what they have when they have been filled with “supply” rather than the Holy Spirit.

What happens to you when you are in this state for so long?

You get seriously sick.

You can’t inhale fumes and not be affected. Gaslighting emits fumes and so much more than you expected. In my next post, we will discuss what happens when your partner starts playing games with you.

Until next time,

Katina Horton

Episode 132: Interview with Therapist & Coach Ashley Cutler Part 1

The Valley of Grace Podcast
The Valley of Grace Podcast
Episode 132: Interview with Therapist & Coach Ashley Cutler Part 1

What are the hidden traumas behind racism?  How will you react when God walks you through unexpected doors? What are the stressors that Covid has brought on to us in society, along with the frontline workers, including therapists? What are the benefits of coaching?  How does the black man feel when the black women makes more money than he does?  Why do women stay in toxic relationships?  How do I reclaim my power and identity?

If you need a place that is relatable, where you can pull off your masks, be real, dig deep, embrace your hair and skin color, release your emotions, and reveal your true identity and worth as a black woman, then listen to all three parts of this candid interview between Therapist & Coach Ashley Cutler and me in a new series of The Valley of Grace Podcast entitled, “The Black Woman Experience:  Talking Through Our Stories” to find out the answers to these questions and more.    Be blessed! #ashleycutler #authors #blackwomen #blackmarriage #blackrelationships #reclaimyourpowerandidentity #youareenough #blacksuperwoman #blackskin #blackhair #blackauthors #theblackwomanstruggle #racism #traumas #blacktraumas

How to Reach Ashley Cutler

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashley.cutler.986

Adorned With a Purpose Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/180411743437341/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/msashleycutler 

Linkedin: www.linkedin.com/in/ashley-cutler-lcsw-c-15004586

Podcast Topics

  • Coaching Vs. Therapy
  • Black Relationships
  • Toxic Relationships
  • Unworthiness/Not Enoughness
  • Reclaiming Your Power and Identity
  • God Opening Up Doors

Until next time,